He was living in a dumpster when the idea first came to him.

His name's Jeff Wilson — Dr. Jeff Wilson, actually. He's a professor at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, known fondly on campus as "Professor Dumpster."


Photo by Jeff Wilson/Wikimedia Commons.

Wilson made himself the guinea pig in a year-long experiment on sustainable living.

He traded a 3,000-square-foot home and most of his worldly possessions for a spartan 33-square-foot living space created in a big green dumpster.

Wilson's experiment eventually became a nonprofit called The Dumpster Project that "invites learners of all ages to rethink sustainability through the quirky task of turning a dumpster into a home." Photos (exterior, interior) by Unilarity/Wikimedia Commons.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Wilson said the experience made him happier than he's ever been. He was unburdened by the weights of adulthood, saving big on rent and utilities, doing less housework, cutting his commute down to near-nonexistence, and just having less stuff to clutter his space and mind.

Living in a dumpster may not be for everyone, but Wilson thinks smart home engineering can yield the same benefits.

Case in point: tiny houses. They're exactly what they sound like — homes of varying tininess, often pictured in bucolic ruralities.

Photo by Benjamin Chun/Flickr.

Some are craftily adapted from materials not typically used with home building.

Photo by ROLU/Flickr.

And some are designed to go with you when you want to move.

Photo by Guillaume Dutilh/Wikimedia Commons.

Tiny houses are gaining more attention as a viable housing alternative, which is great news for a few reasons.

They're an option — for the crafty and willing — with affordable housing growing scarcer as cities sell out their locals for higher bidders. Then there are some, like Wilson, who just want to live simpler, less materially crowded and wasteful lives.

Wilson's verve for simple living became an entrepreneurial mission — to build a new generation of smart homes.

His company is called Kasita, but they're not building homes for country living. They're bringing the tiny house movement to the city — although, in a press statement, they say they don't call what they're building "tiny houses":

"The Kasita completely reimagines the home with industrial design at its core. There's nothing quite like it out there. The Kasita does not contain a loft, Murphy bed, pitched roof, or wheels. It's designed from the ground up as opposed to an adaptation of an existing structure intended to store and transport merchandise (but we have lots of love and respect for our friends in the Tiny House and container communities!)."

Their 208-square-foot design slides into multi-level structures called "racks," which connect to municipal utilities like electricity and plumbing.

The first rack is scheduled to open in Austin in 2016, and plans are underway to build them in 10 more cities by 2017.

With Kasita, you can move your entire home to any city with a rack. All you have to do is make a call, schedule a big-rig pickup, and off it'll go to your next destination.

Kasitas are equipped with all the amenities of a modern home, including a kitchen with a cooktop, convection oven, and dishwasher; a bathroom with a walk-in shower; and a combined washer and dryer unit.

The walls use a special tile system that lets you customize the space to your needs.

Plus, they'll have voice-activated components like lighting, entertainment, and a hidden queen-size bed that rolls out on your command, like a boss at bedtime.

To make Kasita an affordable housing opportunity, they're building community partnerships for creative land use.

They haven't yet announced pricing for buyers, but one of their stated goals is to offer rentals at half the market rate of standard studio apartments. In the country's most rapidly gentrifying cities, that could add up to serious savings.

Housing may be an internationally recognized human right, but not enough is being done to ensure everyone has access to it. Until then, it's encouraging to know there are businesses out there like Kasita that aren't just in the business of making things worse.

Kasita won't stop the housing crisis dead in its tracks. But if it proves successful, it could help inspire the kind of innovation we need to eventually send it flying off its rails.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani wows audiences with his amazing musical talents.

Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.

Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.

Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.

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