Grist List

Biofuel

The answer to our fuel woes might be monster sweet potatoes

Corn ethanol is a good idea in theory — what’s more renewable than a fuel source you plant and harvest every year? But corn is such an inefficient energy source that if we wanted to meet our biofuel goals with corn ethanol alone, they’d have to shoulder out every other crop. You know what yields more ethanol per acre than corn, though? Sweet potatoes. And you know what yields more ethanol per acre than sweet potatoes? GIANT MOTHERFUCKING SWEET POTATOES OF DOOM.

Biking

The only real way to save on car insurance

Oh sure, you could hang around with lizards and cavemen and pink-haired spy chicks and that irritating “Fran” woman, trying to save a few bucks. Or you could cut to the chase.

Transportation

Butt-driven scooters are like Segways, but lazier

The Segway wasn’t always just the transportation of choice for out-of-shape mall cops and tourists who can’t be bothered to walk from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. When it was introduced, the idea was that it would render cars obsolete, making “walking” so quick and effortless that urban planners would be forced to start building cities at human scale. Instead, a decade later, we’re asking “hey, is there any way we could have a similar technology, but even lazier?” Honda has your answer. Its Uni-Cub is battery-powered and balance-controlled like a Segway, but instead of steering by shifting weight …

Pollution

Reagan denied disaster funds for cleaning up teenager’s room

The fabulous blog Letters of Note has been delving into the letters of Ronald Reagan, and posted this gem on Twitter. Just look at that disregard for the environment, denying federal relief funds for what is clearly a disaster area!

Animals

This lazy harp seal is a drain on society

Animals

We’ve lost 30 to 70 percent of our wildlife since 1970

We love wildlife! We love watching it in high definition on our TV screens while David Attenborough says something droll to ease the trauma of looking at a whale penis. (SO FLEXIBLE.) But apparently we don’t love it so much that we’re dedicated to keeping it around. A new report [PDF] from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) found that in the past few decades, wildlife populations have declined by about 30 percent:

Critical List: Last 60 years were Australia’s hottest in a millennium; anti-whaling captain detained

Australia just experienced the 60 hottest years in the past millennium, according to a new report. And natural causes don’t explain the shift. China’s grid is not set up to deal with renewables. Anti-whaling captain Paul Watson, president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, was detained in Germany for a decades-old violation of navigational regulations.

Animals

Puppy rescued after escaping hawk and falling from sky

"When God drops a puppy from the sky, you keep it."

Solar eclipse this weekend!

The Western U.S. is getting an annular eclipse this weekend, which is an eclipse where the moon’s shadow turns the sun into a “ring of fire.” A swath of the country from Oregon down to Texas will see the whole enchilada, and most other Westerners will get to see at least a partial eclipse. Those of us on the East Coast are SOL until 2017.

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