small-is-beautiful

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The upcoming tiny house documentary film Small is Beautiful has proclaimed itself to be “not about tiny house porn”…      …but apparently there is some serious book porn in their promo video for these indie notebooks. The process short-film is repleat with sultry syncopation by a 60 year old letter press, an offset print press and other cool vintage industrial items which form a backdrop for the warm smiles of independent artist Melissa Rachel Black and master publisher Ellery Harvey of Scout Books as they wax passionate about their processes. So, if you like process short-films you may dig it.

…cycling sits in an alternative future even as current conditions occlude it. Cycling here is importantly symbolic. If in the present people have lost control of their bodies, homes and lives, in the cycling future they retake control of those bodies, take back those homes from the car, and reassert autonomy over those lives. The thought of cycling gives people a sense that things, and most importantly they themselves, could be different. Cycling’s power is as the pivot around which life rotates away from a darker towards a brighter future. (Thinking about Cycling)

Picture: Mona Caron, “Two Worlds” 

The way in which we experience and interpret the world obviously depends very much indeed on the kind of ideas that fill our minds. If they are mainly small, weak, superficial, and incoherent, life willl appear insipid, uninteresting, petty and chaotic. It is difficult to beat the resultant feeling of emptiness, and the vacuum of our minds may only too easily be filled by some big, fantastic notion - political or otherwise - which suddenly seems to illuminate everything and to give meaning and purpose to our existence. It needs no emphasis that herein lies one of the great dangers of our time.
—  EF Schumacher, small is beautiful
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Small Is Beautiful | April Anson interview

Small is Beautiful is a feature length documentary currently in production. The film is directed by Jeremy Beasley and will be released worldwide in 2014. via

View a Slideshow and a feature on April’s story in The HuffPo

Follow April’s ongoing project on her blog

The keynote of Buddhist economics, therefore, is simplicity and non-violence. From an economist’s point of view, the marvel of the Buddhist way of life is the utter rationality of its pattern — amazingly small means leading to extraordinarily satisfactory results.

For the modern economist this is very difficult to understand. He is used to measuring the ‘standard of living’ by the amount of annual consumption, assuming all the time that a man who consumes more is ‘better off’ than a man who consumes less. A Buddhist economist would consider this approach excessively irrational: since consumption is merely a means to human well-being the aim should be to obtain the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption. Thus, if the purpose of clothing is a certain amount of temperature comfort and an attractive appearance, the task is to attain this purpose with the smallest possible effort, that is, with the smallest annual destruction of cloth and with the help of designs that involve the smallest possible input of toil. The less toil there is, the more time and strength is left for artistic creativity. It would be highly uneconomic, for instance, to go in for complicated tailoring, like the modern west, when a much more beautiful effect can be achieved by the skilful draping of uncut material. It would be the height of folly to make material so that it should wear out quickly and the height of barbarity to make anything ugly, shabby or mean. What has just been said about clothing applies equally to all other human requirements. The ownership and the consumption of goods is a means to an end, and Buddhist economics is the systematic study of how to attain given ends with the minimum means.

—  E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful

The ankle exo, as they call it, is stunningly simple: It acts as an auxiliary calf muscle, using little more than a straightforward spring and a mechanical ratchet that either tightly or loosely grips that spring, depending on the motion of your walking foot. Wearing the ankle exo decreases the energy a person expends when walking by 7 percent.

[…]The design is so basic, Collins says, that it’s not too farfetched to imagine someone in the age of the Wright brothers, 100 years ago, inventing something similar—if they’d had the biomechanical knowledge and insight. Granted, the 1-pound ankle exo uses carbon fiber, which wasn’t around in 1903. “But I suppose one could get a similar performance if you had a craftsman or really skilled artisan working with lightweight wood,” Collins says. As for the ratchet in the ankle exo, “we use these complicated shapes that are really best suited for CNC machines, but if you knew what you were doing, I suppose you could manufacture that 100 years ago as well.”

Source: Popular Mechanics via ekstasis