Grist List

Animals

How many guinea pigs does it take to mow your lawn?

The average American lawn is one-fifth of an acre, or 8,712 square feet. That’s a lot of passes with your push reel mower. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could just hire some goats, cows, or guinea pigs to take care of it for you? Movoto.com, a real estate company, is helping you plan your livestock yard care by calculating how many animals of different sorts it would take to mow your lawn in one day. Let’s find out what it would take to mow the average American lawn, shall we? First, decide what animals you’d like. I choose chickens! …

Cities

Edible Bus Stop turns London transit routes into a network of community gardens

Obviously your first thought when you hear “edible bus stop” is “Stay away! It was built by witches!” (No? Just me?) But shockingly, the Edible Bus Stop project is not about luring children to bus stops by building them out of gingerbread. Instead, it’s about providing food to the community by turning bus stops into public gardens. The Edible Bus Stop began as “a guerrilla garden project” alongside a South London bus stop. A small strip of land was being offered up for sale, and a group of locals started growing things in it. The group’s founder, Mark Gilchrist, told …

Biking

This amazing lightweight bike is made entirely out of cardboard

The bikes cost about $10 to make and can support up to 300 pounds.

Climate Change

The biggest news story of our dystopian future

Ruben Bolling’s latest “Tom the Dancing Bug” strip envisions the newsreel of a climate-changed future. Here’s a teaser: The rest is after the jump (click to embiggen).

Food

Better than a reusable coffee cup: An edible coffee cup made out of a cookie

It’s all the rage lately to deliver food in edible packaging, because if you eat the container, there’s no waste to dispose of — no paper coffee cup, no plastic wrapper that ends up in the ocean. While tomato-basil membranes sound intriguing, if not exactly appetizing, here’s an idea for an edible container that pretty much anyone should be able to get behind — an espresso cup made out of a cookie. An Italian designer dreamed this up as a promotion for the espresso brand Lavazza, but this is so brilliant it needs to catch on everywhere. Supposedly that white …

Business & Technology

Robots could make solar power super cheap

It’s a simple enough robot: an ATV equipped with a robotic arm and few cameras. But it’s already stealing green jobs from humans. Its suction cups grab onto the glass face of huge, power-plant-grade solar panels and lift them onto a metal frame. One robot, with three human helpers, can install a field of solar panels in an eighth of the time it would take 35 humans. Technology Review explains: The main idea is to save money on labor, which accounts for a growing fraction of the cost of solar power as panels get cheaper … For a 14-megawatt solar plant, …

Food

This mobile restaurant brings the table to the farm

This mobile-home-as-restaurant might have won the war for most local food ever. Instead of bringing the farm to the table, the Buijtenkitchen is bringing the table to the farm. It’s basically just a hut with a wood-burning stove inside, but it’s small enough that it can be loaded onto a trailer and moved without much fuss. It started out its journey on the outskirts of Rhoon, a village just beyond Rotterdam, and it follows a harvest calendar, searching out the very freshest produce there is. 

Living

J.K. Rowling’s sustainable-wood treehouse is a mini-Hogwarts

Every thing that J.K. Rowling thinks of is magic. Well, maybe not her novels for adults. But definitely this two-story treehouse that looks like a mini-Hogwarts.

Climate Change

William Gibson explains why global warming will make your grandkids hate you

Science fiction author William Gibson, who knows from the future (he’s the guy who invented the word “cyberspace,” in 1982 mind you), explained yesterday on Twitter that he’s concerned our descendants will hate us.

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