Monday, February 28, 2011

Paradise Found: Islamic Architecture and Arts (1/10)

shakirshuvo | Mar 10, 2007

Part (2/10):

Paradise Found: A Documentary on Islamic Architecture and Art

We imagine many things when we think of this word. However, we do not think about Islamic Architecture, which influenced the art of Europe so profoundly. This documentary tours through the Muslim world, in search of that "atmosphere of Paradise," hidden away in mosques and palaces.

Travel & Events

* Islam
* Islamic
* architecture
* arts
* mosque
* masjid
* Muslim
* magnificent
* paradise
* Allah
* Taj
* Mahal
* Ottoman
* Asia
* Europe
* Africa

Ten part video:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cities of the Sky: the Silk Road of the future

* Wall Street Journal: THE SATURDAY ESSAY
* FEBRUARY 26, 2011

From Dubai to Chongqing to Honduras, the Silk Road of the future is taking shape in urban developments based on airport hubs. Welcome to the world of the 'aerotropolis.'

Life & Culture »

[aero2] Gale International

GLOBAL VILLAGES | South Korea's New Songdo City features vast 'instant neighborhoods' and art for viewing from the air.

To arrive at midnight at Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport, as I did recently, is to glimpse the pulsing, non-stop flow of the new global economy. The airport, which runs full-tilt 24/7, is packed at all hours. Nigerian traders bound for Guangzhou mix with Chinese laborers needed in Khartoum, Indian merchants headed to clinch a deal in Nairobi, and United Nations staff en route to Kabul.

Dubai's recent financial woes have forced the tiny Gulf state to scrap or scale back some of its more outlandish development schemes, including The World, an artificial archipelago shaped roughly like a world map. But one project has not flagged: the new concourse for Terminal 3. With construction continuing around the clock, the annex to what is already the world's largest building is desperately needed to accommodate the fleet of 90 Airbus A380s ordered by Emirates, Dubai's government-owned airline.

Lighting a cigarette in his modest airport office during a meeting two weeks ago, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, the chairman of Emirates, laughed as he recalled the widespread doubts that Emirates could pay for—and fill—its superjumbo jets. But it can, and it has, and despite the downturn, Dubai has stuck to its plans to develop the world's largest airline from the world's busiest hub. In public statements, Sheikh Ahmed has equated the future of Dubai with the future of Emirates, calling his country's mammoth airport the center of a new Silk Road connecting China to the Middle East, India and Africa.

Thanks to the jet engine, Dubai has been able to transform itself from a backwater into a perfectly positioned hub for half of the planet's population. It now has more in common with Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangalore than with Saudi Arabia next door. It is a textbook example of an aerotropolis, which can be narrowly defined as a city planned around its airport or, more broadly, as a city less connected to its land-bound neighbors than to its peers thousands of miles away. The ideal aerotropolis is an amalgam of made-to-order office parks, convention hotels, cargo complexes and even factories, which in some cases line the runways. It is a pure node in a global network whose fast-moving packets are people and goods instead of data. And it is the future of the global city.

This may come as a surprise to Americans, many of whom have had it with both flying and globalization and would prefer a life that's slower and more local. In the wake of the financial crisis, the bywords for the future have often been caution and sustainability. But there is no resisting the relentless, ongoing expansion of the world economy, and the aerotropolis—fast, efficient, far-reaching and filled with generic "world-class" architecture—embodies it. In places like Dubai, China, India and parts of Africa, cities are being built from scratch around air travel, the better to plug into the global trade lanes overhead.

At present more than half of humanity lives in cities. The percentage is higher in the developed world—four in five Americans live in downtowns or suburbia. China's rate is half that, and India has not yet begun to urbanize in a serious way, with only 29% of its people in cities. Between now and 2030, the McKinsey Global Institute estimates, India must build a new Chicago every year to absorb the millions of villagers streaming from the countryside in search of work. While the number of city dwellers world-wide will nearly double in 40 years to more than six billion people, the size of cities' footprints is expected to increase twice as fast.

This hasn't been lost on Paul Romer, the Stanford University economist overseeing the development of an instant city in Honduras. He proposes building "charter cities" in impoverished states with new laws, new infrastructure and foreign investors—free trade zones elevated to the realm of social experiment. Mr. Romer sold Honduran President Porfirio Lobo on the idea in November and has stayed on as an adviser. Last month, the Honduran Congress voted to amend the country's constitution to allow the pilot project to proceed.

