Monday, March 31, 2008

Zero House!

SuperForester Jon sent us word over the weekend of something great. Thanks to Jon and inhabitat for the tip!

This little beauty is the Zero House from Specht Harpman, a New York and Austin based architecture firm.

So, you order the Zero House, it gets assembled in a day. Yes, one day.

As soon as it is put together, the Zero House instantly goes to work for you. It generates its own power via high-efficiency solar panels on the roof. It collects and stores rainwater for drinking, bathing, and washing up. Finally, it stores and composts all of its waste, delivering two loads of rich fertile compost per year for your gardening pleasure.

Best of all? All of the systems contained within the Zero House are customizable and communicate directly with your PC. So you can monitor and adjust anything from your living room with your MacBook.

It's basically a living thing. Ooooh! That's a good slogan!

Zero House: "It's a Living Thing."

Get it? Cause it's for living in, but it's almost alive?

Ladies and Gentlemen, the gauntlet has been thrown down.

All homes in the future must be self-sustaining, and the Zero House shows us that sustainability and sleek modern design are not exclusive, they are inevitable. Now we want Zero Car, Zero cellphone, Zero Television, Zero Hotel, Zero Breakfast, Zero Magazine, Zero Happy Meal, Zero Movie Theater.


Call Specht Harpman:

338 West 39th Street
New York, New York 10018

Beg them for a Zero House of your own.

Love to all,

Team SuperForest

Jon Penn: Network Admin

“This is kind of a small school, and I’m known as the computer whiz,”

This is Jon Penn.
Jon attends Victory Baptist School, a small private school in Millbrook, Ala.

Like most schools, Victory Baptist has a computer lab, and like most schools, the computer lab is under-funded and under-staffed. In fact, the school had just lost its IT systems overseer, and Jon's mother Paula, the school librarian, had been asked to take over the computer lab, adding to her already busy schedule.

That's where Jon stepped in.

At the ripe old age of eleven, Jon rolled up his shirtsleeves and got down to business. In Victory Baptist's old computer lab Jon cleared out mountains of spyware and viruses, installed filtering software, cleaned up hard drives, pulled unnecessary sound and video cards, worked a deal with Microsoft to update the computers, and found time to teach computer classes, in addition to the normal day to day of being eleven.

Read the fuller story here: Jon Penn @

Jon, you're an inspiration.

Keep up the good work.

Happy Monday!

Good Morning All,

Just a short reminder to have a great day today: Monday, March 31st.
Boy, the year is really flying by!

Love to all,

Team SF

Friday, March 28, 2008

Genius Chimpanzee: The Saga

These are but a few of the many incredible adventures of Genius Chimpanzee and his helpful dog, James.

Obama in 30 Seconds is having a contest. Make a 30 second commercial that best defines Barack Obama and you could win some swag.

Mas details here: Obama in 30 Seconds.

Making things is fun!

Have good weekending.

Sweded Tron!

According to,

"To Swede: Noun. Re-making something from scratch using whatever you can get your hands on."

We happily present - Sweded Tron

Tron: The Sweded Remake This lightcycle scene from Tron has to be the best sweded version of a film in the entire history of sweded films.

Darn fine!

We love the endless possibility of the internet.

Have a great weekend!

-Team SF

Ken Lee!

This made me laugh so hard, I can't not put it up.

And the follow up:

Look how happy people are to sing along with her! Amazing.
Some might think they were laughing at her, but I don't think that's the case.
She has created something both beautiful and unusual, and people recognize that and want to participate. That is great.

Check the wiki entry: Ken Lee

Second Life (For My Shoes)

Hello All,

Jackson here.

I am truly at my unhappiest when I have to throw things away. Coffee filters, magazines, egg shells, anything. I always think: there goes something that could've been something.

With that in mind, I want to tell you about Best Shoe Repair.

Best Shoe Repair sits on 8th Ave. betwixt 20th and 21st St.

The good, hard-working people at Best Shoe Repair took my ancient New Balances, so old they were basically ghost shoes, and totally revived them.

Now, unfortunately I didn't have the foresight to take a "before" picture, but here's the "after":

Old on the top.

New on the bottom!

Not only did they fix my shoes, they super-fixed them with hard-core, city-stompin', hiking boot soles! Blammy!

Now my little New Balances will easily last me another five years, and you know what I'll do when they wear out again?

Take them right back to:
Best Shoe & Leather Repair
203 8th Ave, New York, NY
(212) 645-2902

Thanks guys for fixing my shoes!

