Grist List

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.

Climate & Energy

Stunning map shows 100 years of earthquake data

This image is the work of data visualizer Josh Nelson, and it represents over 100 years of earthquake data, from 1898 to 2003 — 203,186 quakes that rated 4 or higher on the Richter scale. 

Fossil Fuels

Mickey Mouse pushes fossil fuels in this 1985 comic book

Matt Novak of Paleofuture has been posting photos of a 1985 Disney comic touting the benefits of oil pipelines and coal. What’s really striking is how much it genuinely sounds like Republican talking points. I guess Goofy is the American public, Mickey is the GOP, and whoever does Mickey’s voice is the Koch brothers.

Business & Technology

Spray-on batteries could turn your coffee cup into an energy collecting device

A team of engineers have figured out how to make spray-on, rechargeable batteries that could transform any surface, anywhere, into a device for collecting and storing energy.

Cities

This abandoned Walmart has been reclaimed as a public library

The McAllen Public Library is the size of 2.5 football fields -- the largest single-story library in the United States.

Climate & Energy

No place is safe from fracking, not even graveyards

No place blessed with an abundance of natural gas is safe from the possibility of fracking — not even cemeteries. In Texas, the president of the cemetery association has already been selling the gas underneath his graveyard, the Centre Daily Times reports: [John] Stephenson leased mineral rights under two of his cemeteries within the past three years, he said. Each is about a century old and populated with 75,000 graves. Revenue from the leases — he wouldn’t say how much — has allowed him to pave roads, repair fences and make other improvements during economic hard times.

Food

Finally, a pizza you can eat three times a day

Dreams do come true: Eating pizza for every meal could be perfectly healthy. Only catch: You’d have to be eating the “first nutritionally balanced pizza.” A pizza that has seaweed in the crust. Which is to say, not exactly the pizza you’d want to eat if you were going to eat pizza every day. Created by a Scottish nutritionist, the pizza contains a third of all the vitamins and minerals an adult is supposed to need and a third of daily recommended calories, protein, and carbs. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it looks like it doesn’t have all that much cheese on it.

Politics

Texas GOP officially comes out against critical thinking

Who needs book larnin': The Texas GOP’s platform is explicitly opposed to critical thinking skills in education.

Food

Here’s why the prettiest tomatoes taste the worst

It turns out it's genetic -- the gene that makes tomatoes ripen uniformly also ruins their taste.

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