In making his case to the Honduran public, Mr. Romer pitched the city as an aerotropolis. "Honduras could be the hub that brings Central America and Latin America into the world-wide network of air traffic," he wrote. "Central America will eventually have a major hub. It's a question of where, not if." Without air connections to the outside world, his charter city will stagnate. "If you're going to take the next step from assembling garments to assembling iPads," he told me, "you've got to have a major airport, or you'll never beat Shenzhen."

Every aerotropolis is locked in competition with every other one, just as every financial center is jostling for position in the new multi-polar international order. The principle is the same: Everyone wants to be the hub; no one wants to be the spokes. This has made the aerotropolis ripe for experimentation when it comes to governance, whether it's simple tax-free zones, the charter cities Mr. Romer proposes, or the "state capitalism" practiced by Dubai or Singapore. (The word "aerotropolis," I should note, was coined by John Kasarda, a business professor at the University of North Carolina and my co-author on the forthcoming book of that title. He is currently working on projects in Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Panama, and has served as a consultant in the past in Detroit, Memphis, Tenn., Dubai, Chongqing and Hyderabad.)

The basic aim of an aerotropolis is to disrupt local incumbents and monopolies using the long arm of air travel. It allows Indian hospitals to entice American heart patients for top-notch surgery at rock-bottom prices. It lets factories move out to the far reaches of western China to manufacture the iPad for lower wages while absorbing millions of urban migrants. Detroit's leaders are even building an aerotropolis in a Hail Mary bid for Chinese investment.

Floating above it all, meanwhile, are the globe-trotting executives chasing emerging markets. They are the denizens not only of Dubai and Singapore but of new business districts such as the Zuidas on the southern edge of Amsterdam, which was designed to be eight minutes from the airport by train and is home to the Netherlands' biggest financial service firms.
The World in Flight

2.4 billion
Air travelers in 2010

3.3 billion
Projected air travelers in 2014

Projected average annual growth in international passenger demand in the Middle East, 2010-2014

Projected average annual growth in international passenger demand in North America, 2010-14

31 million
Metric tons of international cargo traffic in 2010

38 million
Projected metric tons of international cargo traffic in 201

View Full Image
Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

NEW GEOGRAPHY New Songdo is a 20-minute drive from Incheon International Airport, over a 13-mile bridge. The airport is a 3½-hour flight from one-third of the world's population

The aerotropolis is the city that state capitalism built. In Dubai, Emirates is a wholly owned subsidiary of "Dubai Inc." An uncle of the country's ruler, Sheikh Ahmed is not only chairman of Emirates airline; he also oversees the airports, the civil aviation authority and the Supreme Fiscal Committee. From its beginning 25 years ago, the airline was seen as a strategic arm of the state, paying no taxes while importing the foreign labor that built the place.

Using its airline, Dubai feverishly assembled a population from elsewhere—Indian entrepreneurs, British bankers, Russians buying condos with suitcases of cash—thus creating the ethnic enclaves and gated communities that define the place. Americans outsource low-cost production to Chinese workers; in Dubai that labor (and the inequality it creates) is in-sourced. Emirates proved to be the enabler for Dubai Inc.'s competing developers, who wildly overbuilt at their ruler's behest.

Determined to prevent the world from connecting through Dubai, its oil-rich neighbor Abu Dhabi eventually followed suit, starting its own airline by royal decree in 2003 and eventually supplying it with $51 billion worth of aircraft. That was the precursor to its plan to lure franchise branches of the Guggenheim Museum, the Louvre and New York University, along with an entirely new section of the city in which to put them. Qatar's rulers have done much the same in Doha, bulking up Qatar Airways and building a new airport ahead of its winning bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

For its part, Saudi Arabia has gone so far as to build six "economic cities" from scratch in the empty desert. The aim is to house and create work for one-third of the 13 million Saudis under the age of 20—a largely uneducated work force. Each of these cities in the middle of nowhere will have its own air hub to recruit foreign investment. Like Mr. Romer's instant city, they are social experiments, filled with California-style communities where men and women, foreigners and Saudis will mix.

The ultimate state capitalist and player in this game is, of course, China. For all the attention paid to its high-speed railways, the Chinese state is spending as much if not more to build 100 new airports by 2020, with new cities to match.

