Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century

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A truly unprecedented endeavor, Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century, provides cutting-edge solutions and ideas for constructing a more livable future. With contributions from more than 60 acclaimed writers, including a forward by Al Gore and an introduction by Bruce Sterling, this volume has been likened to the hippie bible, The Whole Earth Catalog, but retooled for the iPod generation. Worldchanging contains 600 pages of novel ideas like urban farming, hydrogen cars, pop-apart cell phones, and plywood made from fast-growing bamboo as well as giving advice on whom to text to advocate international debt relief or how to build an iPod speaker from a recycled Altoid tin. Available from Amazon.

Former currency (in fact, the root of the word "salary"), invaluable preservative and the source of wars and conflict, salt's role in society dates back to ancient times. Mark Kurlansky, the author of "Salt: A World History"—the definitive book detailing the way salt has influenced civilization—explains that "before the age of petroleum, geology was largely dedicated to understanding and locating salt" and that the search for salt ultimately led to oil. A detail that perhaps had something to do with the book famously landing on George W. Bush's 2005 summer reading list. The recently-released children's book "The Story of Salt" explores all aspects of salt: its harvesting, history and social importance. Beautifully illustrated by S.D. Schindler, "The Story of Salt" also teaches ketchup-making and details Ghandi's historic Salt March. Perpetuating (in their small way) the rich history of salt, New York restaurant Per Se serves 30 million year-old "Jurassic" salt from Montana, and these days Fleur De Sel (named for its flower-shaped crystals) rolls off the tongues of home cooks as easily as Morton's. For CH's survey of the ever-popular mineral, we looked for the best and most unusual—from the suspicious-sounding Himalayan pink to the inventively vanilla-flavored. Fleur De Sel The undisputed salt of choice for chefs, connoisseurs and food snobs the world over, this French salt from the marshes of Guerande in Brittany is hand-harvested by "paludiers" (salt harvester craftsmen), who sweep the top of the evaporating sea water only on perfect rain-free days in July and August when the sea is calm. We were particularly impressed by Artisan's Fleur De Sel ($16), which had a flavor arc as smooth and complex as a fine Bordeaux. Even more colorful and nuanced was Le Tresor Fleur De Sel ($11), which is one of the only salts that has a government-regulated "appelation controlé." 80 pounds of regular sel gris (grey salt) yields only one pound of these precious flakes we recommend it is as the finishing pinch for your favorite entrée, desert—or even better, serve it like the French do, on top of a buttered radish. Flavored SaltsFar better than Mrs. Dash, we came across several unique salts that, though they lean more toward an herbed rub than a pure salt, will add unconventional flavor to your next meal. Naturally smoked over Red Alderwood, Salish ($16), from Washington state gives the perfect accent to grilled meats or fish. Coastal Goods' Autumnberry salt ($6) is flavored with dried cranberries from Cape Cod and is a perfect seasoning for the holiday turkey or duck. Or for a fresh accent to pork and lamb, try their Lavender Salt ($6), which is infused with lavender oil and blossoms. Developed in collaboration with Kiwi chef Martin Bosley to cure Salmon, Equagold's Vanilla-flavored salt is made with vanilla from Papua New Guinea, comes in a convenient upside-down-grinder and also pairs well other seafood, pork, poultry and game. Contact Equagold to order. Pink Salts While dabbling in the realm of more ethereal salts we also fell in love with a couple of exotic pink varieties. The first was a delicate, apricot-colored salt from Australia called Murray River ($16), produced by the Artisan Salt Company. The soft flakes melt evenly and quickly and are perfect for vegetables, fish and even chocolate. A rose-colored salt called Himalania ($13) is harvested from a marine fossil formed during the Mesozoic era in the foothills of the Himalayas. With their unique mineral bouquet these robust crystals would be well-served on top of your favorite ice cream or soufflé. Available from Sur La Table. Hawaiian Salt Earthy and coarse, Alaea Hawaiian Sea Salt ($15) gets its crimson red crystals from red clay and is one of the more well-balanced, rich and mild salts we tasted. It would be great as a rub for fish or meat and also as a ground finishing touch on crudités or on the rim of a margarita glass. Black SaltThis striking black clay salt from Cyprus ($31) has a similar flavor structure to the Hawaiian red clay salt and is the perfect yin to balance out the yang of any post-modern presentation—try it on the rim surrounding a pomegranate margarita. Salt Accessories Unprocessed salt has chemical properties that will harm the metal gears in most pepper grinders, but a number of specially-designed mills will refine chunky salt to your liking. Long before they made cars Peugeot created the original pepper mill in 1842 and currently offers various models of high quality salt mills featuring a corrosion-resistant stainless steel grinding mechanism. Designed to work well with higher humidity salt, the innovative Peugeot Wet Salt Mill ($42). Perfect for those who cook on the fly, the Chef'n Salt Ball-Grinder ($15) has soft handles that enable one-handed grinding, five adjustments—from coarse to a fine grind—and who can resist that bunny face? The Kuhn Rikon vase grinder ($40) is designed with a ceramic grinding device positioned on top of the grinder so it won't leave dust on your counter or table. Available in seven colors, it also works well with a variety of spices, including rosemary, flax seeds, sesame seeds, chilies and even coffee. For those who want to bring artisanal salt wherever they dine, a pocket size salt box is the ultimate gastronomic accessory. The Round Cherrywood Salt Box ($90) from Napa Style slides open with one hand and comes with one pound of their delicious Gray Salt (which CH enjoyed for its balanced and subtle ocean-y appeal). A CH team effort by Ami, Edwin, Evan and Leti.

