Showing posts from October, 2012

book response: Savage Continent by Lowe (2012)

The subtitle of Savage Continent: Europe in the aftermath of World War 2 was what caught my attention on the book shelf at the public library. I've done plenty of reading on the 2nd world war, but I realized I don't know any details on the post-war recovery. After this book, I learned the killing kept going.

It's ironic that the European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize this week. "Congratulations for not having any genocides in the last 10 years. Keep up the good work."

All I learned in high school was the United States lent money to rebuild Europe through the Marshall Plan and the Soviet Union brought down an iron curtain around eastern Europe. But that's the view from high altitude. In the more granular view, ethnic cleansing continued, not as much against Jews, though this still happened, but Germans were expelled from countries they had lived in, outside Germany for centuries. Ukranians and Poles, Italians and Yugoslavians. If that weren't enough, ev…

pre-fab strawbale timber frame

I do have a weakness for strawbale construction. They are like big lego blocks which one can stack into a house you can live in. Even I can build with legos. Because they are bigger, they can make a wall quicker than earthbags, with insulation properties, unlike earth alone. There is some good work being done on the Pine Ridge Reservation with strawbale round homes, look at these beautiful homes. One difficulty is the need to keep them from getting wet though. One solution is having large work parties, who can bang it out over a few days. Another solution is to pre-fabricate straw bale walls under a roof, then deliver them to the home site and slap them together in a couple days, which ModCell in the UK has developed. They build a timberframe, cram the bales in tight, then spray on a lime plaster on both sides. This wall frame is then stuck together, like a SIPs panel, but unlike a SIP, it's all natural and massive, like 2000 lbs a panel. NatureBuilt in Ontario, Canada has a simil…