Daily Archives: May 30, 2007

Save the Books

May 30th, 2007 | by Philip Proefrock

Kansas City StarPhoto Credit: Kansas City StarA bookstore in Kansas City has a huge glut of books in its warehouse. There are books that have gone unsold for more than a decade. Copies of books that had huge print runs, but now no one wants. Books that are decades old. Books that are in foreign languages. And, unfortunately for the store's owner, books that are not selling.

The owner has decided that the best way of dealing with this problem is to burn the books. So he loaded up a cauldron in front of his store and burned a pile of books in what he saw as a protest against what he sees as, "society's diminishing support for the printed word." But this isn't necessary at all, there are a number of online services that facilitate the exchange of books (as well as a range of other things). One of these, Paperback Swap, has begun an online petition to save the books and is offering to collect all the books from the store's warehouse, and then distribute them to people for free on a road trip from Kansas City to the company's hometown of Atlanta. This seems to be a much greener way of dealing with the glut.

Weekly DIY: Pedal-Powered Clothes Washer

May 30th, 2007 | by Philip Proefrock

<p><img src="/files/images/saladspinner.jpg" border="0" alt="Homeless Dave" width="240" height="195" />Image Credit: Homeless DaveSome people looking to reduce their home power use may be interested in alternatives to the typical clothes washer and dryer. While the washer and dryer aren't the appliance with the biggest energy budget in the typical household (that distinction belongs to the refrigerator), an opportunity to save energy here may be something to consider. </p><p>The dryer is the easy part. A clothesline is about the simplest, cheapest alternative to a clothes dryer you can find. But the washer is harder. Hand-washing clothes is a difficult task. And wringer washers are a hand-operated option, but they aren't very efficient. A bicycle powered clothes washer is a more efficient, and much more ambitious project. While it's not likely that most of you will rush out to build one of these for yourselves, it offers a wonderful insight into how far you can take DIY if you are inclined to.</p><p>The pedal-powered washer was designed and built by <a href="http://www.homelessdave.com/abouttt.htm">Homeless Dave</a> (who is not really homeless, but whose real name <em>is</em> Dave), a local advocate for community and for human-powered tools in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His website, <a href="http://www.homelessdave.com/totterhome.htm">Teeter Talk</a>, features interviews with &quot;folks from Ann Arbor ... Detroit ... and beyond&quot; which are conducted on a teeter-totter in his back yard.</p>



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