The Chukudu is a cargo scooter built entirely from wood

Image: Lahminewski Lab, CC BY-SA 4.0.

From the Wikipedia page, which summarizes and links to all sources that are available online:

The chukudu is a two-wheeled handmade vehicle used in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is made of wood, and is used for transporting cargo. The chukudu generally has an angular frame, two small wheels (often of wood, sometimes wrapped with rubber), handlebars, and a pad for the operator to place their knee on while propelling the vehicle with their leg. On a descent, the rider stands on the deck like a kick scooter. On flat ground, the rider can put one knee on the deck and push the ground by the other foot like a knee scooter. Rubber mud flaps and shock absorber springs may be added.

In Goma, where chukudus form the “backbone of the local transportation system”, chukudus are made of hard mumba wood and eucalyptus wood, with scrap tires for wheel treads. These chukudus take one to three days to build, and last two to three years. The most commonly used size is about six and one half feet long, and carries a load of 1000 lbs. However, the largest chukudus can carry up to 800 kilograms of weight.

A small chukudu can be built in about three hours, using dimensional lumber and materials available in a hardware store. The chukudu is customizable to carry different types of cargo. To haul firewood some chukudus have a hole drilled in the middle of the sitting deck, and the operator can insert a stick to hold firewood in place. Others have a large basket to carry various loads.

Chukudus image colection.

DIY.

Thanks to Spencer Cappallo.

We believe in Science

Theoretically, science is the contrary of religion because, while the latter is dogmatic, science should be anti-dogmatic, based on rationality and on an objective and empirical methodology. However,… science contributes to create the cultural system whereby we live and that gives meaning to our reality, which is based on some basic assumptions/beliefs: our “faith”.

The core of science has embodied the heritage of Christianity and Hebraism and, in a different way, could be practiced as a religion from many people. For western religions, the past was evil, the present redemption and future heaven. For science the past is ignorance/superstition, the present consists of progress using the tools of science, and the future consists in the positivistic promise of a sort of heaven in the real world.

Quoted from: Aillon, J. L., and M. Cardito. “Health and Degrowth in times of Pandemic.” Visions for Sustainability 14 (2020): 3-23.

Full issue of the magazine (Health and Degrowth Special).

Image by Kārlis Dambrāns – Mobile World Congress 2018, CC BY 2.0.

Drying clothes near the ceiling

“It’s winter in northern Europe, and there’s no electricity. How can you dry your laundry? One of the best places of all is a laundry room in the servants’ quarters of a mansion house. A generous ceiling height means you can have frames for wet clothes and household linen in the warmest, dryest part of the room. The estate handyman would make them, and by the later 19th century he would probably add ropes and a pulley to raise and lower the rack. No need to climb on a chair to hang laundry.”

Read more: Drying clothes near the ceiling, HomeThingsPast.

How to Build a Small Town in Texas

“Of all the questions I get on Twitter the most common is this: ‘How do you build a town?’ We know well how it used to be done, but these last one or two centuries we have forgotten how to do it (with only a handful of notable exceptions during the last century).

The other day I was asked again, but this time with a set of premises that made the question a little easier to approach. I have anonymized all the details but the general idea remains: four guys (friends) with money have bought a suitably large piece of land in Texas and now want to create a car-free human-scaled town of the kind that I am always writing about.

In this text I intend to set out the most bare-bone basic premises for how to start a good town, what is needed to build something anti-fragile and sustainable under the above mentioned scenario.”

Read more: How to Build a Small Town in Texas, Wrath of Gnon, July 2021. [Read more…]

The bicycle friendliness of European railway operators

The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) has released a new report, “Cyclists love trains: An analysis of the bicycle friendliness of European railway operators,” which aims to guide industry and policymakers in identifying ways to improve the combination of two of the most sustainable modes of transport: bikes and trains.

This timely new report analyses and ranks 69 European train companies and services according to six key indicators for combined bike-and-train travel, such as bicycle spaces in trains and the quality of bike ticket or reservation channels. The report’s rankings show that there is much room for improvement in Europe.

Only one train service, NS-DB (Intercity Berlin), which runs between Amsterdam and Berlin, scored in the “excellent” category. Operators that scored in the “good” category in facilitating bike-and-train travel include SNCB/NMBS, SBB, Deutsche Bahn and MÁV-START.

One fourth of the 69 operators and services scored in the “moderate” category, including České dráhy, SNCF and Trenitalia, while the rest perform either “poorly” or “very poorly” on most indicators, including Flixtrain, Greater Anglia, Renfe and Eurostar.

A Design Inquiry into Degrowth and ICT

Roel Roscam Abbing wrote a conference paper about Low-tech Magazine’s solar powered website: ‘This is a solar-powered website, which means it sometimes goes offline’: a design inquiry into degrowth and ICT.” Workshop on Computing within Limits. 2021.

[Read more…]