Grist List

Living

$50 solar-powered water purifier is so green it’s like a joke

This invention is like a parody of a green technology: It’s solar-powered, it reduces pollution, and it provides clean water. All at once!! But we have to admit, it looks pretty useful and is actually rather attractive. TreeHugger reports: The Eliodomestico works like an upside-down coffee percolator to desalinate salt water. The ceramic oven has three main pieces. The top black container is where the salt water is poured. As the sun heats the salt water and creates steam, the pressure that builds pushes the steam through a pipe in the middle section. The steam condenses against the lid of …

How sea otters are saving the oceans

Sea otters are not only cute, they are important to the health of the ocean. This is how it works: When there are too many sea urchins, there is not enough kelp. When there is not enough kelp, there is more CO2 in the ocean, and that means that fish die and basically all hell breaks loose. But the otters eat the sea urchins, thus keeping the rest of the ocean in balance.

Food

Coming soon: Non-vegan, non-kosher bananas

Food scientists have come up with an evil plan to make bananas off-limits to strict vegans, people keeping kosher, and anyone with an iodine allergy: They want to coat the fruit with shellfish. Specifically, they’d douse them with a spray derived from shrimp and crab shells. And while I have had some perfectly yummy curries featuring fruit and seafood, I will go on record saying that this is a weird idea. Of course there is a justification for this craziness. The ultimate goal isn’t to piss off vegans — it’s to make bananas that last longer. According to Take Part, …

Another day, another animal stuffed down a man’s pants

The slender loris has endured a mighty struggle to survive. This struggle generally involves things like poaching by crazy people who think lorises can cure things like impotence and asthma, but on Monday, that struggle involved a lone loris’ attempt to breathe while inside of a man’s pants. The man in question was attempting to smuggle the loris out of India by sticking it in his underwear. Nothing would delight us more than to tell you this incident, at New Delhi International Airport, was unusual. Unfortunately, as long as there have been rare animals, there have been humans stuffing rare …

Politics

Ahmadinejad says Iran’s enemies are destroying the rain clouds

Rush Limbaugh will be pleased* to know that he and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have something in common: They’re both so balls-to-the-wall bonkers that they think their enemies can control the weather. Or well, OK, maybe Limbaugh only thinks Obama controls the weather FORECAST — which means that, as unlikely as this seems, he’s still losing the Totally Unmoored From Reality Olympics. Because Ahmadinejad actually thinks that Iran’s enemies are destroying the rain clouds.

Giant daddy long-legs invade Seattle

Arachnophobes, beware: A science illustrator adorned the roof of the Seattle Center Armory with monstrously large photorealistic daddy long-legs.

Reality TV can now give you hantavirus (Update: Or not)

You know those nice, selfless, saintly people on TLC’s Hoarding: Buried Alive, the ones that help their absolutely insane and generally repulsive neighbors clean out 46 years of TV Guides/foot soaking machines/animal carcasses? And you’ve always thought, shit, I would never do that, I must be a selfish asshole? Well, you may well be, but it turns out that you are also smart, because one of the people who cleaned out one of these properties in Texas contracted hantavirus in the process.

Cities

Beautiful street art turns footsteps into trees

As income levels in China increase, more people are driving cars, and China Environmental Protection Foundation hired DDB China to come up with a way to hammer into people’s heads that walking can be a better choice than driving. The result was beautiful — a public art campaign that had pedestrians “painting” leaves onto a tree with their feet as they crossed the street. The company set up an “outdoor advertisement on the street” — a 41-foot-by-21-foot painting of a tree spread out across a pedestrian crossing. It was flanked on either side by sponge pads filled with washable, quick-dry …

Climate & Energy

If you’re sneezing right now, it is climate change’s fault

More climate change = more hay fever, according to the Guardian: Hay fever sufferers face longer pollen seasons and highly allergenic new strains from invasive plants, a new report on the health effects of climate change on the UK warned on Tuesday. Global warming will cause earlier flowering, possibly extending the hay fever season by six weeks, and enable new species to grow in the UK. Pollen is also getting more potent, packing more allergen into each grain.

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