Articles on this Page
- 01/25/18--18:36: _Today's Urban Desig...
- 01/25/18--18:36: _Reader Submitted: L...
- 01/26/18--18:58: _Design Job: Calling...
- 01/26/18--18:58: _Masonry Worker's Un...
- 01/26/18--18:58: _Prototyping a Self-...
- 01/26/18--18:58: _Today's Urban Desig...
- 01/26/18--18:58: _The Final Cradle to...
- 01/29/18--13:54: _Elon Musk Now Selli...
- 01/29/18--13:54: _Design Job: Make a ...
- 01/29/18--13:54: _Ikea Founder Ingvar...
- 01/29/18--13:54: _Today's Urban Desig...
- 01/29/18--13:54: _Reader Submitted: R...
- 01/30/18--12:40: _Hilarious Live-Acti...
- 01/30/18--12:40: _Design Job: Enjoy a...
- 01/30/18--12:40: _An Interview with C...
- 01/30/18--12:40: _Today's Urban Desig...
- 01/31/18--09:46: _Design Job: Core Ho...
- 01/31/18--09:46: _A Beautiful Solutio...
- 01/31/18--09:46: _Kids vs. Artists Ey...
- 01/31/18--09:46: _Only a Few Hours Le...
- 01/26/18--18:58: Prototyping a Self-Illuminating Crystal Cosplay Amulet
- 01/29/18--13:54: Elon Musk Now Selling Flamethrowers (and Fire Extinguishers)
- 01/29/18--13:54: Ikea Founder Ingvar Kamprad Passes Away
- 01/29/18--13:54: Today's Urban Design Observation: Supermarket Poultry-Based Hilarity
- 01/29/18--13:54: Reader Submitted: Revolve: The Wheel in Foldable Form
- 01/30/18--12:40: Hilarious Live-Action Re-enactment of Pixar's Opening Credit Scene
Sometimes in New York City you'll see apartment building hacks. In this case, at a building in Little Italy, a dedicated entrance has been added to a basement apartment. This was clearly not part of the original architecture.
Here's a problem that's well-known, at least locally: If you have stairs descending from the sidewalk, it becomes the go-to spot for urine, vomit and/or feces, deposited by patrons leaving nearby bars and/or the homeless. These types of spaces are also attractive to the homeless as sleeping spaces in inclement weather. (I have a story about that that's not fit to print here, remind me to tell it to you sometime at the bar.) So here a door has been added to block access.
The door swings outwards, and is necessarily truncated so that it can clear the sidewalk. That leaves this odd gap at the bottom, perfect for rat access.
The door could go all the way down to the floor if it was hung to swing inwards, but:
A) That would be awkward for people exiting the building--you'd have to go up the steps, grab the knob, and go back down the steps to open the door, and
B) It's impossible for the door to swing inwards here. If you look you can see that it would hit the slanted ceiling inside.
So we have this very unattractive, improvised solution. But it's better than stepping in something.
Light plays an important role in making home feel like home. LYNEA makes adding a hardwired lighting fixture as easy as plugging in a lamp. Cleverly using the outlet as an anchor, LYNEA lights up a room while staying out of the way. Made from powder coated aluminum, hand blown opal glass and milled brass hardware, the lamp exudes a refined simplicity that echoes its California origins. Perfect to light a room or as a bedside lamp, LYNEA is available in two heights to light your home.
Seeking a multi-talented mid-level Graphic Designer to join a lively team of press operators, bindery experts, marketing wizards, and sales superstars. This position will serve as the in-house graphic designer, contributing to both print and digital marketing campaigns for Scout Books brand development as well as supporting client needs for custom Scout Books orders.View the full design job here
Plastering a wall is time-consuming work, so it's natural that workers who do it day-in, day-out will try to devise shortcuts. Watching this guy's technique, I can't decide if it's faster or slower than setting up a scaffold:
Or maybe it's not a time-saving technique, but simply borne of necessity because they don't have a scaffold? The DIY ladder should've tipped me off.
