Tag: Back to the Tribe
Weaving a Home
Inspired by temporary huts of nomadic tribes, designer Abeer Seikaly created a disaster shelter for refugees using patterned fabric. The project, called Weaving a Home, is based on ancient traditions of intertwining fibers and materials to make complex three-dimensional shapes for functional and social needs.
How Modern Sanitation Gave Us Polio
For most of history, poliomyelitis was a relatively unremarkable disease – it caused paralysis and occasionally death, but only in a tiny fraction of those infected. It was essentially unknown in infants and adults, and usually only caused mild symptoms in children. This all changed in the early 1900s, when the disease mysteriously transformed into an epidemic, killing many and maiming many more, even among the supposedly ‘protected’ populations of adults and babies.
Deadly recurrences of polio became a fact of life in developed countries, particularly in cities during the summer. Movie theaters, beaches and swimming pools were closed; families fled to the countryside when the weather got warm. Clearly something had changed, but what could cause a mild disease to turn into a killer all but overnight? The secret lies, paradoxically, in our better understanding of sanitation.
Our Tribal Gut Bacteria Are Disappearing (And Why We’re Getting Fat)
It’s an old axe that you are what you eat, but a growing body of evidence suggests that, in terms of our gut bacteria, it’s really true. Recent research shows that the standard ‘Western’ diet high in animal fat, sugars, and refined carbohydrates fundamentally alters the bacterial ecosystem in our intestines. The bacteria that thrive in the house that McDonald’s built are not only associated with obesity, but may actually excrete waste compounds that cause obesity.
A battle is underway between designers and engineers; at stake is the design of our technological future. It rages subtly like a moorland fire. Koert van Mensvoort adds fuel to the flames, but also offers a solution. The impact of new technology on our lives is hard to overestimate. Read more
New York’s Dogs Hunt for Dangerous Game: City Rats
Before the advent of broadcast sports or animal rights legislation, a night at the pub used to mean one thing: watching small terriers snap the spines of dozens, if not hundreds, of rats. Sporting men placed bets on how many rats a dog could kill in a set period of time. Nowadays, dog breeds bred to hunt rats, rabbits, badgers don’t get much of a chance to exercise their killer instincts. The Ryders Alley Trencher-fed Society (RATS) in New York, however, have figured out how to harness their dog’s inborn talents in order to make a (small) dent in the city’s rodent problem.
Forward to the Dark Ages: Our Horrifying Post-Antibiotic Future
Before the 1940s, the most simple, everyday maladies – a bug bite, a broken bone, a sore throat – could result in swift and sudden death, cutting down people even in the prime of their lives. This was the era before antibiotics became a cornerstone of modern medicine. Now, thanks to overprescription of antibiotics, the massive overuse of antibiotics in factory-style farming, and stalled antibiotic research, we’re rapidly returning to the pre-penicillin era. Bacteria have evolved resistance to our best and, right now, our only, weapons.
Space Farming for Astronauts
After the 3D pizza printer for astronauts, NASA aims to grow a vegetable garden 230 miles above the Earth. Last year American astronaut Don Pettit cultivated a zucchini plant on the International Space Station, describing the farming on the blog Diary of a Space Zucchini. This successful experiment led the way to space farming, with the project Veggie: Vegetable Production System.
Turning Detroit into Farms and Forests
The story of Detroit is a familiar one for anyone living in the so-called rust belt of the USA, where the once-mighty automotive manufacturing industries have left many towns and cities shadows of their former selves. Now bankrupt, Detroit’s population has halved over the last fifty years. No one actually knows just how many buildings are abandoned, but it is estimated at over 1/3 of all structures. In the midst of this urban decay, farming has started to fill the hole left by industry.
Back in 1955 French cultural anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss0 published Tristes Tropiques, a book documenting his encounters with Brazilian tribes. Some 65 years later, artists Laurence Aëgerter & Ronald van Tienhoven set out for a reenactment with a group of inhabitants from Beetsterzwaag, a village in the region of Frysia (NL).
The photo’s learn us that, although we might feel our lives differ greatly from those of our ancestors, some of the most important aspect of life remain unchanged.
Cockroach Farms Do Big Business for Food and Pharmaceuticals
Big bugs make big bucks for Chinese farmers turning to roach ranching.