Friday, December 11, 2009

GOOD: Design: A New Engine for Society

GOOD just launched a new series with Frog Design on how design can help solve the problems of the next decade. Here is the first article.

TED Talk: Transition to a World Without Oil

In this TED Talk, Rob Hopkins talks about this remarkable and relatively short era we are in the middle of right now called the "petroleum interval" where we've discovered this extraordinary material that contains energy equivalent to 5 weeks of manual labor in a single liter, and we have based our entire way of life around it.

He talks about the fantastic stories told before the era of cheap oil and how these fantasies have become realities in the oil age but we don't appreciate how astonishing these things are. The 7-league boots that take you 21 miles in one stride (easy jet), the magic porridge pot that produces an unlimited amount of porridge with a magic word (wal-mart), and the shoe elves that make shoes while we're asleep (china).

As we are discovering, we will not have oil in perpetuity. For every 4 barrels we consume, we discover one. In the 1930s we were getting 100 units of energy for every unit we put in to extract it. Today, that return is down to 11/1.

He gives a few popular ideas about how we are going to get through this. Some people expect we are going to hit a wall and everything is going to collapse. But our favorite idea as designers is that technology is going to fix everything, that we will side-step the constraints by inventing our way out of the energy crisis.

Regardless, our oil dependency is going to have to change. What Rob proposes as a solution is not sustainability as he once expected, but resilience within individual communities; communities who assess the changes and respond to them resourcefully. Each community's response will look different, but examples of this are local currencies, a parking lot turned into a productive garden, some kind of "plan B." What will we do when we don't have oil as a primary energy resource? Are we going to assume that someone is working on the solution for us or are we creating our own solutions that transition us out of dependency?

This reminds me of Vauban, Germany, which I researched for my branding project, and other eco-cities being proposed globally. They are small-scale ideas of self-sustaining, renewable communities. Our way of life is not permanent and it's an idea that I am quickly getting used to. I'm starting to accept that we may very soon have to let go of some of the things that make us comfortable.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Give Good: Invisible Children stop-motion

I got this little nugget in my email today. I love the mission of Invisible Children but also how well designed their messages are. They have taken it upon themselves to end the 21-year civil war that has been going on in Uganda and are making a huge impact by rallying support from Americans. Their success in gaining support I think has a lot to do with their graphic approach. The experience they create for participants, whether it be online or at the actual rallies is well designed to excite people to help free the victims in Uganda.

Give Good

Friday, December 4, 2009

MX - Project Two Final

I wanted my site to have a section for information about me/contact and a section to view my work. I wanted the sections to have horizontal movement so you could move back and forth between the two. I simulated this by putting each section in horizontal collapsible panels. The portfolio section functions pretty much the way I intended, containing each project in their own accordion panel. Each project will eventually include description information and a series of images.

what I hoped to learn a basic understanding of html and java script so that there would be some interesting movement

formally I wanted the structure of the accordions/navigation to be invisible and for the work to be revealed by making space for it within the navigation. Before this project I could not understand html or CSS styling so everything here is something I learned for this project. The biggest problem I had was being able to apply CSS styles to certain panels. The solution came when I discovered that the order of the CSS styles was the order they were read in, which determined which ones had priority.

I enjoyed working in html. Yay!