This week's video from Eric Strebel is a little different: Here the industrial designer uses his modelmaking, prototyping and design skills to create a cosplay amulet that can self-illuminate. He walks you through the entire process, and it really gives you a good idea of how you can harness the techniques demonstrated in his previous videos to prototype whatever you can imagine:
If you walk up Elizabeth Street early in the morning, you'll pass this tidy but odd-looking area along a blank stretch of wall beneath an awning.
It's decorated with what looks to be children's artwork from the local Chinese school.
What are these pieces of street furniture? You can see, neatly arranged, a found Ikea coffee table, a piece of veneered particle board propped against the wall, and what appears to be a purpose-built cabinet. Next to that, a 2x4 that has been encased in a bucket of concrete.
What this actually is, is an outdoor cobbling station run by a man who looks to be in his eighties. Each morning he sets up a transparent plastic tarp to provide some respite from the cold. The 2x4 in a bucket serves as one of the support columns, but the impromptu tent is not tall enough to stand up under. He slides the low "counter" out to act as his workbench and sits or crouches behind it, using a wooden tray to hold his tools next to him. Each evening he breaks everything down and puts it like you see it in the first photo.
I'm sorry I couldn't get a better photo than this, but I feel funny sticking my camera in people's faces when they're working. So I had to shoot this from across the street.
When I observed the man more closely, I was intrigued to see that he was fixing a brightly-colored Nike running sneaker. I didn't realize those could be repaired and had expected to see him working on proper shoes. So if you have a busted pair of kicks, bring them to Elizabeth Street just north of Grand Street and you can see the workstation in action.
We're happy to share the winners of the sixth iteration of the Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge, presented by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute in collaboration with Autodesk and Arconic Foundation. The series of six global challenges invited designers, sustainability professionals and students to redesign products for the circular economy in accordance with the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM product standard. The fall 2017 jury included Core77's own Stuart Constantine along with sustainability and strategy experts from Target, Ford Motor Company, BASF The C2C Institute and Arconic. Over 600 designers across 30 countries submitted over 550 entries for all six challenges in the series. After receiving applications from 17 countries, this iteration of the challenge recognized winners in four categories: Best Overall Project, Best Use of Cradle to Cradle Certified Materials, Best Use of Aluminum and Best Use of Autodesk Fusion 360. Find out more about their work below:
We're happy to share the winners of the sixth iteration of the Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge, presented by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute in collaboration with Autodesk and Arconic Foundation. The series of six global challenges invited designers, sustainability professionals and students to redesign products for the circular economy in accordance with the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM product standard. The fall 2017 jury included Core77's own Stuart Constantine along with sustainability and strategy experts from Target, Ford Motor Company, BASF The C2C Institute and Arconic.
Over 600 designers across 30 countries submitted over 550 entries for all six challenges in the series. After receiving applications from 17 countries, this iteration of the challenge recognized winners in four categories: Best Overall Project, Best Use of Cradle to Cradle Certified Materials, Best Use of Aluminum and Best Use of Autodesk Fusion 360. Find out more about their work below:
Best Overall Project: VOLTA
Volta is a battery that can be recharged simply by being placed in a bath of table salt and vinegar. The recyclable and compostable battery uses non-toxic materials, including Cradle to Cradle Certified Ingeo Biopolymer. Volta can also be remanufactured—its fastener-free, pill-form design make it easy disassemble and change parts for reuse and recovery.
Best Use of Cradle to Cradle Certified Materials: House 4 House
Through its non-traditional house building kits, House 4 House aims to educate children about sustainability and designing for the circular economy. Inspired by different ways of building from across the world, their kits utilize a dissolvable, starch-based mortar, along with Cradle to Cradle Certified materials, including Accoya® Wood, Alcoa Aluminum, Nispen Corrugated Packaging and Porotherm Bricks. Each kit includes building supplies, characters, furniture and guides for constructing a miniature house. For every toy house sold, House 4 House will help build a real house.
Best Use of Aluminum: TO Stool
The TO Stool is shipped flat then folded into its final stool form by the user, which considerably reduces packaging and manufacturing energy and costs.
