Adonis Diaries

Archive for April 14th, 2015

 

“Shedquarters”: No need to drool over yet

Space-efficient work spaces are becoming all the rage these days.

They’re great for maintaining privacy and uninterrupted workflow, and they can also be cozy and stylish as well.

Here are some examples of a growing trend of miniature studios (for offices and living structures), that are small enough to fit in someone’s back yard.

We’re fond of calling them, shedquarters. Whether you need your own getaway space, an office, an art studio, or a full on extra home, there’s something for everyone out there!

Kanga Room: Based out of Austin, Texas, Kanga Room has backyard studios in three styles: modern, country cottage, and bungalow. The basic package is an 8×8-foot shed that starts around $5,900 and you can add on a bathroom, kitchenette, and front porch for additional cost.

Via Apartment Therapy
Via Apartment Therapy

Modern Shed: This Seattle-based company was founded by husband and wife, Ryan Grey Smith and Ahna Holder. They create flat-packed prefab structures. Basic 8×10 sheds start at $6,900.

Via Apartment Therapy
Via Apartment Therapy
Via Apartment Therapy
Via Apartment Therapy

Weehouse by Alchemy Architects: The Weehouse Studio was designed by Minnesota’s Alchemy Architects. They start at 435 square feet, and include a main room and bathroom. It can be used as either a home office, guest house, or even a main residence.

Via Apartment Therapy

KitHaus: The KitHause was designed by Tom Sandonato and Martin Wehmann. It is a modular site-constructed prefab housing system. The K-Pod is the starting model and measures 117 square feet. They also have larger models.

Via Apartment Therapy
Via Apartment Therapy

Modern Spaces: “Forts for grown-ups!” Yep, that’s how they describe them. These come in four pretty boxy styles. A fully installed shed with a foundation and finished exterior starts at $6,000. On-site installation is currently only available to California residents.

Via Apartment Therapy
Via Apartment Therapy
Via Apartment Therapy

Loftcube: Werner Aisslinger designed these sheds to make the extra space on top of city skyscrapers more productive. He was able to fit a kitchen and bathroom within these 400 square foot glass-walled studios.

Via Apartment Therapy
Via Apartment Therapy
Via Apartment Therapy

Modern Cabana: The sheds from this San Francisco company start at 10×12 feet, but they have full studios with kitchens and baths. The basic model is perfect for a backyard office, with its sliding door.

Via Apartment Therapy
Via Apartment Therapy
Via Apartment Therapy

Metroshed: The MetroShed, by David Ballinger, is a prefab, flat-packed model that starts around $6,000. This a simple design is made of a cedar wood beam post frame with aluminum-frame sliding doors, and comes in 9×13 feet or larger.

Via Metro Prefab
Via Metro Prefab
Patsy Z  shared this link on FB

I want one

Time to free up that spare bedroom you’ve been working out of.
lightersideofrealestate.com|By Lighter Side Staff

Any facts on Yemen conflict?

Saudi Arabia most obscurantist Wahhabi monarchy is directly launching a preemptive war on the Yemenis.

Since its creation in 1925 with the help of Britain, the Saudi monarchy (growing to over 5,000 princes) was the archenemy of every Arab State that demanded independence from the colonial powers.

The Saudi emirs had direct connections with the emerging Zionist movement since 1920, as if the Wahhabi Islamic sect is the twin sect with orthodox Jewish religion: No pictures, no dancing, no music, female are of much lower ranks than males… all these crappy dogmatic belief system.

The strategy of the Saudi monarchy (which suited well with the colonial powers and Israel) was simple:

1. decapitate Egypt, the head of the Arabic civilization, the arch enemy of the Saudi monarchy

2. Take the heart out of Syria: The bastion of Arabic culture and steadfast hotbed for revolutionary movements against monarchic systems

3. Never allow Syria to link up with Iraq, under any condition

Saudi monarchy fought all the wars in the Arab world using third parties mercenaries and agents with plenty of cash money to execute its destabilizing plans.

Now, Saudi monarchy made the strategic faux-pas by waging a war directly against Yemen. Why?

Yemen thwarted Saudi dominion on Yemen’s social and political structure and wants real independence from this Evil neighbour.

The main other reason is to enlist the vast pool of the poor people in Saudi Arabia into the army in order to absorb the vast discontent of the youth who are getting bored to death.

A patriotic war for a change might absorb the youth restlessness and despair.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates are saying to their “citizens”:

 Listen, we are not collecting taxes from you. electricity and oil are very cheap.  In return you have no rights to voice your opinion, vote or be represented in any political institution… There is no democracy of any kind and our power is given by God to rule over you…”

A few facts you need to know about Yemen and its conflicts

Published time: March 27, 2015 04:46
Followers of the Houthi movement demonstrate to show support to the movement in Yemen's northwestern city of Saada March 26, 2015. (Reuters/Naiyf Rahma)

Followers of the Houthi movement demonstrate to show support to the movement in Yemen’s northwestern city of Saada March 26, 2015. (Reuters/Naiyf Rahma)

One of the poorest and most violent countries in the Middle East, Yemen is also an area of strategic importance for regional players – and home of a few world’s most dangerous terror groups.

