Offbeat News: Apple's old Macs are for the birds

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A macadamia farm in Australia is home to what may be one of the most innovative, ecologically friendly Mac recycling projects to date.



While Apple has drawn the spotlight to its new eco-friendly commitment and is offering schools a helping hand with a new recycling program, at least one organization is taking its own approach to spare old systems from the landfills.



The Australian state of New South Wales is home to Piccadilly Park, a farm just south of Bangalow that has seen a transformation from a cattle farm to a hybrid macadamia orchard and wetland restoration project where rainforest trees frequently outnumber the crops. Encouraging the growth has brought in an array of birds that not only lend a more organic feel to the farm, but also serve as a natural substitute for the toxic pesticides that would otherwise be used to kept insects at bay.



But to help these birds find a home, farm owner Rex Harris has thought of a unique approach to building nesting boxes: converting old Macintosh computers. Instead of building the avian homes solely from scratch, Piccadilly Park has taken to emptying and then reusing the plastic shells of vintage Macs as birdhouses, mounting them on poles throughout the farm to provide nests in open areas.



Reworking the classic computers has proven successful. The green and tan boxes are now home to the Eastern Rosella parrots shown in the photos. Butcherbirds and kestrels also find sanctuary if the entry holes are the right size, according to Harris. And in a perhaps unsurprising turn, the Mac casing of choice for the makeover is the original all-in-one design, first seen in 1984. The body is particularly well suited to the conversion process.



"The old Macs are perfect for nesting boxes with ventilation slots along the front, rear, and under the hand space where you lift them," Harris says. "We tried the original iMacs, but they are too big and get too hot."



Locating the preferred systems can be difficult. Most are "very very hard to find" in the present day, Harris adds, and will usually turn up in garage sales. Still, the pursuit is said to be worthwhile and results in a large batch of nests for the farm. About twenty receive the treatment on a rainy day, when the weather lends itself to working indoors.



Harris would also like to note that orchards aren't the only possible homes for the Mac aviaries. Repurposing the old systems could easily become "something schools and nature lovers could take up" as a hobby, he tells AppleInsider.



He also explains that while he isn't limited to using any one variant of the initial Mac chassis for the nesting boxes, there's at least one edition he would choose for Piccadilly Park above the others.



"We have used whatever we can get, even the last [Color Classic] model," he says. "[But] I love the original box, the one with the signatures of the development team on the inside."



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    strange...



    We actually have a mac plus at home, wouldn't mind making a fish tank out of it
  • Reply 2 of 30
    cedriccedric Posts: 28member
    That's not quite ecological to drop plastic boxes somewhere in the nature...
  • Reply 3 of 30
    Not to rain on anyone's parade, but the inards of the machine are the toxic parts, not the shells. So it's not necessarily as eco-friendly as they are tying to make it sound.



    Secondly, this isn't really an innovative solution either. Using old macs to house animals is an old idea... especially the "Macquarium". I know I know. I was disappointed too. I was like, dude, I should turn this iMac into a fish tank... and then found out that people had been doing so for many years.



    Turning it into a birdhouse is much easier. Attach a piece of wood, drill a hole, voila.



    Nice try... but not nice enough.



    -Clive
  • Reply 4 of 30
    give them credit eh! its not a bad start...at least it gives the plastic a use once more...better than nothing!
  • Reply 5 of 30
    abster2coreabster2core Posts: 2,501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post




    While Apple has drawn the spotlight to its new eco-friendly commitment and is offering schools a helping hand with a new recycling program, at least one organization is taking its own approach to spare old systems from the landfills.



    I take exception to the use of the word new as in, "…new eco-friendly commitment…" and the suggestion that, "A macadamia farm in Australia is home to what may be one of the most innovative, ecologically friendly Mac recycling projects to date, is equally perplexing."



    However, I do appreciate recycling and any, even the little things can help. Too bad we can't stuff the guy generating these suggestions http://www.freewebs.com/macssuck/antiapple.htm. Recycling him would be my last wish.
  • Reply 6 of 30
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,159member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cedric View Post


    That's not quite ecological to drop plastic boxes somewhere in the nature...



    Where does plastic come from?



  • Reply 7 of 30
    19841984 Posts: 955member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Where does plastic come from?







    Plastic isn't found in nature. It's created from oil along with other additives. The oil is found in the earth not on it.
  • Reply 8 of 30
    jupiteronejupiterone Posts: 1,564member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ...

    The Australian state of New South Wales is home to Piccadilly Park, a farm just south of Bangalow that has seen a transformation from a cattle farm to a hybrid macadamia orchard and wetland restoration project where rainforest trees frequently outnumber the crops. Encouraging the growth has brought in an array of birds that not only lend a more organic feel to the farm, but also serve as a natural substitute for the toxic pesticides that would otherwise be used to kept insects at bay.



