Grist List

Climate & Energy

Not satisfied with destroying crops, the drought is now ruining quaint local traditions

Prepare yourself for the sort of sad, super-local news that makes the fact that the world is ending such a bummer. A flower show in Butte County, S.D., sucked this year because there wasn’t enough water to grow any really good flowers. We all know climate change is ruining the Earth in general, but ruining small-town flower shows just seems mean.

Climate & Energy

Crude oil made out of pig poo is totally going to save our bacon

One pig produces about eight pounds of manure a day. (Try not to think how many Reader’s Digests it might go through if it eliminated sitting on a toilet — you’ll just gross yourself out.) Anyway, that’s a lot of waste. But now, thanks to scientists at the University of Illinois, it might represent a lot of precious, vehicle-propelling, revenue-producing crude oil.

Cities

Out of room on the ground? Go build a house on top of a mall

No matter how much evidence we trot out about how dense living is superior, someone’s always going to demur because they want a big house with a big yard. And you can only get those in the suburbs, right? Well, not if you build them on top of other buildings, like this neighborhood on top of a shopping mall in Zhuzhou, China.

Business & Technology

10-year-old’s petition convinces Jamba Juice to stop using styrofoam

Fifth-grader Mia Hansen collected over 130,000 signatures, and the smoothie giant agreed to phase out styrofoam by 2013.

Climate & Energy

Man, the Mississippi River looks like HELL right now

You know how sometimes you overdo it at a party, but you don’t think it’s a big deal, until someone uploads pictures and you’re like “holy CRAP I looked like a hobo all night”? That’s probably how the Mississippi River feels right now. Sure, we all knew there was a drought and that the river was lower than normal, but jeez, Earth Observatory satellite, did you have to take photos and tag them? That’s just rude. Here’s EO’s picture of the Mississippi last August, looking robust and healthy (and, in fact, unusually high to the point of overflowing): And here’s …

What would happen if everyone on Earth jumped at the same time?

Michael Stevens of internet thingy VSauce investigates the foremost question in the minds of people who care about the Earth: How worried do we need to be that everyone on the planet is going to travel to Los Angeles and jump simultaneously? Would that cause an earthquake? Would it knock Earth off its axis? And how weird is it that the entire population of the planet could fit in L.A.?

Living

Honda Miimo is basically a Roomba for your lawn

Can you imagine just being able to sit around and watch television all weekend on your massive energy-sucking flat screen while someone else niftily, sustainably, mowed your lawn? Someone you didn’t have to pay? Someone you didn’t even have to talk to, because they’re a little tiny automatic lawn mower, which is, when you get down to it, so much more useful than a person anyway?

Climate & Energy

New clean energy plant will run on used cooking oil

In Shoreham, on the south coast of England, they’re building a clean energy plant that will operate on basically the same fuel as your biodiesel-retrofitted Jetta. The plant will burn used cooking oil, tall oil pitch (whatever that is), animal tallow, and waste vegetable oils to potentially provide as many as 20,000 Brits with power for their tellies, their electric kettles, and their weird little heating units that don’t really make you very warm.

Swiss can now brag about neutrality, cheese, and a tree museum

If you were a tree, could you think of a better life than living with 2,000 other trees on the grounds of a 14th century Swiss monastery? Well, I have no idea what trees like, so maybe not — but if that sounds good to a tree, it is now possible. The Tree Museum, which opened this week outside of Zurich, is the creation of Swiss landscape architect Enzo Enea.

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