Grist List

Business & Technology

The Department of Defense wants to put out fires by yelling at them

Much to pundits’ disappointment, you can’t solve most environmental ills just by yelling at them. But, as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has discovered, it does work for one thing: fires. DARPA’s “Instant Fire Suppression” program uses sound to put out flames — and it doesn’t even need to be that loud.

Living

This truck travels the country collecting stories about seeds

Seeds are natural beginnings for stories: From a small start, they grow into a larger world and eventually end. They’re also good subjects of stories: Where did they come from? Who loved them enough to keep them around? How’d they reach the person who planted them in the ground? What happened when they went viral on the internet? (Wait, does that not happen to most seeds?) The Seed Broadcast Station, a converted bread truck manned by the Fodder Project Collaborative Research Farm, is traveling the country, gathering those stories: Come and share your personal seed stories. We would like to …

Cities

New York’s newest street, 6 ½ Ave., is just for pedestrians

For years, 1,200 people an hour have been seeing this six-block stretch of street in secret. But finally, New York City is bringing these back-alley relationships into the light, and giving them the official municipal seal of approval. Now the street can announce to the world: “I’m here. I’m part of the city. I’m not an unnamed pedestrian walkway you’d be ashamed to walk your mother down. I’m 6 ½ Avenue.” The newly named avenue runs from 51st to 57th Street. It’s primarily a pedestrian walkway, and as Transportation Nation says, that makes the city’s official approval more significant: In …