RT explains the underlying reasons behind the nation’s conflicts.

LIVE UPDATES: Gulf coalition launches airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen

Strategic location

The territory that lies within Yemen’s borders is one of the most ancient cradles of civilization in the Middle East, once known as ‘Arabia Felix’ – Latin for “happy” or “fortunate” – in ancient times. The lands of Yemen were more fertile than most on the Arabian Peninsula, as they received more rain due to high mountains.

But because of declining natural resources, including oil, Yemen and its population of about 26 million are now very poor.

Still, the country boasts a strategic location on the southwestern tip of Arabia.

It is located along the major sea route from Europe to Asia, near some of the busiest Red Sea shipping and trading lanes. Millions of barrels of oil pass through these waters daily in both directions, to the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal and from the oil refineries in Saudi Arabia to the energy-hungry Asian markets.

The Yemeni transport hub of Aden was one of the world’s busiest ports in the 20th century.

North & South Yemen, plus the tribes

Although the history of the lands of Yemen date back thousands of years, modern Yemen itself is a young nation, with its current borders having taken shape in 1990, after North and South Yemen united.

Before that, both parts were involved in conflicts of their own.

Read more 

Northern Yemen was established as a republic in 1970, after years of civil war between royalists and republicans, with the first supported by Saudi Arabia and the latter by Egypt.

Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, rose to power through the military and held power for decades. Although Southern Yemen agreed to merge with Saleh’s northern republic in 1990, they soon became unhappy about the move.

The north and south became embroiled in a new civil war, resulting in thousands of casualties, while Saleh’s power prevailed.

Outside big Yemeni cities, there are a number of tribal areas that are effectively self-governing.

With a large number of civilians being in possession of arms – it is believed there are more guns in the country than citizens – local tribal militias often repress the national army and apply their own laws, based on traditions rather than the state’s constitution. Houthis have risen to be one of the most powerful militias in Yemen.

Sunni-Shia rift

The majority of Yemen’s population is Muslim, but it is split between various branches of Islam – mainly Sunni or Zaidi Shia.

The divisions between the Sunnis and the Shia are based on a long-running religious conflict that started as a dispute about the Prophet Mohammed’s successor.

While Shia Muslims believe the prophet’s cousin should have filled the role, Sunnis support the picking of Muhammad’s close friend and advisor, Abu Bakr, as the first caliph of the Islamic nation.

Read more 

That said, Zaidi Shias – making up about 40 percent of Yemen’s population – are the only Shia Muslim sect that do not share the belief in the infallibility and divine choice of imams, strongly revered as spiritual leaders among Shias. This causes them to align closer to Sunni practices.

At the same time, over the past decades, strict and puritanical Salafi and Wahhabi ideas of Sunni Islam – coming from neighboring Saudi Arabia – have become increasingly influential in Yemen.

Houthis

Houthis represent the Zaidi branch of Shiite Islam from the far north of Yemen, adjacent to the Saudi border. The name of the group comes from a leading family of the tribe.

Its member – a Zaidi religious leader and former member of the Yemeni parliament, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi – was accused by the government of masterminding a Houthi rebellion, including violent anti-Israeli and anti-American demonstrations, in 2004.

The Yemeni regime ordered a manhunt for al-Houthi, which ended with hundreds of arrests and the death of the Zaidi leader, with dozens of his supporters also killed.

Read more 

Since then, the Houthis have been actively fighting with the central power, demanding greater political influence and accusing the government of allying with mainly Wahhabi Saudi Arabia while neglecting national development and the needs of the traditional Zaidi tribes.

While Yemen’s now embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has claimed that Houthis are supported by Hezbollah – the Lebanese Shia militia – some Western officials have alleged that Iran, one of the few Muslim nations of the Shia branch, financially supports Houthis in an effort to control Yemen’s Red Sea coast.

A totally ridiculous allegation denied by both  the Houthis themselves and Hezbollah.

Al-Qaeda & ISIS

Since 2009, Yemen has been an operational base of Al-Qaeda militants.

After the Yemeni and Saudi branches of Al-Qaeda merged to form Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the group became one of the world’s biggest exporters of terrorism, with the US considering it the most dangerous branch of Al-Qaeda.

Osama bin Laden’s family lived in southern Yemen before emigrating to Saudi Arabia.

READ MORE: Yemeni Al-Qaeda says France replaced US as ‘main enemy of Islam’

Yemen’s fight against AQAP has been largely supported by the United States.

Since 2007, the US has supplied more than $500 million in military aid to Yemen through programs managed by the Defense Department and State Department, and conducted controversial drone strikes targeting terrorists in the country.

