Grist List

Living

This beer coaster can grow into a tree

It’s a little too easy to create a ton of waste while you’re getting wasted. Unless you’re near a store that provides growlers or you invest in a keg, drinking a lot of beer creates a lot of empty beer cans. And if you happen to be drinking at one of those bars that hands out paper coasters a little too liberally, you’re piling up even more useless waste. The beer company Molson Canadian’s on a green kick, though, and they’ve created coasters that aren’t entirely useless. Each coaster has seeds wedged in it, and if you plant it and …

Biking

Watch the winner of the first cross-country bike race cross the finish line — in 1982

In August of 1982, four men rode out of Los Angeles on the Great American Bicycle Race, the first transcontinental bike race ever — what ABC’s Wide World of Sports called “the latest bizarre product of this country’s rapidly burgeoning ultra-endurance cult.” The route began at the Santa Monica Pier, where a small crowd of “devoted bike freaks” saw the riders off, ABC said. It began like this: The route was 2,978 miles and ended at the Empire State Building in New York City. Nine days, 20 hours and two minutes later, Lon Haldeman reached the finish line:

Animals

Here’s a mama polar bear helping her baby to safety

It’s sort of unfortunate that polar bears have become such a symbol of the need to protect our natural world, because while I support them being alive and all, they are also cold-eyed killers that if given a chance would eat you and everyone you care about (adorable sled-dog stories notwithstanding.) But still, this is a nice family moment where a mama polar bear helps her baby out of the water.

Cleantech

Levitating LED light bulb could easily be the coolest thing in your house

The internet is full of makers, creating homebrewed technology out of stuff they have lying around, but every so often someone makes a thing that I can totally see as the centerpiece of tomorrow’s science-fiction way of life. For instance, this levitating LED bulb.

Biking

In Copenhagen, you can check bikes out from the bicycle library

We love a good bike share, but you have to admit that the bikes all look the same. Meanwhile, people’s bicycle preferences and needs are as varied as … well, as their taste in books. Which is why Copenhagen, always first with the bike innovations, lets you borrow bikes from the bicycle library.

Climate & Energy

The sun’s atmosphere looks like an amazing painting

Sure, the surface of the sun is hot and all, but the sun’s atmosphere is hotter — by a factor of 1,000. And as it turns out, it’s not just hot like “will burn you up faster than a Tony Robbins seminar” hot. It’s also hot like gorrrrrrrrgeous. Scientists know that the sun’s atmosphere (the corona) is hot as hell, but they don’’t know exactly how it behaves. So a smarter-than-smart NASA scientist decided to make a colored image of its heating and cooling patterns. The result is fabulous:

Food

How to eat ice cream and end an unjust criminal system at the exact same time

Driving around upstate New York, you see a lot of abandoned dairy farms and a lot of struggling towns with prisons nearby. They’re connected: As milk prices dropped and the state’s dairy industry started suffering, politicians brought prisons upstate as a job-creation programs. Milk Not Jails aims to break that connection by creating economic opportunities in the dairy industry instead of the prison industrial complex, Treehugger reports. The grassroots groups partners with smaller dairy farms whose owners support criminal justice reform, and helps them sell their products in New York City. That’s a perfect target market for a combined dairy/prison …

Biking

Bike helmets looked ridiculous in 1948

Did you know that bike helmets in the 1940s looked kind of like a cross between a Devo outfit and a bouncy castle?

Climate & Energy

Stunning map shows 11 years of U.S. wildfires

This map by John Nelson shows all major U.S. wildfires (and probably some prescribed fires) since 2001, with yellow being more intense. That bright purple over most of the country except the lucky Northeast is fires that put out maybe half as much energy as a power plant produces in the course of a year. Those bright yellow spots? Those fires are the equivalent of three power plants. The yearly output of three power plants. In one fire. So I guess if we could harness the power of fires, we’d be able to power the country? That’s the point here, …

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.

×