There are a couple of TV shows now about the tiny house movement. This is where people choose to live in a very, very small house. Sometimes the house is on wheels sort of like a camping trailer but it still looks like a house.
People are making tiny houses out of all sorts of things especially things they can recycle. One example is grain silos. Here is a picture of a house made from a single grain silo. The guy who built is named Christoph Kaiser. He is an architect in Arizona. He designed the whole inside, too. It is only 190 square feet. That is like the size of my bedroom!
Another popular item to recycle into a tiny house is a shipping container. Shipping containers are packed full of stuff and put on trains or boats where they go all over the world. They are heavy and made of metal. They make a strong house. Here is an example:
People want to live small for lots of reasons:
They can drag it around with them. If they can work their job wherever, then they can just build their house on wheels and take it all over and still do their job.
They want a small footprint. No…we don’t mean like from your shoe! A footprint is the mark you leave on the environment after living in a place. Some people think that living tiny means they use up less natural resources, like wood and don’t make as much dirty air.
They do not cost as much as a regular house to build and they can build it just the way they want it.
Services do not cost as much because the space is smaller. People put in small appliances and so electricity does not cost as much. Heating and air conditioning a small place does not cost as much.
They can be creative. A tiny house does not have much room so furniture has to do a lot. A table cannot just be a table. It might have to be a bed. Furniture can fold down from the wall. There are ladders and stairs with cubbies in them. They even store stuff in the floor.
If you are thinking you would like to live small, you don’t have to use a silo or a container. You can buy plans for tiny houses now and build them like a regular house, just it will be much smaller.
Bananas are in the news. Yes, that is right, bananas. That long yellow thing in your lunch box. Let’s give you some facts, first, that you might not know:
The most common type of banana eaten by everyone is called the Cavendish banana. (That’s probably the one in your lunchbox.)
There are all different kinds of bananas. On Wikipedia, it said there are like over 70 different ones, but we do not eat all the kinds of bananas. Some have a lot of seeds and you would not want to eat them. (But they are important and we will tell you more about that later.)
Not all bananas are yellow. Some stay green and there is even a pink banana!
About 20 bananas make a bunch.
Plantains are a type of banana but they are not as sweet. They are usually cooked before you eat them.
In some places, banana leaves are used to wrap food in for cooking.
In Japan, fibers from the banana plant are used to make tablecloths. In Nepal, the fibers are woven into rugs.
You can see how important bananas are. Only now, there is a problem developing with bananas. A fungus called Tropical Race 4 or TR4 is found in the soil and it is killing banana plants. The Cavendish bananas (remember they are the ones we all eat) are grown on big farms called plantations and some of these plantations can no longer grow bananas because the soil is ruined from the fungus. There are places in Asia and Australia where no bananas can be grown now.
Scientists are working on coming up with a new type of banana that the fungus cannot hurt. They are doing this by combining different types of bananas together to make a new banana.
David Bowie just died. He was 69 years old and he was a famous musician. He was an interesting guy. He wrote songs and made music videos. He was also an actor. He created a role for himself and called it Ziggy Stardust. He starred in the movie called Labyrinth, a super cool film with goblins and stuff. He played Jareth, the king of the goblins and he wrote some of the music that is in the movie.
He did some kind of weird stuff, too, like wear costumes and girl’s makeup. But he was a very talented person who was very respected by other musicians.
This video is Space Oddity and Davie Bowie is dressed up at Ziggy Stardust.
There is an amazing new way to go sightseeing. It is called The GoCar. You can get one in San Francisco or San Diego, USA. It is also in Spain.
It works like this. You rent the car and it has GPS and it is programmed to talk to you. You might want to stop for a snack. The GoCar will know where you are and when you start it again, it will talk to you and tell you stories about where you are at.
The GoCar can speak many different languages. It does not have a top, so you have to wear a helmet. You have to be 21 years old to drive one and it only hold two people at a time.
The GoCar people have a blog that tells about neat things in the cities where they are at. They tell you where the good places are to eat. They talk about museums to visit and art to see. Alot of it is more grown up stuff. But we think it would be fun to ride in the GoCar anyway. They also have a cool page where they have old GoCars for sale. You can buy them! That would be super cool!
A GoCar is a great new way to see a city. Some cities have limousine rides that take you all over, but you sit in the back and you can’t really see out that well. It is open in a GoCar. Well, the limo might be good if it is raining but we would probably like to ride in a car that tells us stories.
What do you find when you go to the beach? Shells. Seaweed. Sponges.
In Cornwall, England, for the past 20 years, Legos have been washing up on the beach. Yes, Legos! A ship lost a bunch of Legos while they were at sea and since then, the Legos come to the shore in England.
The kids there must love it. The best think ever was the giant Lego man who washed up.
Legos aren’t the only toys that have been lost in the ocean. In 1992, a lot of bath toys, 20,000 toys fell off a container ship and have been floating all over the world ever since. They have been found in Alaska, Hawaii, Australia, South America, Scotland and Washington state, USA.
The plastic toys have been useful to scientists who study the ocean currents. They are able to look at the places and times where the toys have come to the beach. The toys get stuck in what is called a gyre. A gyre is a group of powerful currents that power wash the objects in them and carry them to different places in the current.
Toys are not the only things that fall overboard. There are lots of other things like packages of cigarettes, shoes and even large appliances making up huge garbage dumps out in the ocean. It seems funny at first, but we have really bad problems with ocean pollution.
Have you seen any of the Hunger Games movies? They are based on three books written by Suzanne Collins. Three books about one theme are called a trilogy. In this trilogy the goverment is putting down the people. They don’t have enough food. They can’t do whatever they want to do. Katniss Everdeen is the main person in the story. She leads a rebellion. A rebellion is when the people stand up to the govermnet and say what they don’t like.
Well, in Thailand there are a bunch of young persons who are doing this. They are protesting the actions of those who have taken control of the country. The military took over last year and they kicked out the person the Thai people had elected to run the country. A lot of people don’t like the way the leaders are running it. They think the military goverment is suppressing everyone. This means they won’t let you do what you want and they want to control everybody. So young people are protesting. They are showing the government that they don’t like them by putting red tape on their mouths and they hold up three fingers. This is just like in the movie.
The goverment does not like this protest. They put some of the people in jail. This is not what the Thai people want to happen.
Some men were riding in a boat and saw a moose in the water. Moose are dangerous animals and we all know you should not go near them. The one man thought it would be funny to jump on the back of the moose and ride him like a horse. Moose are wild and should not be ridden. The man put the moose in danger because the moose was swimming and these animals are not used to having people on their backs. It is also against the law to do something like this to a wild animal. This is called harrassment.
This video is from You Tube and it was posted by Wolftracker TV, a conservation group in British Columbia. They showed the video to the forestry police and they are trying to figure out who the people are in the video and, where it happened. The man who jumped on the moose broke the law and if they find him he will be charged with a crime. He will have to pay a fine and maybe do some other things, like work for the park system as a volunteer to make up for what he did.
In the video, you will notice that the men are laughing. They had been drinking alcohol and were not thinking clearly. Never, ever ride a moose. It could hurt the moose. It could hurt you. And, it is against the law.