Grist List

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.

Artist makes apple orchard into a giant living battery

Photographer Caleb Charland takes pictures of batteries made out of power sources like stacked coins, fruit, and vinegar. But maybe his most impressive trick was wiring up this apple-powered battery using fruit that was still on the tree.

Carpooling bird hitches a ride on a moving vehicle

I always assumed that the reason normal, non-rich-people cars don’t have hood ornaments is that a) tiny car sculptures are not for plebeians and b) Bart Simpson might steal them. But it turns out there’s another reason: Without a hood ornament, you have more room for birds.

Business & Technology

This robot has the most swagger of any robot you’ve seen

Yeah, I think I’m comfortable with this country’s research funding going towards developing android swaggerbots. As far as I’m concerned, this could be DARPA’s greatest achievement since the internet.

Cities

Glow-in-the-dark solar bikes = rad

If anyone hits you while you are riding this bike, provided you are still alive, you would be totally within your rights to scream at them, "Are you blind?"

Business & Technology

Starbucks is turning leftover scones and coffee grounds into useful stuff like plastic

The company is hoping they can come up with something a little more creative and sustainable than the current plan of incineration, composting, or disposal.

Here is an otter that is smarter than Todd Akin

Like Rep. Todd Akin, Nellie the sea otter does not understand how human reproduction works. But she’s never said anything offensive about rape, plus she can stack three cups! She should probably run for Congress.

What did you do this weekend? Curiosity took pictures of itself and blew up a rock

It’s been a big weekend for the Curiosity rover. First, it took a new Facebook profile pic (with flattering shot-from-above camera angle, but thankfully free of duck lips). Actually, Curiosity shot this selfie on Aug. 7, but it was just released on Saturday. And somehow it’s even cooler, at least to me, than shots of the surface of Mars with no rover in sight. It’s like vacation snaps — if you don’t take at least one with you in it, then all you’ve got are a bunch of artsy shots of Wales or whatever, not memories. If I were Curiosity’s …

Climate & Energy

These dizzy cats would like you to turn up your thermostat to save energy

Kudos to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas — they really understand what the internet says about human psychology. Instead of even trying to use science, economics, or statistics to convince people to stop cooling their homes to 65 degrees while they’re at work, ERCOT is skipping all that nonsense and going straight to what motivates people: Cat videos and ladies in bustiers. The cat one is of course much more convincing, since people will always do what cats say, as evidenced by the popularity of cheeseburgers. (You guys I think that might not be a real cat paw though.)

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