Category Archives: traceability


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Capacitors from the Congo

Bill Hammack makes instructional videos about engineering in everyday life. In this episode he explains why the conflict mineral Tantalum is used to make cell phone capacitors smaller. Even though only 2% of the raw ore Coltan originates in the Congo, it is impossible to trace in its refined form, which means that the 40mg […]

Also posted in materials, possessed products, product design, supply chain | Comments closed

Hard Labor

Another amazing resource for anyone who wishes to know more and act with information when choosing products or choosing which issue to tackle – the US Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child labor or Forced (slave) Labor (publicly available in pdf format). The dry checklist gives only a cursory glance – it […]

Also posted in conviviality, possessed products, supply chain | Comments closed

Radical Traceability

Small and independent producers can benefit from the Internet’s Long Tail and on-demand manufacturing to find supply and demand for their products. Now, they can also count on radical traceability in the form of, a website that combines user-contributed design with the ability to follow each step in the manufacturing process once a product […]

Also posted in customization, fabrication, furniture, futurecraft, open objects, product design, retail | Comments closed

The Food Tastes Better

It’s been a while since I’ve posted to this blog – not out of laziness, but because the Sourcemap project has taken hold of all my attention. That’s how I forgot to mention this video, shot with Matthew Hockenberry this past August, which depicts our first users ever: Robert Harris of Season to Taste Catering […]

Also posted in food, maps, supply chain, visualization | Comments closed

Prison Flight Maps

At the MoMA last week I stumbled across the elegant map-based visualizations of the Spatial Information Design Lab at Columbia’s School of Architecture. The Million Dollar Block project (pdf) explores the impact of incarceration on specific neighborhoods of New York City and Brooklyn in particular. The staggering visualizations at once depict the incredible expense of […]

Also posted in 2d, conviviality, maps, supply chain, visualization | Comments closed

Structural Problems

The Bridgehead buildings in Linz (Austria) have a tortured history: they were built as the Fuhrermuseum, to house Adolf Hitler’s own collection of stolen art. This past year Linz celebrated as cultural capital of Europe, and a powerful series of interventions to one of these buildings sought to (literally) uncover the history of their construction. […]

Also posted in art, supply chain, visualization | Comments closed

ticketing cops

At this year’s Future of News and Civic Media conference I learned about The Open Planning Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to civic empowerment through public space and transporation reform. They have produced a number of interesting web-based projects to catalyze change in the urban landscape, including ‘Uncivil Servants,’ a website for citizens to report […]

Also posted in blogogracy, conviviality, free & open, maps | Comments closed