Friday, October 26, 2007

It's go time...

Seeing as my son's first birthday party kicks-off at dawn (Oktoberfiesta), I'm still slacking on posts. So here's an article to tide you over till Monday.

UN issues 'final wake-up call' on population and environment

By James Kanter
Published: October 25, 2007

PARIS: The human population is living far beyond its means and inflicting damage on the environment that could pass points of no return, according to a major report issued Thursday by the United Nations.

Climate change, the rate of extinction of species and the challenge of feeding a growing population are among the threats putting humanity at risk, the UN Environment Program said in its fourth Global Environmental Outlook since 1997.

"The human population is now so large that the amount of resources needed to sustain it exceeds what is available at current consumption patterns," Achim Steiner, the executive director of the program, said in a telephone interview. Efficient use of resources and reducing waste now are "among the greatest challenges at the beginning of 21st century," he said.

The program described its report, which is prepared by 388 experts and scientists, as the broadest and deepest of those that the UN issues on the environment and called it "the final wake-up call to the international community."

Over the past two decades the world population has increased by almost 34 percent to 6.7 billion from 5 billion; similarly, the financial wealth of the planet has soared by about a third. But the land available to each person on earth had shrunk by 2005 to 2.02 hectares, or 5 acres, from 7.91 hectares in 1900 and was projected to drop to 1.63 hectares for each person by 2050, the report said.

Read more HERE.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Proud to be a Mauist...

Quite some time ago in a very optimistic land called the late 90's, Bruce Mau began his Incomplete Manifesto for Growth. It's a short list of Mau's beliefs, thoughts, motivations and strategies.

While Mau continues to shape and influence the design community at-large, it's easy to see that the list transcends the design niche (Deena, you could easily apply some of these at one of your shirt-and-tie throwdowns). Optimistic landscapes change, but Mau's smile never stops (google'll see).

So for those of you working Monday through Friday sans thick black-framed glasses, I encourage you to read all 43 points, develop your own, and keep checking back for more.

An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth

Written in 1998, the Incomplete Manifesto is an articulation of statements that exemplify Bruce Mau's beliefs, motivations and strategies. It also articulates how the BMD studio works.

1. Allow events to change you. You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.

2. Forget about good. Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. Growth is not necessarily good. Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you'll never have real growth.

3. Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we've already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.

4. Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child). Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.

5. Go deep. The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.

Read the last 37 manifesto points HERE.

[Picture: Andrew Dickson's wonderful Guardian Blog]
[Additionally, check out Change Design: Conversations About Architecture as the Ultimate Business Tool. The book is a collaboration by NBBJ and Bruce Mau Design.]

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


My apologies for today, but my son turns one tomorrow. I am currently organizing an elephant parade and have no time to blog. I'll let you know how it pans out tomorrow, hopefully with something interesting in type.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Money down the drain and back up again...

Keeping with this week's theme of getting clean, we're still in the bathroom (kind of). RenewABILITY Energy, Inc has an unfortunately named product that I desperately need to see in action.

I'm stoked if the Power-Pipe™ works as it claims, because the technology could be easily tweaked and retweaked over the next decade (I think it's still in version 1.0), pulling a ton of heat loss back into buildings and homes. However, I can't imagine that all the heat-conducive copper comes at a cheap price.

Here's the gist...basically, the warmer waste water in the drain pipe warms up the incoming cold water before it reaches your hot water heater...kind of like putting hot water in a tea kettle before you boil it. Might not work as efficiently down south, but it's obvious to see why it would help those in the frozen north.

From their Website:

Drain-water clings to the inside pipe wall and falls quickly creating a thin “falling-film” which quickly imparts its heat to the pipe wall. Copper is used for both the inner pipe and outer tube, and its conductivity has a heat transfer rate that is 4-6x greater than other classes of heat exchanger on a surface area basis...

The heat from this film is transferred easily and efficiently to the cold water circulating in the Power-Pipe™ around the outside of the drainpipe.

The incoming cold water is preheated before going into the water heater and plumbing fixtures, saving money and energy while increasing shower-capacity. A sixty inch Power-Pipe™ unit can bring the cold water temperature up from 10 degrees C to as much as 24 degrees C, under equal flow conditions. If it is connected to only the water heater or only the cold water fixtures, the savings is less but the temperature rises up to about 28 degrees C.

Power-Pipe™ raises the temperature of incoming cold water by recycling free heat from waste-water going down the drain. About 90% of all hot water energy goes down the drain, allowing the Power-Pipe™ to recycle as much as 60% of the wasted heat. The more hot water you use, the more energy you save.

Water your yard with yo dirty self...

If you're married to my wife, then you know how much water can be wasted in the shower (to the couch I go)...

While it's a relief to know that there are numerous products available to curb your usage, you will still, ultimately, need least until the specs on my Blow Me Clean dry-shower are finished (the test name is currently being thrown around in some focus groups).

Until my patents clear, it's nice to see that someone has developed an efficient AQUS-esque system that collects your soapy discharge: The Waterleech. It's simple, it's portable, it comes with accessory bling, and it's in version 2.0.

Think of the applications...

...because we all shower and bathe...