Grist List

Living

Giant fish made of plastic bottles make Rio+20 look like Burning Man

What does the Rio+20 conference have in common with Burning Man? Apparently, the fact that you might encounter weird, large-scale art made of recycled materials. These fish, made from discarded bottles, grace the Botafogo beach near the conference. From certain angles, they look like they’re humping, but we’re sure that’s not artistic commentary on the fact that the environment is boned.

Animals

Loud, grumpy parrot is back from the brink of extinction, and it wants to have sex with your head

The kakapo is probably the best parrot. It has the face and personality of Walter Matthau and regularly tries to get it on with human heads. What's not to like?

Food

Giant water balloon mosaic shows how much water it takes to make a burger

This video from European nonprofit Generation Awake illustrates how much water it takes to produce a burger, by laying down the equivalent amount in water balloons.

Media

Newly discovered mushroom is actually a rubber vagina

Well here’s a story that sounds like an urban legend: Villagers in China unearthed a mysterious plant that they thought might be some type of mushroom. It’s described as “fleshy and meaty,” with “something that looks like lips” at one end, and on the other end there’s a hole with a shaft in between and … look, you see where this is going. It’s an artificial vag.

Animals

Finally, a good use for drones: Catching poachers

Conservationists are taking a page from the U.S. government in the fight against poaching — they’re sending in the drones. Already in use in Indonesia and soon to be in the air in Nepal, the drones can monitor protected areas where endangered species are hanging out. If they see a poacher, they leap into action. Unlike the U.S. government’s drones, though, they do not send quantities of explosives down to blow up a wedding destroy the enemy. They merely alert humans to go check out the situation.

Animals

Flock of 5,000 ducks stops traffic in city of 6 million people

Taizhou lies 190 miles south of Shanghai and has 6 million people, putting its size at “somewhere in between Los Angeles and New York City” on a U.S. scale and “just some town” on a Chinese one. One day recently, though, the streets were filled not with cars, scooters, or pedestrians, but with ducks. Thousands upon thousands of ducks:

Wind Power

The best pun about wind energy, you’re welcome

This made me laugh way, way harder than it should.

Animals

50-million-year-old turtles having sex

Scientists in Germany have found fossils of turtles mating that are nearly 50 million years old. That makes them the oldest fossils of vertebrates going at it that we’ve found so far. I think this sort of thing needs more exposure in schools. Hey, kids: go into paleontology, and your big discovery could be ancient turtle porn!

Climate Change

Look at this picture of the Arctic now, because it’s probably your last chance

This image (click to embiggen, click here to embiggen A LOT) was stitched together from photos taken by NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite. It shows the Arctic in all its glory — or anyway, all its remaining glory. The ice cover there has been decreasing fast enough that within 20 years, a photo of the Arctic taken at this time of year would show no floating sea ice at all.

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.

×