GOOD

Ekene Ijeoma

Meet the innovative mind revealing the human face behind data.

Ekene Ijeoma refers to his cozy, fourth-floor studio in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, as “The Treehouse.” Green metallic vines cover one wall, making me feel as though we’ve secluded ourselves in some kind of futuristic canopy. At first blush, the 31-year-old designer strikes me as laconic, though a playful sense of humor slowly begins to emerge. We joke about how no one uses the option to donate to charity while checking out at Rite Aid, before he wonders aloud, how do we get people to do good?

As an artist and designer, Ijeoma is a unicorn—a sought-after rarity, utilizing a multitude of mediums, like interactive media and installations, and tools, like code and data, with ease. He is careful to note though that these decisions are always made depending on what best serves the concept. And while Ijeoma has worked on commercial projects, his talents and passions converge in his socially conscious work. One piece, The Refugee Project, is a collaboration with design studio Hyperakt that aims to increase awareness of the ongoing refugee crisis. He shows me a now-famous photo of a Turkish police officer carrying a drowned Syrian refugee boy from the beach—a heart-wrenching image that drew international ire. “I was thinking about how much empathy this image created for the issue. How could data visualization do the same thing?”


What emerged was a map that traced global refugee migration since 1975, noting how destinations changed over time and including personal stories to “see the refugee crisis through the eyes of the refugees themselves.” The project is being exhibited in Design Museum’s Designs of the Year and was published in MoMa’s Design and Violence, a digital experiment exploring societal brutality.

“I see design as a way of understanding these issues in a way that you can’t from news,” Ijeoma tells me. “It brings it to a different space.”

Another project, Wage Islands, was inspired by fast food workers’ fight for a higher minimum wage and New York magazine’s historic Hurricane Sandy cover, which showed the city blanketed in darkness. Ijeoma wanted to illustrate the “haves and have-nots” of New York City using two metrics, wages and housing inequality, to explore what he calls a “geography of access.” If the city’s minimum wage were to increase from the $8.75 minimum an hour to $15, how would accessibility change?

[/vimeo]

The result is an interactive, 3D physical model that depicts the relationship between income and geography. Made of over 500 pieces of laser-cut acrylic, the model rises and falls in a dark pool of water according to the wage selected on an attached control. The above-water peaks of the island represent where an individual can afford to live on that particular wage, while what remains submerged is unattainable. As the wage increases, so does the space above the water. At $8.75 an hour, the model begins almost completely immersed. “It was, for me, a poetic way of looking at the issue,” says Ijeoma.

Throughout our conversation, Ijeoma keeps returning to the idea of humanizing data—finding the faces behind the big numbers. “With data, you can tell whatever story you want. Someone asked me once, ‘When you’re working with data like this, isn’t there a risk of telling lies?’” He considers this for a moment. “In the scientific process, you’re trying to answer questions using facts. But in my artistic process, I’m mostly asking questions to inter- rogate facts and reveal broader perspectives of issues that narrower media doesn’t.”

Features
via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
Pixabay

Offering parental leave for new fathers could help close the gender gap, removing the unfair "motherhood penalty" women receive for taking time off after giving birth. However, a new study finds that parental leave also has a pay gap. Men are less likely to take time off, however, when they do, they're more likely to get paid for it.

A survey of 2,966 men and women conducted by New America found that men are more likely to receive paid parental leave. Over half (52%) of fathers had fully paid parental leave, and 14% of fathers had partially paid parental leave. In comparison, 33% of mothers had fully paid parental leave and 19% had partially paid parental leave.

Keep Reading Show less

Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

The Planet