If you hang out a lot of the web, you probably have heard about the $1 million page. Its principle is dead simple: the page features 1 million pixels and allows you to book your tiny pixel-size ad for $1. Tree-Nation technique is comparable yet with a more citizen spirit. Instead of pixels, you support trees; instead of investing into an individual future fortune, you contribute to re-green desert areas in the Sahara.
“Our objective is two-fold: Primarily environmental, but also closely linked to the humanitarian aid that it will provide in the long term. The project will benefit local populations in terms of welfare, education and farming practices,” says the project team based in Spain and in Niger.
A map is at the center of the buying and reporting process. You explore it, choose the spot you’d like to book and buy a tree. Various species are provided, like the Baobab, the Acacia, or the Ronier for a price averaging 40€. You can also buy the tree for someone else (your baby for instance). We’d like the service could let you check your tree whenever you want; we don’t see a way to do this though.
Since its launched in November 2006, some 1030 trees have been bought. If you agree a thousand trees won’t stop the desertification of the sub-Saharan area, Tree-Nation is a very pleasant way to contribute to the Earth.]]>
Green warriors have their green fitness club. Where? In Spain, in Valdespino de Somoza, in the countryside of Leon. It’s there where some Spanish villagers have built a low-tech green gym area called Lumen. Don’t expect to meet steamy trainers, listen to trendy music, or carry heart beat tracker. There, you get in shape by playing with exercise machines made from a worn car battery, tree branches, boots, rocks or concrete.
There, you essentially learn everything by yourself, by reading the appropriate brochure that bundles the machine. Or if you’re lucky, you could meet the founder of Lumen, Manuel de Arriba Ares, who will show you his “modest knowledge as a professor of physical education”. Of course, exercising in such a place is free. (via microsiervos)]]>
French mailmen have a new vehicle. La Poste, the French postal service, has ordered 500 electric delivery microcars for this year and 10,000 within the next five years. Great move that we applaud, although the new squad will be a tiny portion of the gigantic fleet of fossil-fuel vehicle. By far to private sector companies, La Poste has around 60.000 vehicles, 25 airplanes and 3 high-speed trains.
Nevertheless, the electric vehicle will bring substantial energy saving. According to La Poste CEO Jean-Paul Bailly interviewed by the BBC, it would be “six times cheaper to run an electric vehicle than a diesel vehicle.” Bailly also adds the public utility service will cut down by 5% its emission of greenhouse gas.
For now, the selected cars are the Cleanova and a GEM E-series model. The former one is manufactured by SVE (Société de Véhicules Electriques), a joint-venture between Dassault and Heuliez, and reuses the chassis of the Renault Kangoo. The later one is brought by Global Electric Motorcars (GEM) owned by Daimler-Chrysler, in picture.]]>
We could be filed this under “camper knowledge for the living room.” After all, campers sit on any tree branch and when they could find one, they consider a tree trunk as a temporary stool. We were quite like this when we first way the Bicodi stool from the Italian design agency 2CWorkshop. Their bar stool has something from the rather simple camper trick but with a more aesthetic approach.
The Bicodi concept consists of linking a base and a seating with a bar. Many variations can build from this idea. For example, the Africanus model is made of wood, while the Sapiens of glazed steel. We’ll retain the wood model as it offers a smart way to create sweet stool for your living room. Just cut several discs, glue them together to get your base and seating, and anchor a steel bar into them.
For the dimensions, 2CWorkshop even provides the dimensions of their chair if you want to replicate one of them. After that, if you change your mind and want to get in shape with the stool, put it on a ground, and use it to beef up your pectorals.]]>
For an explicit name, En-Fer is a good one. The atelier, founded by Swiss designer Stefan Lehner and Christina Lanzos, is only interested in thrown-away steel products like old supermarket carts, worn industrial chains, springs, rings or used tin cans. What for, will you ask. To make new furniture, to make new things from materials that have an history.
Take this spring chair for example. The frame is a classic industrial chair with membrane springs. “Membrane springs are used in condensers which are fixed in a closed oil bath. When the oil temperature changes, the membrane springs have to compensate the volume difference,” is said on the web site. The main advantage: These springs exist was created to support some thousands of movements, and could awesomely support your weight even though they’re thrown away.
Or check this sofa. It’s made from car seats, and should be more comfortable than others. Why? They “are certainly more ergonomic than most of our design chairs, this is specially true for the seats in high standard cars. Now they can be adapted to each person, even be programmed, and some of them have a heating inside.”
But for Stefan Lehner, whose academic background is philosophical studies, and Christina Lanzos, an architect, the core idea of their design is the beauty inside the beast. “Those gears are beautiful, because they weren’t created to be so. An assembling chain has to be solid and efficient, that’s this aspect which make this charm”, they said to Swiss magazine L’Hebdo.]]>
This may not the most colorful blanket, but the material used to manufacture it is abundant: worn cardboards. While they are rigid and uncomfortable, those Cardboard Coverings blankets are soft and supple. Plus they’re light enough to be folded and carried easily in a bag.