Using the same patented "cyclone" technology that made Dyson upright vacuums famous, the new Dyson Root 6 ($150) is a handheld tool that never looses suction, cleaning better and more hygienically by trapping dirt more effectively. With its molded plastic body—looking something like a creature-trapping gun from the prop department of Alien—it's ergonomic and easy to use, successfully negotiating the narrowest of nooks and hard-to-reach corners. In CH's tests, we were impressed by the Root's ability to clean the long hair of a sheepskin rug, the dust chamber's convenient design (a latch releases a flap to empty directly over a garbage can), and the fun of seeing the dirt whirl around in the clear plastic bin. Other features include LED indicator lights, washable filters that never need replacing, a brush tool (with a lint extension) and a separate narrow crevice accessory. Though at times we wished for an attached light to see what we were cleaning and the battery's charge didn't last quite as little long as we expected (its lithium ion battery does charge up to three times faster than others), overall it's an ideal device for cars, small rooms and spills where large vacuums would be inconvenient and overkill.

Spritzed under the tongue, Sprayology, a new oral supplement spray, promotes beauty and wellness from within by delivering vitamins and nutrients directly into the bloodstream. Bypassing the digestive tract, stomach and the standard metabolic process that interfere with tablets, liquids, and capsules, it's a more effective way to get your daily dose and the convienent slim design makes them perfect for on-the-go relief. Four product groups—rejuvenates, relieves, restores and rebuilds—include 25 different blends that use ancient homeopathics and supplements to target common ailments that face both men and women. A hangover preventer and cure, Party Relief ($20), includes activated charcoal for headache, dandelion plant for upset stomach and nausea and St. Mary's thistle for abuse of alcoholic beverages and hot peppers for sluggish and feeble digestion. Stress Less ($24), a product to temporarily relieve feelings of stress, nervousness, mood swings and irritability with passion flower to calm nerves, oats to ease nervousness, cinchona plant to reduce mood swings and valerian root to treat irritability. Other tonics range from a Daily Multi Vitamin ($24) to a sexual vitality elixir for men and women respectively called Man Power and Woman Power, which are both $32.

