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 …

Climate Change

Knock knock. Who’s there? LANDSPOUT

I’ve learned about so many new kinds of extreme weather in the last year or so — thanks, global warming! First there were haboobs, then derechos, and now this thing, which might have been a tornado but might also have been a “water spout over land,” i.e. a landspout. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR IT IS NOT A CANDYGRAM.

Biking

Bike mod lets you ride on train tracks, probably get hit by train

If you live in a city with a thriving streetcar system, chances are you live in Europe and your burg is pretty bike-friendly anyway. But you have to admit that sticking to the streetcar tracks would make it much less likely for you to be hit by a car, while simultaneously making it much more likely for you to be hit by a streetcar. If that sounds like fun, or if you’ve just always wanted to “ride the rails” but don’t actually understand what those words mean, you can take inspiration from this project by German urban collective We Are …

Green Cars

This tiny electric car folds up for easy parking

The all-electric Fold is normally eight feet long, already smaller than a SmartCar. But it folds up to a mere five feet long for parking, about the size of a shopping cart.

Living

Widowed farmer creates love note to his wife out of thousands of oak trees

If this is not the sweetest damn tribute you ever saw, then screw you.

Cities

Uber lets you summon the ice cream truck right to your doorstep

Today six U.S. cities (and Toronto, but who cares) have access to the most cherished dream of every American child: ON-DEMAND ICE CREAM. This changes summer forever. Uber, the start-up that will send a livery-service car to you at the touch of a smartphone-app button, is expanding for one day into ice cream. Touch one little button on your iPhone and it will, as it promises, “BRING ON THE ICE CREAM.” There is a catch. (Of course there is a catch.)

Living

This robot enjoys nature for you while you’re stuck at your desk

Rat race getting you down? Shitty economy and lack of full-time benefits keeping you from that summer retreat you dreamed of? Fear not, you can have it all: the semi-stability of wage-slave employment and the idyll of skipping stones through a perfect Idaho pond. Skippy the stone-skipping robot’s here to help you out. See, you can “feel what summer’s all about” even from your over air-conditioned office. You have to wait your turn, but then you get to choose where the robot throws the stone and how hard.

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.

×