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here’s a modern take on home building, spiced with ingenuity, persistence & brooklyn.  background via science friday:

Michele Bertomen and David Boyle bought an empty 20-by-40-foot lot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. They planned to build something traditional, but when the bid for the masonary envelope (the building without plumbing, electricity) came back at over $300,000, they re-evaluated. Inspired by Bertomen’s students at New York Institute of Technology, the couple decided to try building their home from shipping containers–which cost them about $50,000 for the building envelope.  Bertomen, an architect, and Boyle, the general contractor, designed and oversaw construction of their home. We stopped by for a tour.

what do you think about michele & david’s home?  would you ever live in a building made with shipping containers or any other unusual material?

spotted @ npr’s fresh air.

related: 20 unusual homes from around the world | 14 exciting architectural moments in 2012


living inside the box

08/15/13 1 Comment

the minimum wage machine



as explained by its creator blake fall-conroy:

The minimum wage machine allows anybody to work for minimum wage. Turning the crank will yield one penny every 4.97 seconds, for $7.25 an hour (NY state minimum wage). If the participant stops turning the crank, they stop receiving money. The machine’s mechanism and electronics are powered by the hand crank, and pennies are stored in a plexiglass box.

this is a cool representation of how little the minimum wage really is.  even though the money is easy to make, i’d imagine people would stop pretty fast since you’re not making enough to really make your time & effort worthwhile.  on top of that, the work itself, which isn’t stimulating and doesn’t add anything to the world, isn’t worth your time and talents either.

does your current job remind you of this machine in any way?  if so, will you just keep “turning the crank” or will you make a change?

related: how to create your reason | what will you create to make the world awesome? | top 5 career regrets | how to find work that you love| are you multi-talented but under-challenged?how to live “meaningfully well”

some people believe that america is so post-racial that things like racial harassment and profiling are a thing of our dark past (“i mean, our president is black!”). sadly, that is not the case. in new york city alone, racial discrimination is a city-sanctioned, festering reality affecting over 1,800 people a day. this figure comes in form of the police dept’s stop-and-frisk policy, which allows officers to stop and search people they deem suspicious.  now, the standard of suspicious is tenuous enough on its own.  however, the policy is further complicated by the nypd’s propensity for applying it to racial minorities.

in the video above “the hunted and the hated”, director russ tuttle gives viewers a multi-layered look at stop-and-frisk from the perspective of citizens and police officers.  even with the statistics and testimonials that you’ll see and hear in the film, maybe the most damning aspect of it is the recorded audio of a police stop and one between two officers.  from naacp prez ben jealous:

“The tape brings to light what so many New Yorkers have experienced in the shadows at the hands of the NYPD. It is time for Mayor Bloomberg to come to grips with the scale of the damage his policies have inflicted on our children and their families. No child should have to grow up fearing both the cops and the robbers.”

and donna lieberman, executive director of the new york civil liberties union:

“This audio confirms what we’ve been hearing from communities of color, again and again. They are repeatedly subjected to abusive and disrespectful treatment at the hands of the NYPD. This explains why so many young people don’t trust the police and won’t help the police. It’s not good for law enforcement and not good for the individuals who face this harassment.”

what do you think about stop-and-frisk?  have you or someone you know been subject to it before?

video and quotes via the nation. also check out nytimes for more.

the hunted and the hated: a look at the nypd’s stop-and-frisk policy

10/12/12 3 Comments

no one seems to have more fun with their videos than matt & kim.  some background on their new video “block after block” via pigeons and planes:

“Block After Block” was shot on location in NYC and not only includes Matt & Kim’s gang of friends, but also loyal Twitter followers who showed up to fulfill Matt’s fun and fresh concept of a flash-mob performance occurring in numerous iconic New York City locations. Crowd surfing on the Brooklyn Bridge, performing in a Chinatown intersection, and taking over the NBC Rockefeller Plaza are just a few of the raucous scenes included in this fun-filled music video.

previously: matt & kim: “cameras”

video: matt & kim “block after block”


today, i am a muslim, too


today at 2pm, over 75 interfaith, nonprofit, governmental and civil liberties groups will take over times square for the “today, i am a muslim, too” rally.  the event, which serves as a response to upcoming congressional hearings, seeks to promote equitable civil rights and religious tolerance while taking a stand against bigotry and ignorance.  visit globalgrind for more details.

update:  photo slideshow from the event.

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