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Been a week, and already behind.

August 22, 2008

Technically, I have the weekend before we’ve had a week. I should still have more posts by now. My intention is not only to document my design process, but also keep it interesting and post any tutorials I use when working on my photoshop//illustrator skills this year (an ongoing process that started over the summer). Too often I throw a board together at the last minute because I have to have one for a presentation, my goal by the end of the semester is to be spending days on the pinup boards, not only worrying about ‘content’ (the important stuff), but looking at the board as a continuation of the project, the advertising for it, if you will. It doesn’t matter if I have a great project and a stellar model if I can’t pin up a board behind it that looks just as good… Working on that as well as sketching, 3d modeling, and all that jazz should keep me busy all summer.

In an effort to be environmentally friendly, we will now conserve blog posts and continue talking on a completely different topic.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve laughed at the “pop” Green movement – frankly, a large portion of it drives me up and down walls. to put my pet peeves in a nice neat list…

1. Magical Alternative Fuels!

This includes Hydrogen, Electric, and to a lesser extent, biofuel vehicles. every now and then, these come up in the news, touted as the latest and greatest – only thing the masses of people miss about this is there is no such thing as a free lunch. It takes a lot of energy to move a hunk of steel thousands of miles down the road, and there is a reason we use gasoline in the volumes we do – it works. Hydrogen and Electric vehicles have potential, but they still need energy, that comes from somewhere. We can’t drill a hole in the ground into the magical hydrogen pockets that exist under the earth’s surface, so we have to make it. Guess what, you get the same energy out of it that you expend to get the hydrogen in the first place. Woohoo, so much for “Zero Emissions!”. Same with electric, only then you have to worry about Lithium batteries. And don’t get me started on corn-based bio-fuels. Works great when you have lots of cane sugar, but to make a dent in the US fuel infrastructure with corn grown here, we’d be jacking up food prices all over the world.

Not to say I don’t believe there are solutions, they’re just not here yet. I read a story on a bacterium that had been genetically modified to feed on waste (of most sorts, anything the bacteria can feed on), and excrete pure petroleum. Renewable, and eats stuff we’d usually throw away. A step in the right direction. Or, the ideas of using algae and the ocean to grow bio-fuels. Great idea, needs development. Solar cells? One company is beginning to produce reasonably priced solar cells that can be printed on virtually anything – roof shingles, car tops, anywhere you get access to sun. Great idea. And once we’re getting that energy, then Electric or Hydrogen vehicles make sense. Not until then. And, until then, increase in price is good – it changes consumption patterns. Makes people think twice before turning on the car.

(didn’t intend that to go that long, rest will be shorter)

2. Carbon Offset Credits.

What a scam.  Pay some money so your company can look good… “Yes, we’re a horrible company that kills furry animals for our products. but, we punished ourselves by paying somoene money. And, we got this flashy badge that goes on all our products!”

3. Trendy materials. OOh, you’re using plywood made of bamboo. Bamboo is a great idea. Its a step in the right direction. But, just because something is bamboo doesn’t mean its good, and you can use a metric ton of it in your next product that is designed to break in 3 months. And you don’t have to brag about it so much. What is this, an ego contest?

As for good (non)trends in sustainability…

1. Reusability. Yes, this means someone isn’t going to buy another in a week after the first breaks. But, it lasts 10 times as long, that is 1/10th of the materials going into the landfill.

2. Repairability. Imagine you own a car, and the second something snags in the engine, or the oil needs changing. So, you… throw the car away because the numbnut who designed it spec’ed it so the engine compartment is glued down?

3. Glue is evil. I don’t like glue, when a good screw or two will do.

4. Modular. Buy what you need, not what comes packaged in a neat brightly colored box. You can buy less, or more, and if something breaks, you buy a new part and screw it on. All better.

Enough on that, I need to go mow the lawn.

-Bryan

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