Grist List

Factory Farms

‘Ag-gag’ rules choke off supply of livestock snuff films

Rather than deal with the inhumane, superbug-spawning conditions in factory farms, the Iowa state legislature would prefer to stifle one of activists' primary weapons of dissent.

Living

‘Waking Mars’ is the most amazing game about gardening you’ll ever play

New iOS app “Waking Mars” is a game about gardening, botany, and ecology, which sounds boring — especially if you’re about my age, and your primary school teachers tried to get you to learn about ecosystems via some clunky games with Oregon Trail-level graphics where you controlled the number of fish or ducks or some shit and then watched the population spiral out of control. That? That was boring. THIS IS RAD. (Full disclosure: The designer/company founder is a friend of mine, which probably obligated me to buy the thing, but did not obligate me to stay up until after …

Animals

Giant, awesome ‘tree lobster’ survived 80 years in hiding

The Lord Howe Island stick insect, which you see hatching above, looking like an alien struggling out of a human torso, will grow to the size of your hand. It’s also called a “tree lobster” — that’s how big it is. The most incredible thing about these insects, though, is not how big they are or how Geigeresque they look, but how close they came to not existing. In the early 20th century, a British trade ship crashed on the South Pacific island that these stick insects inhabited, and black rats from its hold took over the island and ate …