Back to top

Public Policy

Prefab Homes Hit the Big Time

Prefab and Modern Design

I've been reading Design Magazine "Dwell" for about 3 years now. It's generally full great and relatively practical information. It's a little more academic than, for example, the very practical and often cheap Ready Made Magazine, but I still like Dwell very much.

They've been preaching about the coming of "prefab" housing for a while. Not so much the "piece of crap trailers" kind of "prefab" more of the "this is really awesome design and it was at least partially built in a factory which makes it cheaper for the quality and makes assembly time shorter" kind of prefab.

Prefab books

There are two really good books on the subject that I recently read Prefab, by Alison Arieff and Prefab Modern by Jill Herbers. I had heard of the Arief book from Dwell Magazine and found the Herbers book when doing a library search for the Arief book. They are both good, but oddly enough much of the content is the same. Also, they seem to mostly follow in the "Dwell Magazine" format - that is looking at the houses from the Academic point of view with less focus on the every day practical concerns like cost and usability. The houses are almost all gorgeous, but some of them are just wicked expensive or funky useless layouts - or both.

The "big" time

Then, you can imagine my surprise the other day when Businessweek ran an article covering several of these same resources, people and homes Businessweek isn't the best of the business magazines I read, but it's a decent one and they are occasionally ahead of the curve in predicting trends. So hopefully this gets more popular.

Prefab benefits and drawbacks

All the same, I'm very glad personally to see growth in this area. It's something where almost everyone wins: housing can be higher quality, lower cost, more efficiently produced, better designed, etc. etc. The main drawback in my mind is that it could lead to more "cookie cutter" homes - but looking around suburbia and exurbia these days, I don't think we could have a housing trend that takes us any further in the wrong direction on that one. The other perceived drawback is that prefab makes a shift in the labor market. I say "shift" rather than "would force people out of jobs" because I view it as a movement from one area to another.

People Involved: 

Offshore and Outsource This

offshoring call centers

I have a friend who does call center outsourcing. They have call centers all over the world - USA, Argentina, Canada, Philippines, India, all over! Naturally, lots of their projects are met with protectionism and lots of times when he tells people what he does, they get mad about how unpatriotic it is. When you get past that, he loves to talk about the regional specialization in the call centers - that they don't put support centers in Argentina because that doesn't suit the Argentine personality. Instead Argentina gets sales centers because that is their nature: be a little pushy and close the deal. Philippines gets more support centers - they are more culturally focused on pleasing other people. USA and Canada get the more high end/high touch calls. You might even call that "specialization".

People Involved: 

Thirty and Financially Incompetent

Businessweek is running an article on being Thiry and Broke and, um, it seems awfully weak to me - both the subjects, the reporting, and the general phenomena of people in the U.S. who feel neglected by the economy. It's a story of some young folks who should be yuppies, but instead have floundered through school and failed to get high paying jobs in a reasonable time frame.

It seems that Businessweek found the saddest examples they could find and portrayed them as the normal situation. The profiled students took longer than 4 years to graduate, switched schools/majors mid-stream, went out of state, majored in less practical fields, or all four. That's a great way to increase your debt by 25% to 100% right off the bat. Beyond that, it's clear from the photos that they are living beyond their means: salon-styled-hair, fancy mountain bikes, cars, expensive weddings. These are individuals who are suffering the consequences of their own decisions.

Category: 
People Involved: 

Be Theo's Friend!

To paraphrase Jordan Fisher Smith from Nature Noir, people think of nature like a single beautiful chord that is played consistently over time when it's really a changing symphony full of interactions of different notes getting louder, quieter, higher, and lower and cycling through various melodies.

The same scientists who believe in evolution instead of divine creation are going to say that a few degrees per century is enough to kill everything and everyone?

Category: 
People Involved: 

Stupid Spam

Trying to sell me viagra, I can understand. This...

I just got this spam email. It is weird to me because it doesn't have a website, it has a phone number. So I called it. Just to see what would happen. A guy picked up pretty quickly and I said "Extension 57 please." And he said "who is that?" I was kind of caught off guard, I don't know who that is, you are supposed to know. So I looked at the from address and said "Leanna Mcclendon" and he said "Are you calling for information?" I said, "I got this number in an email and it said to call it so I did." He repeated "Either you're calling for information or you're not, what is it." I was a little spooked about by the exact phrase so I said, "no, I guess not." And hung up.

I can't figure out why the hell someone would send this email, and not have a purpose in the number that's being called. I'm familiar with dictionary attacks and sending emails to an address just to see if you get a bounce, but sbgreg is an address I use on a mailing list that is published online in the archives so they should know it's a real address. It's just bizarre to me what his goal could be.

Return-path: [email protected]
Envelope-to: knaddison.com
Delivery-date: Thu, 14 Apr 2005 17:01:30 -0400
Received: from knaddiso by vivar.dizinc.com with local-bsmtp (Exim 4.44)
id 1DMBSq-0003KN-K6
for knaddison.com; Thu, 14 Apr 2005 17:01:30 -0400
Received: from [221.143.41.32] (helo=72.29.75.3)
by vivar.dizinc.com with smtp (Exim 4.44)
id 1DMBSp-0003JG-76
for knaddison.com; Thu, 14 Apr 2005 17:01:28 -0400
Received: from localhost (knaddison.com)
by Mklaud.tighten.org (8.12.6/8.120/Submit) with ESMTP id g11KIOGP024981; Fri, 15 Apr 2005 03:53:21 +0600
Message-ID: <[email protected]_SVR1>
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2005 02:52:21 +0500
From: "Leanna Mcclendon" [email protected]
X-Mailer: GoldMine [5.50.10016]
To: knaddison.com
Subject: Break the work habit

People Involved: 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Public Policy