June 2002

Kills Desert Flies, Lice, and Friendly Soldiers

“Brain scans on Gulf War veterans in the United States who are suffering from debilitating diseases may have resolved why 130,000 US and British servicemen and women complain of mystery illnesses.... The damage to the brain was likely to have been caused by the use of organophosphate pesticides to kill desert flies and lice at the American and British tented camps in Saudi Arabia; the anti-nerve gas tablets and vaccines given to frontline troops and inhalation of chemicals after the Americans bombed an Iraqi chemical weapons store.”

From The Times of London.

>  26 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in ,

What is the Solar Decathlon?

“For eight days in 2002, 14 student teams will compete to capture, convert, store, and use enough solar energy to power our modern lifestyle. Solar Decathletes will be required to provide all the energy for an entire household, including a home-based business and the transportation needs of the household and business. During the event, only the solar energy available within the perimeter of each house may be used to generate the power needed to compete in the ten Solar Decathlon contests.”

Found via SynEarth.

>  26 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in ,

Israel's Wall

Construction has begun on a “security barrier to separate Israel from the West Bank.” BBC: “As always, it boils down to a question of land: Israel taking Palestinian land to ensure its security.... In the absence of a peace settlement, the fence has raised all the old questions about where Israel ends and the West Bank begins.” Some villages will be split in half, or annexed entirely. VOANews: Yasser Arafat “described the $220 million fence as a ‘sinful assault on our land, an act of racism and apartheid, which we totally reject.’” News24: “Veterans from both sides of the Berlin Wall say Israel’s... plan to erect 110km of fence along the West Bank will fail ultimately, much as the Cold-War divide through Berlin eventually crumbled.”

Update March 23, 2003: While the first wall proceeds apace, Israel is planning a second wall.

>  21 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

Palestinian Poster Project

“Liberation Graphics began actively collecting Palestinian posters in 1974 and now houses what many experts believe to be the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of Palestinian-published and Palestinian solidarity poster art.”

>  20 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , ,

The Red Menace

Email from a friend in South Korea during the 2002 World Cup:

“The new national color of Korea is red. It used to be that red stands for communists in Korea and therefore, it’s a taboo color. We used to color communists in red in all the anti-North-Korean posters. When I was young, I even thought that communists had red faces. All of sudden, red became the color for Korean soccer, thanks to ‘Red Devil,’ the non-profit national soccer cheering association. The streets are filled with people wearing red T-shirts with ‘The Reds’ writing. I guess red is no longer a taboo.”

>  19 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in ,

The Typography of News

From Peter Hall:

“The news has become a worrisome visitor in our lives over the last few months, and it arrives in an ever-increasing variety of forms. TV news, according to one recent survey, still reaches most households, but text-based news provides the supplementary information — on web sites, newspapers, email, palmtop bulletins and even zipper signs. A cursory glance at this particularly rich array of printed and transmitted words reveals a genre of media in flux — the typography of news. Typography was never more important to us, and yet never less noticed.”

See also The News Aesthetic.

Found via xblog.

>  18 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , ,

Greener by Design

Edwin Datschefski specialises in the development and promotion of sustainable product design concept.” His site Greener by Design has a couple of interesting lists of environmentally friendly products. My favorite: the ice cream cone as an example of edible packaging.

>  17 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

Posters of the Spanish Civil War

Posters of the Spanish Civil War from the University of San Diego Southworth Collection. Read the intro then skip right to the thumbnail index. See also drawings made by Spanish children during the war.

>  15 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

Green Org, Green Office

“The materials we use to build our buildings and the energy we consume to keep them comfortable take a tremendous toll on the environment. Since 1989, [the National Resources Defense Council] has showcased green features, including energy-efficient lighting and appliances and innovative building components, in each of our four offices. Now we work to make green design standard practice. We educate developers about environmental technologies and promote incentives for using them. We develop energy-efficiency and other green standards for buildings and fight for their adoption. We also work with homebuilders to develop forest-friendly building techniques to save wood in residential construction. And soon we will open a green design museum in our new state-of-the art Los Angeles office.”

>  14 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

Moscow Underground

Some links about the “Diggers of the Underground Planet,” a group of urban adventurers exploring the tunnels beneath Moscow. Discoveries include a 3,000 seat bunker under a cathedral, deserted chemical warfare labs, ancient stashes of skulls, alternative housing, a ring of metro stations never used by the public, and possibly a mass grave from the Stalin era.

Found via Metafilter.

>  13 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , , ,

Stop Incineration Now

GAIA is an expanding international alliance of individuals, non-governmental organization, community-based organizations, academics and others working to end the incineration of all forms of waste and to promote sustainable waste prevention and discard management practices. Since GAIA members are committed both to ending incineration and to promoting alternative safe, economical and just discard management systems, the name GAIA represents both a Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance and a Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.”

>  12 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , , ,

Electric Shoe Company

The Electric Shoe Company is working on capturing electrical power generated by walking feet. Quoth the BBC:

“A British team have invented a pair of walking boots which could be used to power mobile phones, personal stereos and other electrical equipment. The shoes were invented by Dr Jim Gilbert, a lecturer in engineering at Hull University, who was asked to develop an idea by Trevor Baylis, the inventor of the clockwork radio.”

Says Wired: Testing two prototypes in the desert,

“Baylis is wearing a pair of experimental boots with soles made from a piezoelectric material, which generates high voltages of electricity when compressed. A companion, John Grantham, an engineer with Texon International, is wearing boots with a tiny dynamo built into the heel. Each time the heel hits the ground, the dynamo spins, generating a small trickle of current.”