In the western city of Chongqing, huge swaths of countryside have been paved in preparation for the arrival of China's electronics manufacturers, which are pulling up stakes along the coast. Led by Hewlett-Packard and Foxconn, the maker of Apple's iPhones and iPads, Chongqing aspires to produce nearly half the world's laptops by 2015, all of which will leave the city by air.

As a matter of policy, this strategy is a response to the millions of peasants leaving their farms for the city in search of work. China is building aerotropolises as a means to funnel growth away from the coast. It's even building them in strategic spots as far away as Angola, Zambia, Sudan and Pakistan in order to airlift the labor required for extracting natural resources.

The aerotropolis is also attracting private developers. In India, where the government hopes to fund a half trillion dollars' worth of infrastructure with public-private partnerships, airports are at the top of most companies' wish lists. GMR, one of India's largest industrial conglomerates, built a new airport in Hyderabad and a new international terminal in Delhi in exchange for land to develop around both. A private consortium—including the government of Singapore—is building new airports and cities near Ludhiana and Durgapur, in an attempt to create India's answers to the FedEx and UPS cargo hubs in Memphis and Louisville, Ky. Not so long ago, those cities were Southern Rust Belt towns. They have been saved by companies like Amazon and Zappos, which set up shop around the air hubs in exchange for vast swaths of land on which to locate their mammoth warehouses.

READY FOR TAKEOFF | Attendants on an Emirates Airbus 380 in Beijing. Dubai has positioned itself as a major airport hub.

Outside Seoul in South Korea, Songdo International Business District bills itself as the world's smartest, greenest city and the most expensive privately financed real-estate project in history, with a price tag of $35 billion. It was originally commissioned by South Korea's government to be a magnet for attracting foreign direct investment. The American developer Stan Gale was hired to a build an instant city the size of downtown Boston on a man-made island connected to Seoul's airport via a 13-mile-long bridge.

What was imagined as a hub for Western expatriates—not a Korean city, but a mini-Manhattan floating off the coast of South Korea, complete with a "Central Park"—has been settled instead by families from Seoul. The city won't be finished until 2015, at the earliest, but Mr. Gale is convinced that he's "cracked the code" of urbanism and aims to sell 20 more just like it to mayors across China. Chongqing and Changsha have already expressed an interest.

The aerotropolis arrives at a moment when urban centers seemingly have started to rule the world. Just 100 cities account for nearly one-third of the global economy. "If the 20th century was the era of nations," South Korean President Lee Myung-bak pronounced at New Songdo's christening in 2009, "the 21st century is the era of cities."

In places like China, India, and Dubai, the aerotropolis is the strategy being adopted to challenge the existing economic and political order. Rather than "machines for living" (in Le Corbusier's famously bloodless formulation), these cities are competitive engines, designed to lure talent and investment or simply to park a growing and restive population. The recent uprisings in the Middle East have driven home the need to create housing and jobs at all costs.

These fast-growing air-based cities are already shaking things up. Emirates' rise in Dubai has set off alarms in London, Paris and Frankfurt, where the chief executives of flagship air carriers worry that they are being cut out of new trade flows. Canada even triggered a nasty diplomatic spat with the United Arab Emirates over its refusal to let Emirates fly to Calgary and Vancouver.

The aerotropolis is tailor-made for today's world, in which no nation reliably dominates and every nation must fight for its place in the global economy. It is at once a new model of urbanism and the newest weapon in the widening competition for wealth and security.
—Greg Lindsay is co-author, with John Kasarda, of "Aerotropolis: The Way We'll Live Next."Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page C1

Copyright 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Friday, February 25, 2011

The $200 Microhouse

House Proud
The $200 Microhouse
Erik Jacobs for The New York Times

The Gypsy Junker, one of four structures Derek Diedricksen built at his home in Stoughton, Mass. More Photos »

Published: February 23, 2011

Tiny Homes With Scavenged Charm

A HOUSE tour is the highlight of a visit with a proud homeowner, but when one drops in to see Derek Diedricksen, who makes playful micro-shelters out of junk, it is less so. Possibly because the temperature up here on a cold winter day is less so, possibly because his square footage is less so.

At about 24 square feet, the Gypsy Junker, made primarily out of shipping pallets, castoff storm windows and a neighbor’s discarded kitchen cabinets, is the largest of Mr. Diedricksen’s backyard structures. The Hickshaw, a sleeper built on a rolling cedar lounge chair (or as Mr. Diedricksen calls it, “a rickshaw for hicks”), is considerably smaller, at 2 1/2 feet wide by 6 1/2 feet deep. The Boxy Lady, two cubes on a long pallet, is the smallest: 4 feet tall at its highest point.

