Grist List

Climate & Energy

The only way to evacuate all of humanity from Earth is to use nuclear propulsion

Yes, it is awesome the Curiosity rover can Instagram Mars pics back to Earth from 50 million miles away. But ultimately, one goal of all this space exploration is to have another place to go if we really royally screw up the planet, right? XKCD’s Randall Munroe answers a critical question about that overplayed movie plot secret government plan ahem THEORETICAL POSSIBILITY: If we actually needed to get billions of people off this planet … could we really do it? If you haven’t been reading Munroe’s new “what if?” feature, in which he answers “hypothetical questions with physics,” know that …

Giant pythons are taking over the Everglades

Last week, researchers at the University of Florida got a present — a gigantic Burmese python, the largest anyone had ever found in the Everglades. The good news: It was dead. The bad news: It weighed 164 pounds, measured a record 17.5 feet in length, and was a foot wide. For context, that’s as long as a medium-sized U-Haul, and as heavy as Tom Daley. It also had 87 eggs inside it that could have grown into 87 more monster pythons. CNN reports: The snake was so big that researchers had to pile it on top of itself and wheel …

Climate & Energy

Our Father, who art making the glacier smaller, please make it bigger now, OK?

The people in Fiesch, Switzerland, live near the massive Aletsch and Fiesher glacier, which, like most glaciers, is melting rapidly. But it’s OK — because the town’s highly religious residents have come up with a solution with proven results: prayer. They know it works, they say, because it’s prayer that got the glacier to recede. In the 1600s Europe suffered a mini-ice age, so the glaciers grew, which meant that sometimes pieces of them broke off, fell into nearby Lake Märjelen, and voila, massive floods, property ruined, lives lost, desperate desire to invoke help of Almighty Creator activated. So since …