Plastic's Fantastic!: In Defense of the Plastic Take-Out Container

Hey Y'all!

Jackson here.
I did the dishes last night, and when I was done, I saw something that made me stop and think.

Here are the nice, clean dishes:

What gave me pause was the fact that 95 percent of what I washed, let dry and put away, was plastic take-out containers. There they were. I had just spent twenty minutes, plus soap and hot water, essentially washing trash.

Why had I done this? Why waste my time?

Here's why:

Plastic is great. It lasts a really long time. My fiancee and I use those tossable containers all the time.

We use them to store food in. The lids make great little saucers for underneath our plants. Heck, the containers themselves are excellent for growing things in.

I mix paint in them. I use them when I give the dog a bath. Now that I think about it, I use them constantly.

It's all about perception.

isn't bad. We're just not using it well.

If it isn't going to biodegrade in a thousand years, don't make disposable things out of it. Make the things you want to last for a thousand years.

It says a lot about our society that we make our houses out of wood, and our disposable cutlery out of plastic. One is going to last a lot longer than the other.

I know that plastic can off-gas, but you know what? Off-gassing from my containers is the least of my worries. I think a lot more about the way I treat the people and things around me than I do about phthalate levels. To be honest, I think more about King Kong vs. Godzilla than I do about phthalates.

And you can make plastic out of many other things besides fossil fuels. Corn, soy, hemp, anything that produces either oil or cellulose can be coaxed into becoming plastic.

We just need to shift our perception a bit and all will be well.

Remember: Change is not a hair-shirt exercise. It can be as thrilling and exciting as the best party you've ever attended. And that's the way it should be.

So cherish your plastic containers. Give them the chance and they can serve you well for a long, long, time.

Give plastic a chance.



American Furry - Life, Liberty, and the Fursuit of Happiness

(photo via hwayoungjung on flickr)

Over on BoingBoing they've got a trailer up for a yet-to-be-released documentary called American Furry - Life, Liberty, and the Fursuit of Happiness.

Firstly, what is a Furry?

The simple answer: A human who enjoys dressing up as an animal (cartoon or otherwise.)

Okay, so you're a normal person, with a normal job, normal life, etc. but deep inside of you, you know that you can never be truly yourself unless you are dressed as a giant ox, or a lion, or a fox. Fabulous, you are a furry.

Marianne Shaneen is a Brooklyn filmmaker who has spent the last few years getting to know the furries. The crux of the documentary seems to be: it's not about sex, it's not about humiliation, it's about being true to yourself and letting your freak flag fly. If you feel misunderstood, find a way to let people understand. Fascinating.

Here's the site: American Furry.

This is so great. Be yourself. Have fun. Find others like you and get to know them. Find those who share your dreams and aspirations. Wonderful things to hear.

When you're a furry, the world is your scratching post.

Be excellent to each other. You never know who might come to your rescue.

Love to All,

Team SF

Yay!: US to Propose CO2 Emissions Rules!

Good Morning All,

This was on Reuters this morning:

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration, which has resisted regulating carbon dioxide emissions, this spring will propose rules that could affect everything from vehicles to power plants and oil refineries, the top U.S. environmental official told Congress on Thursday.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson said the agency will issue proposed rules "later this spring" on "the specific effects of climate change and potential regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary and mobile sources."

Sweet. Big changes in the ever sweeter-smelling wind.

Here's the article: CO2 Rules

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Remember: You are a Citizen

If you think of just one thing today, make sure it's this:

You are not a consumer.

You are a

What's the difference?

These are consumers.

(image via safetydance on flickr)

These are citizens.

Consumers are helpless, dependent, frenzied.
Citizens are capable, individualistic, unafraid.

Be a citizen.

Love to all,

Team SuperForest

Inspiring Site:

(image via

Take an average car, customize it so that it is far more aerodynamically efficient, and congratulations, you've just ecomodded!

Ecomodding, (or aeromodding) just got it's own site: is a site dedicated to both the D.I.Y. spirit and high fuel efficiency. Both very patriotic things these days.

Check out the above car, which is a run of the mill Honda Civic. The owner ecomodded it and it went from 35 mpg to over 70 mpg! Whoah! Slaps some panels here and there and double your cars efficiency? Why aren't car makers doing that?

Looks like it's a job for good ol' American know how. Private citizen style.

Fascinating threads and topics, ranging from the ageless "clutch or no clutch?" dillema to the fact that Honda motors spin the opposite direction to others, and how to engineer around that.

