How economic embargoes turned Cuba into an island of hackers & DIY engineers. (Accompanying photo essay). In 1991, Cuba's economy began to implode. "The Special Period in the Time of Peace" was the government's euphemism for what was a culmination of 30 years worth of isolation. It began in the 60s, with engineers leaving Cuba for America. Ernesto Oroza, a designer and artist, studied the innovations created during this period. He found that the general population had created homespun, Frankenstein-like machines for their survival, made from everyday objects. Oroza began to collect these machines, and would later contextualize it as "art" in a movement he dubbed "Technological Disobedience." See also, the short film: Havana Bikes (previously). Oroza catalogs and calls these things the Architecture of Necessity.
In February, PBS and AOL launched Makers, a video archive containing personal stories and anecdotes told in the first person by women, many of whom have sparked groundbreaking changes in American culture. [more inside]
Parents are a pain. Kids are a pain. But kids have their uses--and sometimes, parents do too. They can build things like a marble track around your room. Or just hire someone to design a pirate ship bedroom for you. Maybe teach you the alphabet in Star Wars. Build a mini catapult for your toys. Turn you into Robocop for Halloween (or the Death Star). Cut snowflakes with you in the winter. If they get tired of pulling you and your sled up that hill, they can rig an engine to do it for them. And who knows, they might inspire you to start building your own projects. [more inside]
Playing Half-Life with a real gun? The magic of drywall, accelerometers, and geeks. (SLYT.) Courtesy of the good people at Waterloo Labs.
The Peace (flag) makers is the story of two hippies with an answer to the question "How to show patriotism, without hawkishness ." The article details their idea and troubles trying to get Peace Flags made.