>  11 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

Build a Better Brick, Build a Better Village

This is the story of brick producers and their families in Eastern Sudan, living in a context where brick production traditionally is in the hands of middle-class businessmen, who reap the main profits and pay little to the workers. [Intermediate Technology Development Group’s] project interventions gave support to a group of workers from the peri-urban village of Shambob to manage their own brick enterprise. Technological capacity-building aimed to improve brick quality, increase energy efficiency, and establish production in order to meet the demand of urban markets. The establishment of a formal co-operative assisted in small enterprise development. The significant rise in incomes, increased asset base and improved linkages with local markets and public sector bodies, has enabled the members of Shambob community to establish a primary school and improved health services. As relationships and development interventions have broadened women in the village have become co-operative members, acquired donkey carts and are now making an income from transporting and selling water.”

>  10 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , ,

Community Mapping Assistance Project

The mission of the Community Mapping Assistance Project is:

“to strengthen nonprofit, philanthropic, and public service organizations by providing affordable access to computer mapping and other data visualization technologies. We launched CMAP in 1997 as a venture of the New York Public Interest Research Group Fund, Inc. (NYPIRG), New York State’s largest environmental and consumer research and advocacy organization.CMAP helps further NYPIRG’s goals of helping to inform the general public concerning topics such as consumer protection, social justice, the environment, and government reform. CMAP has provided mapping services since 1997 to more than 250 organizations, helping these groups to educate policymakers, board members, and the media; illustrate reports and outreach materials; secure funding; and provide interactive access to information about health care, the environment, transit, education, and more over the Internet.”

>  9 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

Posters of the “Fighting Pencil”

“The ‘Fighting Pencil,’ a group of graphic artists and poets, started as a real fighting unit during the war with Finland in 1939. Artists B. Semyonov, V. Galba and others, together with poet E. Ruzhanski, created the first poster-broadsheet for the troops at the front, targeting their satire against the enemy and its allies. Later, during the Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany (World War II), more posters were made calling for defense of the Motherland, portraying heroic deeds of soldiers, inspiring courage and encouraging hatred toward the enemy. After the war, the ‘Fighting Pencil’ shifted its satire to ‘opening the boils on the body of Soviet society’ Their targets now were the vices of bureaucracy—negligence and abuse, red tape and indifference to clients, corruption and incompetence. They also addressed ‘negative phenomena’ encountered in the everyday behaviors of ordinary people, such as alcoholism, abuse at the workplace, family violence, and environmental pollution.”

Found via coudal partners.

>  8 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , , ,


In 1998, John Brockman asked a select group of scientific thinkers, “What is the most important invention in the past two thousand years?” Find out.

>  7 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in

Fuel-Cell Car Crosses America

In 1999, Daimler-Chrysler unveilled a fuel-cell concept car. On June 5, the car completed a 16 day trek across America. Check out GM’s fuell-cell concept car, too.

Found via slashdot.

>  6 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , ,

Typographic Tour

Public Lettering: A Walk in Central London “is based on a walk by Phil Baines for his graphic design students which was then written up for the 1997 ATypI conference. The text has been updated and expanded to include other examples. This walk concentrates on larger examples of public lettering and doesn’t mention incidentals — stop—cocks, manholes, dates on buildings, builders marks, &c — of which there is much en route.”

Found via xblog.

>  6 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in

The Ashden Award

The aim of the Ashden Award is:

“to support a project that will provide support to a rural community in a developing country, in a way that alleviates poverty and improves the quality of life, while remaining fully responsive to existing cultural values. The project would need to provide an energy source either for income-generating or agricultural activities or for improving educational or healthcare facilities. The project should have an exemplary value, that could encourage the use of environmentally-friendly, sustainable sources of energy in similar contexts.”

Check out some winning projects.

>  5 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , , ,

Packing Dung

“The Netherlands is struggling with a vast manure surplus. Although a small country, we have an enormous livestock industry and a correspondingly huge dung mountain.” So Andreas Muller, of Droog Design, created a package for tulip bulbs is made from compressed cattle dung. “The interesting thing about this packaging is that it eats into the surplus and acts as a fertilizer at the same time.” Check out the sculpted gourds, too, on o2.org.

>  4 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in ,

The Commissar Vanishes

“Photographs can lie. They certainly do in the Soviet Union from 1929 to 1953, the years of Joseph Stalin’s dictatorial rule. Stalin’s agents routinely arrest and kill as ‘enemies of the people’ anyone who disagrees with his politics. Communist Party workers then try to remove any trace of these people from the photographic archives, and so from the media. The Commissar Vanishes exhibition explores this censored history.”

Found via American Samizdat.

>  3 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in ,

The Doomsday Clock

“For nearly 55 years, the Bulletin [of the Atomic Scientists] clock (a.k.a. the ‘Doomsday Clock’) has been the world’s most recognizable symbol of nuclear danger. The first representation of the clock was produced in 1947, when artist Martyl Langsdorf, the wife of a physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project, was asked by magazine co-founder Hyman Goldsmith to design a cover for the June issue.... This simple design captured readers’ imaginations, evoking both the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of military attack—the countdown to zero hour.... The idea of moving the minute hand came later, in 1949, as a way to dramatize the magazine’s response to world events.”

See the current time.

>  2 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

Chinese Propaganda Posters

Workers at the factory

Stegan Landsberger collects Chinese propaganda posters. From the heroic to the bizarre, his collection is extensive.

Found via Metafilter.

>  1 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in ,

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