On April 26th 1956, a converted World War II tanker, the Ideal-X left the Port of Newark, New Jersey. Five days later, it arrived in Port Houston, Texas, with 58 35-feet (8 feet wide by 8 feet high) containers, along with a regular load of 15,000 tons of bulk petroleum. Malcom McLean had started something big, changing the long tradition of shipping goods on ships. Before that, cargo handling was almost as labor-intensive after World War II as it had been in the mid-1800s. After McLean's innovation, shipping was transformed by this, one of the most important innovations in the global markets of production and trade (Google books preview), though that's not without its complications. [more inside]
"Americans fighting over what is printed on a coffee cup designed by a billion-dollar company to promote conformity sounds like cold German satire: While the world rages on and problems like starvation, a massive refugee crisis, and homelessness remain unfixed, people in America — including an American presidential candidate — are arguing over a red beverage container." Starbucks’s red cup controversy, explained (Alex Abad-Santos, Vox)
Containership’s Structure Visually Flexing in Heavy Seas — Underdeck time lapse video (16x normal speed) of the 294 meter MOL Excellence as she rolls, pitches, and yaws during a voyage from Tokyo to Los Angeles. Large ships are designed to flex while underway, but when seas get rough they can break like the MOL Comfort on June 17, 2013.
A tale of two shipping containers in photos.
Flags of Convenience allow ship owners to register ships to countries other than their own. More than half of current merchant ships are registered under them. As you might imagine, such a system can lead to abuse. In an op-ed in today's New York Times, Rose George suggests some changes. [more inside]
Urban gardening and agriculture are becoming increasingly important as our world becomes more urbanized. Urban Gardening Help is for those environmentally conscious urban dwellers who want to use hydroponics and other tools to create a green corner devoted to nature in their own home. Urban Gardens looks for innovative and eco-friendly designs, trends, and ideas for the stylish urban home. See, for example, tiny herb gardens, where succulent cuttings come in small packages. Urban Garden Casual works with the constraints of limited-space, light, and micro-climates created from the shadows of neighboring buildings by using unconventional ideas like the garden pouch.
Shipping container architecture. A comprehensive repository of information, links, photos, and videos of shipping containers used as buildings or parts of buildings. More. Even more.
Building with the Intermodal Steel Building Unit: It's cheaper for overseas shippers to dump the containers in the United States rather than return them to their place of origin. Tampa Armature Works with St. Petersburg Neighborhood Housing Services Inc. have started recycling them into affordable, hurricane-resistant housing in St. Petersburg, Florida. Bob Vila was there to document it (flash video). Previously on MetaFilter, a brief history of the steel boxes.
Happy 50th birthday (bugmenot) to "the box that changed the world". (Video interview with the author, here.) On April 26, 1956, Malcolm McLean, a trucker from rural North Carolina, hired a crane to hoist 58 trailer-sized steel cargo boxes onto a refitted oil tanker. This modest experiment would profoundly alter international trade and the global economy, eventually creating the "biggest real-time datastreaming network in the world."