TO aims to alter throwaway habits by encouraging and facilitating the reuse of used textiles. The removable bag under TO's seat acts as a storage unit for textiles intended for donation or recycling. Once full, the bag can be transported to donation facilities. At the end of the stool's life, its aluminum frame can be disassembled and recycled, and the renewable wood base and removable bag can be repurposed or composted.
Best Use of Autodesk Fusion 360: Bench32
Bench32's repetitive structure, made up of of 32 wooden spars held together by 80 metal parts, is inspired by the imperative weight reduction in airplane construction. Comprised of FSC-certified wood or Cradle to Cradle Certified Accoya® wood, this project was recognized for its impeccable use of Fusion 360's simulation capabilities throughout the entire design process.
View more about the winning designers and projects here.
It's not clear if it actually shoots a jet of flame, like one uses to burn enemy troops out of a pillbox, or if it's just a propane torch with a submachine gun form factor. Since the product copy states "World's safest flamethrower!" we're guessing it's the latter.
On the same webpage where one can pre-order the flamethrower (which starts shipping this spring), there is an option to add a $30 fire extinguisher, described with the following copy:
Buy an overpriced Boring Company fire extinguisher! You can definitely buy one for less elsewhere, but this one comes with a cool sticker and the button is conveniently riiight above.
Say what you want about the man, but he's definitely thinking outside the box.
Stryker is one of the world's leading medical technology companies and, together with its customers, is driven to make healthcare better. The company offers innovative products and services in Orthopaedics, Medical and Surgical, and Neurotechnology and Spine that help improve patient and hospital outcomes. The use of well-crafted customer centered design skillsView the full design job here
Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea, passed away over the weekend at his home in Sweden. There may be no single human being who has had more of an effect on the furniture of planet Earth than Kamprad.
He founded Ikea in 1943 at the age of 17, reportedly selling replicas of his uncle's kitchen table, predominantly through mail order. Throughout the '40s and '50s he gradually added other pieces of furniture to his lineup, as well as employees to fill orders, and in 1956 came the big moment: He watched an employee remove one of his table's legs before loading it into a customer's car. Furniture, he realized, ought be designed to break down for shipping.
While the flatpack insight was not limited to Kamprad, the scale of his business acumen within this arena certainly was. Today there are 412 of Ikea's gargantuan stores scattered across North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East hosting some 930 million visits a year. Statistic Brain says the company sells 42 million Billy bookcases per year and 217 million catalogs are shipped out. The company carries nearly 10,000 home furnishing articles and employs 120,000 people around the world.
It should go without saying that they are the world's largest furniture retailer.
Kamprad was 91 and until his death, still served as a senior adviser to the company. "Ingvar Kamprad was a great entrepreneur of the typical southern Swedish kind - hardworking and stubborn, with a lot of warmth and a playful twinkle in his eye," Ikea said in a statement. "He worked until the very end of his life, staying true to his own motto that most things remain to be done."
Where I live in Manhattan, there are several Chinese supermarkets located near me. These are crowded but incredibly efficient operations that move a lot of product in the form of fruits, vegetables and meats, and I admire the unseen logisticians behind it all.
At one of them, the guy who works the label machine, well, his English isn't so hot. At that store you can't buy partridge, but you can buy this guy:
Revolve was invented and designed by Andrea Mocellin with the aim to be the first modular wheel, which in turn will open new frontiers for the present and future of foldable vehicles.
Here's a chap named Nils Solana doing his best to recreate Pixar's famous pre-credit scene:
"I thank all the people who have made the success of this intro possible," Solana writes (translated from his native Catalan). "Anyone who needs a good intro, contact me."
And just so you come away from this entry having actually learned something, Pixar's Luxo Jr. character from the sequence is based on the Angelpoise Lamp, a piece of industrial design with a fascinating back-story. We wrote it up earlier, here are the links:
The Story of the Modern Desk Lamp
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Christopher Schwarz is an author, builder, columnist, designer, educator, furniture maker, and okay, we'll stop there with the alphabet thing. But if we were to keep going we'd eventually hit journalist, publisher, researcher and toolmaker.
