Tuesday, May 26, 2009

DIY urban farming

Growing plants on my roof is like trying to grow plants in space. For a long time I've been planning to build a green house on my roof in San Francisco. I've tried growing a few plants without the protection and they last two or three days before the wind sucks the life out them. So I was excited to see this new DIY approach to farming that uses a hydration system to grow plants in your windows.

The plan seems limiting at the moment, but what if we adapted the idea slightly and created a facade for a house that enabled plants to grow up the entire front of your house or apartment. With the use of hydroponics and a protective, greenhouse like cover I can see this as a real possibility.

Monday, May 25, 2009

reclaiming public space

As you stroll city streets you'll realize that construction sites an other areas around town are plastered with repeated advertisements. A large majority of these postings are unauthorized. Streetfest realized this and decided to do something about it. Their mission is to reclaim public space for corporations with private interests, public space should be used by the public.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ethnography: Project US

The US has some pretty aweful stereotypes. I can't wait to see how their destroyed and encouraged. Interview Project is David Lynch's new project to get a bit more intimate with people across the nation.

If it sounds interesting here's a clip from one an interview in Montana.


What makes us happy?

Dr. George Vaillant shares insights from his decades of following the Grant Study men.

Invest In Energy: Wind or Solar?

Ok, it's great to have information before the other guy, especially investment advice but doesn't this seem like a no brainer. Alright, there hasn't been a defining moment that has locked wind in as the energy of the future, but there have been some strong indications that wind gaining momentum. I first started noticing the shift to wind when I listened to this NPR talk about T. Boone Pickens, a Texas oil tycoon, who got out of oil so he could invest in wind technology. Over the past five years the average growth in new installations has been 27.6 per cent each year. In the forecast to 2013 the expected average annual growth rate is 15.7 per cent.

Private investors aren't the only one driving new energy initiatives, the Obama administration is also creating a shift in an attempt to facilitate innovation, progress and employment in the new energy sector. The
Social Investment Forum, is a good plac to start. It's a national membership association that focuses on socially and environmentally responsible companies and it tracks their financial performance.

Maybe the answer isn't wind or solar, but rather funds that emphasize alternative energy. Wind and solar don't quite seem to be in a race, but it's surprising to see
that the wind power market penetration is expected to reach 3.35 per cent by 2013 and 8 per cent by 2018.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thinking for Good

I've been surprised to discover that Taproot isn't as well known as I thought it was. For those of you not familiar Taproot is a non-profit that pairs professionals with other non-profits. The goal is to make it easier for smart people to volunteer their minds while giving to a company who needs a specific expertise. It's a great idea that has worked well for some time now. That's why I was excited to hear about Catapult a product design consultancy focusing on disadvantaged communities. It recognizes that many developing countries are exactly that, areas where progress is needed. Acknowledging these issues and setting out to engineer solutions is a noble cause and a great way to level the global playing field so that developing cultures can begin to innovate. Read more about the founder at dgoodr a blog of positive people and her work on the Hippo roller.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Organic Foods have 4 times as many nutrients

I always thought that the benefit of eating organic foods was mainly to reduce my consumption of chemicals and pesticides. I recently learned that organic foods are a lot healthier because they contain four times as many nutrients as non-organic foods. Apparently this is because organic foods take longer to grow and have deeper and more elaborate root systems which allow the plant to absorb more nutrients. This is an interesting concept which raises concerns about new farming techniques that place an emphasis on growing such large quantities at the expense of the quality of the food.