For ingenuity, thrift and charm, Mr. Diedricksen’s tiny structures are hard to beat. Made of scavenged materials, they cost on average less than $200 to build. They often have transparent roofing, which allows a fine view of the treetops, particularly in the smallest ones, where the most comfortable position is supine. They have loads of imaginative and decorative details: a porthole-like window salvaged from a front-loading washing machine, a flip-down metal counter taken from the same deceased washer. Mr. Diedricksen hates to throw anything away.

Still, the structures are neither warm nor commodious, and the reporter’s note-taking is hampered by blowing on her hands. It is so cold, in fact, that in deference to the reader, whose nose is no doubt starting to run, we shall go indoors for a spell, that one might consider Mr. Diedricksen’s accomplishments in comfort.

They are many. There is his self-published graphic instruction book, “Humble Homes Simple Shacks Cozy Cottages Ramshackle Retreats Funky Forts,” the first edition of which was “hand-assembled” and “locally printed” (in his living room); having sold 1,500 copies, it will be reissued by the Lyons Press next year. There is his YouTube series, “Tiny Yellow House,” which is shot whenever his brother-in-law, a videographer, has some free time, most recently in the auto-body shop of a fan because, as Mr. Diedricksen notes, when it is 10 degrees you don’t want to film outside.

Mr. Diedricksen makes a living doing carpentry and spends a lot of time as Mr. Mom to his two young children, but he has also been a comic book writer, a D.J. and a home inspector, and is a drummer in a Rage Against the Machine tribute band called Age Against the Machine. (The World Wrestling Entertainment theme song for the wrestler Jack Swagger, “Get on Your Knees”? His band wrote that.) Even the little structures he makes, with their multiple uses — fort-guest bedroom-festival sleeper-homeless shelter — are tough to categorize.

It’s hard to figure out how to describe him, Mr. Diedricksen is told.

“One reviewer called me ‘a mad scientist with too much lumber on his hands,’ ” Mr. Diedricksen says. “Another one called it, ‘This Old House Meets Wayne’s World.’ ”

That may be because of the “Harold and Kumar”-esque, moldy sleeping-bag vibe of the “Tiny Yellow House” series, one episode of which includes Mr. Diedricksen’s real-life neighbor yelling, “Diedricksen, when you gonna clean this mess up?”

Or because of Mr. Diedricksen’s ponytail, which he has since cut. Or because of the episode that ends with him picking his teeth for the camera. “Pizza mouth?” he asks.

One should also know that Mr. Diedricksen, 33, graduated from Northeastern University summa cum laude.

Is Mr. Diedricksen committed to building only tiny structures?

“I have only so much yard space and my wife is only so tolerant,” he says.

Mr. Diedricksen’s wife, Elizabeth, is a physical therapist. They live with their children and a large dog in a 950-square-foot house about 10 miles south of Boston, which they bought in 2002 for $190,000 — a fixer-upper, of course.

Stop by to visit with Mr. Diedricksen, and you’ll have to wait till the kids take their naps to talk. Having a tiny-house enthusiast for a dad would seem to be a great thing: Mr. Diedricksen made what looks like a large painting in the living room, but which can be pulled down to sprout orange flaps: an instant kid-size tent.


Sunshine to Dollars FREE Solar Panels and FREE Solar Heat (Hot Air and Hot Water)

As Seen in Popular Science.

As Seen in Popular Science.
Sunshine To Dollars
by Steven E. Harris
ISBN:76 pages 8.5x11 inches [size]

The FREE SOLAR PANELS BOOK. I got over 85 Solar PV Panels for Free and I wrote this book to show you how to do the same thing. The book covers Free solar panels Plus solar heating and cooking at your house. Plus explicit details on getting Free Solar Glass and Free 3000F Solar Concentrators for a solar furnace. One of the most unique books ever written on Solar Energy. This book will have you building solar heaters and solar ovens in one afternoon. This is the most hands-on book ever written in the field. Get it today. Also includes, at no extra charge, Surviving the Blackout of 2003.

The Handbook of Solar Air Heating Systems. DIY Home Solar Power Panels How to heat your home with solar hot air. This is so simple, some wood, and glass, and you can get the glass for free, listen to the promo. This book has solar hot air heaters that will pay for themselves in weeks or a month or two. Step by Step, full illustrations and complete materials lists.


