Man Builds His Dream Mini-Home In Just 6 Weeks For Less Than $10,000

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Have you ever wanted to live in a home where you still felt like you were connected to nature and things were simple and pretty well off-grid? One man has done this in Thailand and it only cost him $9000 to do it.

Steve Areen was offered some land on his friends mango farm to build his dream home. To Steve, it was a home that was simple, inviting, nature oriented and sustainable. As you can see in the images below, Steve adopted a dome like design that has a number of benefits. He was able to put up this home in only 6 weeks from start to finish using cement blocks and clay bricks. While he likes the design, next time Steve intends to build the home using Earthen bricks. It’s important to note that he was able to achieve this for only $9000 because of Thailand’s cheap cost of living. He was able to put up the main structure for only $6000 and then spent $3000 filling it with goodies.

Steve isn’t the only one looking to build these sustainable and unique homes. It seems people all over the world are desiring off-grid and sustainable homes that are more in touch with nature. Is it perhaps that people are growing tired of the cookie cutter homes that are packed into neighbourhoods? Or are people craving more nature? Or maybe people simply want to get off the grid as they grow tired of the overpriced cost of living and governmental reliance being on the grid comes with. Whatever the case, it is clear the future of our world is off-grid sustainable living. It’s just a matter of when. With designs like Earthship’s and technologies like free energy, there is no reason why any of us need to be living on the grid and paying for utilities today.




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19 Year Old Builds Robot Lawyer, Overturns 160,000 Parking Tickets

In his second year at Stanford University, London born Joshua Browder created DoNotPay, the “world’s first robot lawyer.”

The program, coded solely by Browder, has overturned 160,000 parking tickets in 21 months across New York and London.  Working at no charge, for free, saving people a total of $4 million in fines, DoNotPay swiftly revolutionized the industry with people still staring in shock.

“There are ethical and legal limits to what [robots] can do. Programs such as this one do not, at least in my humble opinion, threaten the legal profession writ large,” Bradley Moss, a lawyer in Washington, D.C., who works on national security issues told TechInsider. “They will, however, continue to streamline processes for handling simple tasks that arguably people should be able to handle without the need for – and expense of – formal legal assistance.”

But are robots the future of the legal field?

“Until we get machines that are smart enough to look for and understand the legal implications of a particular email or document or voicemail message, I think lawyers being lawyers and clients being clients, somebody’s going to have to actually go through and make sure it’s OK to produce it,” Karl Bayer, a lawyer in Austin, Texas who is often hired to oversee the electronic discovery process, told the Monitor.

Browser believes regulation can hinder instead of help in many situations.  “As a 19-year-old, I have coded the entirety of the robot on my own, and I think it does a reasonable job of replacing parking lawyers,” he says, after receiving 30 parking tickets  himself.


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Finland Builds Massive Underground City To Prepare For Russia Invasion

Finland is currently building a massive underground CITY to fit all 600,000 residents of the capital should there be a Russia invasion.

Hundreds of miles of tunnels underneath Helsinki, Finland, have been constructed in the case of an emergency. Putin pushing military drills around eastern Europe adds to unease in Finland.

The Underground Master Plan contains 40 new areas reserved as rock resources and 100 new space allocations for future rock construction. Approximately 9 million cubic meters, consisting of about 400 separate facilities or tunnels, have already been built under the city. The more important facilities are listed and classified by theme in connection with the Helsinki Underground Master Plan.

Russia is currently preparing to conduct its Zapad 2017 military exercise, the largest since the end of the cold war during which Russian troops will carry out drills close to the Finnish borders. Unease is spreading across the European country.

It has now been revealed Finnish soldiers are carrying out training to deal with a mass evacuation. In March, soldiers carried out an exercise which was designed to prepare for a siege on the city.

Neighboring Estonia has already voiced major concerns over Putin’s practice close to their country. Kristjan Prikk, undersecretary for defense policy at Estonia’s Ministry of Defense, said earlier this week: “We don’t consider this year’s Zapad exercise in itself to be a direct threat to us [NATO] or a cover for an attack, but we have to keep in mind that the Russians have the nasty habit of hiding their actual military endeavors behind exercises.


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Man Builds Park Stairs For $550 After City Gives $65,000 Estimate

City officials in Toronto are upset over the fact that a resident took it upon himself to fix a problem the government was slow to deal with — and he did it for a fraction of the cost. From Canada’s CTV News:

“A Toronto man who spent $550 building a set of stairs in his community park says he has no regrets, despite the city’s insistence that he should have waited for a $65,000 city project to handle the problem. The city is now threatening to tear down the stairs because they were not built to regulation standards.

Adi Astl, a retired mechanic, says he was tired of watching his neighbors take spills down the steep path that leads to the community garden, so he bought the materials and set out to do it himself. With the help of a homeless man he hired, Astl completed the job in a matter of hours.

Astl told CTV News that when he heard of the city government’s $65,000 estimate for the stairs job, he “thought they were talking about an escalator.”

His wife Gail says the stairs have already helped a lot of park visitors and are a “huge improvement over what was there.”

Toronto mayor John Tory admits the city’s estimate seems “completely out of whack with reality” but that it still doesn’t justify what Astl did. “We just can’t have people decide to go out to Home Depot and build a staircase in a park because that’s what they would like to have,” he told CTV News.

Tory further claims the stairs are unsafe and says city inspectors have issues with the structure’s design. Despite that, Astl’s stairs are staying for now. This is because the man who represents Astl’s area in Toronto’s government, Justin di Ciano, thinks the spot seems safer with stairs than without them,” according to CTV News.

“I think we all need to have a bit of common sense here,” he said.

