Grist List

Cities

New York City is making cyclists go to remedial biker’s ed classes

New York City is treating wayward cyclists the same way a driver who’s racked up one too many DUIs might be: It’s sending them to class to review the basic rules of the road. The New York Times reports: This spring, the Midtown Community Court began sentencing cyclists who had been issued tickets for certain offenses in and around Midtown Manhattan to a class to learn about bicycles and traffic. Think remedial driver’s education — for bike riders. In theory, it’s a reasonable idea: Bikers aren’t required to get a license the way that drivers are, and if they’ve been …

Food

Half of Americans drink at least one glass of soda every day

Gallup has discovered a great divide in American society: There are those of us who drink soda and those of us who do not, and the country’s split almost exactly down the middle. Soda drinkers make up 48 percent of the country’s population. These are the people who drink at least one glass of soda every day — half of them drink more than two. Then there are the rest of us — 52 percent of Americans only drink soda every once in awhile:

Animals

Wolverines refrigerate their food

Wolverines are loners, and they don’t like to share. They try not to hang out anywhere near other wolverines or other mammals, a social preference that some of us can relate to. And like other grumpy, anti-social creatures, wolverines do not like to share their food. You’d think that they’d be safe by living in the coldest reaches of the planet, in the middle of snowy wastelands. But they cannot escape the pesky insects and microbes that find a way to live anywhere and that would be happy to feast on the food that wolverines have scared up. To defeat …

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:

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