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 […]

Horny Demand

Horny Demand

Every evening, Le Van Tuan would drink a tall glass of rice wine. To combat the ensuing hangover, he ground rhino horn into a glass of water. This, he said, would also prevent disease. Many Vietnamese believe rhino horns can cure everything from hangovers to cancer and impotency. Wealthy men […]

Call to Action

Call to Action

In 2011, Indian activist Anna Hazare set up a campaign to fight corruption across his home country. When he asked supporters to back his efforts via SMS, he received over 80,000 messages. Not completely satisfied, he asked again for support, this time in the form of a missed call. He […]

Clocking the Flock

Clocking the Flock

For millennia, herds, flocks, and schools have zigzagged the planet to find food, warmth, and a cozy place to procreate. Yet the natural instincts that tell animals where to zig and when to zag remain a total mystery to humans. How do butterflies that live for just weeks know to […]

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 […]

Thin Wire

Thin Wire

Down an unlit side street in Khartoum, Sudan, a crumpled, dirty note slides out from under a rotting rubber band. Then another. And another. A hand counts the notes on the receiving end. A gift of cash from abroad has both travelled a thousand miles and yet not at all. […]

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 […]

From the Makery: Imaginary Adventures, Building with Beer Bottles and Schools Around the World

From the Makery: Imaginary Adventures, Building with Beer Bottles and Schools Around the World

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. Imaginary Adventures Luka, a 12-year old boy with muscular dystrophy, dreamed of playing sports, swimming, and skateboarding. He teamed up with a […]