Pedal-Powered Grain Mill

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No Tech Reader #44: Tech & Politics

A Seamless Dystopia. [The Nation] “When I was younger, growing up in the rural but rapidly developing small town of my youth, I believed that cities were the place where one could find freedom. The greatest disappointment of my young adulthood has been the discovery that this is not true.” Via Arts&Letters Daily.

Surveilling Alone. [The New Atlantis] “Interpersonal surveillance technologies have rendered us far more visible to each other and given people a sense of security and safety when it comes to protecting their homes and loved ones. But they have not helped rebuild the one thing that human beings need to live together in peace: trust.”

After the Holocene. [Gene Ray] “Rightwing and leftwing “prepping” may share some practices and technics, but no equation between them is possible.”

Torching the Google car: Why the growing revolt against big tech just escalated. [Blood in the machine] “The original Luddites opposed “machinery hurtful to commonality,” not any and all new tech. Today’s self-driving car adversaries seem to be operating on a similar principle.”

The Goba of Ladakh: Current Relevance of a Traditional Governance System. [Vikalp sangam] Indigenous and other local traditional communities in India have had their own systems of local governance, which have informed people’s interaction with fellow community members as well as the rest of nature.

No Tech Reader #43



  • Where have all the websites gone? [from jason] “So when we wonder where all the websites have gone, know it’s the curators we’re nostalgic for because the curators showed us the best the web had to offer once upon a time. And the curators— the tenders, aggregators, collectors, and connectors— can bring us back to something better. Because it’s still out there, we just have to find it.”
  • Songs made directly from sunlight [website]. Via Marie Verdeil.
  • History and environmental impact of digital image formats [Unthinking Photography] “As the ecological footprint of photography shifted from film rolls and developing chemicals to digital storage, network transfer and processing power, I see only three ways to reduce our footprint: making fewer pictures, reducing their quality, or using better image formats. Which of these options do you prefer?” Via Marie Verdeil.
  • In your face [The New Atlantis]. “Digital-device culture is an experiment on a colossal scale, the results of which we have tried to measure in IPOs, quarterly growth rates, engagement metrics, and daily active users, not in human flourishing. But that is where we are incurring the real costs.”
  • The poster’s guide to the internet of the future. [The Verge] “The platform era is ending. Rather than build new Twitters and Facebooks, we can create a stuff-posting system that works better for everybody.”
  • What are analog bulletin boards used for today? [Plos One] “The bulletin board still holds a firm place in a media ecology where local communication is in demand, and exists in parallel with electronic media.”
  • The Anti-Ownership Ebook Economy [Engelberg Center] “Something happened when we shifted to digital formats that created a loss of rights for readers. Pulling back the curtain on the evolution of ebooks offers some clarity to how the shift to digital left ownership behind in the analog world.”




  • A Fence and a Ladder: Subversive Acts of Everyday Urbanism at Home. [2021 AIA/ACSA Intersections Research Conference: COMMUNITIES] “This paper documents and examines the power of an informal, spontaneous, low-tech spatial gesture: a ladder built to straddle a fence between two properties. The ladder was built in order to give the children in the neighboring backyards a way to traverse the boundary easily, without the need for permission and without the risk of climbing and falling or cutting themselves.”


Life Cycle Assessment of 2022 Laptop

Laptop manufacturer Framework commissioned Fraunhofer IZM to do a detailed life cycle analysis on their Framework Laptop 13, which is designed to be upgradeable, repairable, and customizable. The functional unit used in the study is the use of this notebook over 5 years. Although the laptop is modular and repairable, no product failure and thus no repair was assumed. The configuration was assumed to include 16 GB of memory, 256 GB of storage, and two expansion cards with USB-A and USB-C connectors.

Unfortunately, the researchers only calculate the environmental footprint of the laptop in terms of global warming potential and resource depletion, not energy consumption. Nevertheless, the study is interesting for its detailed breakdown of components, with the display and the electronic circuits responsible for the largest environmental damage. The total impact for the Framework Laptop is estimated to be 200 kg CO2e. Almost 70% of this is due to the production phase.

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Untangling the Mystery of the World’s First Rooftop Solar Panel

“In 1909, inventor George Cove posed in front of an early rooftop solar panel of his own design for a photograph. One hundred and ten years later, the resulting image was reprinted in the official journal of the US’ most prestigious research institute – but Cove was nowhere to be seen.

Using a range of sources such as newspaper archives and historic city maps, Bellingcat sought to establish the seeming mystery of Cove’s ‘disappearance’ from the photograph. This analysis of archival material from the pioneering days of solar energy tells a cautionary tale about the ease of misattributing historic photos.”

Read more: Untangling the Mystery of the World’s First Rooftop Solar Panel. Foeke Postma, Bellingcat, August 2023. Image by Bellingcat.

Heating Babies, not Spaces

“A rather charming seat on wheels. The little pot underneath is filled with burning peat to keep baby’s feet warm.” Quoted from: The people of Holland, by Nico Jungman, 1910. Thanks to Joe. Previously: Restoring the old way of warming: heating people not spaces.