While the still visible graphics of the original box remind us that they were once disposable containers of consumables, we wish they could be customizable or come with different patterns. This way, they would provide another vision of recycled products, not just a souvenir of disposable packagings.]]>
Tennis balls aren’t only for tennis games. They can be make a seat. Wool balls aren’t only for knitting purposes. Consider them as ready-made pieces of carpet.
That’s right, Belgium designer Diane Steverlynck brought this nice idea up. Her Modul_le is a flexible carpet made of felted wool balls. Each round unit is independent from the others. To stick them together, just pin them on the velcro layer. What is great in this big puzzle is that everyone could change the pattern of his carpet and its form itself.
One suggestion: Use bigger wool balls to expand the carpet depth. Or weave them around a cardboard core to make them harder. (via the style files)]]>
How to get a bike pump always at hand without attaching it to the bike? Dumb question, isn’t it? Just put one in your bag, will you answer. Okay, but how do you do if you want to carry a bag, if your bag is too small or that your pump is just too big? Ah.
British designer Philip Robinson proposes another way to solve the case: Hide it in the bike itself.
Its BioLogic ZorinPump is a combination of a seat-post and a floor-pump, hiding the pump mechanism inside the seat-post without adding extra weight to the bike. When you want to pump your tires up, just detach the seat and use it as the outer wall of the pump. (A variant use would be to sit on your pump; your tires would take a bit longer to get in shape, but at least, you don’t sweat.)
You’ll get a chance to find Robinson’s ZorinPump. He managed to get it manufactured by Dahon, a bicycle and cycling equipment maker, and the pump is currently on sale in nearly 30 countries.]]>
Ask Germans what they think of beer in can, they’ll answer you it’s lame. Glass bottles are much better for the aroma, plus they could be recycled easier than white tin and paper brick. Remains this problem: glass bottles are harder to store.
Hopefully, the problem has its solution. Bottle Cycler issued a bottle crusher machine which, according to the Australian company, reduces the disposable volume of your empty bottles by 80% (enough to store some 200 wine bottles). The machine is intended to equip bars and night clubs, doesn’t make noise while turning bottles small glass debris.
The idea is smart, although we wish Bottle Cycler could even more be greener by issuing an all mechanical power version of the machine for instance. But depending on your situation, you could just use a solar panel to power the bottle crusher. (via playgreen)]]>
“More than 200 local authorities had expressed an interest in ordering the 36,000 euros-ramps to power their traffic lights and road signs,” Peter Hughes said. His order book is full. 2,000 units should be sold next year. He should create 300 jobs in Somerset this year.
But who is Mr. Peter Hughes?
Creator. Mr Hughes is 70-years-old mechanical engineer. He lives in Dorset, UK and has spent ten years of his life as a United Nations adviser on renewable energy. And above all, he invented a road ramp that converts the celerity of passing cars into electricity. The heavier a vehicle runs over the ramp, the more power it can generate. From 5 to 50kW ? far more productive than the 2kW nominal capacity of the WindWall turbine for example ? for 20 pennies a kWH, much less than the break-even price for wind.
“The ramp is silent in operation, causes no discomfort to the vehicles occupants and is entirely safe in operation,” Mr Hughes assured on his company website. It took him 12 years of secret tests to improve his invention up to a production level.
Cocreation. The electro-kinetic road ramps would probably be situated in car parks or in parts of the roadway or downhill gradients, where vehicles are having to slow down. Arriving in those emplacements, drivers use their breaks and the kinetic energy of the car will turn mainly into heat. Putting them in these situation won’t make the ramp steal “pennies from cars petrol tank,” affirmed Mr. Hughes in his FAQ.
The first models should appear in the middle of 2006. I think this kind of inventions just need more exposure to become casual road equipments.
Tags: car ramp generator peter hughes peter+hughes design invention innovation idea creation green environment friendly ecofriendly eco+friendly uk united+kingdom unitedkingdom unitednations united+nations dorset local parking parking+lot somerset renewable energy windwall turbine wind windmill cocreation electro kinetic road petrol tank gas equipment bbc 2006]]>
Leonardo da Vinci maybe was a marvelous polymath. He created the basic system later reused by Fallbrook, an engineer company, to issue a new way of transmitting mechanical power based on spheres instead of gears. Up to now, the patented system was invisible to the public attention; it’s usually the kind of mechanics hidden into another engineering system. But now, some first models of bicycles start appearing on the market.
Bikes of the Ellsworth’s The Ride series are stylished design two-wheels, made in aluminum and come in red and in black colors. And because they rely on the Fallbrook’s NuVinci transmitting system, they don’t need any derailleur gears while keeping the pedaling easy.
