A truck carrying 8,000 gallons of printer ink flipped over on an interstate in Peabody, Massachusetts this morning, resulting in what must be the most colorful car crash in history. No one was injured, so feel free to enjoy the aftermath with child-like glee.
via The Most Beautiful Truck Crash Ever | TPM Idea Lab.
There are not thought to be any environmental effects to this crash either, though it does raise a lot of questions…
Photograph: Tracy McVeigh
A report in The Observer highlights the environmental cost of our taste for timber. The emphasis is mine. Read the whole article, it’s cause for thought among designers who think wood is a more “sustainable” material than others, but don’t think to examine where it comes from.
The cows are afloat, with squawking chickens sharing their sturdy bamboo rafts. [...] Everything that floats is lashed to everything that doesn’t.
The monsoon rains are not due for a month or so, but the “dry” season for people in West Kalimantan province in Indonesian Borneo has been marked by three months of unrelenting floods.
Indonesia has one of the world’s largest areas of remaining forest but also one of the highest deforestation rates, ranking only behind Brazil. The vast green rainforest carpet has become a patchwork with more than half of Borneo’s tree cover and peat swamps – which absorb much of the planet’s carbon excesses – already gone after a decade’s “goldrush” of uncontrolled timber logging that was at last partially curtailed in 2006.
But now the rest is being pillaged by palm oil and pulpwood plantations and networks of illegal loggers[...].
The timber from its rare 100- to 200- year-old diptocarp trees, each one the home of hundreds of insects, is eagerly snapped up, keeping consumers and the construction industry in the UK and elsewhere in tables, patio chairs, trinket boxes, doors and plywood. When consumers buy paper, furniture or even charcoal on the British high street there is an estimated more than 80% chance they are buying into this destruction.
via The Observer.
On 9 October I was privileged to give a talk to staff, students and a host of practicing designers and visiting academics at Savannah College of Art and Design, as part of the first Design Ethos conference.
My talk looked at the design responses to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that devestated parts of the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year, and in particular the way the graphic design community “came together”.
As the talk is highly personal and (intentionally) controversial, I’ve posted it on my own web site rather than here. Feel free to wander over and have a read, and maybe add your own thoughts via the comments facility.
When you approach the Deep Water situation from a design thinking perspective you begin to look at problems differently.
You can debate all you want about whether it should be possible to switch off an alarm, and there’s understandable disbelief at the explanation given by Transco about why the alarm was switched off a year before the accident. But a design thinking approach to the problem would ask you to empathize with the people who work on the rigs – hardly an easy or relaxing job. Understanding that the risk of an accident due to mechanical failure was nothing compared with the risk of an accident caused by lack of sleep will help you to understand the real problem (the stresses of the workplace) rather than adopt a sticking plaster solution to another problem entirely. My immediate response to this is that the alarm shouldn’t have been something that woke people up, but something that was seen by whoever was awake, and someone on shore so they could make sure the person on watch had seen it and dealt with it.
Read the rest at The Least We Can Do.
Ever wondered what to do with the wasted space between the tops of cars and the bottom of bridges?
No? Well that just shows a lack of imagination! According to Engadget, Shenzhen Huashi Future Car-Parking Equipment plan to build buses that allow cars to drive… right underneath them.
I suppose this is thinking outside the box, of a sort. The plan means you take a lot of traffic off the road by elevating it. Once the shock has worn off it begins to make sense. Still… I mean… crazy. But it might just work. After all, it’s simpler than building tunnels under the streets.
Work on the first length of track begins later this year and, having seen how quickly things happen in China, I wouldn’t be surprised if this system’s up and running before very long.
The video on Engadget’s page is fascinating, even though it’s in Chinese you can work out what is being said from the images (assuming you can’t speak Chinese, of course).
While we were all looking at the oil spill of the USA, another one happened in China. Take a look at these images
The other side of design?
Oil spill in Dalian, China – The Big Picture – Boston.com.
Visit TreeHugger for the full story – some great-looking vehicles!
BBC News reports that
A cheap solar cooker has won first prize in a contest for green ideas.
The Kyoto Box is made from cardboard and can be used for sterilising water or boiling or baking food.
The Kenyan-based inventor hopes it can make solar cooking widespread in the developing world, supplanting the use of wood which is driving deforestation.
Read the story in full – it’s fascinating how something so simple can be so effective.
Wired has an interesting article about a gadget recycling facility in the US
When gadgets die, they go to a place like the one pictured here — if they’re lucky.
Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency came under fire for allowing U.S. tech companies to export millions of pounds of hazardous, used electronics to Asian countries where they are recycling with a lot less environmental oversight.
Negative press, new e-waste legislation and a depressed economy are pressuring tech manufacturers into assuming far greater recycling responsibly to show they’re part of the green movement. As a bonus, domestic recycling lets them save some money on materials, such as precious metals, while they’re at it. Manufacturers who handle recycling responsibly in the United States work with professional facilities like this one, where old gadgets are dismantled using a part-man, part-mechanical process.
Read the rest and see more pictures here
EcoLabs is developing a teach-in as a catalyzing force within design education to embrace ecological literacy. We will use the internet to engage students, faculty and staff with environmental issues and especially with the issue of climate change. The teach-in will challenge institutions to use their resources, expertise and skills to respond to environmental imperatives and work towards embedding ecological literacy in design education by 2012.
The event will be modeled after the highly effective US model of the ’2010 Imperative’ (first held in architectural universities in 2007) and ‘Focus the Nation’ (held January 31, 2008 at over 1,900 institutions across America). Like the American teach-ins, the event will ask universities to become examples of best environmental practice and integrate ecological literacy into the curriculum.
To sign up for updates on this event please visit: www.teach-in.co.uk
Use Both Sides is a new campaign with a simple purpose: to get us to use both sides of the paper!
Here at Dundee Uni there is a policy of moving away from the old “only use one side for essays” approach, although this actually causes a few problems which is why we didn’t do it this semester – the main one being that the printers in uni don’t allow double-sided printing! (There’s joined up thinking for you… If you’ve ever struggled to figure out a) which way up you need to feed your paper and b) how to print out only the odd pages then the evens while c) making sure nobody else gets in the print queue while you’re doing it, you’ll know why I didn’t insist on double-sided printing this time around).
A few years ago I bought a fantastic wifi enabled printer with double-sided printing and cut my paper usage dramatically. (At a rough guess, about half…) But then it broke and I couldn’t afford the premium to pay for another one, and didn’t want to risk it again.
I think the issue, then, is not so much the people who only use one side of the paper but the technology – all printers should allow double-sided printing and it should be the default setting.
What do you think? Nice campaign, wrong target, perhaps?