Saturday Linkages: The Usual Suspects–Goats, Bikes and Tiny Houses

3D printed slug trap. Via Modern Farmer.

3D printed slug trap. Via Modern Farmer.

Small House Living
Tiny Cabin With Fold-out Porches http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2013/05/tiny-cabin-with-fold-out-porches.html#.UZO74lkyivE.twitter …

Spherical Tree Tents for Temporary & Permanent Dwelling | Designs & Ideas on Dornob http://dornob.com/spherical-tree-tents-for-temporary-permanent-dwelling/ …

Tokyo’s Tiniest Apartments are Like Expensive Little Closets | Designs & Ideas on Dornob http://dornob.com/tokyos-tiniest-apartments-are-like-expensive-little-closets/ …

DIY
Wooden Boat Building http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2013/05

DIY garden gear made with a 3d printer: http://modernfarmer.com/2013/05/diy-garden-gear-made-with-a-3d-printer/ …

3D Printed Track Bike http://www.dudecraft.com/2013/05/3d-printed-track-bike.html#.UZO-C2bKjeA.twitter …

Goats, Just Goats
Goats in the house: modernfarmer.com/2013/05/farmer-mistakes-goats-in-the-house/ …

Moving
Susan Orlean: The Power of Walking While Working http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/05/20/130520fa_fact_orlean?mbid=social_retweet …

Streetfacts #4: Children Have Lost the Freedom to Roam http://www.streetfilms.org/streetfacts-4-children-have-lost-the-freedom-to-roam/#.UY_N3AF95YU.twitter …

Mexitech 3D tortilla printer “miMasa3000” available soon: http://boingboing.net/2013/05/16/mexitech-3d-tortilla-printer.html …

Bikes
As CicLAvia proves, Angelenos are eager to get out of their cars and onto bikes | http://OregonLive.com  http://www.oregonlive.com/cycling/index.ssf/2013/04/as_ciclavia_proves_angelenos_a.html …

“The Spokesman” A Great 3-Minute Video About Bikes http://is.gd/axokof

Mounted Handlebars http://decorhacks.com/2013/03/mounted-handlebars/ … via

Gutter Cloud http://decorhacks.com/2013/03/gutter-cloud/ …

Gross
Ignoring Bee Crisis, EPA Greenlights New ‘Highly Toxic’ Pesticide | Common Dreams https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/05/09-3#.UY_JscCQt6N.twitter …

Shell’s racist pesticide ad, 1957: http://boingboing.net/2013/05/13/shells-racist-pesticide-ad.html …

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Biochar: Miracle or Gimmick?

Biochar-and-Pyrolysis_1

Cornell University illustration showing biochar as a means of sequestering greenhouse gases.

I’m always skeptical of what I call the “notions and potions” school of gardening. Every few years there is some new substance touted as the secret to a lush vegetable garden. One such substance is biochar, a kind of charcoal used as a soil amendment.

The University of Minnesota Extension service is in the midst of a four year study to test the use of biochar in vegetable gardens.

Preliminary results (which you can read here) show benefit for some crops such as kale, but a decrease in growth for others such as asparagus.

The more we learn about biochar, the more we need to learn. From an overall standpoint, there appeared to be some benefit of using biochar in the nutrient-depleted sandy soils at the Andover site for some crops. Yet, there was a decrease in growth in some plants and higher yield in others. In the Arboretum and St. Paul campus sites, we noted similar results, but more crops seemed to decline with biochar than without it.

There’s nothing new about biochar. It was in use by native peoples in the Amazon region before Columbus. Hopefully this study will help clarify what types of soils and what crops benefit most from its use.

Do you have an opinion about Biochar? Leave a comment . . .

And thanks to Michael Tortorello for sending me the link.

Start Your Urban Homestead for One Dollar

The Lyth Cottage in Buffalo, purchased for $1. Photo: Buffalo Rising.

The Lyth Cottage in Buffalo, purchased for $1. Photo: Buffalo Rising.

Want to move to Buffalo, New York? If so the city has an Urban Homestead Program where you can get a house for a $1 plus closing costs. The rules–you’ve got to:

  • Fix code violations.
  • Live in the house for at least three years.
  • Have $5,000 in the bank for repairs.

Too cold a climate for me, but you can read more about the program and see some success stories at Buffalo Rising.

Power to the Peoplemover, a Zine About Riding the Bus

The cover of issue 2.0 of Power to the Peoplemover

The cover of issue 2.0 of Power to the Peoplemover

Many hours spent on the bus in the past two months, thanks to the dude who totaled our car, has reminded me of the conceptual ancestor of this blog, a zine about bus riding I edited in the early 1990s with Canadian artist Michael Waterman called Power to the Peoplemover (PPM).

For the kids out there zines were, essentially, xeroxed blogs. We didn’t have the interwebs, but we did have something called Factsheet Five, a kind of telephone directory of zines. You listed your zine in Factsheet Five and people would send you self addressed envelopes to secure a copy of your zine. It makes me feel very old to describe this process, incidentally.

Detail from PPM issue 2.0

Detail from PPM issue 2.0

In addition to Factsheet Five, PPM had a second and unique distribution method. It was designed to look like a San Diego bus schedule (where Mike and I lived at the time). We would sneak copies on to buses we rode and put them on the racks that held the official schedules.

Power to the Peoplemover bus bench on Park Avenue in San Diego.

Power to the Peoplemover bus bench on Park Avenue in San Diego.

We also collaborated on this PPM bus bench that was part of a UCSD Art Department show. The bus bench contained stories and cartoons related to riding the bus–in effect, it was another issue of PPM. I used to wait at this bus stop myself and, during the month it was up, I watched people read and discuss the bench. It seemed to be popular, at least more so than the adjoining casino ad.

PPM Bus Bench detail

PPM Bus Bench detail.

There were three print issues of PPM and the bench. I’ve finally gotten around to posting PPM issue 1.0 and issue 2.0 on archive.org. Issue 3.0 has gone missing. I should note that PPM is potty-mouthed and has an oh so 1990s editorial tone (an era that has not yet had its ironic revival).

I predict we may see a zine revival. Perhaps staring at all those glowing screens is getting old . . .