    But to help these birds find a home, farm owner Rex Harris has thought of a unique approach to building nesting boxes: converting old Macintosh computers. Instead of building the avian homes solely from scratch, Piccadilly Park has taken to emptying and then reusing the plastic shells of vintage Macs as birdhouses, mounting them on poles throughout the farm to provide nests in open areas.

    .....



    More than just reusing plastic enclosures...also avoiding pesticides.
  • Reply 9 of 30
    mr omr o Posts: 1,046member
    The future generation of birds have something to worry about as those birdhouses will get slimmer and slimmer when the flat iMacs will find their way to wasteland.
  • Reply 10 of 30
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,159member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 1984 View Post


    Plastic isn't found in nature. It's created from oil along with other additives. The oil is found in the earth not on it.



    By the same token, you would say that brick is not 'natural?' Or, more generally, anything that is mined or emits from inside the earth (e.g., lava) that is brought to the surface of the earth?
  • Reply 11 of 30
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    By the same token, you would say that brick is not 'natural?' Or, more generally, anything that is mined or emits from inside the earth (e.g., lava) that is brought to the surface of the earth?



    I think plastics need a lot more processing that change the chemistry in radical ways. A lot of bricks are just fired from materials simply dug up.
  • Reply 12 of 30
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,755member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    By the same token, you would say that brick is not 'natural?' Or, more generally, anything that is mined or emits from inside the earth (e.g., lava) that is brought to the surface of the earth?



    Don't be intentionally dense. Defending the "naturalness" of plastic is weak--especially with the (lack of) logic that you use.



    Lava is natural and no one would suggest otherwise.



    Bricks are not natural, but they are relatively benign. They take little processing and if left in nature would, over human-scale timespans, degrade into something like what they started as.



    Plastics are formed by processing hydrocarbons (usually oil mined from deep underground--but there are other ways) and have little resembalance to the material from which they came. They do not degrade into their original componants over human-scale timespans.

    Some argue (though I don't know the chemestry) that they emit compounds that would not be found in nature and that have no relation to the chemical compositions of the original materials.
  • Reply 13 of 30
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,159member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post


    Don't be intentionally dense. Defending the "naturalness" of plastic is weak--especially with the (lack of) logic that you use.



    Lava is natural and no one would suggest otherwise.



    Bricks are not natural, but they are relatively benign. They take little processing and if left in nature would, over human-scale timespans, degrade into something like what they started as.



    Plastics are formed by processing hydrocarbons (usually oil mined from deep underground--but there are other ways) and have little resembalance to the material from which they came. They do not degrade into their original componants over human-scale timespans.

    Some argue (though I don't know the chemestry) that they emit compounds that would not be found in nature and that have no relation to the chemical compositions of the original materials.



    Ah, bring up a question with the environmental hoity-toities, and what do they do? They start their name-calling.



    Bageljoey, frankly, there are so many silly assumptions in your response -- starting with the premise that somehow "human-scale timespans" (sic) are some necessarily relevant benchmark -- that it would take me way too long to address (and, in the process, bore everyone to tears). Not worth it, man.



    Btw, it is spelt "chem-I-stry," "compon-E-nts," etc.
  • Reply 14 of 30
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Ah, bring up a question with the environmental hoity-toities, and what do they do? They start their name-calling.



    Woah. You think that "hoity-toities" isn't name-calling?
  • Reply 15 of 30
    iposteriposter Posts: 1,560member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post


    Too bad we can't stuff the guy generating these suggestions http://www.freewebs.com/macssuck/antiapple.htm. Recycling him would be my last wish.



    Wow, does that guy hate much??



    He's also wrong about many of the Apple comparisons on his site, or is using outdated information...
  • Reply 16 of 30
    markmark Posts: 143member
    I'd gladly turn my SE/30 into a birdhouse (or aquarium or hamster home), but I just can't bear to gut it when it's in perfect working condition. Too many happy memories.
  • Reply 17 of 30
    markmark Posts: 143member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Ah, bring up a question with the environmental hoity-toities, and what do they do? They start their name-calling.



    Bageljoey, frankly, there are so many silly assumptions in your response -- starting with the premise that somehow "human-scale timespans" (sic) are some necessarily relevant benchmark -- that it would take me way too long to address (and, in the process, bore everyone to tears). Not worth it, man.



    Btw, it is spelt "chem-I-stry," "compon-E-nts," etc.



    Keep digging, buddy...You're doing great.
  • Reply 18 of 30
    maimezvousmaimezvous Posts: 802member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mr O View Post


    The future generation of birds have something to worry about as those birdhouses will get slimmer and slimmer when the flat iMacs will find their way to wasteland.



    I laughed when I read this.
  • Reply 19 of 30
    iconsumericonsumer Posts: 79member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    a farm just south of Bangalow



    on a side note, thats where the tourist serial killer ivan millat did his terrible stuff,
  • Reply 20 of 30
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,159member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    Woah. You think that "hoity-toities" isn't name-calling?



    No.



    Well........., maybe.



    But I think it is much nicer than the term "intentionally dense" (which is what he used) -- don't you think?



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