Reader by Kris Bordessa pointed me to this blog post, which describes a neat quick friut picker devised by his/her kids.
"A fruit tree - heavy with fruit - was taunting them with ripe morsels high in the branches and out of their reach. Fifteen minutes later, they were successfully nabbing fruit with a homemade fruit picker made of a dowel, a water bottle and a chip-clip."
Street Use reader Michael Carnassus, who has lived in Korea for 5 years, sent these snapshots and report:
These motor bikes (motorcycles in US English) and bicycles are used to transport stuff around Dong Dae Mun Market in Seoul. I love the way that the people in the market have this fiercely independent spirit of free enterprise but also have these complicated symbiotic relationships with one other. These bikes are the grease that make the market smooth, you see them ferrying ridiculously big loads for 500 metres or so to where the products are needed.
Note the carefully street modded/welded carrying beds with 90 degree load supports. I've seen fridges, washing machines and dish washers carried on these things without trouble, even the bicycles. Note the extended rear swing arms with twin suspension coils/springs.
Only the rear suspension is modded usually, however. Look closely at the bike that has a pale blue fuel tank and is stretched out. I actually offered to buy it. That thing is so heavily modded it's ridiculous, it's about 100 cc but the engine is obviously not original. NOTHING is original!! The reason I wanted it was for the McGuyver cool of it all. I was gonna ship it home and just love it. The old dude who owns it got me drunk on cloudy rice wine this afternoon (it was a crappy rainy day) and it's his life. He loves the thing and so do I. I have an appointment to ride it happily enough!
I'm a keen cyclist and motorcyclist and I have to give respect to the guys who ride the rickety contraptions in that market, it can't be easy moving all that crap on your back!
They are known as bibliomulas (book mules) and they are helping to spread the benefits of reading to people who are isolated from much of the world around them.
The idea of loading mules with books and taking them into the mountain villages was started by the University of Momboy, a small institution that prides itself on its community-based initiatives and on doing far more than universities in Venezuela are required to do by law. Anyone who was not out working the fields - tending the celery that is the main crop here - was waiting for our arrival. The 23 children at the little school were very excited. "Bibilomu-u-u-u-las," they shouted as the bags of books were unstrapped. They dived in eagerly, keen to grab the best titles and within minutes were being read to by Christina and Juana, two of the project leaders.
As the project grows, it is using the latest technology. Somehow there is already a limited mobile phone signal here, so the organisers are taking advantage of that and equipping the mules with laptops and projectors. The book mules are becoming cyber mules and cine mules. "We want to install wireless modems under the banana plants so the villagers can use the internet," says Robert Ramirez, the co-ordinator of the university's Network of Enterprising Rural Schools. "Imagine if people in the poor towns in the valley can e-mail saying how many tomatoes they'll need next week, or how much celery. The farmers can reply telling them how much they can produce. It's blending localisation and globalisation."