Inspired by old crime TV, the Drop Dead Rug prototype by British designer Alex Carpenter was such a hit at the London Design Festival in 2005 that Alex will take it into production soon. Mimicking the shape "of an unfortunate soul which may have come to pass right there on your living room floor with their silhouette remaining as evidence," the throw will be a dark red felt with a light grey band running around the edge to depict the chalk line. Available in a selection of poses for about £150, Alex says he's currently considering incorporating the cause of death. To order, contact Alex through Udderstuff.

The BLT ring was created as a collaboration between jewelry designer Carrie Weston and The Grateful Palate the pork connoisseurs behind the Bacon of the Month Club we featured in our gift guide. A version inmulticolored 14k Gold for $750. See an image of the gold ring modeled on a hand after the jump.

Hut Up Flowerpot

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Hut Up Berlin creates one of a kind raw wool creations using traditional felting and blocking methods. The Hut Up Flowerpot is wool container created to fit around a flowerpot, lending a soft feel with an organic stone-like shape. Perfect for creating an ethereal Science of Sleep-influenced cuddly rock garden, the Hut Up Flowerpot is available in three color combinations: chartreuse outside with olive inside, brown outside with red inside, and light grey outside with brown inside. Available from Rose and Radish for $67.

Lonely Heart: The Art of Tara McPherson

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Tara McPherson, 30, the Brooklyn-based artist known for her slightly surreal, melancholy-tinged work, is celebrating the recent release of her first book Lonely Heart: The Art of Tara McPherson with a book signing at KidRobot in New York City on Thursday, 12 July 2006. The 112-page book is lush with full color illustrations, paintings and the acclaimed rock posters she's made for the likes of Duran Duran, The Shins, and The Fall. In addition to select works from the young artist's impressive oeuvre, the collection includes toys that Tara's customized for Kidrobot and others, and gives a glimpse into her process with sketches and transparent overlays (pictured). If you can't make it to the event, Lonely Heart is available from Amazon. Check out the flyer after the jump. Lonely Heart Book Signing Thursday, 12 July 2006, 6-8pm KidRobot NY 126 Prince Street New York, NY 10012 maptel. 01 212 966 6688

The ghost-like Edison Lamp from Anthropologie is at once a conversation piece and completely unobtrusive. Made in France entirely from hand blown glass, the unusual use of transparent material is reminiscent of a Hurricane lamp, with a handsome balance of sensual curves and the strong lines of the cylindrical "shade." The result is a light suitable for a desk or end table that nearly disappears in a room—a perfect solution for spaces that are already too cluttered with objects or competing patterns and colors. Compatible with nearly any interior design scheme, the Edison Lamp will inspire you to "rediscover light." Available from Anthropologie for $798.

V-Moda Earphones

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Designed for bass-lovers and featuring several colors designed to mix and match with the new iPod nanos, V-Moda Remix earphones are a solidly built alternative to standard earbuds. Though slightly turn-of-this-century flashy, the Remix M-class are audiophile-quality earphones made from pure polished alloy metal that produce vibrant, precise bass levels. Also from V-Moda the Bass Fréq earphones (pictured) are specifically designed to let you experience the deep bass of a night club sound system and feature noise-canceling technology without adding bulk. The Bass Fréq are available in eight candy colors and adjust to three different sizes to ensure comfort. Both the Bass Fréq and the Remix M-class earphones feature the Modawrap cable manager, which is a handy way to end the constant battle with tangled earphone cords. Both models retail for $50 online from V-Moda or Amazon.

Perhaps a play on the French Connection's "fcuk" line, Yack Fou is a playful Berlin label making tees and hoodies imprinted with their deceptive-looking name. Printed on 100% cotton, they're definitely eye-catching. Some of the designs even stand on their own without the gimmicky name, like the lego design (pictured), which also happens to look a lot like the album art on Beck's latest release, The Information. Tees start at €30 from Yack Fou.

