“The Alameda County Computer Recycling Center is a 501c3 nonprofit computer recycling organization that provides computers to those on the Earth who would not otherwise have access to them. We help disadvantaged, undereducated, and disabled humans gain access to technology, computers, and the Internet. We teach... unskilled workers how to build and maintain computers. We give computers to underprivileged peoples, including citizens and governments..... We give computers to physically disadvantaged individuals. We donated over 5000 computers last year, all at no cost to the recipients. We are a 100% Microsoft Free organization. Every computer we donate runs a full and legitimate copy of SuSe Linux. The computers that we place with our recipients are refurbished through our Computer Repair Internship Program. In the process, we ensure that obsolete, non-working, or no longer usable electronic equipment does not end up in landfills.”

>  14 July 2002 | LINK | Filed in , ,

Computing with Chicken

“In late June, a chemical engineer from the University of Delaware filed a patent that described a new generation of microchips. The patent proposes to replace silicon — which has long served as the basis for microchips — with another material. And what might this mystery component be? Chicken feathers. Richard Wool understands that nonspecialists will find this strange. But he’s used to it. Wool and his colleagues at the university’s ACRES project (Affordable Composites from Renewable Sources) have been developing new uses for plant fibers, oils and resins. Using such raw materials as the humble soybean, Wool and his colleagues are designing prototypes for everything from simple adhesives to hurricane-proof roofs.”

From the Washington Post.

Found via Slashdot.

>  9 July 2002 | LINK | Filed in , ,

Web Site Helps Change Farm Policy

“Throughout the angry Senate debate about whether to limit subsidies to wealthy farmers, lawmakers kept referring to ‘the Web site’ to make their points. ‘You can see on the Web site -- 10 percent of the farmers get most of the money,’ said Senator Don Nickles, Republican of Oklahoma.... [The site] operated by the Environmental Working Group, a small nonprofit organization with the simple idea that the taxpayers who underwrite $20 billion a year in farm subsidies have the right to know who gets the money... not only caught the attention of lawmakers, it also helped transform the farm bill into a question about equity and whether the country’s wealthiest farmers should be paid to grow commodity crops while many smaller family farms receive nothing and are going out of business.”

From the New York Times.

>  6 July 2002 | LINK | Filed in ,

Universal Bathroom

The Industrial Designers Society of America has announced the 2002 winners of their Industrial Design Excellence Awards. Note the Universal Bathrooms developed by the Kelley Design Group and University at Buffalo for the National Institute of Disability & Rehabilitation Research.

“The Universal Bathroom concept uses two entries, movable fixtures and movable panels to retrofit existing bathrooms for universal design. Because many people are aging, become disabled, etc., and do not want to move from their house, retrofitting the bathroom is an economically viable and a physically easier alternative than moving to another location.”

See also the PediaPod, Automatic Public Toilet, and Universal Bedpan.

>  4 July 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 , , ,

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 , , , ,

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