And check out some of these early aerodynamic designs, some from as early as the 30's!

1939 Lincoln Zephyr

1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt

1947 Tatra T87

60 percent of the fuel used during driving is just for pushing the car through the air. Reduce the drag and you increase both the speed and fuel efficiency. It's a very old idea. Luckily, the good ideas have a tendency to float back to the surface of the public consciousness, like rich, delicious cream. Hooray for Meritocracy!

The New Hotness: Free!

Ooooooh! You know what's so hot right now?


It seems that there is money to be made in giving things away for free. We're not sure how exactly, something to do with page clicks or banner ads or something, but the point is that the cost of good and services, especially online services is dwindling, and in many cases, that dwindling means that things are completely free.

Gmail: Free
Youtube: Free
Wikipedia: Free Free
Slashdot: Free
Fandango: Free
Skype: Free

And now we've got two more runners in the "give it away, give it away, give it away now" race.

Photoshop and South Park.

Unlikely bedfellows, we know.

Check it:

(image via ars technica)
Ars Technica - "Photoshop now free"



Seriously, go to South Park Studios and watch every episode from every season, streaming instantly, when and where you want it.

Free! All for free!

What's next?

Free cars? Free houses? Free clothes?

Where will it all end?

We're excited to find out!

(Solar) Power to the People.

Good Morning All!

The NY Times has a great article online about the ever-cheapening cost of solar panel installation. Seems the companies that install solar panels have figured out a novel way to cut down on the cost to the homeowners.

Read it here: NYtimes "Pay for the Panels, Not the Power"

Some of the highlights:

"Some 148 megawatts of solar capacity came online in 2007, up 46.5 percent from the 101 megawatts installed the previous year, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, a Washington trade group." A nearly 50 percent increase! Great. We wonder what the numbers for 08 will be.

"California’s Million Solar Roofs program includes incentives that could translate into an $8,000 rebate for a typical home solar system. New Jersey’s solar incentive program has been so popular — the state went from six solar installations in 2001 to 2,712 at the end of 2007 — that it has run out of money. It is moving from cash rebates to rebates in the form of certificates that can be bought and sold to help companies meet required emission reduction levels."

Yay solar! From six installs in 01, to 2,712 in 07? We like those numbers.

Power, and where you get it, is one of the defining issues of our lives. Any steps towards decentralization are positive steps.

Power plant goes down, no power for all.

One power node goes down, the others take up the slack. Minty!

After all, there's only one person who should be controlling the power you use, and that person is you.

Power to the people, for the people, by the people.

Have a great day.

Love to all,

Team SuperForest

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dinner With Barack

"Make a donation to Barack Obama's campaign in any amount between now and 11:59 pm EDT on Monday, March 31st, and you could join Barack and three other supporters for an intimate dinner for five."

Thanks to swissmiss for the heads-up.

Oh yeah! And don't forget to..

Inspiring Website:!

SuperForester Severine just told us about an amazing website:
This quote from their site explains everything:

"London 1909: average speed of horse and cart = 7mph
London 1999: average speed of motorists = 6mph"

Cars in the city are slow, smelly, and loud. AGoToB connects you with ways to get around quickly, efficiently, and improve your environment at the same time. No gasoline involved.

Take your pick! You want people-powered? All electric? A mix of both?

Here's the main menu, you just click on an icon. is UK-based it seems. We need something like this in the USA!

Is anyone in the US doing this?

Anyway, a great site.

Mongolian Felt Making!

Good Afternoon All!

Wow, we've become obsessed with felt!

Having written about Stephanie Metz spurred us to inquire more, and that led us to the wealth of info online about felt and how one makes it.

Here's our fave so far:


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Inspiring Restaurant: Farmer Brown San Francisco!

Hello All,

SuperForester Nile just alerted us to a wonderful place: Farmer Brown SF.

Farmer Brown is a black-owned and operated restaurant in San Francisco, that, get this, gets all of their produce and meat from biodynamic black-owned and operated local farms. Love it, support it.

Their motto is: "Farm Fresh Soul Food"

Just typing those words gets the mouth watering.

If you are in San Fran and are in need of some great soul food, why not pay a visit to Farmer Brown?

Inspiring Artist: Stephanie Metz

Stephanie Metz is a California sculptor whose medium is wool. Felted wool to be specific.

I saw her work online and was completely enraptured, but I must admit my total ignorance of felt and felt-making, which led to a few very pleasurable hours learning about felt. I digress...

Take a look at her art!

Her stuff is so quality!

Check out her site: Stephanie Metz