Ever notice that any solar heater on the outside actually block sunrays and leaving a shadow behind it... It is far cheaper to put a aluminium foil reflector on the ground to reflect the sunlight that would otherwise hit the ground unused. Also put more reflectors in the area that can reflect sunlight back against the colder, damper northern side of your house.


Closet door mirrors for solar heating


@danie1murphy It appears that we are being fed red herrings by those who are protecting their energy businesses by being misled to believe that photovoltaics is the only way to go. This is utterly false! Photovoltaics just converts sunlight into electricity at very low efficiency, much sunlight get wasted! Mirrors reflects almost 100% of sunlight and heat to whatever you use it for, heatiing, lighting, cooking, even burning a hole through a steel plate!  I wonder about fiberoptics.
junkyardnut 1 month ago

@danie1murphy maybe they are assuming that we dont want solar energy simply because it rises and set everyday. It is not a question of wanting solar energy or not, it is a question of cutting down our dependence on fossil fuel, etc. We need it badly now! Or the rich will be the onlly one still able to afford fossiil fuel at skyrockiting prices..
junkyardnut 1 month ago

Not all homes have North sides, no matter what hemisphere we're on. Lots of homes are built side by side or stacked to apartment buildings. Anyhow I do like your idea, it can save people with North walls/windows energy. Or South walls on the southern hemisphere.
maggzzz10 9 months ago

@maggzzz10 The energy industry is practicing damage control through peddling those energy trinkets like LEDs, photovoltaics, etc to reduce revenue losses through energy conservation. The real 800 pound gorilla in energy conservation is direct sunlight by reflection to heat indoors that could smash the energy industry into a deep depression.


@maggzzz10 if you have no northern side, you can still use east or west sides anyhow. it all depends on the mountings of the reflectors. It can be done like TV satellites or on top of poles. If you can find a spot to mount at least 4 by 8 foot refector, it is going to be worth the investment. Heat generated by this humble dimension is really huge!! equivalent to your average wall heater. The closer the reflector is to your unit the more powerful it s.
junkyardnut 3 months ago


foxtrot I also fantasized about removing my entire roof and replace it with an entire sunroof or greenhouse top as a second floor with normal insulated floor to keep the hot sun out but let the winter sun in all around. This is the ulitmate !




Uses step bit to cut 3 holes, high heat mortar or aluminum gutter glue, set in a piece of gutter with styroform to keep cans straight, high heat paint


made one similar to this but larger so I could space the can rows apart about two inches and installed a mirror under them. The cans I painted flat black all around and used the foam insulation on the bottom and sides of the box. I used 10 stacked cans by 10 rows and this set up produced enough heat that it made my small home shop 95 degrees by noon. I live in an open area with no trees and it was a full sunny day with outside temp @ 35 the mirror helps to reflect heat to the back of cans
EIBBOR2654 3 days ago
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@EIBBOR2654 cool do you have any pics or videos would love to see
richallenmusic 3 days ago

Sorry, I dont understand why you would want this? If the sun was out and it's warm out, I dont get why you would need hot air indoors?
D0ct0rh4gg4rd 2 months ago

@D0ct0rh4gg4rd hi its for the winter when its cold
richallenmusic 2 months ago 15

is that just black paint or what?
ihaveaverybadcold 4 months ago

@ihaveaverybadcold just black high temp paint like for a grill you can get at lowes or wal mart
richallenmusic 4 months ago

Highest Rated Comments


Easier way.. get a sheet of Insulfoam from Home Depot. Measure you window and make a box out of the foam ONLY. Paint the inside black and cans. Put a ledge across the bottom. Make hole along top and bottom. Insert a small computer fan run by solar charger. Then place this unit into the windows from the INSIDE of the house. It is very lightweight and can be taken down when summer returns. Produces 120-150F heat.
sc00b3rt 1 year ago 5

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Cansolair Solar Panels - FREE Heating without the Pollution

Alicia, save 240 soda pop cans and we will make a solar panel for heat. See video. Thanks to Diane for sending this! CT

= Alicia, guardar 240 latas de refresco y vamos a hacer un panel solar para la calefacción. Ver video. Gracias a Diane para el envío de esto! CT

Cansolair Solar Panels - FREE Heating without the Pollution
Cansolair Inc. has developed a forced convection solar heating unit called the Model RA 240 SOLAR MAX. A dwelling of 1000 square feet can have a complete ...

