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Starving Artist No More

Why da Vinci is rolling in his grave and thinking about peperoni pizza.

Oh, the wonders of Russian art. The great novelists. The great playwrights. The great poets. And, now, the great sausage artists.

That’s right, Russian art is branching out into the edible category with packaged meat art. See some of the great masterpieces reenvisioned with an eye for, well, the stomach.

So much for the starving artist stereotype.

And while nothing about packaged farm animal carcasses screams high culture to us, it does appear to be a thing of the bourgeois — let’s not forget that when the Titanic sank, there were 3,000 tons of ham onboard. (We’ve always wanted to throw something in from our new favorite timesuck, Unnecessary Knowledge.)

via English Russia


Geek Mondays: Unlimited Solar Power

Why MIT geeks are throwing the best dinner party ever.

After the extremely popular Blue Planet Run post last Friday, we’re still on a sustainable solutions high. And the good guys at MIT are right there with us. In a breakthrough discovery last week, they’ve found a new way of storing energy from sunlight that generates practically unlimited solar power.

Solar Power

Resembling plant photosynthesis, the process basically splits water into hydrogen and oxygen gases using sunlight. MIT chem professor Daniel Nocera explains. (Come on, stick with the man — he’s no stand-up comedian but let’s see Jerry Seinfeld save the world from the energy apocalypse.)

Why is this huge? Because, so far, the one thing keeping solar power from reaching critical mass has been the struggle to store energy efficiently when the sun doesn’t shine. This new method — both cheap and easy to implement — will eventually allow homes to harness daytime solar energy and store it for electricity at night.

So who’s coming to our first solar-powered dinner party? Say, November 14, 2010? Don’t be late.

>>> via CleanTechnica


Photography Spotlight: Blue Planet Run

World-changing photography, or why the oil crisis is the least of our liquid worries.

The best of photography goes beyond visual fascination and stunning imagery, and serves as a moving call to action.

That’s exactly what photographers Rick Smolan and Jennifer Erwitt do in Blue Planet Run, their latest project with the ambitious goal of bringing clean drinking water to the world.

And if that’s where you roll your eyes because the blue-is-the-new-green card has been played before, stay with us: The seat of privileged is about to get a bit more uncomfortable.

The book, which Amazon offers as a free PDF for a limited time, is a tumultuous blend of photography both stunning photography, chilling revelations and — ultimately — a call to action that puts the solutions to the water problem front and center, and each of us in the driver’s seat to change.

Here are a few factoids about “the other half”:

  • 1.1 billion people don’t have access to clean water. That’s 1 in 6.

  • Half of the world today doesn’t have access to the quality of water available to Romans 2,000 years ago

  • 1.8 billion children die of waterborn disease every year. That’s one child every 15 seconds, or 3 dead children by the time it took you to get this far in the post.
  • 4,800 people die every day of waterborn disease. That’s the equivalent of 11 jumbo airplane crashes.
  • 5.3 billion people — or two thirds of the world — will suffer from water shortages by 2025

And a few factoids about the kind of excess we Westerners roll in:

  • A single quarter-pound hamburger — just the meat — takes 2,900 gallons of water to make
  • The average American uses 100-175 gallons of water per day. And that doesn’t include agriculture.
  • 3,350 gallons of water are used to water the grass for every single round of golf — there are 16,100 golf courses in the U.S., on which 90 rounds are played every day. That’s 4,839,678,000 gallons of water. Supporting golf. Every day.

But because information is useless if it doesn’t effect change, the book ends on a hopeful note — Blue Planet Run Foundation was born, an ambitious hunt for solutions both at the individual and organizational levels.

In 2007, the foundation held its first real run — a 95-day, 15,200-mile race where 20 dedicated runners from 13 countries go around the world — literally — to raise awareness about the water problem.

Proceeds from the race go to the Peer Water Exchange, the foundation’s radical initiative to tackle thousands of grassroots water and sanitation projects around the world by revolutionizing the funding model and funneling it through a pool of NGO’s rather than an endless loop of bureaucracy.P

But perhaps most importantly, there are things each of us can do to alleviate the severity of the water problem. Because simple behavioral changes have a greater long-term impact than we could ever suspect.

Grab a copy of Blue Planet Run, even only for the gripping, magnificent photography. But, we promise you, somewhere in the 122 pages you’ll discover a drowning desire to get up and do something about it.


Nomadic Living 2.0

What European gypsies have to teach us about sustainability and the housing market.

Real estate crunch got you in the dumps? Too broke for a boat and too proud for a trailer? Fear not, the Danish have your back.

Copenhagen-based artist and activist collective N55 just released the first prototype of WALKING HOUSE, a 10-foot-high pod home that actually walks at a strolling pace.


The solar- and wind-powered pod includes a fully-functional kitchen, toilet, living room, bed, and wood stove. An on-board mainframe computer controls the six giant legs.


Developed in collaboration with MIT, the prototype cost nearly $50,000 to make, but the team believes that as design and the production process get streamlined for larger quantities, cost will go down significantly.

Inspired by the area’s large population of travelers, the WALKING HOUSE offers a unique hybrid of traditional nomadic culture and modern design solutions.

N55 Walking House roof

Today, the pod is taking its inaugural stroll around rural Cambridgeshire at the Wysing Arts Centre in Bourn.


We love the nomadic-living-gone-high-tech appeal of the house and its decidedly sustainable twist. The inside looks absolutely cozy — not in that Craigslist-euphemism-for-shoebox-dump kind of way. Makes us wanna curl up inside with Kings of Convenience playing oh-so-lazily in the background.

via Slashdot


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