The Elements and Materials

Part 1 is here:

In this part I will cover our initial constraints, commentary on the materials we used to give the house an older feel, and some notes on working with the elements.

For context, it’s important to know that we built this house in New Hampshire, which has freezing and snowy winters, and somewhat humid summers where the hottest weeks might be in the low 80°s (26°C), but periods of 90 degree (32°C) days occur. Your climate should impact what you choose to build. For example we didn’t build a farmer’s porch to further keep things cool in…


How we started, and suggestions for starting your own project

In March of 2018, Simplicity and I bought three small former haying fields overrun with pine trees in southern New Hampshire. Our goal was to build a traditional-looking house that we designed. In doing so we wanted to satisfy many aesthetic and functional features that were lacking from the modern homes available, such as proper use of light, space, ventilation, and passive cooling. With an aim towards the things we loved about old houses, it seemed like it should be possible to design something with fewer complications, yet more beautiful and useful, than most modern construction. …


The world’s slow move from dialogue to media

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Let’s build communities, livelihoods, and small-scale economies

All photos by author

I have previously written about why Universal Basic Income (UBI) may result in poor outcomes, even if we’re able and willing to implement it.

Here, I invite you to think about what an alternative — one that still addresses the issues UBI hopes to solve — might look like. If you have not read the previous article you may miss some context in this one, as the advantages of the alternate system listed here correspond to the UBI flaws listed there.

I believe that instead of paying everyone unconditionally and hoping for positive results, society is probably better off with…


A long and convoluted allegory about the difference between what you can acquire and what you can keep.

We’re gonna need more trees.

Unspoiler: I got carried away by a totally unnecessary thousand words here so if you don’t feel like reading silly stories about dead monarchs you can skip to the last section that begins “Would you please.” I won’t be mad.

Suppose you are the king of a pre-industrial island nation. You have hopes of hanging on to a glorious empire, but glorious empires are history’s avocados: Everyone wants one and they have unpredictable expiration dates, and if you go after them too…


What if we implement UBI and it makes everything worse?

Photo by VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. Wait, scratch that — he won’t eat for a lifetime. Automation took over and fished the metaphorical seas dry.

Meanwhile, some bold tech leaders pipe up: “I have a brilliant idea. What if we just give everybody fish?

When 20,000 people move to L.A. every year to become famous actors and only five of them really make it, it suggests a special kind of optimism on the part of those people and that place, an outlook…


College is the new High School and that should terrify everyone.

Three headlines from this year:

For example, about 38 percent of last fall’s 61,757 CSU freshmen were found to need remediation in either English or math

Algebra is the most failed course at community colleges across the country. Is it time to nix the requirement? (July, NPR)

That’s the argument Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the California community college system, made today in an interview with NPR’s Robert Siegel.

… only 48 percent graduate from California community colleges with an associate’s degree or transfer to a four-year institution within six years.

Cal State will no longer require placement exams and remedial classes for freshmen (August, LA Times)

At Cal State, about 40% of freshmen each year are considered not ready for college-level work and required to…

Simon Sarris

Sacred things and making things. Literature, Food, Web Development. — In labouring to be concise, I become obscure.

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