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Grist List: Look what we found.


How to make a fold-out window garden

Sure, apartment-dwellers without balconies could grow all their herbs and veggies in tiny windowboxes, but why not make the most of your small space? This garden uses all the window real estate when it's tilted up, giving you three times as much growing space as a window box -- but then it tilts down to soak up sun and avoid obscuring your view.


A cell phone charger made out of viruses

Except for the whole “make you sick and can’t be killed” thing, viruses are basically the ultimate renewable resource. They’re natural. They're numerous. They replicate themselves. And, after some tinkering by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, they can generate electricity.

A project at the lab has incorporated genetically modified viruses into a piezoelectric system -- a way of generating electricity based on touch. Piezoelectric systems exist already: They're behind the shoe- and pavement-generated electricity projects. But the current generation are made from ceramics, which create toxic byproducts. Viruses, by contrast, are environmentally friendly. The virus-based generator is five or 10 years from viability, but in the future the same organisms that give you the sniffles might also charge your phone.


The coolest images and video of the transit of Venus

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory is responsible for the coolest available high-def pictures of the sun, which it takes in multiple wavelengths including super-flamey and crazy blue. (They have real names, but they're all boring ones like "335 Angstroms.") So it stands to reason that they would have the coolest available photos and video of the transit of Venus, which was otherwise -- if you ignore the whole "historic once-in-a-lifetime event" part, which you shouldn't -- kinda boring.

Read more: Living


16-square-foot apartment is a vision of tiny housing taken too far

We love tiny housing -- it's less wasteful, and so adorable! But there's a limit to how small a space you can live in and still not go insane. We butted up against it with the 78-square-foot apartment, but this video about a (fictional, but plausible) Hong Kong apartment called King's Cube plunges past the way-too-tiny event horizon. The room in the video is 16 square feet, just big enough for a smallish bed.

Read more: Cities, Green Home


Obama wants to give white children asthma, says blogger

You might think that air quality controls are about mitigating the health effects of breathing in pollution. If you're a staunch Republican, you might think they're about destroying capitalism. But blogger (and birther) Daren Jonescu knows what air quality controls are really about: Giving white children lung diseases. (And destroying capitalism.)

Jonescu wrote a piece in the ironically named American Thinker laying out the problems with big government trying to legislate our children's lungs, and he did it by picking apart the language of an Obama administration report about childhood asthma.

Read more: Clean Air



Mesmerizing video of flattened food

Filmmakers Hugo de Kok and Kay van Vree say they "where curious about de forms and shapes food makes when you flatten them." (They're Dutch.)

Read more: Food


Taco Bell sold 100 million Doritos tacos in 10 weeks

If you want to know where the country's obsession with recursive fast food comes from, look within. Chances are, you will find a Doritos Locos taco. If you don't, look within the guy next to you, because SOMEBODY has been buying 100 million of these things over the last 10 weeks. It's now Taco Bell's most popular product launch ever.

Read more: Food, Scary Food


A solar-powered cell phone charging station inspired by Occupy Wall Street

Photo by Dawn Danby.

Tommy Mitchell wasn't an Occupier, but when he visited Occupy Wall Street, he found out that OWSers were charging their cell phones at a hot dog vendor's gas-guzzling generator, The New York Times reports.

“I was like, ‘Well that’s awful,’” he said. That’s when he began thinking about inventing a device that could harness renewable electricity in a public space without outlets. “It’s so practical that you can see it,” he said.

So Mitchell whipped up a solar cellphone charger, then brought it back to Occupy, where everyone loved it and declared him a hero of the people.

Read more: Cities, Politics, Solar Power


Today in astronomical weirdness: This is your last chance to see the transit of Venus

Image by NASA.

Manhattanhenge is cool, but it happens twice a year. Ditto Supermoons. Solar eclipses are less common, but nothing like today's astronomical weirdness. This afternoon and evening, Venus will pass in front of the sun, for the last time in your lifetime unless you are a robot or a Time Lord. Here's why you should try to watch it, and how.

Read more: Living


Disney bans junk food ads from kids’ programming

Saturday morning cartoons will never be the same. Disney is announcing today that the company’s media properties -- its websites, its radio stations, and its TV channels, which include the ABC stations that rule the pre-10 a.m. cartoon lineup -- will no longer broadcast or post advertisements that promote unhealthy food.

That means nothing that’s overly high in fat and sugar but low in nutrition. No more ads for Capri Sun. No more Kraft Lunchables. No more teeth-melting sugary cereal. No more fast food.

Read more: Food