Grist List

Animals

Tablet apps teach apes to write emails

Sometimes, when sitting with an iPad and raptly poking Uzu with your finger, you probably feel a little like an ape, admit it. That’s because a) you are basically just a smart ape and b) of course smart apes like touch screen tablets (heck, even lizards like them). And just like humans, the apes are using the technology to slowly peck out messages that express their thoughts and desires. Here’s Teco, a 2-year-old bonobo: Sitting with his Motorola Xoom tablet, he’s rapt, his dark eyes fixed on the images, fingers pecking away at the touch screen. He can’t speak, but …

Food

Scientists create world’s healthiest airline meal

Oh, those scientists — they’re always trying to ruin hackish comedians’ most reliable material. You plan a whole routine about how airline food is shitty, and they go and make it good. In the United Kingdom, a team of scientists have made an airline meal that meets all 222 possible E.U.-endorsed health claims. (Making prepackaged, super-nutritional meals — so hot in Europe right now.) That means it’s made of foods that boost digestive systems, promote heart health, support normal blood cholesterol, and generally make up healthwise for the fact that you’re hurtling through radiation rays at 30,000 feet. What’s in …

Animals

It’s official: There is no such thing as mermaids

You might have thought the federal government wouldn’t have to weigh in on an issue mainly popularized by Disney and 4-year-olds, but apparently you would be wrong. NOAA has made an update to its “Ocean Facts” site stating that mermaids do not exist, and “[n]o evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found.” Well, that’s a relief! Finally I can go swimming again without worrying that I’ll stumble into an underwater calypso party.