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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Help name these weird species

Giving children names is exciting and all, but it is important to consider how they will feel when their name is shouted on the playground. But not so with species! You can name those suckers whatever you want and they will be none the wiser. The Guardian is holding a contest that lets readers indulge in this pleasure by coming up with common names for 10 British species. Past contests have yield such gems as "hotlips" for this labial-looking fungus and "sea piglet shrimp" for this fella.

This year the species on hand are mostly brown. The list includes not one but two sea slugs and lots of bugs. It is actually a travesty that Grist did not think of this idea first, because we are confident that Grist readers can come up with way funnier (and punnier) names than Guardian readers can. (Although, we admit, hotlips may be the best name for a fungus, ever.) We want to see at least one Grist reader's name up in lights on the internet, so get to species-namin’! Here, from the Guardian, are helpful tips:

• Try to incorporate some combination of appearance, natural history, or location. For example, the species' color or feeding habits

• Humor, word play, and cultural references are good when relevant, and names do not need to be direct Latin translations

• Names should ideally consist of two names, not including the taxonomic group name, for example beetle, lichen, shrimp (so three words in total). A good case needs to be made for longer ones

Let's practice on this sea slug, the Akera bullata, shall we? 

Read more: Animals

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The best, fastest, CRAZIEST urban cyclists in the world

Okay, I cannot say this enough: DO NOT ATTEMPT ANYTHING IN THIS VIDEO.

Read more: Biking

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How to use a broken cell phone to survive in the wilderness

If your nature hike goes seriously awry, your cell phone will probably be your best chance of survival -- if you can get signal, you can let people know where you are. If you can't get signal, well, it is basically a hunk of metal. But, it's a hunk of metal that can (if absolutely necessary) be busted up and used to make a signal mirror, a compass, a spear, a fire-starter, and a fishing lure. Saved by the cell!

The Art of Manliness has instructions on how to make all these survival necessities out of cell phone bits (plus a snare for small game, if you happened to have headphones with you when you get lost).

Read more: Living

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Smarter than a Smart car: A Smart e-bike

Quick, what's smarter and cuter and more awesome than a Smart car? We're going to go with a Smart bike, the tiny car’s even-tinier electric bike sibling.

The bike's won all kinds of design awards, and it's no surprise. It actually still resembles a bike, instead of a cyborg bike with a tumor-looking motor attached, like some e-bikes we could name. It's maybe not that fastest e-bike in existence, but we're betting it will get you up hills. And it doesn't need to be charged too often.

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Why GMOs aren’t romantic

Today's Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal is a VERY REALISTIC AND SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE cautionary tale about genetically modified organisms.

Read more: Scary Food

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Swarms of robots could replace tractors on farms

Photo by David Dourhout.

Most farm machinery right now consists of huge machines. But in the future, farm machinery could be "a swarm of planting, tending, and harvesting robots running game theory and swarm behavior algorithms to help optimize every inch of arable space in a given field," Popular Science reports. That's one Iowan's vision, anyway, and he's created a prototype of a farmbot. It's named Prospero.

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9-year-old’s lunch blog gets banned by politicians, then unbanned by internet outrage

Remember Martha Payne, the Scottish 9-year-old whose blog documenting her pathetic school lunches shamed local pols into allowing kids unlimited fruits and vegetables? Well, they decided they weren't going to be pushed around by a little girl anymore, and sent word that she was no longer allowed to take photographs of her food.

What they didn't count on was being pushed around by a little girl and her legions of internet fans, including Jamie Oliver. So now the council is photographing its words, then eating them. Martha's blog, Never Seconds, lives on.

Read more: Food, School Lunches

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Twin baby polar bears celebrate their 100-day birthday

Photo by Xinhua.

These polar bear cubs, born and raised at Tianjin Haichang Polar Ocean Park in China, were so tiny and frail at birth that they weren't expected to survive. Keepers whisked them into an incubator, and have been caring for them around the clock since then. But at 100 days old, the babies are now healthy and playful and super, SUPER cute.

Read more: Animals

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Takeout restaurant delivers dirty dishes so you can pretend you cooked

Photo by Cinnamon Cooper.

If you provided food for your dinner party by slaving over a hot phone all day, nobody need ever know -- as long as you're in the U.K., and within delivery range of Housebites. The company charges the equivalent of about 8 bucks to deliver dirty dishes and cooking utensils along with your food, so that you can stage realistic-looking kitchen carnage and convince your guests you're a devoted chef.

Read more: Food

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Biologists coax amazingly cute tiny rabbits back from the brink of disappearance

In Urban Dictionary, the fourth definition of "cute" is "pygmy rabbit." Or actually, it’s probably some gross made-up sex act, but it SHOULD be “pygmy rabbit.” Just look at this thing!


It fits into the palm of a human hand!


But it has also been disappearing from its habitat in Washington State. Coyotes, badgers, weasels, and big bad birds chow down on these little suckers, because they are small, vulnerable, and (we're assuming) delicious.

Despite the best attempts of scientists to prompt the rabbits to breed in captivity, the bunnies were just not doing their bunny thing. So instead, the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife is breeding them in their natural habitat. The scientists pen in a few acres, keep the bad coyotes out, and let the bunnies in.

Read more: Animals