Grist List

Pencil that sprouts into a plant will solve zero problems but is cool

The 12 people who still write with pencils will be excited about this Kickstarter, funding production of a pencil that sprouts into flowers or herbs when it gets too short to use. This will solve …

Got a broken coral reef? Send in the tiny robots

Coral reefs are fragile. Their biggest enemies: storms and bottom-fishing. Their new best friend? Tiny robots. Yes, robots are now good for more than speaking in a monotone and repeating the same non-sequitur every time …

Now your dank, squalid Man Cave can smell like a national park

This product may be a perfect metaphor for the modern condition: It’s an air freshener that will fill your TV room with chemical compounds that mimic the scent of the national parks, so you can …

This newly discovered fish has its genitals on its head

In the category of “hats you probably shouldn’t wear to the Royal Wedding,” Phallostethus cuulong — a new species of fish discovered in Vietnam — has its genitalia on its head. I really want that to mean …

China’s brand-new baby panda is the result of actual panda sex

Fans of (slightly weird) adorableness are having a good week, as a panda named Yuan Yuan at Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base in southwest China gave birth to her fourth cub.

Food

They’re genetically modifying goats to create human breast milk substitute

You know that human breast milk is very important for babies’ development. (If you don’t know this, go ostentatiously bottle-feed a baby doll near a farmers market! It will be fun, I promise.) But for …

What is this talking otter trying to tell us?

I never realized this before, but it turns out otters can talk, and furthermore they sound just like Ike from South Park. This one also seems mildly irked by human inability to comprehend her language. …

Cities

Number of bees in Queens man’s yard exceeds population of Queens

New York legalized beekeeping in 2010, but that does not mean that it was cool with city officials when they discovered that a guy in Queens named Yi Gin Chen had 45 beehives in his …

Climate & Energy

Awesome commercial shows you how to harness a rude giant’s antisocial tendencies

This power company ad is the most charming and poignant commercial for renewables we've ever seen.