Grist List

Politics

Six empty chairs that say more about the environment than Barack Obama

Last night, Clint Eastwood had a lively conversation with an empty chair that he apparently thought was Barack Obama. Grist List does not endorse candidates, but we know a lot about chairs for some reason, and frankly some of the chairs we’ve met have an environmental record that rivals the president’s. Obama should pick one of these babies as his running mate, or at least his sustainability czar.

Hurricane Katrina caused a baby dolphin boom

Hurricane Katrina was irredeemably terrible for everyone involved — except, it turns out, baby dolphins. (And presumably adult dolphins, who got to enjoy making baby dolphins.) In the years after the hurricane hit the Gulf Coast, these cuties multiplied like excuses at a BP press conference, Scientific American reports: Around two years after the hurricane struck, there was a massive increase in the number of dolphin calves observed. In other words, bottlenose dolphins living in the Mississippi sound experienced a reproductive increase during the two years following the storm. Either, they made more baby dolphins, or more baby dolphins were …

One-fifth of creepy spineless animals could disappear forever

Most species are spineless piles of goo. That’s not a value judgment: About 80 percent of the world’s species are invertebrates, which actually do lack spines. Metaphorically, though, it is we who are the spineless piles of goo, for standing by while these creatures disappear. A new report from the Zoological Society of London found that one-fifth of invertebrates “could be at risk of extinction,” the BBC reports.

Earthquake! Quick, everyone into the $6,000 earthquake-proof bed!

When there is an earthquake most people run to a table or a doorway to ride it out. But if the people at Shinto Industries have their way, the new go-to destination for seismic activity will be this bed, made out of aged cedar and reinforced with special metal fittings.

Tiny bugs are pooping in your face

You know what? We changed our mind. Stop saving the planet and BURN IT. Because we don’t want to live in a world where rosacea is caused by the feces-bloated torsos of mites that live inside your pores. Sadly, that’s exactly the world we live in, as researchers from the National University of Ireland have discovered. Rosacea, a disease that causes reddened, rough, swollen skin in the face, is a particular problem for the fair-skinned Irish. So it made sense for Irish researchers to investigate its cause, but now they probably wish they hadn’t — because the answer is “the …

8-year-old gets rich off whale vomit and decides to open an animal shelter

Charlie Naysmith is the sort of kid who, when he unexpectedly finds a rock-like substance worth tens of thousands of dollars, donates it all to help animals.

Living

Wondering which condoms to buy? Science has the answer

Debby Herbenick knows how you feel about condoms. You know you need them, but you just want to go into the drugstore, get them, and get the hell out of there. (This is basically why they invented those self-service checkout things: As embarrassing as it is to buy condoms, imagine being the person on the other end of the transaction, thinking, “God, even this person is getting some?”) Herbenick thinks about condoms so you don’t have to, and she knows exactly which condom you should buy: Through scientific research that I conduct with my team at Indiana University about condoms, …

This cute kid is BFFs with a bunch of marmots

Marmots are not known for being particularly friendly. This famous scene in The Big Lebowski demonstrates quickly and comprehensively what humans can generally expect from marmots, i.e. they look nice and then they will fuck your shit up in a bathtub. But this little boy, Matteo Walch, is basically the Marmot Whisperer. He visits the Austrian Alps every year, and the marmots come out and hang out with him and have picnics with him and discuss the matters of the day.

Food

Vintage ads want you to eat vitamin donuts, put babies in cellophane, and spray everything with DDT

We don't think anything from our time period, besides possibly the Double Down, will cause as much consternation in the future as these vintage ads do now.

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