Author: liamoxley

WARNING: ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE

In a post apocalyptic world how would humanity survive? Zombie powered vertical farms of course…

Zombie-Ranch1-537x283

This was one entry into the Southwest Architectures competition to create a zombie safe house. This Zombie safe house is powered by Zombies to create sustainable crops all year round…. so if you want to survive the Zombie apocalypse support vertical farming now!!

Zombie-Ranch2-537x230Zimmer, L, 2014. Zombie-Powered Vertical Farm keep Inhabitants Safe from Living Dead, Viewed 21st Oct 2014, <http://inhabitat.com/zombie-powered-vertical-farm-leaves-inhabitants-safe-and-well-fed-during-a-zombie-apocalypse/&gt;

How will I Ever Repay You!!! : Student Fees , Government and Future Scenarios

Futuring can be done in many ways, many people do it every day, ” When I finish my degree I will be in this type job, and married by the time im 30″  is an example of an individual futuring there life based of there experience, whether they realize it or not. In my short experience at developing future scenarios ive come to realise that almost everyone you meet will have a different opinion, for example I had recently undertaken a futuring workshop ‘ ‘Valuing Student Voices When Exploring, Creating and Planning for the future of Australian Higher Education’ run by Alexander Crosby. In this workshop we looked at possible scenarios in groups of how the Uni of the future would be, and what i noticed from all the different groups proposed scenarios highly differing views of what the future of education may look like.

From this workshop I found myself looking more closely at the protests and events that have taken form around the Federal Governments proposed reforms to Higher education, particularly the issues that affect me the most:

  • a full deregulation of fees ( Knott, M & Kenny M. 2014)
  •  an average funding cut of 20 per cent for university courses (Knott, M & Kenny M. 2014)

These changes seem to be making it further and further out of reach to get an higher education. As a society in 2014 the HELP Debt has risen to a collective of $30 billion , But even more close to home is that design and art students generaly get paid the lowest rate on graduating at approximately $40,000 PA….(Mcdougall, B & Bodkin, P, 2014) (do you feel like you have chosen the wrong degree yet? then maybe you should keep reading). Personally I have had to rack up so far over $30,000 in debt, which is still rising everyday I try to be a productive and educated member of society. Every Day I feel like my future is becoming more dismal in this economic climate not even to mention future generations.

Design has such power to change the world, but how can we use this to full potential if we are trapped by all this debt? If your trapped by debt all that you are worried about is getting a job to pay the bills rather than changing the world.

From this dilema and the skills I obtained from the futuring workshop I created a set of axis that I believed were going to be the biggest dilema to the future of higher education.

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In the future University fees are inevitably going to increase, while I believe that happens I believe the amount of people  who choose to get a higher education will drop because face it who will want to enter a life time of debt. This result has been proven in the UK where a similar scheme that the Australian Government propose lead to a sharp decrease in enrollments. (Laurence, J, 2013.)

The reason I looked into this is I fear for the future of Australian Universities not only for my near future but for my children as well, they deserve to have an quality education the same as me and equal to the time when most of the politics in power such as Joe Hockey education and sincerely hope my prediction is wrong.

To conclude here is a representation of a student trying to pay back there loan.

(Izquierdo, P, 2014)

Bibliography

Interesting Documentary Showing a Different Perspective on Urban Agriculture

Hey everyone, were mainly focusing on Sydney and vertical gardens but its a great little documentary showing how Agriculture is being incorporated into Casablanca,Morocco which is a culture so different than ours. This Documentary also shows how far the mind set of the general population has come in regards to the perception of urban agriculture

Also check out there Vimeo page which has many other great documentaries and interesting videos to view!

http://vimeo.com/crossdocs

“Buy land. They’re not making it any more.” – Mark Twain

The future for agriculture is a scary one, at this current time we already use roughly enough land for agriculture and livestock equal if not more than the size of South America, and the cold hard truth is that we are running out of land.(Desspommier, D, 2009) In our group project we Proposed vertical Farms would be the main source of Agriculture in 2050, but what is happening today? What kind of new innovations are happening in Design? and how can we make people more aware and active in making the urban environment more self sustainable?. On a Personal Level I felt that the shift of vertical and urban gardens are moving into the mainstream culture of the urban environment, presenting something in such a way it subtly blends into the existing architecture.

benjamin-pawlica-deltaflore-plantable-concrete-tiles-5(Brooks, R, 2013)

This design by Benjamin Pawlics ” Plant-able Tiles is a great interior design solution for the shift of Vertical gardens and or farming within the home, to open peoples minds to the options and possibilities. this is a modular tile system that when looked after properly can grow plants vertically as part of a decoration, or to grow various foods.(Brooks, R, 2013)

But What About Watering?

