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018 / Prefab, Fires and Trees

By Khaled Abou Alfa • Published 11th January, 2020


Burnt Australia

Australia Burning

Kai Brach has been publishing for a while now, through his Dense Discovery newsletter and his Offscreen print only publication. His coverage of the bushfires raging in Australia is harrowing, heartbreaking and comprehensive.

The reality is that we are only at the start of ever increasing devastation that will occur more regularly and violently across the world. We need to get our house in order and start making meaningful changes in how we interact with our environment. Built or otherwise.

Yō no le

You ask what is the proper limit to a person’s wealth? First, having what is essential, and second, having what is enough.
— Seneca

Muji Prefab House

Muji has always been about less and enough, a philosophy best captured in their latest prefab home. The Yō no le (Plain House) offers a single room that inevitably streamlines your life. In a world defined by more, reconsidering excess, in any form, is increasingly ever more important. Sometimes you need to see your entire life in one room to do that.

Seawater Battery

Coming soon after issue 015, which was dedicated to batteries, IBM Research Lab has released information about a new battery technology, developed to use seawater rather than cobalt and lithium. Encouragingly IBM has partnering up with Central Glass and Sidus to bring this technology to market.

The sensible approach would be to dismiss these announcements until we see products finally making their way into the market. Remaining optimistic, we do seem to be edging closer to a viable commercial product as these announcements offer the best evidence of the fierce race being waged across industries.

Tools of the Trade


For our planet to recover, we have a lot of tree planting to do. One way you could help the process is by changing one single habit that you depend upon every single day. Web search. Rather than spending your attention on Google’s advertisers, you can spend it on the ones from Ecosia. They are in the business of planting trees - 80,287,668 trees planted at the time of writing this. On average you need to carry out 45 searches to plant a tree.

The Stet newsletter explores the ideas, projects and technologies that define our built environment.