“And how long was your father asleep by the pool?” The nurse’s voice bit into my seven year old ears. Of all the images of peeling skin and sun poisoned shoulders that should have burned themselves into my memory, only the school nurse’s question from that hot September day stuck with me twenty years later.
The sun shining through the open car window triggered those words vividly. Lisa sat in the passenger seat with her iPod shooting pop music into her ears. She couldn’t hear the miniature squeals of strain from the sun baking my skin.
If Stonehenge did have a roof, then a system of posts and beams would be needed to support the rafters. Modern archeologists only have postholes as evidence of any additional structure built at the site. The most popular viewpoint on these post holes is that they outlined additional astronomical markers that Druids used to mark time and celestial events. These post holes, according to the alternative hypothesis, provided the foundation for a roofed building to house the famous bluestones.
Ever since catching the better part of Ira Glass’s retraction on last week’s “This American Life” every story about Mike Daisey has caught my eye. A quick search on Google News reveals the intense coverage surrounding this incident – which has perhaps overshadowed the initial coverage Daisey earned from his “revelations” about the production of Apple products.
If you want to get up to speed quickly here’s the scoop:
Mike Daisy is a theatrical monologist (he reads from a stage). In 2010 he produced a monolog called The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs which you can download in its entirety. Daisey chronicled a visit he made to China to tour the working conditions where Apple products are built. His monolog was adapted and aired on “This American Life,” a very popular show that airs on many NPR affiliates. Ira Glass, the show’s host, issued a full hour long retraction of the episode last Sunday due to the sheer volume of factual errors discovered.
I don’t have any new facts to add to this story. However, a the blogger behind Defective Yeti – whom I have followed since the early days of the internet – chimed in on this event. Matthew Baldwin worked in the same office as Mike Daisey at Amazon.com. His perspective on Daisey’s earliest work adds a level of depth and complexity to this story that other commentators can’t provide.
It is difficult to know who to trust in the digital realm. The textual format of the medium conceals any body language or speech patterns that might trigger skepticism in the audience. Matthew Baldwin has overcome this hurdle for me. It is hard to say what about Baldwin’s writing makes it feel honest to me. His website Defective Yeti can be labeled humorous and un-serious, yet I would never call it dishonest.
The Blending of fact and fiction earned my attention to the controversy over Daisey’s work. Even after repeated requests and multiple interviews, the line that separates truth from lie in his monolog is impossible to detect. Daisey’s own memory of the events from China are now tainted by the dozens of times he has retold his Agony and Ecstasy story. This makes it even harder for him to untangle outright deceptions from places where truths were bent. Recent studies in neuroscience show that the act of remembering has real impacts on the memory, forever changing it depending on the context. The audience may never be able to reconcile Daisey’s story from that of his Chinese translator, Cathy Lee.
Sander van der Leeuw’s interview in Slate discussed the topic of resilience as a factor in the preservation of societies and ecological communities. His comments on teaching students with a resilient framework are below:
We actually train our kids in school into nonresilient thinking, because we always come up with single solutions, single options. We don’t train people to think in terms of alternatives. And that, after a while, creates a society that actually is fairly single-minded. From that perspective, I would argue that bigger emphasis on creativity in school is really important. I would argue that in order to deal with all the environmental problems that we have, we need to get to a point where people begin to think out of the box in order to change or deal with the challenges that we’re actually facing.
The Arizona State University professor hits on an important point regarding the role of resilience in dealing with current and future problems. It simply isn’t feasible to issue a request for proposals for every question – so the more individuals are capable of generating alternative solutions the more likely they’ll be able to handle complex problems.
The Beacon Food Forest will provide seven acres of chestnuts, walnuts, apple and mulberry trees, berry shrubs, and vegetables for foragers to harvest. The food grown in this edible landscape will be free for the public to pick and eat at will.
The food forest will be a dense example of “permaculture” – a sustainable method of arranging plants in a landscape. This method protects soil quality, discourages pests, and reduces the need to water plants.
My choppy request tested the guard’s patience, yet I instantly noticed the signature of Davy’s last visitor: our mother. She told me that Davy still refused to talk, and asked if I would go to him.
Nine weeks ago Davy decided that he wanted the surgery. Mom delivered the ultimatum: a one thousand dollar check and a moving truck rental, or the surgery. His fury exploded through the house. I should have stayed, but I snuck out the back and got in my truck and drove to work four hours before my shift started.
The pool on the roof of the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore creates a dramatic and stunning visual deception. The edge of the pool appears to fall off the tower many hundred feet into the city below. Moshe Safdie architects designed the resort complex that consists of three towers supporting a sky bridge at over 650 feet high. See more views from the stunning building at Designboom
An island in Denmark built the world’s first virtual power plant. The electricity grid on Bornholm uses smart metering to service the 42,000 residents. This intelligent network can harness the many small sources of electricity generation to account for extra power during peak demand periods.
Bornholm, Image via Wikipedia
Bornholm is the largest example of a working virtual power plant. Large companies such as Siemens had experimented with this technology as a way to manage the ebb and flow of electricity among a large campus of buildings.
Danish utility Energinet is overseeing the EcoGrid project. This advancement will allow small producers of power (through solar panels, for example) to really participate in the electrical market in a more substantial way than net metering.
Furniture giant IKEA partnered with Ideabox, an architecture firm, to create the new flat pack house called activ. The one bedroom, one bathroom house costs $86,500 – land not included.
It’s not clear how much of the aktiv is pre-fabricated and how much is site-built. The compact home integrates IKEA cabinets, countertops, and other home decor to maximize the 745 square foot floor plan.