The Doers Club
September 30, 2009 5:05 PM   Subscribe

TED talk.
posted by ryoshu at 5:08 PM on September 30, 2009

See also the Jua Kali ("hot sun") movement in Kenya. There it tends to be less science nerdy and more oriented towards mechanics and artisans, but it shares a lot of the same concepts of "hacking", finding alternative uses for things, and making due with what you've got to substantially improve your lot in life.
posted by rkent at 5:42 PM on September 30, 2009

This is very cool. It reminds me a little bit of stuff I used to make when I was a kid, though not out of necessity, of course. In fact I still like to do this kind of thing. But I take for granted that I can just go and buy switches and circuit breakers, and wire with insulation on it, rather than having to make these parts myself. To do so, without the right tools or even materials, is just an awesome accomplishment.

But one line in particular really jumped out at me. After describing the incredible process of building an electrical system out of junk, with home made tools, there is this:
"It also allowed neighbors from other villages to stop by and charge their mobile phones. "
I find this to be such an amazing clash of technologies and cultures. To cobble together an electrical system out of such rudimentary parts, to then feed its power into something as complex as a mobile phone, with all the infrastructure supporting it... it's hard to imagine how these can both exist in the same place.
posted by FishBike at 5:47 PM on September 30, 2009

This is incredible. It's people like these who give me hope for the world, seriously.
posted by alon at 6:09 PM on September 30, 2009

I collected Carlsberg beer bottle caps outside the nearby Ofesi Boozing Centre, then pounded them flat and punched a hole through the middle.

That's pretty awesome, and I want to know more about this "boozing centre".
posted by Jawn at 6:45 PM on September 30, 2009

I knew I had seen this here before.
posted by Daddy-O at 6:57 PM on September 30, 2009

Regarding charging cell phones, and other communications issues:
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:05 PM on September 30, 2009

posted by turgid dahlia at 7:08 PM on September 30, 2009

I liked the Doers until Morrison died.
posted by jamstigator at 7:45 PM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Awww, this is great! I love how he literally took us through finding and adapting all of the parts for his windmill.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:13 PM on September 30, 2009

"Recently, several of us started something called the Doers Club, an organization that proposes necessary inventions, then tries to accomplish them... if we could harness even a third of this talent and creativity, Africa wouldn’t have to rely so much on corrupt governments and international aid for assistance"

There's a phrase in engineering society, "technical solution to a social problem." You can invent all these ways to miniaturize and localize technology, but once you try to apply these to making goods for export, these governments again thwart you.
posted by pwnguin at 11:18 PM on September 30, 2009

became lost in discussions of electromagnetism, simple motors and electricity ... I didn’t read English well, so I mainly taught myself these things by studying the pictures and diagrams

This is a testament to the skill of science/engineering diagram illustrators.
posted by anthill at 5:43 AM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

Holy cow, do I ever feel lazy.
posted by fermezporte at 8:26 AM on October 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

Holy cow, do I ever feel dumb. Honestly, I believe electricity is magic.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:52 AM on October 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

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