According to FallBrook, the NuVinci transmission is “the only practical CVT to combine the smooth, continuous power transfer of a CVT with the utility of a conventional planetary gear drive.” It “reduces energy consumption, such as fuel, through its seamless speed changing characteristics, allowing the power input such as a gasoline engine to operate in its most efficient speed range.”
While The Ride are clearly expensive bicycles, they also clearly sound incredible. (via core77)]]>
Does this chair remind you something? A barrel? A rodeo equipment? Yes, the Gaucho is a bit of all those things, as German furniture maker Rebman took the ultra-simple and eye-catchy chair system taken from Argentinian pampas and turned as a classy chair.
It consists of two dynamic wooden arches, which can be joined simply and quickly. The two parts have a core of beech wood, those can be found in the British woodlands for instance, and waxed woods on the surface to provide greater stability.
If it wasn’t that expensive (€465 a piece), we would recommend it to anybody.]]>
More and more, a Laptopmania spread throughout the world as a virus. Which are the best new Apple Macs? Laptops. The strongest WiFi signals? For laptop. What non geeky consumers buy? Laptops. Laptop laptop laptop. Of course, they’re nicer than bulky desktop computers. And because they will get as able as the bigger ones, they’re going to be the standards.
Computer designers usually passed over two main after-effects. First, the batteries. More laptops mean more batteries thrown away or high-tech pollution. Second: the processor heat. It undermines the life expectancy of your computer ? and if you’re a male, it could also damage the fertility of your sperm according to this report, no joke.
But yesterday, Fredrik Andersson made a very precious contribution. How to undervolt your laptop. “Undervolting is, as our tests prove, an excellent way of lowering the temperatures in a laptop. And because we’ve lowered the temperature of the CPU, other components will be a lot cooler because they aren’t affected as much by the heat from the CPU. You get a cooler system with longer battery time and if it is performed correctly, you won’t suffer any stability problems,” he said in this FAQ.
The instructions are quite easy to follow, even for unskilled computer users. Three applications need to be downloaded then installed before cooling your CPU a bit down. Spread the word. Everyone will save money.]]>
You cannot dislike those chairs. They’re not just like other cardboard chairs. They’re not cubic. They look as simple or as complex as an origami. They’re innovative, include secondary functions besides the “make me sit on a reused box” primary one. And guess what, they’re free, you download the instructions from the website, print them and fold your own.
Swiss-based architect Nicola Enrico Stäubli created them. His Foldschool is a collection of free cardboard furniture for kids. There’s the classic stool — strong enough to let an adult stand on it –, there also is the kid chair, and the great rocking chair.
For lazy parents, there are not complete piece of furniture for you to buy, the philosophy (that we deeply support) is that you need to play the fold games. Do it for your kids, and think that after you’ve done folding, mounting the furniture, your kids will draw on them, colorize their rooms on reused stuff that won’t cost you anything. A personal wish: When plans for the table will come out? (via swissmiss)]]>
The United Nations sponsored another web-based video game to teach people the harsh reality of low-income areas in the world. Like other “UN-certified” games, Stop Disasters allows you to be the leader of a village somewhere in an emerging country and depending on your ability to conduct a project, you would save a bunch of lives or leave the area barren.
Each game is played in two times. The first episode is the improvement time. You as the ‘SimCity’ mayor of the village, have a rather comfortable budget to build housings, improve the village equipment, build a school and a hospital if needed. So far so good, pretty much all your actions raise the standard of the small town. Then comes the other episode: the disaster, the hard one. If you’ve provided the required equipment to the village, casualties will stay low. Otherwise, you’re dead — and your score keeps falling when the game is over.
Stop Disasters provides a set of five scenarios, corresponding to five major disasters (fire, earthquake, flood, tsunami and hurricane.) Up to now, we play three times and definitively suck at almost all the scenarios. But it was interesting to discover and rediscover some common sense tips like in the fire scenario, building a house close to the river or close to low-inflammable trees is preferable to arid areas. If you consider you could beat us at this game, drop a comment with your high-score. Ours was a mere 7,500.]]>
We accept by now that chic products are something in grey zinc color. After all, Apple sells laptops in white, black and somewhat grey metal tint. But the grey color also corresponds to the aluminum, that can easily be found in can, especially in soda can.
Columbian designer Carlos Alberto Montana Hoyos has grabbed some 1700 can tabs to create the seating of a chair. He’s not the only one; Brazilian accessories maker Escama also took the idea of turning can tabs into shiny women handbags.
All handbags are made in “post-consumer” reused aluminum. They don’t need any special care, not like leather handbags, are water-resistant and come in different colors. A group of 50 women create them from their cooperative located in a low-income neighborhood close to Brasilia, Brasil. That’s the last but not the least good aspect of those ethic, eco-conscious and nicely made handbags. (via inhabitat)]]>