Grist List

Got trash? Put a kitten in it.

The Etsy shop Atomic Attic makes upcycled pet beds and feeding trays out of old suitcases and vintage electronics, thus making use of a cat's natural tendency to sit on any damn thing you happen …

Google, Facebook reap benefits of building hot data centers in cold Scandinavia

Data centers are the gigantic, Borg-like assemblages of computers that run everything we take for granted on the web, from email to social networks. They take a lot of energy, because they do all the …

Gigantic flywheels recover, recycle subway trains' energy

If subway stations could harvest the energy of incoming trains as they hit their brakes, they could re-use that same energy to launch the same train as it leaves the station. That's the idea behind Vycon flywheels, which are gigantic spinning wheels that act as temporary energy storage mechanisms.

Looks like we might get a do-over Earth after all

A research team at Chile's La Silla Observatory has found a new crop of 50 exoplanets, at least one of which is in the "habitable zone" (i.e. an Earthlike distance from the sun). HD 85512 b is rocky instead of gaseous, big but not too big, and preliminary observations suggest an average surface temperature of a balmy 77 degrees F -- all of which make it a good candidate to be Earth Mark II. Phew, just in time! This one's almost worn out!

Google gets carbon offsets from hog poo

In its recent report on the company's carbon footprint, Google said that it offsets its emissions with high-quality offsets. We are happy as a pig in shit about that. Which is appropriate, because here's one example of what that means: energy powered by pig poop. The company has invested in a North Carolina project which collects the methane from the waste of 9,000 hogs. A power plant burns the methane to create power for 35 homes a year.  

World solar market to increase 130 percent by 2020

In 2010 the world spent $30 billion on solar panels. By 2020 that figure will be $70 billion, says Korean electronics giant Samsung.

Return of the Monster Tar Balls!!

The scariest horror movies end with a hint that the killer or monster, though defeated, isn't dead and will rise again. With tropical storms sweeping through the Gulf, coastal residents are finding that zombie residues of the BP oil spill are coming out of their lairs to re-terrorize beach-goers, boaters, and the fishing industry. Tides hustled up by tropical storms are bringing oily residues, tar mats, and tar balls onto the beach. It's as bad as it sounds. Check out these pictures that NRDC collected — if you want to brave the sight of oozy, giant, black tar creatures.

Critical List: Coal companies lavish cash on Boehner; how to stick it to hungry deer

Boehner's got his hands all sooty with coal money. Uh, guys? Maybe we should check up on the safety of  nuclear plants? Kthx. XOXO, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. California chose solar PV projects over solar thermal projects because the latter use more water.  

Solar-powered ice cream truck unfolds like a Transformer

Shazam! Is it an Autobot, or an object lesson in the possibilities of distributed generation? We're grooving so hard to the soundtrack on this video that we can hardly tell. Unlike conventional ice cream trucks, …

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