Monday, December 22, 2008

why didn't I think of that?

It's official! The world was made a better place by designer Sherwood Forlee the day he created the 2 lidded jar! Peanut butter eaters of the world may rejoice!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

just a coincidence?

I posted this morning about government censorship of media and websites on the internet. Obviously countries across the world have different laws and ideals about what's acceptable... however I find it disconcerting that hours after I posted about Facebook censoring images in the US, I find this article, where China is now banning the New York Times as well as BBC.

"Beam me up Scotty" - C. Kirk

I'm thinking about how to solve the recycling issue here in the Netherlands. It all came to me suddenly as I recalled "Earthships". How these buildings haven't caught on world wide is beyond me. Basically, they're constructed of dirt and old tires and built right into the earth. They are designed to re-use rainwater, and filter well water throughout the home based on a tier system of usage from drinking water, to sinks showers, toilets, and finally garden water.

The options for toilet waste are flexible depending on your abilities to be open minded, and if you're REALLY proactive, you can even have a dry compost toilet. Wouldn't you sleep better at night knowing that ALL of your waste is being put to good use?

Earthships are completely custom designed, so the homeowner can decide how the interior and exterior will look. I'd imagine that anyone could take the basic philosophy behind Earthships and go in many directions. You could have a hobbit house or a Barcelona Pavilion . Personally, I'd like to build an Earthship that looks like the Wheatsheaf House. :D

Home Design of the Year 2008 Edition

I spend a lot of time reading design blogs and websites, shamefully perhaps far more than I do reading the newspaper. Surely I appreciate a lot of what I see.. interiors, architecture, furniture, art, green concepts; but the other day when I opened Desire to Inspire, I broke into a sweat.

The Wheatsheaf House is hands down the most beautiful space I've seen this year. As a matter of fact, starting right now, I am going to have a best of the year list, and this is my sole inspiration.

Wheatsheaf House - I love you!

What I can't get over is the luminous, sexy, humming, toasty amber warmth that emanates from this house is stained plywood! The simplicity of this design is what makes it so stunning, and the juxtaposition of it against such a barren natural landscape leaves me dazed and giddy. This is a design based on feeling really good without being complicated. The only thing missing for me, is the mention of whether this build includes any green or sustainable technologies.

I need to move to the woods and live in a house like this (my version would have a catch basin for rainwater and solar energy :P)

control me

A few days ago, I had a chat with a couple of friends about censorship. We were discussing the internet and how different governments have decided to censor certain websites over the past couple of years. There was mention of itunes being banned in some countries, Wikipedia pages unavailable in the UK, and of course government monitoring of the internet for child porn, hate groups, and.. I don't know.. people who write mean things about President Bush.

Anyway, as we chatted my friend said, "You know, it all starts with the rationalization that certain forms of monitoring are legitimate for our safety, but, pretty soon you'll see that we have a lot less liberties in the future on the internet."

I disagreed, and we continued our discussion. End of story.

So yesterday I was reading the New York Times. Of course it's merely a coincidence that I'd been just talking about this days ago.. but seriously, this
article doesn't seem right. Where do you draw this line?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

it doesn't add up

I've traveled a bit over the past few years, living in Belgium, NYC, and now the Netherlands. Every culture is so different, and of course you have to adjust and learn the laws of the land in each place that you live or visit. For example, in Belgium I was amazed at their recycling program. Color coded garbage bags replaced the Glad and Hefty bags at the supermarket. Garbage collection was strict, and I was warned more than once that a violation would mean that they would go through my garbage in an attempt to find out who I was and fine me. In our house we recycled everything except cat litter and food items.

In NYC our household was dedicated to recycling everything possible. The building where we lived had all of the containers labeled, and there was really NO excuse not to participate as they were on every floor, so you had to walk past them to leave.

Here in the Netherlands I would expect the same thing. I'm constantly reading about their innovations and forward thinking designs. I read an
article a few days ago about how an old coal mine has been re-purposed to harvest geothermal energy from water sources in abandoned shafts. This resource powers 350 homes and businesses in the area. That sounds SO exciting to me! I read the article, I loved the idea, the fact that it was realized, and the finished design is even a huge winner... BUT, here's the big FAT BUT... there is no recycling of household plastics and metals in the country, or as far as I have been able to discover. I called the local recycling center, I asked a friend in a neighboring town, I did online research. Apparently it is not happening. On a day to day basis I'm left feeling like a polluter of the earth as I'm forced to discard my plastic and metal containers with the rest of the trash. Over and over I've asked people, "How can this be?" My friend suggested, "Well, this is a small country and they don't have anywhere to put it." This makes no sense of course, because by not recycling there is more garbage destined for the landfill, and that requires more space.

So, my friends, I am pretty disappointed in the Dutchies for not prioritizing something so basic that is in place in so many places across the world, and that makes a HUGE difference.

image via scribalterror

"I'm not into politics, I'm into survival" - A. Schwarzenegger

Imagine a world where everyone drives eco-friendly cars, where they can pull into their parking space at work and plug their car in to charge, where they can park their cars along streets and pay the meter and plug in. That sounds like something out of the future to me... I was born in the 70's and my earliest memories are of my mom's Lincoln, a gas guzzlling V8. I recall pulling in to the gas station and how funny the gasoline smelled. Despite my early memories of irresponsible driving and noxious gasses, the thought of children growing up in a greener world is completely exciting. What makes me even more interested in writing this is that for once, it seems that California is leading the way towards making this dream a reality. In a world where the US is increasingly falling behind in innovation and forward thinking, this is something to really look forward to.