Designers of all stripes could benefit by following Schwarz's work, as his research within the realm of how individuals fabricate things is both unique and consequential. He combs the historical record to uncover forgotten solutions in the form of objects, tools or hand skills, and rather than only write about what he's learned, he often physically reconstructs, demonstrates and explains the relevant objects in a no-nonsense manner. And occasionally he'll unintentionally spark an entire micro-economy in the process. (Read the story of the Moxon vise here and here, as one example.)
The more of these examples Schwarz unearths, the more something starts to sink in: A lot of these low-tech techniques and objects are actually more efficient, more effective, sturdier, better looking and/or cheaper than new ones. And the best part is you can build many of them yourself off of his plans.
And some of the stuff he demonstrates is just plain nifty:
Schwarz often gives away what he's learned for free--"the dumbest business plan ever," he says, without any trace of rue--in countless online videos and over 4,000 searchable blog entries. Research topics of such density that blog posts won't cover it get turned into physical books from Lost Art Press, the publishing house Schwarz co-founded (and no, those books aren't free). They also publish books by other relevant authors both alive and dead.
We interviewed Schwarz on the loose topic of inspiration. This is Part 1, where we discuss what got him started looking "backwards," secrecy vs. openness, workbenches, people who've inspired Schwarz, his favorite museum, finishes that won't kill you and more.
(Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity. --Ed.)
Core77: Your work encompasses a lot of different areas. For those who don't know you, how would you describe what you do? The cocktail party question.
Christopher Schwarz: I'd tell them that I'm unemployed, so I don't have to talk to people…. No, I build furniture. I write about furniture, and my specialization is looking into the past to inform my modern designs and contemporary work.
And why the focus on looking into the past?
Well, I operate under the idea that just because people are dead, doesn't mean they're stupid. Most of the world was built with wood for tens of thousands of years with no plastics, none of our modern materials. [The people who built those things] knew a lot, and the more you dig into it, the more you find that they were just absolute geniuses. We can learn a lot.
What inspires you to pursue a particular line of research?
It's usually frustration with something at the bench. I first got interested in old workbenches because modern workbenches were just far too complex to make. They were flimsy. They moved. They were poorly constructed, because they were mass-produced. That started me looking backwards, thinking "Well, I can't be the first person to have this problem." And I stumbled upon some designs for really early, physically massive French workbenches, built those, and after that, it [became addictive].
And then the more that you look backwards, when you run into a new problem you're like, "Well this had to have been solved before; so before trying to invent some stupid modern solution, I'm going to find out how other people solved it first." You then work forward from there. [Builders of old] didn't have modern materials and modern machines. So use their designs, use their ideas, but use modern tools to make them easier to produce. Use modern materials to make them more durable.
It's a shame that some earlier fabrication solutions were not preserved. I was reading about Stradivari, who used his secret techniques to make violins whose incredible sound we still cannot reproduce today. He taught his secret manufacturing method to his sons. They did not pass it on, then they died, and today nobody can make a Stradivarius.
Well, as you dig back through history and understand how shops worked, you'll find this was extremely common. There are things that were done in the 16th century that we still can't do today. They had the technology to dye wood all the way through its thickness, very quickly and with almost no effort, and that was lost in the 18th century because of this sort of problem. Workshops were closed, and they [passed things on or didn't.] If you worked in one of these shops you had to sign documents that said you would not disclose your master's secrets. So we still struggle with that to this day.
[In contrast] I'm very much an open source woodworker. Our business plan, which is the dumbest business plan ever, is to give away as much information as we can on our [Lost Art Press] blog. When we have enough material to put into a book, that's what we sell, because it's a physical object with some commercial value.
I feel ideas are free, and trying to protect your commercial secret is really hurting the craft over the long term. If you're not a good enough woodworker/craftsperson to be able to survive if people know what your finishing secret is, you're probably not a very good craftsman or furniture maker.
But if you yourself were--let's say that you came up with a unique design for this incredible dining table that people loved. It would sell like hotcakes, but you yourself could not possibly keep up with all the commissions to produce it. Would you then just release the design open source?
