Grist List

Business & Technology

People think cloud computing involves actual clouds

We know that people often confuse weather and climate, but apparently a lot of people also confuse weather and weather-related metaphors.

Here’s a guy riding a bicycle the size of a shoe

This Russian video shows a man riding a teeny-tiny bicycle like he’s a bear in the circus. It is mesmerizing.

Politics

Mermaids are real and apparently don’t like taxes or universal health care

Angry Ron Paul delegates and racist peanut throwers were not the only strange attendees of the Republican National Convention. There were also mermaids present.

Cities

This nine-foot kinetic sculpture of San Francisco is made of over 100,000 toothpicks

Scott Weaver’s “Rolling Through the Bay” is nine feet tall and seven feet wide, i.e. both taller and wider than my bathroom. It’s got four different paths for ping-pong balls to roll through it, tracing “tours” of various San Francisco landmarks. It took 3,000 hours over 35 years to finish. And it’s made of nothing but toothpicks and Elmer’s glue.

Designer makes dresses out of old Speedos instead of throwing them out like a normal person

Naturally it’s very resourceful that U.K.-based designer Orsola de Castro makes “upcycled” dresses out of old Speedo bathing suits. After all, what else are we going to do with old Speedos? Make an oversized soft sculpture of Michael Phelps’ favorite bong?

Cougar found outside casino in America’s worst city

Very early on a recent morning, a cougar was found waiting outside a Harrah’s casino in Reno, Nev. That’s not particularly unusual, except in this case we mean “cougar” as in the large wildcat also known as a puma, panther, or mountain lion.

Food

McDonald’s tried to make ‘onion nuggets’ happen

Given the kind of stuff that gets the fast-food green light, it’s hard to believe that there are even more concepts that end up on the cutting room floor. But there are, and the McDonald’s Corporation’s archives manager Mike Bullington knows about all of them. The most shocking item in his collection of fast-food memorabilia, at least the part of his collection that he shared with the Wall Street Journal? Apparently, before they hit on the idea of chicken nuggets, McDonald’s thought the best nugget candidate was the humble onion.

Food

If you like to cook, this new use for a plastic bottle will honestly change your life

Watch -- just watch! -- what this genius lady does with an egg and a plastic bottle.

Climate & Energy

Meet the brave little solar-powered robot who’s helping us understand hurricanes

Chasing a tornado might be nuts, but chasing a hurricane is beyond nuts. Being in a car near a tornado sounds like a bad idea, but at least you might hit a Norse god or end up in Oz or something. You’d have to go hurricane-chasing in a boat or helicopter, though, and being in a helicopter in hurricane-force winds seems like suicidal madness. Luckily, we have unmanned robots to do the work that humans can’t or don’t want to do. And a brave little robot named Alex is out in the ocean at this very minute, working to better …

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