Goat Tower of Power

Thanks to Mark Frauenfelder for blogging about the goat tower, originated by the Fairview Wine and Cheese estate of South Africa back in 1981. Fairview puts the goat tower on their wine labels (how could you not?). There are, apparently, several imitators worldwide with their own goat towers. Now, who will build the first L.A. version? Can we adapt Frank Gehry’s Disney Hall? How about city hall?...

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Hexayurt

SurviveLA reader jbjhill, responding to our rant about designing for a world dominated by 4 x 8 building materials, sent a link to this unique yurt-shaped emergency shelter which can be built out of 4 x 8 sheets of nearly anything (the globe shaped thing on the right is an inflatable satellite dish). Designed by software engineer Vinay Gupta, who is working on this project full time, the “Hexayurt” costs somewhere between $200 and $5...

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DIY Christmas Trees

ade Christmas-tree-like-structures. Two favorites: 1) The Mountain Dew Christmas tree.  On one hand, I’m appalled to think that somebody actually drank that much soda. On the other hand, the structure is really nice and it looks pretty all lit up: 2) And the hardback book tree, made out of a cut-up book. The cool thing about this one is that the cover stays intact, so you can close it up and store it on your book shelf until next season:...

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Saturday Linkages: Straw Bales and Bike Hacks

Photo by Tracy Walsh/Poser Design Gardening Straw bale gardening in the New York Times: http://nyti.ms/10kt1Hf DIY How to fix a bicycle tube http://www.afrigadget.com/2013/02/22/how-to-fix-a-bicycle-tube/ … Bike headlight displays speed: http://boingboing.net/2013/03/20/bike-headlight-displays-speed.html Build-It-Solar Blog: A Inexpensive DIY Blower Door http://www.builditsolarblog.com/2013/02/a-inexpensive-diy-blower-door-that.html?spref=tw …...

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How To Manage a Compost Pile Using Temperature

t materials, straw and brew waste from a local brewery. The red area on the chart is the thermophilic temperature range (135° -160° Fahrenheit). The dip you see at day 15 is the one time I turned the pile so that I could keep it in the thermophilic range. Using temperature as a clue to when to turn the pile has a number of advantages: You can make sure that the pile does not get too hot. Above 160° F  you start to kill off the thermophilic bacte...

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Make a Pepsi Can Stove

Preparedness means having a backup system for all of the things we depend on. If the gas goes out in an earthquake how are you going to cook? Thankfully the world of backpacking offers a number of solutions. Our favorite is the Pepsi can stove which you can build using these incredibly detailed instructions. [Editor's note 7/27/08: looks like the author of that Pepsi can stove site failed to renew the url and, sadly, the link no longer works. We...

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Essential System #6 – Fire

On the crazy path of life you may someday find yourself needing to build a fire. When it’s wet and when kindling wood is lacking this can be a challenge. Which is why we always have fire starting implements on hand including a butane lighter and waterproof matches. Most importantly we carry something to really get the fire going – our homemade wax and dryer lint fire starters. To make a wax and lint fire starter, save up the ends of...

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Saturday Linkages: Chicken Hot Dogs and Toilet Museums

DIY Printing press made from IKEA drawers: http://boingboing.net/2012/12/05/printing-press-made-from-ikea.html … How to Build a Gypsy Caravan from Recycled Materials… http://bit.ly/S8pABN Gardening Home Depot’s Leaf Bags and their Eco-Terrible “Tips” | Garden Rant http://gardenrant.com/2012/12/home-depots-leaf-bags-and-their-eco-terrible-tips.html … Design High-Hanging Tea House Offers Suspended Getaway | Designs & Ideas on Dornob htt...

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Induced Demand

e miles since you don’t pay as much for gas. Build a four lane highway instead of a two lane one and so many more people end up driving that you end up with worse gridlock. I’d never thought of induced demand when it comes to greywater, but it’s a good point. Did I plant more fruit trees because I had a greywater system? Has this caused more water consumption in our current drought? Honestly, I think the answer is yes. You could...

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Rain- The Best Gift of All

Homegrown Neighbor here: It is Christmastime, I am stuffed full of food and my house is brimming with yet more stuff. I have enjoyed the holidays, but I’m even more excited about the rain we have had and that there is perhaps more in the forecast. When it comes to what really counts, well, rain is pretty high up there. The past few years have been extremely dry here in the West. The year before last we literally had 3 inches of rain in...

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