Oh yeah, and I have, it happens all the time. I did a three legged stool last year that I still have commissions to build. Some people requested the plans, and I thought "of course people should be able to build this" so we just gave the plans away on the blog. And now I see hundreds of these stools on Instagram, and that's great.
That doesn't take money out of my pocket. I'm already working as hard as I can. I can't clone myself, and I'm not going to start a factory full of people working for me for slave wages, so here, have the plans.
I really am vehemently open. Things must be open.
You mentioned seeing the stool on Instagram; I take it people send you photographs of work that they've built based on designs from your books or the blog?
Oh yeah. I have lots of baby albums full of their workbenches, tool chests. And the interesting thing about the designs I covered in "The Anarchist's Design Book," that's different from the other stuff, is that people have really advanced and gone beyond my work. They've taken the principles covered in the book and developed entirely different forms that I wouldn't have expected. And that's the best thing, to see somebody take your ideas and run with them, and exceed my work. That sort of feedbacks on mine, and I'm sure I will have another book of designs that sort of feedback on their pieces.
I'm a visual person, so I love seeing other people's work. That's why I go to museums.
What's your favorite museum?
I love Winterthur, formerly called the Francis du Pont Museum, in Delaware. Winterthur is like a fancy doner kebab. Francis DuPont purchased old buildings and furnishings and basically added them on to one another. So you can explore the entire history of American decorative arts by walking from room to room in the museum, like exploring all of nature's mammals in one bite of doner.
In addition to the museum, which has the best collection of American furniture I know of, they also have one of the best libraries covering the mechanical and decorative arts. Woodworking, metalworking, clockmaking. Even if you don't love old furniture, Winterthur is incredibly inspiring. It drips with beauty.
I also love little local, vernacular museums, even if they have stuff that I think is junk. I can learn something from every piece, even crappy ones. So whenever I go someplace to teach, if I have extra time I check out the local history museum. They'll always have vernacular pieces that are quite surprising. I've found some real gems. Lebanon County in Ohio has a great one, and they have 500 pieces of Shaker furniture, which is really surprising.
Editor's Note: Our "Tools & Craft" contributor Joel Moskowitz, Schwarz's co-author of "The Joiner & Cabinetmaker" book, feels the same way about local museums and wrote about it here.
But Winterthur is the top of the list, and that's really close to you designers based in New York, and it's a great place to visit.
You wrote the book "Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use," which is widely considered the Bible of the topic. For people that are not aware of the diversity in old workbench designs, can you talk about how many different types you have at your storefront/classroom, and why so many?
I think we have nine different designs now. Dating from from 87 AD, which is the first depiction of a workbench, all the way up to an Ulmia, which was commercially produced in the 1970s. We have every type of workbench representing about 2,000 years of development here, and we use them all.
We know there are pros and cons to each, and we're not trying to find "the best workbench that everybody should have." But if you are somebody who does chair making, well, thisbench has a lot of advantages for chair makers. If you do cabinetry, thatbench has a lot of advantages for cabinetry. And the overarching principal with all of them, is they're far simpler than modern benches, and you don't have to spend a whole year and thousands of dollars to make one of these. A lot of these benches can be built in two or three days, at most like 40 hours.
One thing I've never seen is a workbench designed for those of us who do woodworking out of small apartments. In a dense city we've got totally different needs than those with more space. Have you ever seen anything like an "urban environment workbench," or do you think there's just not enough demand?
No, no, I think there is. A long time ago Hammacher Schlemmer in New York used to have a woodworking catalog, and they produced a line of benches, one of them called the Gnome brand. They were these really interesting benches that were designed for urban environments, they would close up and look like a piece of furniture. The wings would fold out, and the top would open up, and it would have tools on the rack, and then you would have everything laid out. You could even keep your work there whenever you were closing it up.
It's funny, that's actually one of the benches that I've always wanted to come back to. I've started in on it several times but have always gotten distracted by other things. If you do a search, you'll find it.
Thanks, I will.
Are there any people, either personal acquaintances or folks in history, that have inspired you?
