Grist List

Climate Change

Climate change causes monster patch of microscopic plants in the Arctic

There aren’t supposed to be microscopic plants called phytoplankton blooming in the Arctic right now — usually that doesn’t happen until after the ice melts in the summer, i.e. months from now. But a research team has just discovered a huge, 60-mile-long, three-foot-thick slick of phytoplankton where no phytoplankton should be. It was “like finding the Amazon rainforest in the middle of the Mojave Desert,” said one scientist.

Cities

Possibly the best Humans of New York photo yet

I’ve mentioned before my abiding love for Humans of New York (HONY), photographer Brandon Stanton’s (entirely unpaid, as far as I know, unless you buy prints) mission to photograph New York’s infinitely visually arresting inhabitants. It’s an amazing love letter to the city, and to humanity in general. Stanton has taken over 3,500 photographs to date, but this might be the most hilarious, inexplicable, and weirdly beautiful one yet.

Food

Libya is overrun with locusts

Libya is maybe not in the most stable political situation right now. And don’t tell Ron Paul, but when the central government is out for the count, maintenance services tend to break down. One of the things that’s fallen by the wayside in this time of political turmoil? Pest control. Which means parts of Libya are currently looking like an Old Testament hellscape of locust swarms. Say what you will about Gadhafi, but he did reliably spray for bugs.

Transportation

Transit workers stop train to save toy bunny

Casey Carey-Brown, a Boston woman who blogs about her daughter “Roozle,” has chronicled a harrowing story about childhood trauma narrowly averted by big-hearted transit workers. It concerns Roozle’s toy bunny Nummy, pictured above. (Roozle is the human child, Nummy is the bunny. I just don’t want you getting confused and thinking this was almost way worse than it almost was.) Here’s the setup: Today, Nummy had a great day at school and just before the train arrived to pick us up at Stony Brook, Roozle told us that Nummy was a little scared of the train and she needed to …

Living

New York kids need a doctor’s note to use sunscreen in school or at camp

Once upon an innocent American summer, sun-kissed cheeks were all the rage for lithe, beautiful children freckling in the clean air. But now we know that evil sun rays will kill you — not now, but later, with skin cancer — and that kids should wear sunscreen pretty much any time they go outside for more than five minutes. New York state, though, apparently still has one foot in the 1950s. State law requires that a kid bring in a doctor’s note in order to use sunscreen at school or at summer camps, the Democrat and Chronicle reports. Steve Hendrickson, …

Living

The coolest photos of Earth from space we’ve ever seen, hands down

NASA astronaut Don Pettit takes pictures from the International Space Station, and they are mind-boggling. In the long-exposure photos, cities appear as streaks of light as the ISS orbits Earth at Ludicrous Speed. And those blotches? Those are lightning. Holy shit.

Food

Here is that piano made of bananas you asked for

I’m not going to make a joke about “playing with your food.” I think we’re all above that. But you should all know that some MIT students have developed a bit of tech that will allow you to make your excess produce into a musical instrument. Actually, the MaKey MaKey is even cooler than that — I just wanted to pick an application that’s relevant to Grist, and I figured, food, right? But the truth is it can turn basically anything into a key (make key, get it?).

Cities

The 6 most awesome telephone pole signs

Smart humans lighten up their nabes with funny phone pole signs. Herewith, our favorites from the internet.

Oil

Fakey McFakerson: Mini oil rig causes massive booze spill at Shell execs’ party

IMPORTANT UPDATE: This smelled kinda like oil-soaked fish to us (and a lot of the internet), so I called Shell, and a spokesperson told me in no uncertain terms, “I can confirm that this was not a Shell event.” You may still want to watch the video, but view it as a delightful exercise in alternate-universe fantasy, where bad guys always get their comeuppance and the Yes Men (probably) dole out poetic justice to all. Original post preserved below, for transparency and also having some funny jokes in it.

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