Based on the way acoustic vibrations resonate through the body of an instrument to create rich sound, Onkyo recently released these specially engineered D-TK10 speakers that take advantage of the entire speaker cabinet—rather than the traditional use of only the woofers and tweeters. Produced in partnership with renowned Japanese guitar maker Takamine , the gorgeously handmade rosewood-and-mahogany set measures under nine inches tall, making them shelf-friendly, as well as good for small spaces in general. Over two years in the making, like most of Onkyo’s superior equipment, quality and innovation doesn’t come cheap ($2,000), nor in this case easily; they only make 50 per month and purchases are limited to one per household. They’re available directly from Onkyo .

Lego Ice Cube Tray

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The amazing Okamoto Studio that we had at our recent Lego Ice Cube Tray makes ice cubes with the classic Lego brick shape. Whether you are building a scale model of the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden or simply building the perfect cocktail the Lego Ice Cube Tray is available online for $7.99.

Communicating with Pattern: Circles and Dots

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Circles and Dots proclaims, "the world is rounder than you think." Packed with amazing images of circular shapes in nature, art and design, as well as facts and historical context, it's as much about inspiration as it is a practical desk reference. The work of freelance brand consultant Mark Hampshire and Keith Stephenson of Absolute Zero Degrees (whose clever wallpaper and children's tableware designs we love), the anthology of round shapes also explores the way that circles can represent inclusion, while dots can signify rebellion, illustrated by examples from political propaganda and street signs. The edition is one of the first in Rotovision's new series of books, Communicating with Pattern, which pays homage to the most basic and essential design elements in all their incarnations. Each volume is a unique look at how we communicate with a single pattern and the complete set hopes to be a "bible of pattern" for designers of all walks of life. The series currently includes a book on Stripes (also by Mark and Keith), with books on Squares, Checks, and Grids to follow. You can find both Rotovision.

The Spirit of The Beehive

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A film of near indescribable weight and richness, The Spirit of the Beehive is the latest essential DVD release from The Criterion Collection. The narrative is deceptively simple: in a small provincial Spanish village in the 1940s, a traveling cinema leaves a small child haunted by the memory of Frankenstein’s monster. While engrossing and endearing as an ode to the power of youthful imagination, it’s also a complex political allegory about life under Franco’s regime. The film’s stunning aesthetics are unparalleled and the new hi-def transfer on this set really lets Luis Cuadrado’s cinematography shine. It's worthwhile purchase if only to show off the dynamic colors on your 16:9 set. Pick it up at Amazon. by Michael Talbott

The Black Panthers

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On the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of The Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Aperture will release The Black Panthers, a collection of Stephen Shames' never before published photographs of one the most controversial organizations of the Civil Rights movement. From 1967 to 1973 Stephen captured both the enigmatic public face of the Panthers and also the intimate private moments of the group that former FBI head J. Edgar Hoover once described as the country's greatest threat to internal security. The striking photographs illustrate how the political agenda and community service of the Panthers was tied to their aesthetic sense. The image created by the slick leather jackets and berets that were their uniforms was intrinsic to their 10 point plan. As Black Panther's founder Bobby Seale explains in the preface "I understood that good visuals—the graphics in our posters and newspapers and the use of photographs like Stephen Shames' were part of how we could successfully communicate the imagination of people." The Black Panthers includes essays by Bobby Seale and Charles E. Jones. Pre-order from Amazon. Aperture will be hosting a panel discussion and book signing with Stephen Shames and Bobby Seale for the release of the book on on 12 October 2006 in Oakland, California (where the Panthers were founded) that will also kick-off an exhibition of the photographs. Another event's scheduled for 18 October 2006 in New York City. Details are available from Aperture. The Black Panthers Opening reception: Thursday, 12 October 2006 6pm Exhibition: 12 October 2006 — Monday, 13 November 2006 Asian Resource Gallery 310 Eighth Street Oakland, CA 94607 map Wednesday, 18 October 2006 The Great Hall at Cooper Union7 East 7th Street New York, NY map