Grist List

Climate & Energy

It’s so hot in Oklahoma that this squirrel melted

The squirrel decided it would be a mistake to drink ice water without first lying around on top of it for a while. Basically, this is a reverse sauna for squirrels.

Living

2-year-old girl’s bionic arms are the world’s best use of 3D printing

Emma has a congenital disorder that means she doesn't have the muscle strength to lift her arms by herself. But hey, no big deal -- this 3D-printed robot exoskeleton can do it for her.

Rangers rescue adorable seal in thong bikini

Losing your bikini bottoms in the ocean isn’t just embarrassing/sexy — it’s also a potential ecological hazard, apparently. Just ask this young seal, except he WON’T ANSWER because he’s got his THROAT stuck in a G-STRING. (Also seals can’t talk.) A local man spotted the seal on a New Zealand beach, hanging out near a natural arch called Lover’s Leap — so I guess it’s no mystery where the unattended thong came from. He called the Department of Conservation, and marine rangers hurried to the afflicted animal’s side. Ranger Jim Fyfe says it’s not clear the seal was in serious …

Cities

Here’s an Olympic gold medalist taking public transit

Here’s fencer Ruben Limardo of Venezuela, hours after winning top honors in men’s epee, toting his medal home on the London tube. Dude may have been working his ass off all day, and he may be sporting $600 in solid gold, but he’s not too good for public transportation. I never want to hear you saying “I’m too tired, let’s just drive” again.

Cities

Crowdfund your community project with Brickstarter

Bryan Boyer and Dan Hill may be saints, sent down on high by the God of City Planning. They have come up with a tool that may actually make the process of improving a neighborhood less tedious, less difficult, and less prone to 10-hour-long community meetings in which everyone has to say what they think. It’s not finished yet, but if Brickstarter, a crowdsourcing tool for community projects, does what it promises, starting a community garden or a co-working space may no longer take years off your life, both in time and in stress. Wired explains: People can propose projects, …

Business & Technology

Got $300? Buy a ride on a six-legged robot named Stompy

Stop fronting: You know perfectly well you want to ditch your car AND your bike and ride around town in a 10-foot, two-ton, six-legged robot. And if you donate to Project Hexapod, the creators of this behemoth (whose name is Stompy), you can get your wish. Just $300 gets you a ride around town in a giant mechanical insect. For $1,000, you can drive it.

Even fish are getting skin cancer now

For the pale-skinned among us, the ocean is one of the most dangerous places to be. There’s no place to hide from the sun, and the water is so frickin’ reflective that even if that SPF 45 sunblock weren’t being washed off by waves and spray, it wouldn’t do much good anyway. But for the fish, the ocean should be a safe place. At the very least, they shouldn’t have to worry about the sun. However, we humans have made a gigantic hole in the ozone (remember that thing? Still there!), and part of that hole is over the ocean. …

Climate & Energy

Antarctica used to be covered in palm trees, says study

A new study examining 50-million-year-old ice from Antarctica indicates that the continent used to be covered in warm-weather flora like palm trees. And hey, maybe it could be again if carbon dioxide levels get too high! By “too high” we’re talking about really high — CO2 concentrations in the early Eocene epoch, the time period that the new study is looking at, were in excess of 1,000 parts per million (ppm) by volume. Safe levels for human habitation, according to NASA scientist James Hansen, top out at 350 ppm. There weren’t any humans or proto-humans on Earth in the Eocene, …

How did somebody steal half a million bees?

A beekeeper near Vancouver has reported the loss of 8,000 pounds of honey and 500,000 bees from one of his apiaries. Why would someone steal half a million bees? And how? Urban beekeeping is pretty hip right now so it’s the “how” we’re really stuck on. Here are our best theories: Filled beekeeper suits with bees instead of people, then walked out with them Weekend at Bernie’s-style. (Bonus: You can use the HOV lane.) Pied Pipered them out by playing Blind Melon’s “No Rain.” Walked in wearing 500,000 bonnets.

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