Read more 

Al-Qaeda’s ideology is based on radical Sunni Islam and thus is hostile to Houthis, who have also been at war with AQAP militants.

With several forces fighting in the country – including the official government, Houthis, and AQAP – the Yemeni chaos provided a fertile ground for extremism.

Extremist groups affiliated with the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) now operate in Yemen, conducting terror acts against both the military and civilians.

In the latest March 20 attack, over 100 people were killed and some 250 injured in suicide bomb attacks on mosques in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, with ISIS militants claiming responsibility for the assault.

READ MORE: ‘Yemen crisis: clearly a failure of US foreign policy’

 

 

Much better off Spending On Experiences

Most people are in the pursuit of happiness (a new concept created in the 20th century: The short life expectancy didn’t leave much room to be picky, and the family word even harder to eek a living to the dozen offspring…).

There are economists who think happiness is the best indicator of the health of a society.

We know that money can make you happier, though after your basic needs are met, it doesn’t make you that much happier.

But one of the biggest questions is how to allocate our money, which is (for most of us) a limited resource.

There’s a very logical assumption that most people make when spending their money on objects: a physical object will last longer, it will make us happier for a longer time than a one-off experience like a concert or vacation.

According to recent research, it turns out that assumption is completely wrong.

One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation,” says Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who has been studying the question of money and happiness for over two decades.

“We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.” (Is that why companies have to produce new products?)

German skydiver via Shutterstock

So rather than buying the latest iPhone or a new BMW, Gilovich suggests you’ll get more happiness spending money on experiences like going to art exhibits (not free?), doing outdoor activities (not free?), learning a new skill, or traveling.

Gilovich’s findings are the synthesis of psychological studies conducted by him and others into the Easterlin paradox, which found that money buys happiness, but only up to a point.

How adaptation affects happiness, for instance, was measured in a study that asked people to self-report their happiness with major material and experiential purchases.

Initially, their happiness with those purchases was ranked about the same. But over time, people’s satisfaction with the things they bought went down, whereas their satisfaction with experiences they spent money on went up.

It’s counterintuitive that something like a physical object that you can keep for a long time doesn’t keep you as happy as long as a once-and-done experience does. (Does that include mobile phones?)

Ironically, the fact that a material thing is ever present works against it, making it easier to adapt to. It fades into the background and becomes part of the new normal. (Isn’t going back to normal one of the definition of happiness and contentment?)

But while the happiness from material purchases diminishes over time, experiences become an ingrained part of our identity. (Thus, the longer the list of adventures the more complex a personality you are?)

“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” says Gilovich.

“You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.” (Too general a statement to be convincing)

One study conducted by Gilovich even showed that if people have an experience they say negatively impacted their happiness, once they have the chance to talk about it, their assessment of that experience goes up.

Gilovich attributes this to the fact that something that might have been stressful or scary in the past can become a funny story to tell at a party or be looked back on as an invaluable character-building experience. (The more personal stories you accumulate in order to share, the happier you are?)

Another reason is that shared experiences connect us more to other people than shared consumption. (Shared consumption or sharing objects?)

You’re much more likely to feel connected to someone you took a vacation with in Bogotá than someone who also happens to have bought a 4K TV.

Greg Brave via Shutterstock

“We consume experiences directly with other people,” says Gilovich. “And after they’re gone, they’re part of the stories that we tell to one another.”

And even if someone wasn’t with you when you had a particular experience, you’re much more likely to bond over both having hiked the Appalachian Trail or seeing the same show than you are over both owning Fitbits.

You’re also much less prone to negatively compare your own experiences to someone else’s than you would with material purchases.

One study conducted by researchers Ryan Howell and Graham Hill found that it’s easier to feature-compare material goods (how many carats is your ring? how fast is your laptop’s CPU?) than experiences. And since it’s easier to compare, people do so.

“The tendency of keeping up with the Joneses tends to be more pronounced for material goods than for experiential purchases,” says Gilovich.

“It certainly bothers us if we’re on a vacation and see people staying in a better hotel or flying first class. But it doesn’t produce as much envy as when we’re outgunned on material goods.” (The lower the envy quality the happier?)

Gilovich’s research has implications for individuals who want to maximize their happiness return on their financial investments, for employers who want to have a happier workforce, and policy-makers who want to have a happy citizenry.

“By shifting the investments that societies make and the policies they pursue, they can steer large populations to the kinds of experiential pursuits that promote greater happiness,” write Gilovich and his coauthor, Amit Kumar, in their recent article in the academic journal Experimental Social Psychology. (Are we promoting tourism?)

If society takes their research to heart, it should mean not only a shift in how individuals spend their discretionary income, but also place an emphasis on employers giving paid vacation and governments taking care of recreational spaces.

“As a society, shouldn’t we be making experiences easier for people to have?” asks Gilovich.

[Top Photo: Justin Lewis/Getty Images]

You don’t have infinite money. Spend it on stuff that research says makes you happy.
fastcoexist.com

adonis49

adonis49

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