Grist List

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, …

Animals

This weird artificial jellyfish is made from the cells of a rat

Watch the video below, and consider this: “Genetically, this thing is a rat,” Harvard biophysicist Kit Parker told Nature News. But, we hear you saying, that is not a rat! It’s a jellyfish! Sorta — but it’s made from silicone and the muscle cells of a rat’s heart. When the resulting “medusoid” (“jellyfishy”) creature is put into an electric field, the muscles cells contract, the silicone pulls the structure back into its original shape, and the artificial jellyfish swims.

Transportation

These fruit-shaped bus shelters make public transit more delicious

Waiting for a bus is never the most fun part of a commute, but if you lived in Isahaya City, Japan, you could at least pretend you were some kind of magic bus-riding mouse in a fairy tale. Bus shelters in the city are sculpted and painted to look like giant fruit.

Watch the moon landing live (with a 43-year delay)

In 2009, Jason Kottke built a site where you could watch the first moon landing as it happened, second by second, just 40 years late. Today, on the 43rd anniversary of the moon landing, you can still watch “live” coverage by Walter Cronkite, unfolding on YouTube just as it would have if you were clustered around your black and white TV set in 1969. Sometimes I love the internet.

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