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Grist List: Look what we found.


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12-year-old whose awesome speech floored 1992 Rio Summit returns to Rio+20 as a mom

Twenty years ago, at the original Rio Earth Summit, Severn Suzuki, a 12-year-old from Canada, became "the girl who silenced the world for six minutes" by giving a sobering, kick-ass speech to the assembled delegates. You're going to want to watch it:

This is like the climax to the best YA novel of all time (discounting ones with magic and vampires). Really, there's nothing like an incredibly poised middle-schooler speaking up for her beliefs and making powerful adults feel silly. As Suzuki said then:

At school, even in kindergarten, you teach us how to behave in the world. You teach us to not to fight with others, to work things out, to respect others and to clean up our mess, not to hurt other creatures, to share, not be greedy. Then, why do you go out and do the things you tell us not to do?

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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Brace yourself: Burger King is introducing a bacon sundae

I was under the impression that the "put bacon on everything" trend had run its course, but if so, nobody sent Burger King the memo. The chain is reportedly introducing a "bacon sundae" as part of its summer menu. That's ... exactly what you think it is.

Read more: Food, Scary Food

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Faux-vintage ad shows you where you can shove that celery

I was kind of gutted when I took a second look at this ad and realized it couldn't possibly be for real (as far as I can tell, it's from a comic called Devil Chef), but it's still kind of hilariously disgustingly awesome.

Read more: Food

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Pollution makes carnivorous plants go vegetarian

Acid rain apparently has one benefit: It gives carnivorous plants so much nitrogen that they no longer need to eat meat. A new study has determined that sundews in Swedish bogs are cutting back on their insect consumption, which is good news if you're an insect or a human concerned about a Little Shop of Horrors scenario. Unfortunately, it's actually bad news for the sundews.

Read more: Pollution

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Solar-powered lasers could save us from asteroids

Image courtesy of NASA.

There are a few key facts to know about Earth being potentially hit by an asteroid, which could happen in about 25 years (so yes, if you're reading this, you will probably be alive to see it):

  • It's best to try not being a dinosaur.
  • Bruce Willis will save you.
  • Robert Duvall won't.
  • And our best hope may be solar-powered lasers.
Read more: Solar Power

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Catch of the day: Weird blue lobster!

Photo by Angelo Mercado.

A fisherman in Nova Scotia named Bobby Stoddard has been catching lobsters for decades. And in early May, he had a catch unlike any he had seen before: a bright blue lobster.

Blue lobsters are not cold. Well, they might be cold, since they live in the water in Nova Scotia, but that’s not why they look like that. Instead, they are in possession of a genetic variation that makes them a much more exciting color than normal greenish-brown lobsters. (They still turn orangey red when cooked, though.) One in 2 million or so lobsters is blue.

Read more: Animals

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Google is making a Street View for hiking trails

Google is speaking our language: "Wheels only get you so far," Brian McClendon, VP of engineering for Google Maps, wrote on the company's blog last week. (We couldn't agree more.) "There's a whole wilderness out there that is only accessible by foot."

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Giant dog adopts baby chimpanzee

Basically all I want to do in my life is lie on a giant dog while snuggling giant dog babies -- and if this story is any indication, that may be hardwired in my genes from, like, Australopithecine times. At any rate, this baby chimp seems to have the same instinct.

Read more: Animals

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‘Himalayan Viagra’ is going extinct

A parasitic caterpillar fungus that grows in the Himalayas has many names, according to Scientific American -- yarsagumba, yarchagumba, yartsa gunba, yatsa gunbu. But we are only going to remember one name: Himalayan Viagra.

This fungus, which leeches off of Tibetan ghost moth larvae, is said to get the fellas going when boiled and consumed in tea or soup. Oh, it also cures cancer and fights fatigue. Miracle drug! (Scientific American -- always with the science! -- notes, "These medical claims have not been borne out scientifically.")

As a result of its awesome properties of making everything sexy and cancer-free and sexy, this stuff is almost worth its weight in gold. (The price per gram puts its worth between silver and gold, Agence France Presse says.) And there's a global market for it worth between $5 billion and $11 billion.

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1915 document shows that penguins are extremely sexually depraved

England's Natural History Museum at Tring recently rediscovered a 1915 report about penguin behavior that had been buried for almost 100 years -- because it was considered too X-rated to be suitable for publication. Which, okay, yes, people from 1915 were prudish, but also, penguins are getting up to some freaky shit.

Read more: Animals, Sex