Steampunk Magazine #5

Steampunk magazine

“Warning: The following procedure involves extremely hot fires, potentially dangerous fumes, and molten pools of liquid ranging up to 2,000 degrees F and beyond. You will burn at a much, much lower temperature than that, and your lungs are fragile things”. The fifth issue of Steampunk Magazine online.

Macho pedal power

Hennepin Crawler 5

Maybe artists and fantasy are a better foothold for the future than engineers and high-tech. The pedal powered Hennepin Crawler is capable of both street and railroad track cruising and can seat four people. It is comprised of approximately 90% recycled materials and has a sex appeal that can rival that of a Porsche or a Land Rover. Via Make 17. Related: Cycle Chics. More on railcars. More low-tech cars.

Temporocentrism

“A popular misconception exists that the builders of the pyramids or the cave painters of prehistory were somehow less intelligent than we are. This simply isn’t true – there is no evidence that the human brain has evolved at all in the last fifty thousand years at least. Modern people are merely benefiting from thousands of years of accumulated knowledge and experimentation, not from increased intellect. (…). This idea is part of a mistaken view of history best described as temporocentrism – the belief that our own time is the most important and represents a “pinnacle” of achievement. The temporocentric view is a hangover from nineteenth-century ideas of progress. (…). It is a kind of racism, in which our ancestors are looked down on simply because they lived in the past.”

Quoted from: Ancient Inventions, Peter James and Nick Thorpe (Amazon link).

Beyond Utopia

Beyond utopia 2

The Venus Project advocates an alternative vision for a sustainable new world civilization: “Many people believe that there is too much technology in the world today, and that technology is the major cause of our environmental pollution. This is not the case.”

Carville & Carzonia

Carzonia2

In the 1850s and 60s transit companies used horses to pull railcars on San Francisco streets. When the beasts gave way to progress in the form of cable cars and electric streetcars, the companies sought to dump the obsolete rolling stock. The Market Street Railway Company even placed a newspaper advertisement offering horse cars for $20 (without seats only $10). The result: Carville & Carzonia.

Who needs a Prius?

bathtub car

Source: Popular Science, May 1960

Technofix

“Why has energy conservation through lifestyle change – arguably the single easiest and most cost effective option we have on hand in dealing with the end of the age of cheap oil – been entirely off the political and cultural radar screens since the end of the 1970s, so much so that most of those who have noticed that we’re running out of cheap abundant energy have framed the issue entirely in terms of finding some technical gimmick that will let us keep on living the way we live now?” Read.

Stop recycling. Start repairing.

The repair manifesto

Here. (Hat tip to Sally)

A rising tide of ocean debris

Ocean debris

The Marine Debris Index presents state-by-state and country-by-country data about marine debris collected and tallied by volunteers around the world on one day each September at the International Coastal Cleanup. Almost 7 million pounds of trash (3 million kg) was collected. (via). Related: fishing for litter – the dustcarts of the sea.

The battle of the bowlturners

Man versus machine (video). Traditional bowl turner Robin Wood on his foot powered lathe races a friend on an electric lathe to see who can make a bowl fastest. Related: the museum of old techniques.