Watering these plants is easy , in built within these tiles is a drip irrigation system(Brooks, R, 2013), so when you water them it is entirely self contained. These tiles are important because they really bring to light how easy and simple it can be to bring the city to life, and even become somewhat self sufficient.

How do Tiles lead to Large scale Vertical Farming?

Every little step counts, people are never going to just adopt this idea and adapt it on a widespread scale, especially not the conservative liberal party of Australia. Designs like these tiles are extremely important to implant the idea into the mindset of the masses, so when the day does come to propose an entire vertical farming building in Australia the Idea is not so crazy and out there, but now part of the norm.

But where is this Leading to?

If we do adopt vertical farming not only will we have viable source of agriculture in the future but also we will have brought life to our cities and homes, an example of this is the Central Park building across from UTS, the whole city of Sydney is full of cold metals and steel, where this building is natural mixed with the landscape bringing a whole new uplifting dynamic to the city.

What verticle farms exist currently in the world?

The most successful vertical garden in the world is in Japan, This vertical Garden already ships up to 10,000 heads of lettuce a day, it is cost efficient, and most importantly water saving. I think another thing to say about this vertical is that it was constructed in an old converted warehouse… Vertical farms don’t have to have new fancy buildings when were already running out of space, existing buildings can be converted, making the most of space and using less harmful building materials.(Mitchell, B, 2014)

So why Am i blogging about this?

This issue isn’t given enough thought in daily life, we go to the supermarket, we buy food and just expect it to be there day after day, hopefully small designs such as the plant-able tiles will trigger a chain reaction to convert humanity to a more sustainable future, so lets push for these designs, lets rise to the occasion and pave a better future for everyone think sustainably for the continued existence of humanity.

Bibliography

Desspommier, D, 2009. ‘The Rise Of Verticle Farms‘,Scientific American, VOL 301, 80-87.

Brooks, R, 2013. Benjamin Pawlica’s Plantable Tiles Create Endless Green Wall Possibilities, Viewed 20th Oct 2014, <http://inhabitat.com/benjamin-pawlicas-plantable-tiles-create-endless-green-wall-possibilities/&gt;

Mitchell, B, 2014. The Worlds Largest Indoor Farm Produces 10,000 Heads of Lettuce a Day in Japan, Viewed 21st Oct 2014, <http://inhabitat.com/the-worlds-largest-indoor-farm-produces-10000-heads-of-lettuce-a-day-in-japan/&gt;

10 signs that Your Falling in Love with your mobile device

10 signs

If you feel like these apply to you it may be very possible that you could fall in love with a self aware operating system, similar to the movie HER. A brief overview of the movie is the main character Theodore Twombly has recently gone through a divorce and feels all alone in the world in his stage of life, he then tries a new operating system that is the worlds first self aware operating system,Samantha, and through a series of events and conversations they fall in love where Samantha learns new emotions and experiences, in the end Samantha becomes to self aware and moves beyond the physical world with the other OS’s.

The story is as important as the world that the movie builds, the world is no longer co collaborative, for example the job that Theodore is employed to do is to write letter for people to their loved ones, showing a massive gap in personal connection and interaction. most scenes of the movie show people staring or talking to their devices, but no one is talking to each other, the whole movie builds up a distopian future of technology where only limited social interaction between humans is in existence. Its not all bad though, through the character Theodore, you realize that there is no substitute for human emotions and connection, and that there is something missing even if you your operating system is self aware and mimics human behaviors and thoughts.

The strange thing is that the concept of HER is not a huge leap into the future, the technology , yes but the concept of falling in love with a digitized world is current and gaining momentum, one example is a Japanese man marrying an avatar in a virtual world(Lah, K, 2009) , and even a man pushing the US government to allow his right to marry his laptop(Robinson, W, 2014), yes i know what your thinking’ yer but those people are weird’ but think about it when human interaction hypothetically becomes extinct, and computers could become self aware?

so my question is…. do you really love your device? no but REALLY love your device?

As you can see this man is quite serious about marrying his laptop… even comparing his case to that of “gay Rights” which seems just grossly wrong but shows how it is the beginning of an era where people are becoming way to attached to their mobile devices. Another way people have intimate relationships with their devices are Virtual Online Weddings (VirtualVOW 2014)…. I couldn’t decide whether this was marrying there computer or someone else…. I believe c this is still taking the human contact out of the relationship and I believe when you do take out the human contact in any circumstance completely you no longer are intimate with a fellow human being your in love with the virtual world instead.

Bibliography

Toaster Project : Or a Heroic Attempt to Build a Simple Electric Appliance from Scratch

The final Product

What is the toaster project? The toaster project follows Thomas Thwaites exploration of his project to reverse engineer a simple cheap toaster by sourcing, mining and manufacturing the materials himself, but the journey proved to be much more problematic and complicated as first predicted.

