Local "Repair Café" Brings Neighbors Together

In a push against a "buy-toss-buy" consumer culture, a group of residents in one German city get together once a month to fix broken household items. It's an example of the slowly-growing "hackerspace" movement.

What's the Latest Development?


A small group of people in the German city of Wuppenstal represents one of a growing number of "hackerspaces" around the world that are coming together to fix items, such as vacuum cleaners and toasters, that would normally have been tossed out. Interestingly, this particular group isn't entirely comprised of mechanical people: Some are IT workers, and one is an anesthesiologist. However, once a month they open their repair café -- located in a former train station -- to the public, and after a recent television appearance, people are lining up in hopes of having their household objects repaired.

What's the Big Idea?

The hackerspace is a response to a common perception that manufacturers purposely design certain items to break down within an unknown period of time. This "planned obsolescence" forces customers into a continuous consumption cycle, and a recent member of the Wuppenstal group, an electrician known as Didi, says that's not happening on his watch: "Companies will not get rich with my help...I repair everything on my own at home, even my car." Margret Meiners came with a broken DVD player that she unscrewed herself; upon revealing her training in bicycle mechanics, she was promptly recruited for a new bike-focused repair café.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at Der Spiegel

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Radical theory says our universe sits on an inflating bubble in an extra dimension

Cosmologists propose a groundbreaking model of the universe using string theory.

Getty Images/Suvendu Giri
Surprising Science
  • A new paper uses string theory to propose a new model of the universe.
  • The researchers think our universe may be riding a bubble expanded by dark energy.
  • All matter in the universe may exist in strings that reach into another dimension.
Keep reading Show less

Your body’s full of stuff you no longer need. Here's a list.

Evolution doesn't clean up after itself very well.

Image source: Ernst Haeckel
Surprising Science
  • An evolutionary biologist got people swapping ideas about our lingering vestigia.
  • Basically, this is the stuff that served some evolutionary purpose at some point, but now is kind of, well, extra.
  • Here are the six traits that inaugurated the fun.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Top Video Splash
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and things that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way.".