Author: Rolf Coppens

Back to the Tribe

The peoples gardens

Volkstuintjes (or peoples gardens) might be a typical Dutch / European tradition, offering gardening space in urban environments in which people don’t have their own gardens. It’s a nice tradition from the time that people liked to had the time to grow their own food. Might be on a comeback when the food prices keep rising though…

The concept of DIY fruit and vegetable production is next nature enough, but Dutch artist Annechien Meier came up with the mobile Volkstuin.

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Power Ivy


Cochran’s sustainable design group, SMIT (Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology) came up with a project called GROW. It’s an Ivy-like covering of a building that generates power out of sun and wind.

Read an interview with Teresita here.

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A view beyond


Imagine the impossible… a secret transatlantic tunnel running between New York and London, that has lain undisturbed for a hundred years. And imagine an extraordinary optical device allowing people on one side of the world to see right through it to the other side! Welcome to the world of the Telectroscope – a project by British artist Paul St George, designed to provide a window between two cities, from Brooklyn Bridge in New York to Tower Bridge in London.

Made by the people who also made this giant elephant

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China controls weather for olympics


The sun always shines on TV in China.

“At this summer’s Beijing Olympics, China puts a 50-year experiment to the test: Officials are betting weather modification can keep the sun shining on the Games. Despite shaky science, the government is confident (not for the first time) that man can beat nature. Whatever their chances, there’s plenty at stake—because all that development and urban renewal won’t look so good beneath a curtain of smog.”

Read the article at Plentymag. See also: Hack the Planet, Hurricane control.

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Fatigue Risk Management


“Through individual assessments, employee training and EnergyPods, MetroNaps can help you improve the safety of your workplace, the health of your employees and the productivity of your organization. MetroNaps is the world’s premier provider of professional fatigue risk management solutions.”

In office nature, sleep is a product. You can buy it here

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Google DNA search


Last year Google invested four million in 23andme, a commercial research center that maps out your DNA for 1000 bucks. Now Google also invested in Navigenics, a company that does the same. What would Google want with that? I’m feeling paranoid…

Through Businessweek.

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Million dollar burger

PETA –People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals– has posed a challenge to the world’s scientific community: The first person to come up with a method to produce commercially viable quantities of fake meat at competitive prices will receive a check for $1 million. The figure was determined by calculating the number of chickens killed every hour in the U.S. (about 1 million).

My questions are: can vegetarians eat this fake meat? Could one prove that lab-grown burgers don’t have feelings? And which meat will be faked first?

See also: The meat of tomorrow, Where it came from, They are made out of meat.

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Type trousers


Beauty and the Geek jeans by Erik de Nijs. The trousers offer a full Querty keyboard layout as well as a mouse, speakers and a little joystick. As he calls it: “Beauty is skin deep, Geekness is to the core…”

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In Space, Nobody Can See You Litter


Between the launch of Sputnik on 4 October 1957 and 1 January 2008, approximately 4600 launches have placed some 6000 satellites into orbit, of which about 400 are travelling beyond geostationary orbit or on interplanetary trajectories.

Today, it is estimated that only 800 satellites are operational – roughly 45 percent of these are both close and far from the eart (Low-Earth Orbit and GEO). Space debris comprise the ever-increasing amount of inactive space hardware in orbit around the Earth as well as fragments of spacecraft that have broken up, exploded or otherwise become abandoned. About 50 percent of all trackable objects are due to in-orbit explosion events (about 200) or collision events (less than 10).

So… I guess millionaires are paying Richard Branson tons of money to go see trash?


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Traffic nature

Japanese scientists made people drive in circles to find out how traffic jams get born.

Related: Human Swarms | Harvesting Traffic Information through GSMs |  The things we design end up designing us

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Dirt 2.0


To increase decrease CO2 a lot of plans are made to cover city buildings with roof gardens. One problem however is that those gardens tend to be quite heavy. Especially when you are building in a country like Japan where the ground isn’t that steady, that’s a problem. That’s why the Japanese company Suntory invented new a new kind of soil, mixed with 50% plastic. To make it lighter, but I guess it must also be a really good way to store waste.
Is it still trash when it doesn’t look like trash? | Related: Green Roofs for Living

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