I believe that the Toaster Project  is a unique vessel in which we can track the age of the Anthropocene (Latour, B. 2013) , where by following Thwaite’s journey of sourcing materials , mining them by hand and reconstructing them by learning how manufacture them at home highlights how we are moving towards the age of Anthropocene and that humanity as a collective have brought upon this new epoch(Latour, B. 2013).

Throughout Thwaites journey we discover how difficult something as seemingly simple as a toaster is to reconstruct, and how much of an impact these items have on the environment we inhabit. The deconstruction of the toaster revealed that there were over 157 individual parts and then within those parts contained “bits” which were calculated to have contained over 404 different parts, further more each of these bits were difficult to deconstruct as they contained different types of plastic, copper etc which Thwaites believe were over 37 different materials (Thwaites,T, 2011).

Deconstructed Toaster

Deconstructed Toaster

from this discovery thwaites (not having his whole life for this project) chose the most important and similar items from the toaster by grouping them into items that have similar materials not worrying about slight differences, and in the end chose:

  • Steel
  • Mica
  • Plastic
  • Copper
  • Nickel

Each of these materials had there challenges but I will talk about the ones I felt showed the biggest impact on the environment and were more suited to the concept of Anthropocene most within this project which are plastic and copper.

theToasterProject_630_photoCredit-NickBallon

Plastic is of course one of the ultimate symbols of mass production it can be found from toys to water bottles, but is also distinctly renowned for being almost impossible for the earth to break down and highly contaminates our environment. There are many different types of plastic but the main plastic used is called polypropylene and is explored by Thwaites in this project.

Plastic is basically made from the lightest molecules in crude oil, but this proved a problem as crude oil is difficult to get, and the process of making it into plastic is highly dangerous and explosive (Thwaites,T, 2011). Thwaites went through much trouble to create the plastic, but the final way Thwaites made plastic was really interesting, as it has a huge impact on our environment, the basic principal of this plastic was based on the concept of Anthropocene where future geologists without knowledge of our civilization would notice sharp changes in the strata of rock laid down today and be able to detect a mass extinction (human Existence) event that would cause many fossils of species to simply disappear. This would then cause the earth to be more radioactive and contain different substances such as plastic embedded in the earth (Thwaites,T, 2011).

Thwaites on that note then went to a recycling plant in Manchester called Axion Recylcing that are specialists in plastic recycling, which interestingly enough was created to try and deal with the mountain of garbage the mass production of products such as a toasters creates. Thwaites went here to mine this new age “rock” that is produced by the new epoch of Anthropocene (Thwaites,T, 2011) and then melted it down to create his final plastic toaster cover.

Creating the final plastic toaster cover.

Creating the final plastic toaster cover.

Copper was very important because It explored the way in which the mining of the substance and mining in general has in fact made the earth and or the water that runs through it toxic and contains aresnic, lead and most importantly copper. Almost all mines that have water flow through them have this acidic water (TED, 2010), and the best example of this toxic run of is the “Rio Tinto” river in Spain which is so toxic nothing but bacteria can live there. The river in Spain is the produce of over 5000 years of mining in the area by Rio Tinto.(Bordenstein, S, 2013) It’s companies like Rio Tinto that need to be more “Earthbound” and to realise that we are heading towards the age of the Anthropocene.(Latour, B. 2013)

The "Rio Tinto"

The “Rio Tinto”

By this process Thwaites visited a copper mine and to give context to the “Rio Tinto” the water that Thwaite’s collected from the old copper mine had enough copper in it to extract and use to cast his copper plugs. (TED, 2010).

Toaster on display ( put into context)

Toaster on display ( put into context)

In the end the toaster sat proudly on the shelf with the rest of the mass produced items. I think this project was really interesting and there is so much to talk about it, but i preferred to go into detail about the most important parts when referring to Anthropocene. I have learnt a lot about Anthropocene throughout this blog post and have  much better grasp of the concept.

Reference:

Bordenstein, S, 2013. Rio Tinto – Spain, Viewed 5th August 2014, <http://serc.carleton.edu/microbelife/topics/riotinto/index.html&gt;

Latour, B. 2013, ‘Telling friends from foes at the time of the anthropocene,’ Lecture prepared for the
EHESS-Centre Koyré- Sciences Po symposium “Thinking the Anthropocene” Paris, 14th-15th,

TED, 2010,Thomas Thwaites: How I built a toaster from scratch, video recording, viewed 5th August 2014, <http://www.ted.com/talks/thomas_thwaites_how_i_built_a_toaster_from_scratch&gt;.

Thwaites,T, 2011. The Toaster Project, or, A heroic attempt to build a simple electric appliance from scratch, New York : Princeton Architectural Press, 2011.