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int | Cansolair Inc. - SolarServer
May 28, 2010 ... Cansolair Inc. manufactures the Model R.A. 240 SOLAR MAX hot air solar heating system. These durable solar panels can provide years of ... -


Cansolair Inc.
43 Broad Street Suite A408, Box 8
Hudson, Massachusetts 01749
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Industry: Oil & Gas
A small company, Cansolair has produced and sold only 100 solar heating panels in the past four years. Now the company is getting more aggressive and pushing into the New Brunswick market with a new distributor in Saint John and a demonstration unit of the RA 240 Solar Max mounted on the outside wall of the farmers market in Bathurst. Dan Cybulski, whose Saint John-based Dacon Energy Systems will now sell the RA 240 Solar Max throughout New Brunswick, said he expects to sell as many as 100 of the solar panels in 2005 alone. Mr. Meaney began installing a RA 240 Solar Max system on the farmers market in the downtown core Wednesday. The inventor of this particular solar heating panel was also expected to give a presentation on it Thursday at the Le Chateau hotel in downtown ( )

Brilliant Newfoundlander Invents the Solution!

Jim Meaney, owner of Cansolair Inc. displays how he converts pop cans into a powerful solar heating panel.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Buddhist Temple Made of Beer Bottles

I want to do this: build with green glass bottles (Heineken, anyone?). It's beautiful... I'd like to see the entire wall made of green glass with ceilings with clear glass. See attached photo and link. CT

= Quiero hacer esto: construir con botellas de vidrio verde (Heineken, ¿alguien?). Es hermoso ... Me gustaría ver a toda la pared de cristal verde con techos de vidrio claro. Ver foto adjunta y enlace.


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Pictured: The Buddhist temple built using 1.5 million recycled beer bottles

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 12:53 PM on 18th February 2009

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* Add to My Stories

Built using more than a million beer bottles, this incredible temple in the north-east of Thailand is a novel way to recycle any empties.

The resident Buddhist monks at the Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew complex encourage local authorities to deposit any used bottles at the temple which they then use to build new structures.

Having already built the a temple and even shelters, the monks who live in the town of Khun Han really have got into the spirit of recycling.
Enlarge The Temple of a Million Bottles

Glass houses: There are 20 buildings made of bottles in the complex

Sometimes known as Wat Lan Kuad, or Temple Of A Million Bottles, the temple uses the discarded bottles to construct everything from the crematorium to the toilets.

Altogether there are about 1.5million recycled bottles in the temple, and the monks at there are intending to recycling even more.

'The more bottles we get, the more buildings we make,' says Abbot San Kataboonyo.
Enlarge A monk stands outside the Temple Of A Million Bottles

A monk stands outside the Temple Of A Million Bottles which was built from used bottles donated by the local community

Recycling doesn't stop at building the temple's buildings - mosaics around the temple, predominantly of Buddha, are made out of bottle caps.

Besides being ego-friendly, the disused bottles don't fade, provide good lighting and are easy to clean.

'The monks at Wat Lan Kuad started collecting the bottles they needed to build their temple complex in 1984,' said one tourist at the site.
Enlarge The visitors' toilets made out of bottles

Room with an interior view: The visitors' toilets are a unique spectacle

'They kept this up until they had nearly one million recycled bottles ready to construct their pagodas and temple.

'Even though drinking is a sin in Buddhism, this still seems like a positive use of beer and lager bottles.'

Representing the cleansing of the human mind, the beer-bottle-temple is now on an approved list of eco-friendly sightseeing tours in South-East Asia.

Bottle caps were used to make this decoration inside the temple

Explore more: Places: Thailand


Monday, February 21, 2011

Use a 2-Liter Bottle as a Light Bulb - RATED AT 50 WATTS

Use a 2-Liter Bottle as a 50 Watt Light Bulb lightbulb hack
posted by KAWUNEARTH

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Old 04-06-2009, 08:55 PM
cody cody is offline
Senior Member

Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 374
This is an awesome simple idea. Im wondering if the bottle were extended into a tube and bent if it would behave as a cheap simple fiber optic line. Im also wondering how long the bottle will hold up in the sun as plastic likes to degrade. There is possibly lots of room for improvement on this great idea.

These should not continue to glow after the sun goes down. However, your question brings up a great idea. You could add some phospho Luminescence or other glow in the dark chemicals to the water to get it to stay lit when the sun goes down. Great idea!
Last edited by cody : 04-06-2009 at 09:02 PM.


