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John Thackara

Better Lives With Less Stuff [October 2007]


This free monthly newsletter starts conversations on issues to do with design for resilience — and thereby reveals opportunities for action. It also brings you news of Doors of Perception events and encounters. Back issues are now archived on Design Observer. To subscribe to future newletters by John Thackara click here.

BETTER LIVES WITH LESS STUFF - BY DESIGN
I promised not to fill this newsletter with Dott announcements again - but forgive me if I remind you just once more that the Designs of the time (Dott 07) festival runs 16-28 October on the banks of the River Tyne.
http://www.dott07.com/go/festival
http://www.doorsofperception.com/

THING LINKS AND REAL-TIME TRAVEL STATS
A couple of late additions to the "wouldn't it be great if...." Dott 07 debates. Andreas 'Zac' Zachariah will present his dazzling CarbonHero system at the Movement Dilemma debate on 18 October; it calculates the carbon emissions of all your journeys in real time and displays them on your mobile phone. Ulla Maria Mutanen will talk about micro marketing with ThingLink as part of the debate on food systems and cities on Monday 22 October. And we've added Carbon Detectives to the debate on sustainability, schools, and schooling on 23 October; the Carbon Detectives calculator enables 37,000 UK schools to measure their carbon footprints and compare results. Our debate will focus on how best to help schools make their footprints nine times smaller.
http://www.dott07.com/go/dott-07-festival/dott-debates/

TIPPING POINT PUBLISHING (1) "CRUDE AWAKENING"
Surely the only reason the world financial system does not collapse, despite all those trillions of dollars of unsecured debt, is the psychology of mass denial. Could an accumulation of media events undermine global wishful thinking once and for all? After Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" comes another scary-because-boring blockbuster: "Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash". This film tells the story of "how our civilization’s addiction to oil puts it on a collision course with geology". A succession of oil experts in crumpled suits come to a startling, but logical conclusion: our industrial society, built on cheap and readily available oil, must be completely re-imagined and overhauled. Or…
http://www.oilcrashmovie.com/film.html

TIPPING POINT PUBLISHING (2) "A DEMON OF OUR OWN DESIGN"
Why do markets keep crashing and why are financial crises greater than ever before? The author of another tipping point publication, this one a book, has been the risk manager to some of the leading firms on Wall Street and has more recently been a designer of quant funds. In A Demon of Our Own Design Rick Bookstaber tells the story of man’s attempt to manage market risk and what it has wrought. "Bookstaber has seen the ghost inside the machine and vividly shows us a world that is even riskier than we think. The very things done to make markets safer, have, in fact, created a world that is far more dangerous," says the blurb.
http://rick.bookstaber.com/

TIPPING POINT PUBLISHING (3) THE DOTT 07 MANUAL
So there you have it, the ingredients for despair: Gore's drowning baby polar bears and grim warnings on climate change; Bookstaber predicting the collapse of the money system; and now Crude Awakening on the end of industrial society. But there are good news publications out there, too. For example, we've written a 100 page "manual" to accompany the Designs of the time (Dott 07) Festival. We call it a manual (rather than a book, or catalogue) because it's about practical ways for people either to join Dott projects themselves, or do something similar where they live. It's published on 16 October. For some reason it's not up on Amazon yet, but it soon will be (10 pounds / 15 euros / 20 dollars + postage) and in the meantime you can register your interest with: claire.capaldi@dott07.com (Please put "manual" in the header).

BOTTLES HALF EMPTY AND BOTTLES HALF FULL
We made this list of recommended books for the Dott festival bookshop:
1 Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed - Jared Diamond
2 Heat - George Monbiot
3 An Inconvenient Truth - Al Gore
4 A Demon of Our Own Design - Richard Bookstaber
5 Six memos for the next millennium - Italo Calvino
6 Relational Aesthetics - Nicolas Bourriaud
7 Smart Mobs - Howard Rheingold
8 Worldchanging - Alex Steffen
9 Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes - Viljoen&Bohn
10 In The Bubble - John Thackara
11 A Geography of Time - Robert V. Levine
12 Fire and Memory: On Architecture and Energy - Luis Fernandez-Galiano
12 Powerdown - Richard Heinberg
13 Cradle to Cradle - William McDonough and Michael Braungart

PLUS....

SAO PAULO
I'll be in Sao Paulo between 3-7 December and would love to meet or hear about anyone there with a Doors connection: john@doorsofperception.com

HOW TO BE A DESIGN STUDENT
If you are one of the thousands of students starting design and architecture courses this month, Core77 has put together a fantastic set of tips, tricks, and life hacks for you. Hack2School is divided into five sections: Classroom, Dorm Room, Represent, Crash Course, and Cheat Sheet. There are guest essays from Ralph Caplan, Alissa Walker, Alice Twemlow, Steve Portigal, Jessica Helfand, Scott Klinker, Steven Heller, Sam Montague, and Jill Fehrenbacher.
http://www.core77.com/hack2school



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