Grist List

Animals

Now you can smell like fake whale vomit

Finally, thanks to modern science, you no longer have to feed a whale a bathing suit full of rotten fish to get a supply of precious ambergris, the whale-vomit-derived material used in perfumes. Researchers have worked out a way to reliably synthesize ambergris from plants. 

Biking

Everyone in Beijing is ditching bikes, except for the foreigners

In 1986, 60 percent of the citizens of Beijing rode bikes; now 17 percent do.

America’s largest urban Superfund site gets cute new mascot

In order to get people excited about the process of turning the canal into something that will stop depressing local property values, the Gowanus Community Advisory Group has decided that the project needs a mascot.

Green Home

Watch plants swallow up tiny houses in this weird living artwork

Artist Rob Carter is interested in the relationship between the built environment and nature, and his newest exhibition, which opens tomorrow in New York City, features mini replicas of three homesteads — Charles Darwin’s, Henry David Thoreau’s, and Sir John Bennet Lawes’. The miniatures live in a garden of dandelions, bush beans, and corn, which over the course of the exhibit will take over the houses: Viewers are invited to witness as the garden overcomes the estates in Carter’s controlled but fragile ecosystem in three distinct ways: time-based video projections, peepholes cut into the sides of the garden, and from …

Living

Dude singlehandedly finds homes for 500 unwanted trees

Meet a Seattle resident who digs up and replants unwanted trees -- including arboreal monsters weighing up to 400 pounds.

Critical List: Nebraska legislature kickstarts Keystone XL planning; NASA’s climate skeptics

The Nebraska legislature passed a bill that’ll kickstart planning for the rerouted Keystone XL pipeline. Turns out a bunch of former NASA employees are also climate skeptics. Canada’s unlikely to meet its 2020 goal for carbon emissions cuts.

Sustainable Business

9-year-old builds the world’s cutest recycled cardboard arcade

Nine-year-old Caine didn’t build his home arcade out of cardboard because he wanted to recycle — he did it because he likes arcades, has access to a lot of boxes, and is a DIY genius. But you can’t help but be inspired by his innovative remaking. And you definitely can’t help but be a little thrilled when a local filmmaker drums up a huge flash mob to come make Caine’s arcade dream a reality.

School Lunches

What’s inside a school lunch burger? 26 ingredients, and only one is meat

Caramel color makes the burger look like it's been grilled when it really hasn't.

Green Cars

Smart Car goes on an ASCII adventure in the world’s coolest Twitter feed

Go to the Twitter feed of Smart Car of Argentina and hold down the J key. Go on. We’ll wait here for you.

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