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Old 04-06-2009, 08:55 PM
cody cody is offline
Senior Member

Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 374
This is an awesome simple idea. Im wondering if the bottle were extended into a tube and bent if it would behave as a cheap simple fiber optic line. Im also wondering how long the bottle will hold up in the sun as plastic likes to degrade. There is possibly lots of room for improvement on this great idea.

These should not continue to glow after the sun goes down. However, your question brings up a great idea. You could add some phospho Luminescence or other glow in the dark chemicals to the water to get it to stay lit when the sun goes down. Great idea!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Garbage Warrior [documentary], architect Michael Reynolds

YouTube: brokendave | December 27, 2010

Shot over three years in the USA, India and Mexico, Garbage Warrior is a feature-length documentary film telling the epic story of maverick architect Michael Reynolds and his fight to introduce radically sustainable housing. An inspirational tale of triumph over bureaucracy, Garbage Warrior is above all an intimate portrait of an extraordinary individual and his dream of changing the world.

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Saturday, February 5, 2011 ~ biodiesel

GreenerPro offers you all the products and services needed “from the soil into the tank”. We believe you have to grow your own oil if you want to be a successful biodiesel producer. We consult you in selecting the right crop for your specific conditions; provide you with seeds, the oil extraction machinery, a meal bagging system and biodiesel equipment. Some of our products include:

Biodiesel Solutions
Hybrid Castor seed
Filter Press 25 tons per day
Oil Refinery 100 tons per day
Oil Solvent Extraction Plant 150 tons per day or more
Project Management Services
Used Cooking Oil Melting Plant

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Easy Latrine Handbook

Excerpt from 18 page construction manual

Easy latrine handbook

Email Feb 3, 2011

from benjamin clouet
date Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 4:30 AM
subject Easy latrine handbook

Dear Catherine,

I aw on a blog that you were looking for construction manual for easy latrine. Here it is, printable both side in a A5 booklet.

I hope it will provide you the information you need, and don't hesitate to contact me if you need further details.


Hanbook printable.pdf Hanbook printable.pdf
5329K View Download


From: Catherine S. Todd
to Dr, Genevieve, benjamin

show details Feb 3 (1 day ago)

Dear Ben,

THANK YOU SO MUCH! I am returning to Guatemala in Feb or March and will bring this with me. I am also sending it to in case they haven't seen it. Are you working with a group on sustainable living? Do you plan on visiting Guatemala, if you aren't here already?

See all my contacts and links below. Yours truly, Catherine Todd


Found more info at:

Dear wat-san member,

We would like to share with you the khmer version of the low-cost latrine
handbook that IDE and GRET developed.
Any further question you have, please contact me at

benjamin clouet

Wish you all a good day,




Note: I just uploaded the 18 page A4 letter size pdf file to (a free pdf file transfer service). Here is the link to download. If this doesn't work, email or email me at and one of us will send it to you. Thank you Ben!

IDE Latrine Hanbook printable A4 -

(click to download)

Harvard and Montessori meet at Lake Atitlan

From Dragoness' Utterances, by diane e. dreyfus:


"Two nights ago, I met an art historian and a psychologist, here, who generously shared about their work in several communities around Lake Atitlan. They are both proponents of Harvard’s Project Zero The art historian, Maribel Rivero Socarras had worked with the concepts of David Perkins in fostering “visual thinking” in children before she joined the team of four others, working with Guatamala’s Fundosistemas. ( Maria Jose Matheu, the psychologist, facilitates parent training and teacher evaluations. Together, this group is positively impacting about 4,000 indigenous (K-12) students."


I want to build a school on some of my (very small) building lots, and am interested in finding out more. I was thinking classes for art, music, dance, beading, computers and construction using recycled building materials. I hope to be working with using used tires, rammed earth, plastic bottles filled with dirt, sand or adobe.

Could Harvard and Montessori help here?

Diane's response: "Harvard Project Zero and Montesorri are pedagogical methods so you can USE or ADAPT them as you please."

Husk Power for India

The New York Times

January 4, 2009
Bright Ideas | Environment
Husk Power for India

Many of India’s cities have become bustling centers for high technology and heavy industry, but hundreds of millions of people in the countryside remain off the grid. Growing up in rural Bihar State, Manoj Sinha knew what it was like to sit in the dark. So after earning an electrical engineering degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and working for the Intel Corporation, he began exploring ways to turn farm waste into electricity, with the dream of building village-scale generators.

