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 , ,


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

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

>  4 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in ,

The Other Grassroots Web sites

Why was Tony Blair’s speech to the Royal Society so full of “misconceptions and logical elisions?”

“The Bivings Group, a PR company contracted to Monsanto, had invented fake citizens to post messages on internet listservers. These phantoms had launched a campaign to force Nature magazine to retract a paper it had published, alleging that native corn in Mexico had been contaminated with GM pollen. But this, it now seems, is just one of hundreds of critical interventions with which PR companies hired by big business have secretly guided the biotech debate over the past few years.”

See George Monbiot’s article in The Guardian. Monbiot identifies several “research” and “activist” Web sites as PR fronts for corporations including the influential AgBioWorld site, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Center for Food and Agricultural Research, Alliance for Environmental Technology, ActivistCash, Center for Consumer Freedom, and Stop Eco-Violence. See also this TomPaine article from March, PR Watch’s Impropaganda Review, “a rogue’s gallery of industry front groups and anti-environmental think tanks.” From also not found in nature.

>  31 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in , ,

Bread, Coffee and Beer

“Joe Paff tells me that when he grew up in the late Thirties in a steel town on the edge of Pittsburgh, ‘as long as my father was unemployed and we were dirt poor, we ate very well. My father made his own beer. My mother baked bread and canned her stewed tomatoes, and my brothers brought home rabbit, pheasant and other game. As soon as my brothers and my father got jobs in the booming steel mills, we were now well off. My father had a new car. We ate Wonder Bread, store-canned tomatoes, and my father drank Iron City Beer. Moral: The victory of these debauched foods was the product of American prosperity and TV advertising that made my mother and father think that’s what they ought to eat to emulate the middle class they saw on TV shows. My mother finally denied having actually baked bread.’”

See the column by Alexander Cockburn.

>  29 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

September 11 Handbag

A handbag depicting New York’s September 11 terrorist attack has been slammed as insensitive by the family of an Australian victim. The $159 handbag, being sold by the Melbourne fashion chain Quick Brown Fox, is almost sold out.... Quick Brown Fox owner Tess Reeves said she had bought the bags in Beijing. “I thought they were an artistic interpretation of what is a tragic event,” she said. “They are the sort of thing high fashion would do. Thousands are being shipped to Europe every day. “It’s not necessarily a negative thing and, as with all tragedies, time heals. In time it won’t be as controversial.” See The Australian.

Found via The Guardian.

>  29 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in ,

Squeeze Power

Aladdinpower is the world’s first and only hand held and operated regulated generator capable of charging rechargeable batteries instantly, just by squeezing your hand together.” Each unit includes a universal connecting cell phone cable and a high powered emergency light. Coming soon, the foot powered StepCharger.

>  28 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in ,

The Red Ribbon

“The Ribbon Project was created in 1991 by the Visual AIDS Artists Caucus, a group of artists who wished to create a visual symbol to demonstrate compassion for people living with AIDS and their caregivers. Inspired by the yellow ribbons honoring American soldiers serving in the Gulf war, the color red was chosen for its, ‘connection to blood and the idea of passion — not only anger, but love, like a valentine.’ First worn publicly by Jeremy Irons at the 1991 Tony Awards, the ribbon soon became renowned as an international symbol of AIDS awareness, becoming a politically correct fashion accessory on the lapels of celebrities. While this has caused concern to many activists, who worry that its meaning has become trivialized, as well as denigrated by the proliferation of ‘kitsch’ ribbon objects, the Red Ribbon continues to be a powerful force in the fight to increase public awareness of HIV/AIDS and in the lobbying efforts to increase funding for AIDS services and research.”

>  25 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , , , , , ,

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