Grist List

Surprise! Koch-funded anti-Solyndra ad is ‘mostly false’

Here's an anti-Solyndra ad put out by Americans For Prosperity. It is wrong. And it's been viewed 1 million times on YouTube alone, not to mention millions more on television. Which just goes to show you that if you give the people what they want, they will eat it up like delicious candied bacon, because who doesn't like having their completely ridiculous prejudices reinforced at the expense of truth and our country's future economic prosperity? Here are just a few of its by-now-canonical-on-Fox-News lies: The ad says that "friends of Obama" benefited from the loan, but it references a Daily …

Thanksgiving turkeys can’t have sex because their breasts are too big

Steven Dubner, of Freakonomics fame, recently told Marketplace that almost 100 percent of Thanksgiving turkeys are the product of artificial insemination. The problem, apparently, is Americans' appetite for gigantic breasts. "The modern turkey has quite large turkey breasts, and it actually physically gets in the way when the male and the female try to create offspring," says Julie Long of the USDA. That never seems to be a problem in porn! This may be industrial agriculture at its most absurd, but it's far from automated. Dubner: A team of workers has to pick up each male breeder, the tom, which …

Giant robot snake fights spider, provokes climate change conversation

"Primordial spirits have been stirring … " "A provocative omen on the eve of catastrophe … " It will "roam the earth terrifying and enlightening those who dare to ride … along the razor's edge between hope and fear … " TITANOBOA! Okay, so the copy promoting Titanoboa sounds like it came from a bad monster movie. But if you had a GIGANTIC ROBOTIC SNAKE that could "battle" (i.e. slither around the same warehouse space as) a GIGANTIC ROBOTIC SPIDER, you might get a little dramatic, too. On a more serious note, the geniuses behind Titanoboa took inspiration from the …

Techno music kills dolphins

A "techno party" in Switzerland may have killed a dolphin at a nearby aquarium. The dolphin declined and died suddenly over the course of a couple of hours, and animal protection groups are concerned that loud music from the 16-hour party, which was less than 60 yards from the facility, stressed the animal to death. Or possibly it just really, REALLY wasn't into techno. The local veterinary authority is saying that the music wasn't loud enough to kill anything: [T]he Veterinary Office from canton Thurgau saw no reason to ban the party, arguing that the facility where it would take …

Minneapolis house gets by without a furnace or fireplace

A lot of people talk a good game about passive heating, but are they willing to face getting through a Minneapolis winter with no furnace and no fireplace? Paul Brazelton is. He recently finished retrofitting his home to become one of less than two dozen passivhauses in the U.S., which will mean facing 20-below winters with nothing but two small space heaters to heat a 2,000-foot home. He and his family had better hope passive heating works. Luckily, it does, and it can mean energy savings of 75 to 90 percent. It does require a LOT of work, though: Desiree and …

Critical List: Carbon regulation starting; Chu to testify on Solyndra

A plant in Texas has qualified for the first greenhouse-gas permit in the United States. Any new project that affects greenhouse-gas concentrations will need to have one in the future — though, unlike this one, the permits won’t usually come from the EPA. Texas has just refused to issue its own greenhouse permits. Because we should leave regulation up to the states! Energy Secretary Steven Chu will be on the Hill today talking about the never-ending non-scandal that is Solyndra. Here's a different story about the solar industry: A silicon-based solar panel maker says business is looking up. Paul R. …

Icelandic moonbow plus Northern Lights is methadone for your nature-starved eyeballs

Iceland sits just below the Arctic circle, at the confluence of multiple ocean currents, which means it a) has the Northern Lights and b) gets tons of rain so is covered with waterfalls. No doubt the descendants of Norsemen chant heartily whenever they behold this rare confluence of events:

Las Vegas’ new water park is literally the dumbest thing ever

Scene: Las Vegas Valley, Nevada. A desert. Las Vegas developer: We need more family entertainment! Therefore it is imperative that we BUILD AN $18 MILLION WATER PARK! There is literally no other possible solution. Citizens of Vegas: But the latest assessment of the declining water level in Lake Mead, from which Vegas gets its drinking water, suggests we could run out of drinking water in less than three years. Developer: Can you put a price on quality time? Why do treehuggers hate the American family? This war on the family is so typical of your anti-natalist agenda. Exeunt.

U.S. roads are built to break

Why do we have to pour so much of our transportation money into highway infrastructure? Well, because 50 years ago, the U.S. decided to structure roads in a way that was cheap to build but expensive and difficult to maintain. It's the infrastructure equivalent of buying a cheap crappy blender and then having to replace it every year. In the early days of the interstate highway system, most freight went by train. Because highways only had to support private vehicles, the priority was quick, cheap construction, not durability. Once shipping companies took to the streets, their trucks quickly made a …

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