Last year at the University of Virginia, where he is studying for a master’s at the Darden School of Business, he and a fellow student, Charles Ransler, teamed up with another engineer from Bihar, Gyanesh Pandey, and Husk Power Systems was born.

The Indian engineers, both 31, had initially planned on raising money to build small generators for simply a few villages. But the company now has a proprietary generator that runs on a methane-like gas released by heating rice husks a certain way. A waste product of rice milling, husks are plentiful in villages. While agricultural waste is common for generating heat, it is not often used for generating electricity, and there is nothing remotely like this system in the villages of developing countries. The system produces enough electricity to supply 300 to 500 households for 8 to 10 hours a day. A byproduct is silica, a valuable ingredient in making cement.

The long-term plan is to profit from the global market in credits — earned by avoiding greenhouse-gas emissions, which result from burning fossil fuels like coal — and to sell the benefit.

Husk Power Systems won first place in 2008 in the University of Virginia business plan competition and the social innovation competition at the University of Texas, Austin. The students are headquartered at the Darden School of Business incubator, where they get space and advice.

There are generators in five villages now, with the hope of expanding to 100 within a few years, Mr. Ransler says. Eventually, these communities could shift to other electricity sources as the Indian economy matures. But Mr. Ransler, 30, predicts there will be a market for many years to come for small-scale power systems burning renewable farm waste.

Business leaders must realize that the world’s poor need investments more than handouts, he says, adding, “These are customers, not victims.”

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

rechargeable battery service, rechargable lantern,

Welcome to Burro

Burro is a new kind of company dedicated to delivering high-quality, affordable goods and services to low-income families in the developing world. Our for-profit business model will allow us to sustainably serve consumers who are largely ignored by the marketplace but who are eager and able to spend on innovations that improve their productivity.

The world's poorest people spend some $5 trillion annually on goods and services, but few businesses pay careful attention to meeting the particular needs of those who earn a dollar or two a day. Much of what is offered to them is overpriced, poorly made, and sold at inconvenient locations. But Burro puts its clients first. Like the hardworking pack animal that inspired our name, we are truly out there—in the fields and on the trails, helping our clients live more comfortably and work more productively.

More Power

Burro's first offering is a rechargeable battery service that our clients use predominantly for flashlights, radios, and cell phone charging. It costs less than available throwaway batteries while delivering more power and eliminating potentially hazardous waste. Roughly half of Ghana's 23 million people live without electricity, including the vast majority of rural communities. For these people, little things can mean a lot—a Ghanaian family can spend half a day's income on a pair of poor-quality, throwaway batteries just so a child can do a few hours' homework at night. Burro's better battery offering is already helping such families to do more with their lives.

We are conducting our pilot in Koforidua, the capital of the Eastern Region of Ghana, a peaceful, democratic nation in West Africa.


See NY Times article "When Microcredit Won't Do" & comment (below):

Max Alexander
South Thomaston, Maine
February 1st, 2011
11:35 am
This is very similar to what my brother, Whit Alexander, is doing now in Ghana with Burro ( and the subject of my next book, The Gong-Gong Man, due out early next year from Hyperion. His model is also creating a sustainable for-profit business that recruits local villagers as salespeople in a consignment model. His core offering is a rechargeable (NiMH) AA battery that he essentially rents to off-grid villagers, who exchange for fresh at far less than the cost of the throwaway batteries most Ghanaians use. The batteries are charged by Burro at a central grid location. They are used in flashlights, radios and proprietary cell phone chargers that Burro also sells. Unlike solar devices, which are expensive and don't work optimally during the rainy season, Burro's batteries are extremely versatile and always provide plenty of power. His latest product is a battery-powered lantern he developed in partnership with Greenlight Planet that provides as much light as kerosene hurricane lamps at one-fifth the cost, without the danger and odor. You can learn more at Burro's website or my own blog related to my upcoming book (

Burro. Do More.


About Us

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Contact Us

Contact Us

Burro, LLC
Seattle, Washington
Whit Alexander, Founder

Burro Brand Ghana Ltd.
PO Box KF721
Hospital Road (near Market Street, green office)
Koforidua, Eastern Region, Ghana
Posted by catherine todd at 2/02/2011 01:12:00 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Labels:, rechargable lantern, rechargeable battery service