Probably my personal hero of all time is Charles Hayward. He was a 20th century workshop writer of just amazing skills. He was the editor of the Woodworker Magazine in Great Britain for 30 years, from 1930s until the late '60s. He was an incredible illustrator, designer, writer, editor, builder, traditionally trained. He had everything, and the magazine he put out has still never been eclipsed; it's the best woodworking magazine I've ever read. And his stuff, there's just tons and tons of it--he wrote for 30 years, every month. I aspire to be a small fraction of him. So as far as woodworker/writer/designer, that's the guy.
Editor's Note: Several years ago Lost Art Press republished "The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years Vols. I - IV," which organizes Hayward's decades of articles into relevant groups. I purchased volumes 1-3 for myself two Christmases ago and the quality of the content is fantastic. Below are some shots of it.
The other big influence on my life was a chair maker named John Brown, who's from Wales. He really brought the Welsh stick chair, which is a vernacular form that I'm in love with, to the attention of the woodworking word. His chairs influenced a lot of my work in chair making.
He was the first person to put anarchism and woodworking together. He had a column called "The Anarchist Woodworker" in Good Woodworking Magazine in the '90s that I read. I never met the guy, and I don't know if he really was an anarchist and everything, but he was an amazing writer, and an amazing curmudgeon, and just an incredible personality. So those are probably the two biggest influences on my life, as far as woodworking goes.
I need to ask you about anarchy in the next part of this interview. But for now, can you tell us about some of the books that Lost Art Press has in the pipeline?
[Furniture designer/builder] Richard Jones has written a book on understanding wood in a really deep way. It's not a book that every woodworker would need, but one which really hardcore woodworkers could learn from if they don't want stuff exploding on them over the years.
We've got Jögge Sundqvist, who's a Swedish woodworker, doing a book [called "Slöjd in Wood"] on green woodworking, making everything more with branches and knives. Really fascinating work, just beautiful stuff. He's really "out there," and crazy, and a great designer and builder.
Editor's Note: If you're unfamiliar with the Slöjd/Sloyd philosophy, read about it in "Making Things With Your Hands Makes You Smarter".
I just finished writing a book [called "Ingenious Mechanicks: Early Workbenches & Workholding"], and that should be out in the next few months. One of the things it covers is understanding low workbenches, which is another sort of urban solution, because these low workbenches could be used as a coffee table, and your workbench, also it can be used by people with disabilities. These low workbenches have a lot of utility that people haven't thought of.
Also, the next few years of my life are going to be devoted to chemistry. Because my next book will be a third book in the Anarchist series, and that's going to be on finishing. Specifically finishing that won't kill you, because most finishing products out there are designed to make you dead. [The book will cover] how you can make furniture using finishes that won't poison you. So I'm going to be hanging out with doctors and learning a lot about chemistry. I'm excited.
I've already been talking about it a bit on the [Lost Art Press] blog. I have been experimenting for years now with low-VOC, very traditional finishes, and how to apply them. Everything from shellac to soap, waxes and different oils. And understanding those: Not "Hey, use this" but "Do you know why this is better, or why this will kill you, or why this is safe?" Most people think that finishing is black arts and voodoo, when it's really just simple chemistry. So I'm trying to dismantle that myth.
That sounds great, and another thing that there's a definite need for. Do you have a loose timeframe?
Books usually take me two years from initiation to completion. For people who are interested, I'll continue talking about the topic of finishing on the blog once I put the early workbenches book to bed next month.
Where you can follow Schwarz's work:
- The Chris Schwarz Blog on Popular Woodworking. "Your typical workaday blog, what I'm doing in the shop, shop tips, stuff like that."
- The Lost Art Press blog. "More about the hardcore research that I do, the books that we're publishing, and my personal work."
- The Crucible Tool blog. "Pretty straightforward, [whatever] we're doing at the foundry or at the machine shop, making tools."
- Lost Art Press' Instagram.
- His website of personal work.
- His YouTube channel.
Coming up in Part 2:
The Anarchist's design philosophy, using tools, making tools, universal design, how to beat trends and more.
