Grist List

Cities

Awesome cityscapes made from discarded textbooks

What do you do with unwanted textbooks? Chinese artist Liu Wei makes spectacular carved-book cityscapes.

Animals

86-year-old man turns island into tortoise sanctuary

Back in 1962, Brendon Grimshaw bought Moyenne Island, in the Seychelles, for £8,000 (which at the time would have been about $22,000). He started living there in 1972, and since that time he’s been the island’s only permanent resident — aside from the 120 giant tortoises for whom Grimshaw’s island is a sanctuary. The video above features an obnoxious dipwad getting fake-overexcited about everything (“oh my god, there’s a TORTOISE on your PORCH!!!!”), but ignore his capering: Grimshaw is genuinely cool.

Oil

Upsetting photos of oil-slicked turtles from Deepwater Horizon

Back in 2010, Greenpeace filed a Freedom of Information request covering endangered species affected by the Deepwater Horizon spill. They just received a response from NOAA, and it included more than 100 photos. They're disturbing.

Critical List: TransCanada reapplies for Keystone XL permit; Japan’s last nuclear reactor

TransCanada put in a new permit application for the Keystone XL pipeline. Japan switched off its last nuclear reactor. Fights over endangered species are about to get wild, as the Fish and Wildlife Service has to rule on protections for species that live in oil country.

R.I.P. Adam Yauch, musician and activist

Adam Yauch, aka MCA, was the co-founder and beating progressive heart of the Beastie Boys, who not only made some of the most defining music of the 1980s and ’90s but were among the first celebrities (at least in my memory) to go activist without sacrificing their cool. Yauch, who died today at the criminally tragic age of 47, didn’t just fight for his right to party; he partied for his right to fight. Most people associate Beastie activism with their vocal support of Tibet, which sprang from Yauch’s Buddhism. But just in case you were looking for another reason …

Living

Brace yourself for tomorrow’s supermoon

Saturday is the night to engage in your moon-related activities – blow it up, write your name on it, release your singing marmoset creatures, whatever — because you’ll have a pretty good view. It’s a “supermoon,” where the moon is closer to earth in its orbit than normally — and it’s going to be the biggest, brightest full moon of 2012.

Climate & Energy

BLM announces draft of ‘common sense’ rules for fracking

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) just released a draft [PDF] of its new rules for hydraulic fracturing on public lands. These rules were last revised in 1988, and they’re being updated to deal with the current fracking boom (the BLM says 90 percent of new wells going in on public land are using fracking). The rule update is also meant to show some smidgen of federal leadership on questions like “Should natural gas companies reveal what’s in fracking fluid?” and “How are we going to at least try and prevent this stuff from contaminating the water?” The BLM’s answers …

Living

Giant plant tags tell you how to care for streetlights, hydrants, and mailboxes

It’s all very well to talk about the urban jungle, but how often are you supposed to water it? Carmichael Collective’s tongue-in-cheek urban plant tags offer care instructions for metropolitan flora like benches, fire hydrants, stop signs, and mailboxes.

Animals

More pictures of dogs on bikes than you ever knew you wanted

We thought that one dog on a bike was exciting. But Keenan Roberts at Buzzfeed knows better. What’s more exciting than one dog on a bike? TWENTY DOGS ON TWENTY BIKES. These two are my favorites:

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