Grist List

Food

$28 cabbage, $65 chicken, and other insane food prices in Northern Canada

In the farthest-north part of Canada, food is so outrageously expensive that the basic necessities of life are beyond normal people's reach.

Cities

Bereaved husband sues NYPD for failing to investigate pedestrian death

Last summer, 28-year-old Clara Heyworth died while crossing the street in Fort Greene, Brooklyn — she was hit by a car piloted by an intoxicated driver who only had a learner’s permit. The NYPD never conducted an investigation, and the driver received only a violation for driving without a license. Today, Heyworth’s husband, Jacob Stevens, is suing the New York Police Department and the driver in civil court. Heyworth’s case received basically no police attention. The NYPD’s Accident Investigation Squad, with its staff of just 19 people (who we assume are extremely overworked), called off the investigation after an hour …

Oil

A report from inside the Shell ‘oil spill’ party prank

It took Grist a hot second to figure out that this too-ironic-to-be-true video of a Shell party gone wrong was a prank. The concept, though, is brilliant — an “oil derrick” on a cake started “spilling” liquid all over the assembled guests. Pulling it off wasn’t easy, or cheap. Salon has dishy details from a volunteer, who reveals even more layers of clever strategy: The woman sprayed in the face by the supposed booze (it’s soda) was Dorli Rainey, who was sprayed in the face with pepper spray at Occupy Seattle. The guy who presses the button on the soda-fountain-gone-wrong …

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.

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