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Grist List: Look what we found.


We found love in a tiny place

Tiny house for two? Yes, this dating site is real

Tammy Strobel and Shutterstock

Every Friday night across the country, a familiar scenario plays out: Someone listens to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” for the 14th time in a row, consumes Nutella by the fistful, and dons old sweatpants with paw prints on the butt, all while thinking, "It might be time to try to get a date." Why shouldn’t this be happening in a 120-square-foot cottage on wheels? Tiny house people have needs, too. And slowly, a few enterprising souls are popping out of the reclaimed woodwork to fulfill them. Enter Tiny House Dating. At long last, someone thought to outdo FarmersOnly, Purrsonals, and SaladMatch by creating a niche dating …

Read more: Cities, Living


Get tanked

This Texas man is fighting the drought one tank of rainwater at a time

tank town
Tantown Rainwater Collection

How do you get to be the mayor of Tank Town? Practice, practice, practice! Or else, wait. I’m confused.

Richard Heinichen became the mayor of Tank Town by building one rainwater storage tank in central Texas in 1994. Back then you could still get groundwater from a well, but apparently it smelled gross. He started out as a rainwater evangelist for the supplemental, sulfur-free benefits, but ended up as deus ex machina during Texas’ crippling droughts.

Heinichen helped neighbors build their own rainwater tanks at first, then decided to turn the whole thing into a business. He built 16 tanks on his own property and sold some 1,300 others. He consults with hundreds of people a year about installing their own rainwater tanks. (Perplexingly, he’s also started bottling and selling his rainwater, Cloud Juice, but we hope he is at least using recycled bottles.)

Now, during the worst drought in decades, Heinichen’s hometown of Dripping Springs, Texas, is running severely short on drips. This video fills in the details, with whimsy added in the form of charming water tank paintjobs and a soundtrack straight out of a Noah Baumbach movie.

Heinichen points out that a single gravity-fed tank could support two people for almost a year. If the drought lasts longer than that? Store more water.

Long live Tank Town.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living


Float on

This floating electric amphicar could save you from the next tsunami

Fomm Concept One

It’s a car! It’s a boat! It’s an electric-powered vehicle that bobs on the water like a jetski!

The Japanese-developed Fomm Concept One uses a water jet generator to propel through water, and has a motorcycle-style handlebar to accelerate and brake. And get this: Its wheels are lightweight, buoyant, and they can operate like fins when in the water.

Pretty neat, eh? Before you take the plunge and pack up the family for a picnic in the lake, remember that this amphicar isn’t meant just for fun. It was designed by a Japanese company to help rescue people from flooding and tsunamis and will only be sold in Thailand, followed by a larger rollout in Southeast Asia. The tiny, 1,000-pound car can only drive about 62 miles before it needs to be recharged, and can only handle one disaster at a time before it needs to be maintained again.


He may talk big on deforestation, but it turns out Ahnold is the tree terminator

I'll be bahk, bromeliads.
Global Witness
I'll be bahk, bromeliads.

Hasta la vista, trees! If you thought it was bad when Arnold Schwarzenegger became governor, just wait til you hear what’s happened now that he’s an honorary U.S. Forest Service ranger. An investigation by Global Witness alleges that his investments have funded illegal rainforest logging, according to the Guardian:

The former governor and climate champion is a part owner of an investment company, Dimensional Fund Advisers, with significant holdings in tropical forestry companies.

A number of those forestry companies were implicated in highly destructive and illegal logging which has destroyed rainforest and critical orangutan habitat in Borneo, and fuelled conflict and arms trafficking in Liberia, the investigators from Global Witness said.

The Terminator had roughly a 5 percent stake in DFA’s investment funds. He’s invested no less than $1 million in the firm, according to disclosure forms the Guardian dug up. (We can think of a better home for your millions, Ahnold! And we promise not to kill any orangutans.) It gets worse:

Read more: Living


The week in GIFs: Booze, meat, and coffee

This week we found out how to brew booze at home and learned why you shouldn't throw your coffee cup into space. (Last week was brought to you by Liz Lemon.)

You can make your own alcoholic ginger beer:


Samuel L. Jackson is going vegan -- but it turns out vegetarians have worse health:


Read more: Living


This jellylike blob is actually a gross yet edible water bottle


What if you could have a water bottle without the wasteful, toxic plastic? (And a water fountain doesn’t count. Not consumer-y enough, Buddha.) Three British design students wanted to answer that question, seeing as we’re basically drowning in plastic. Their Lexus Design Award-winning solution is the portable, edible, and weird-looking Ooho: an edible water “bottle” that resembles alien sweat. (We kickbox with a lot of aliens, OK?)

