Grist List

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 …

Food

Paul Ryan used to drive the Wienermobile

Romney's VP pick has driven one of the most intrinsically funny objects on Earth.

This new species of bug was originally discovered on Flickr

It’s not news that you can discover a lot of stuff on Flickr, if you have safe search turned off and you sort photos by “interestingness.” (Seriously, try it sometime.) But this has to be the first time the photo-sharing site has contributed to finding a new species. Entomologist Shaun Winterton spied this picture of an unfamiliar variety of lacewing on Flickr in May 2011, and a year later it was confirmed as being a never-classified species of insect. Winterton was pretty sure, when he first saw Guek Hock Ping’s Flickr stream, that the bug in the photo looked different …

Tick bites can make you deathly allergic to meat

If there weren’t enough reasons to be totally terrified and grossed out by ticks (they drop on your head from the trees, they suck your blood, they burrow into your skin, they transmit a terrible disease you’ll never be fully rid of), the bite of a lone star tick can trigger allergies that mean eating a hamburger can lead to anaphylactic shock. Helen Chappell writes in Discover Magazine about her experience with this relatively unknown danger, and her account is pretty dire: Tick saliva is “a really good provocateur of an immune response, even outside of an infection,” Commins told me, …

Food

Gummi bear bratwursts are a crime against nature (but apparently taste sort of OK)

This should be a rule about food: If you wouldn't put two things in your mouth at the same time, they should not be combined into a single food.

Politics

Meet the 82-year-old nun who just committed the worst nuclear security breach in U.S. history

Turns out nuns have more up their habit sleeves than knuckle-rapping rulers and twee songs for Austrian children.

Floating island the size of New Jersey discovered in South Pacific

The New Zealand Navy discovered the 7,500-square-mile slab of buoyant rock, which an Australian officer described as "the weirdest thing I've seen in 18 years at sea."

Climate & Energy

Bears will eat you because of global warming

Bears don’t want to eat you — they just want to be left alone to ride unicycles, eat porridge, and be depressing in John Irving novels. But what with the droughts and heat waves, their normal food is scarce and they’re being forced to break into houses and eat chocolate, candy, and beer. Eventually, they’re going to eat you. I’m sorry. I wish I could say they wouldn’t, but they will.

Business & Technology

The Gates Foundation just bought 50 gallons of fake poo

Bill Gates is into scat. His foundation is hard at work on a new space-age toilet, and to test the prototypes, it just bought 50 gallons of soybean-based fake feces from a soybean-based fake feces company. That’s some of it up above, sitting a lot closer to a dude’s hand than I’d want it to sit to mine.

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