Infographic: Mass Production

Infographic: Mass Production

Sharing, forking, xeroxing: we have innumerable ways to copy what others have originated. Duplication has been core to modern civilization, allowing our ideas go viral in increasingly tall spikes. But along the way, credit can fall by the wayside, forcing profit-seeking inventors to invest beyond their means in legal protection. […]

Observed: Copycats

Observed: Copycats

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala Daniele Volpe The backdrop of a US skyline enhances portraits for residents who often lack the means to travel. Djabal Refugee Camp, Chad Glenna Gordon Using a wood pen with ink and water, Koranic verse is copied in Arabic calligraphy. Residual water and sometimes the paper itself […]

Mob Justice

Mob Justice

Guatemala, like much of Central America, has spent its last few generations besieged by violence. A civil war ripped through the country for the 36 years leading up to the 1996 Peace Accords, which did little to ease old tensions. In 2009 and 2010, it registered more civilian murders than […]

Observed: Crowds

Observed: Crowds

In back alleys, street markets, and hidden workshops around the world, microentrepreneurs churn out new ideas and products to help them get by or improve the world around them. We could philosophize on this all day. But here in Observed, we ask our correspondents to say nothing. For the next […]

Infographic: Counting the Crowd

Infographic: Counting the Crowd

What happens when a group of people band together? It depends. The organization of a crowd, the tools it uses, and its culture all determine its impact. Is it structured to collaborate or fight? Does each node have ways to connect with and trust the others? Do its members require […]

Little Lagos, Legit in London

Little Lagos, Legit in London

Mangoes, mobiles, money exchange, Nollywood DVDs, eyelashes, and weaves.

You can find it all at Ziyad’s Cash & Carry, a multi-shop storefront occupying a sweet, sprawling, 1,600-square-foot corner spot on Rye Lane in South London. Ziyad, a confident 16-year-old from Afghanistan, manages the property after school and on the weekends.

Observed: Trade

Observed: Trade

In back alleys, street markets, and hidden workshops around the world, microentrepreneurs churn out new ideas and products to help them get by or improve the world around them. We could philosophize on this all day. But here in Observed, we ask our correspondents to say nothing. So for the […]

Barter in Bloom

Barter in Bloom

Standing in the park’s morning sun, Guadalupe Sanchez wears an old marine blue jumper and an energetic smile. Instead of the typical droves of runners, the park boasts a row of small stalls. Sanchez arrived with a bag full of household recyclables; she now carries a load of organic vegetables. […]

From the Makery: Tiny Libraries, Dancing from the Favelas, and a Grassroots Bikeshare

From the Makery: Tiny Libraries, Dancing from the Favelas, and a Grassroots Bikeshare

From the Makery is a weekly roundup of inspiring stories of making collected from around the web. Follow our Facebook page or our Twitter feed for daily updates. Tiny Libraries The Little Free Library project commissioned ten micro-libraries for installation around NYC. This one, by Stereotank, resembles a water tower […]

From the Makery: China’s Inventors, Sticker Art, and Lenticular Ads

From the Makery: China’s Inventors, Sticker Art, and Lenticular Ads

From the Makery is a weekly roundup of inspiring stories of making collected from around the web. Follow our Facebook page or our Twitter feed for daily updates. China’s Inventors DIY helicopters, submarines, and prosthetic hands, from all corners of China. We’ve profiled a few of these in From the […]