To drink the Ooho, you gently bite its gelatinous membrane until the water runs into your mouth and all over your clothes, ideally making it look like you peed yourself. As a bonus, if you don’t eat the outside, you’re basically left with a used condom:



This necklace tells you when your cows are horny

Farming apps are the new bubble, my friend (a Tinker Bell-sized bubble, but still). Not only can you track your yield, find commodity prices, and chart rainfall, but now you can keep tabs on when your dairy cows are feeling frisky.


The key to the latter is a British innovation called the Silent Herdsman, which cows wear like a high-tech necklace. (It's more of a Tamagotchi than an iPhone app.) The sensor monitors cattle's temperature and wirelessly alerts the farmer via computer when they're in heat -- otherwise, somebody would have to be constantly elbow-deep in bovine hoo-ha.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, farmers are constantly looking for a way to avoid these more hands-on methods -- the Silent Herdsman isn't even the first estrus-monitoring tool we've reported on. A Swiss device sends texts when a cow is in heat, but it involves implanting a transmitter in the genitals -- a leeeeetle more invasive.

Read more: Living


If we want people to drive less, we have to end sexism

Mislav Marohnić

At Atlantic Cities, Ann Friedman has a stellar post about how gender inequality affects public transit ridership. Most transit riders are low-income, she writes, and guess who earns less than men? (BINGO.) Research backs her up: A 2013 study by the AASHTO found 114 women ride public transportation for every 100 guys.

"Women overall are more dependent on transit than men, for low-income households in particular," says Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, an urban planning professor at UCLA. "If there is one car, it's most often the man who drives the car."

And yet women are disproportionately the victims of harassment on public transit. Friedman cites a 2007 survey of NYC subway riders that says of those who witnessed sexual assault or harassment, 93 percent said the victim was a woman.

In the simple act of trying to get home from work, ladies have to worry about strangers’ indecent exposure, groping, and even rape -- and on top of that, the bus driver might not care (or, worse, might be the aggressor). Reporting the crimes is tricky; as the NYT points out, some cultures don’t trust the police enough to get them involved.

As just one example of way too many, L.A. resident Julie Asperger told LAist she’s gotten so much sexual harassment on the Metro, she avoids it at all costs:

Read more: Cities, Living


Why do we work so hard? Cadillac and Ford have very different answers

In an ad that aired during the Super Bowl, Cadillac shared its version of America and electric car drivers by having actor Neal McDonough ask, "Why do we work so hard when other countries take August off?"

For those shouting about the crumbling middle class, stagnant wages, and the death of unions (shh, Kevin Drum!), here's the real answer: Stuff. Beautiful, beautiful stuff.

But if you can take a break from gently cradling and kissing all of your precious stuff instead of the children you never get to see, you'll want to see Ford's wonderful response to it.

As a refresher, here's that one guy from TV selling Cadillac's vision:

Now watch Detroit Dirt founder Pashon Murray give her version of the American dream:

So which America do you believe in? The one where stodgy rich white dudes known for playing psychopaths on TV fill the emotional void with underused swimming pools or the one where awesome urban farmers rebuild Detroit with their bare hands? We don't have the desire or dough to trade in our bus passes and walking shoes for electric cars, but in this case we're going with Ford.

N'est-ce pas, Pashon? Indeed.

h/t Stacy Mitchell


Samuel L. Jackson thinks going vegan will make him live forever


If there's anyone who should know about superhero shit like nigh-invulnerability, it's Nick Fury. So please take note: Samuel L. Jackson's stated goal in adopting a vegan diet is "trying to live forever."

OK, we're going to go out on a limb and say that Jackson doesn't actually think going vegan will make him immortal. Dude is real smart, in case you didn't know; you have to be smart to deliver a line like "I have had it with these monkeyfighting snakes on this Monday to Friday plane" with conviction.

In fact, he was probably mostly poking fun at the fact that he has apparently sold the rest of his life to Marvel:

When asked by a reporter what his secret is, the 65-year-old actor replied, “It’s a new vegan diet.”

“Is it for a particular role?” the reporter inquired.

“No. Just trying to live forever. Trying to finish out my Marvel deal.”

Read more: Food