This is one of the homeless gentlemen that resides in my neighborhood.
All of his life's belongings are loaded onto three carts he's acquired.
I've had ample opportunity to observe this man, who migrates around daily but always travels back to the same scaffolding to sleep under. He is headed that way now. But the three carts he has are too wide/heavy to pull all at the same time. So what he does is leapfrog. He lashes two carts together and pulls them as a single unit (A) for about half a block, then returns to the single cart (B), pulls it past the first two carts about half a block, and so on.
I'm dying to get an up-close look at the two lashed carts, which I only catch glimpses of when he passes me closely; he has his things bundled and arranged very neatly. He has a folding table and a grid-like store display on there, a piece of plywood, and a wire shelf, all of which he uses to construct a makeshift shelter. He's also got bungie cords and durable blue plastic bags that contain what I think is clothing.
These photos are all shot long because, as most of you know I am sensitive about sticking a camera in people's faces. People routinely and wordlessly snap photos of me and my (admittedly photogenic) dogs, without asking and even blocking our path, when I am walking them and I find it unconscionably rude.
Core Home is a global leader in manufacturing and importing exceptional housewares and home décor products. Our experienced team of designers and product developers is constantly working to translate popular trends into innovative products for everyday life. Each Core Home item is made in ethically and socially responsible ways by our skilled artisans around the globe.View the full design job here
Pesticides are bad for humans, and they've been linked to everything from birth defects to cancer. They're not much better for the environment: In "Sustaining the Earth," textbook author G. Tyler Miller--the man who literally wrote the book on environmental science--points out that over 95% and 98% of sprayed herbicides and pesticides, respectively, land on something other than what they're trying to kill. They then contaminate and pollute the air, water and soil.
We need to shift towards a natural and eco-friendly way to protect crops, and the UK's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology may have the solution: Wildflowers. As it turns out, wildflowers are a breeding ground for parasitic wasps and hoverflies--which doesn't sound pleasant, until you consider that those are the natural predators of cereal leaf beetles and aphids, which are both persistent and destructive crop pests. Thus the CEH is running a five-year trial in England on 15 farms, planting strips of wildflowers that run directly through crop fields. (As a side bonus, wildflowers also host bees, which help with pollinating crops.)
The wildflower tactic is based on science backed up in a 2015 study published by the Royal Society's Biological Sciences journal. "Our study demonstrates a high effectiveness of annual flower strips in promoting pest control," reads the report, "reducing CLB (cereal leaf beetle) pest levels below the economic threshold. Hence, the studied flower strip offers a viable alternative to insecticides."
Some farmers had previously planted wildflowers on the periphery of a field of crops, but this only protected the crops nearest the periphery. Thus CEH's trial has been planting six-meter-wide wildflower strips 100 meters apart inside the crop fields, allowing the insect predators a convenient commute. Because harvesters are now precisely guided by GPS, the crops can be reaped while the flower strips are left intact.
"The flowers planted include oxeye daisy, red clover, common knapweed and wild carrot," The Guardian reports. "Similar field trials are also underway in Switzerland, using flowers such as cornflowers, coriander, buckwheat, poppy and dill."
If the CEH trial turns out to be a success, the next step will be to convince farmers. "The majority of crop protection advice given in the UK," explains Bill Parker, director of research at the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, "is from agronomists tied to companies who make their money from selling pesticides."
We all know that kids totally suck at drawing, and now you know why my applications to teach art to children have all been rejected. Seriously though, have you ever wondered how a child takes in a scene that they're sketching, compared to how an adult artist does? In other words, where do their eyes go, what information are they picking up?
In this fascinating study shot at a Brooklyn art studio, cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Heather Berlin has both kids and adult artists wear eye-tracking glasses, then draw the same scene:
Lastly I want to stress: It's your job as a parent to reinforce that not every drawing deserves a spot on the refrigerator. Sometimes the paper shredder needs something to do, too. If you don't have the heart to tell them, I'll send you the pre-recorded video of me saying it that I use to apply for teaching positions.
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