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Unfolding Prefab: Holl House by Andrew Maynard

by Justin Thomas •

Andrew Maynard‘s Holl House starts off as a vertical column, then unlocks into a horizontal network of hinged structures. “How can the housing industry make exciting, well designed and cheap housing?” Maynard asks. “Easy, mimic the car industry.” “The dimensions of the basic module are dictated by the maximum dimensions available to be transported legally on Australian roads without permits.” …

Better Basics For The Home: Less Toxic Living

by Justin Thomas •

You can make household and personal care products at home. The mixtures you create will be healthier and of a higher quality than those found in stores. Once you have the right ingredients, mixing them up is quite straightforward. The book, Better Basics for the Home, offers more than 800 simple alternatives to toxic household products, covering everything from skin …

The Solar House: Free Heating

by Justin Thomas •

People often think of using solar energy for producing electricity, but it is actually easier to harness the power of the sun to heat your home. It’s free heat that has been utilized since ancient times but few modern architects or builders really understand the principles involved. The Solar House, by Dan Chiras, explains architectural techniques that can be incorporated …

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Hemp Throw Blanket by Ecolution

by Justin Thomas •

It’s a throw blanket from Ecolution made of nothing but hemp. I kid you not — this blanket is woven out of 100% organic Romanian hemp using the latest hemp processing techniques. They have hackling (fibre separation) methods and air-finishing to create a soft hemp, without resorting to chemicals. This blanket outlast most others. It’s priced at $57.71. There’s also …

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Solar Evacuated Tubes: Free Hot Water

by Justin Thomas •

For solar water heating in your home, there are basically two types of solar collectors: conventional flat-plate collectors and evacuated tube collectors. Evacuated tubes have a number of advantages: the work on overcast days, in colder weather, and the tubes can be installed and replaced individually without special tools.

Efficient “Scando” Family Table

by Justin Thomas •

The design of this Scando Family Table was inspired by the combination of Japanese living and watching how children relate to the floor in their daily activities. Designer Eric Pfeiffer created a table that is well crafted and multi-functional. The design makes use of wood efficiently using a single sheet of molded plywood. It’s priced at $315. Available from ModernSeed.

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“Indestructible” MP3 Player: Monolith Premium MX7000

by Justin Thomas •

Yes — manufacturers — make more devices like this one. The Monolith MP3 player is fused into a solid 1.5mm aluminium casing — not stuck together with glue or screws. It’s a unique manufacturing process pioneered by the manufacturer, Estar Laboratories. Testers have run the player over with a car, shot the player with a BB gun, thrown the player …

Satellite Radio Reviews

by Justin Thomas •

Satellite radio is a high quality radio service that is static free, mostly commercial free and currently censorship-free. Special satellite receivers, costing around $50 are needed to pick up the signal. The two satellite radio companies, Sirius Radio and XM Satellite Radio offer competing services, both costing $12.95 per month. CNET offers the best comparison review of the two services. …

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Reviews of Online DVD Rental Companies

by Justin Thomas •

What are the best online DVD rental services? Most people know Netflix, Blockbuster and Walmart are the major players in online DVD rentals. Netflix, which started it all, still gets the best reviews in terms of service, speed and movie selection (see this review for example). However, there are some other interesting DVD rental companies out there. GreenCine, based in …

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Lexon Dolmen LED Light

by Justin Thomas •

This efficient LED Light was created by designers Marco Pulga and Luca Artioli for Lexon of France. It runs on only 4 AA batteries. The lamp is 5″ square in size. The intensity of the light can be adjusted, and you can also set the light to turn off after period of time. Available for $60 from Greener Grass Designs …