Local resident Dana Beamon says she couldn’t care less about whether or not the stairs are up to the government’s standards and that she appreciates Adi Astl’s impulse to take action:

“We have far too much bureaucracy. We don’t have enough self-initiative in our city, so I’m impressed.”



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ETH robot builds curvy reinforced concrete wall

There are many who say that in the not too distant future, construction sites will be human-free. According to the British firm Balfour Beatty and quoted in BuildingCo:

The country’s biggest builder said it expects drones will hover over construction sites collecting information and sending instructions to robotic cranes, diggers and automated robotic builders. Humans no longer needed on site will occupy overseer roles, remotely managing multiple projects accessing 3D and 4D visuals and data from the on-site machines, ensuring the build is proceeding to specification.

DFAB_HOUSE_INTRO from designboom on Vimeo.

If you think this is unrealistic, watch this video from Designboom where ETH Zurich (known to TreeHugger for its robot bricklayers) demonstrates how to build a curvy concrete wall by robot. It will be used to build the DFAB HOUSE opening next year. According to Designboom:

The DFAB HOUSE is distinctive in that it was not only digitally designed and planned but is also built using predominantly digital processes. With this pilot project, the ETH professors want to examine how digital technologies can make construction more sustainable and efficient, and increase the design potential. The design and planning of individual components were digitally coordinated, and these are now manufactured directly on site according to this data. as a result, the conventional planning phase is no longer needed.

robot welding rebar© ETH Zurich via Designboom

Here the robot is welding the reinforcing bars together into a tight mesh,

concrete filled cavity© ETH Zurich via Designboom

Tight enough that the reinforcing acts as its own formwork when filled with a very stiff mix of concrete.

finished wall© ETH Zurich via Designboom

How they get the concrete on the outside of the reinforcing and get it all to bond together is not explained clearly, but they have obviously figured that out too. The floors will be “a smart slab… a statically optimized and functionally integrated ceiling slab, the formwork of which was manufactured using a large-scale 3D sand printer. “

The finished product will be a three storey building built mostly by computerized tools working with concrete and timber. Like a conventional building, it uses different technologies for different purposes instead of just squirting everything out of a nozzle like some of the other attempts at printing houses; this is a real building with real complexity. It may well be the future of the building industry. More images at Designboom.

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Hillary Clinton: Reading ‘Harry Potter’ builds compassion for immigrants, refugees

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton thinks that “Harry Potter” books have a magical touch for building compassion in young readers.

While speaking at the American Library Association conference in Chicago on Tuesday, Clinton touted reading fiction as a way of fostering empathy. She cited “years of data” and one study in particular that focused on author J.K. Rowling’s celebrated fantasy series.

“One study even found that young people who read the ‘Harry Potter’ books, which first came out 20 years ago this week, were more compassionate toward immigrants, refugees and members of the LGBT community,” Clinton told the crowd. “And so, it’s impossible for me to overstate the impact on children who see themselves in the pages of a book and are introduced to people unlike themselves.”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to guests at the American Library Association's annual conference on June 27, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois.Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to guests at the American Library Association's annual conference on June 27, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois.

Though she didn’t name the study, Clinton was likely referring to an academic article published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology in July 2014, titled: “The greatest magic of Harry Potter: Reducing prejudice.” Researchers had conducted three studies — one with elementary school children and two with high school and college students in Italy and the U.K. — to determine whether extended reading time improved attitudes toward stigmatized groups.

For the study, Loris Vezzali, a psychologist at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy, and his colleagues read children passages from “Harry Potter” that deal with prejudice. These moments would involve characters like Draco Malfoy, a “pure-blood wizard,” calling Harry’s close friend Hermione a “Mudblood,” a derogatory term for a “Muggle-born” wizard or witch, and they show the hero’s subsequent anger at the callousness.

Another view of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking to guests at the ALA conference on June 27, 2017.Another view of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking to guests at the ALA conference on June 27, 2017.

As a control condition, the researchers would read a section not involving prejudice — such as when Harry purchases his magic wand — to another group of children.

After six weeks, both groups of children were asked about their feelings concerning children from other countries. The students who read the passage dealing with prejudice had kinder things to say.

The researchers also said that teens and young adults who identified with Harry generally had more tolerant views toward gay people and refugees than those who did not.

Throughout her speech, which was sponsored by Simon & Schuster (the publishing house that’s releasing her forthcoming children’s book), Clinton expounded upon why she believes the world needs libraries and librarians now more than ever. She said books help shatter stereotypes, broaden perspectives and spark important conversations.

“If we’re serious about raising curious, empathetic, brave citizens, that starts with raising readers,” she said.

Read more from Yahoo News:

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Anti-government protest in London as pressure builds on Theresa May (WATCH LIVE)

Protesters are demanding May step aside following the disastrous election campaign of the Conservative Party, which now needs the support of the DUP to be sure of winning votes in parliament. 

The hashtag #MayMustGo is trending on social media and organizers expect thousands of protesters to attend.

Frustration over May’s pyrrhic election victory has turned to anger since the devastating Grenfell Tower disaster, from which the official death toll has reached 30, with dozens of people still missing.

May is facing mounting pressure to resign due to her handling of the situation and tensions have been heightened by her failure to meet with victims in wake of the tragedy.

Anger has boiled over in London over claims that earlier renovation work may have been responsible for the dramatic spread of the blaze.

Britain’s Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has written to Prime Minister Theresa May regarding her decision to hold a public inquiry into the fire.

The opposition leader is seeking assurances that the inquiry will be fully independent and held under the provisions of the 2005 Inquiries Act.

Corbyn also stressed that the inquiry should have sufficient scope to establish “all the relevant facts and to ensure that all necessary lessons are learned.”

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