Shared Prosperity, Common Wealth, National Equity and a Citizen's Dividend: Nirit Peled takes a look at social experiments in basic incomes for VPRO Tegenlicht, a Dutch public television documentary series. Starting with a German crowdfunded UBI chosen by raffle -- kind of like the opposite of Le Guin's Omelas (or Shirley Jackson's Lottery in reverse) -- the focus moves on to Albert Wenger who wants to disconnect work from income not only as automation progresses but to accelerate the process. Then it's on to Guy Standing who has conducted basic income experiments in India and Namibia (pdf) and is trying to get one off the ground in Groningen (Utrecht apparently is also a go). Finally, a stop in Alaska to ask some of its residents about their views on the state-owned Permanent Fund. This last part brings to mind the question: just what is wealth anyway? [more inside]
The Canal des Deux Mers connected the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, the Zuiderzee Works reclaimed part of shallow inlet of the North Sea to expand the Netherlands, so why not try taming the Mediterranean and irrigating Africa? Part ocean reclamation, part power generation (the "white coal" of falling water), Atlantropa wasn't simply the stuff of science fiction. First called Panropa, it was the long-term goal of a German architect and engineer named Herman Sörgel, a dream that lasted until his death in 1952, and the Atlantropa Institute continued on another 8 years. [more inside]
Braindriver is a car that allows you to steer, accelerate and decelerate with nothing more than the faint electrical signals generated by the brain.
Escape and other tools made by inmates in German prisons, from the photographer Marc Steinmetz. My favorite is the functional battery-powered shotgun, although the hand-made toaster is a testament to the love of a decent breakfast. via.
Trashtalking - German Style. Forget talking dolls, Berlin's speechifying its trash cans to thank pedestrians after they dump their litter. But is it appropriate to have immaterial things tell you how to use them? [More Inside]
To lessen the clutter on their dashboard, a German auto manufacturer has put in a data screen and command input device that allows the driver to control 700 different aspects of their driving experience (including Navigation, Communication, Car Data, and Settings). More interestingly, there's an undocumented feature in the high-tech control system -- Press the right buttons in the right order and the car will launch you from a stop after revving the engine to 5,000 rpm... at least it will if you're in Europe, where performing the trick more than 15 times voids the car's warranty. Cars sold here in the US will only rev to 1,500 rpm. Supposedly, this is the first example of an Automotive Easter Egg.