Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Power of Do-it-Yourself

I'm a HUGE fan of DIY (do it yourself) sites. And there's a ton of them out there. One of the biggest things missing for the poor is the lack of access to information. Its not only that they aren't educated, but they can't read, and there is no place to fix it - no libraries, no schools for adults, no videos to learn from. They are stymied on several levels.

I often feel like Encyclopedia Brittanica when I'm "in the field." Frankly I should carry a set of them into the field (I would if I didn't have a ton of other things to take!). People assume that because I know a little bit about something, that I know everything. Sometimes I get the randomest questions ("why is the moon white?" or "why do Asians have slanty eyes??"). I honestly tell them that I don't know. But that's never a good enough answer. When I was a kid and people told me that, I'd keep asking the same question over and over until I got smacked or my question was answered. (I still do, only I get smacked around in a different way) So even now, I try to look their questions up and find an answer...if I can.

There are a range of new DIY sites out that can easily fix this problem. Want to learn to make a plough?? Here... OR Want to make biodiesel?? Here... And the best part is that you don't need to know how to read. You can listen and understand and watch and learn. Nothing like trying something out yourself and learning.

Forbes recently did a piece on the new DIY generation. It profiles all the names behind the best DIY sites out.

Make magazine and Instructables are my favorites. You oughta check them out. Here's an example of "Make Biodiesel." Pretty cool stuff.

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