Trump wanted border wall designs. He kind of got the exact opposite.

President Trump wants to build a wall along the U.S./Mexico border. It's not actually him that's going to design and build it, though. As per usual for government projects, they're taking submissions from private contractors.

Each contractor puts forth various costs, designs, and ideas, which Trump was probably figuring would be stuff like wall shapes and structures or types of concrete.


But, well, not everyone did that.

Instead of a border wall, a group of designers has proposed a different take on the idea of a border altogether.

All images from Otra Nation. Used with permission.

The MADE Collective, a group of 14 planners, architects, and engineers, want to replace the idea of a wall with something the world's never seen before — turning the border into a kind shared utopia. They're calling their project Otra Nation.

The most visually striking aspect of their idea is to replace the big concrete wall concept with a sleek, sexy hyperloop.

Hyperloops are a kind of theoretical superfast train-in-a-tube, which would make traveling along the border quicker and easier than ever. Stops would stretch west from San Diego and Tijuana east to Brownsville and Matamoros on the very southern tip of Texas. Connections would also branch off to cities such as San Francisco, Sante Fe, Dallas, and Mexico City.

If the hyperloop matched the kinds of speed Elon Musk's take on the idea proposes, a person could travel the entire border in less than three hours.

That's already an amazingly ambitious idea, but buckle your seatbelts (do hyperloops have seatbelts?), it gets bigger.

To go along with the easier travel, Otra Nation would also include a regional ID card and tweaked border control laws, which would let people easily flow between the United States and Mexico.

Nature-lovers and green techies would get some goodies too. The plan would make the border a "zero-extraction" zone (meaning no mining or oil drilling), remove the 700 miles of fencing already there, restore natural areas like wetlands and forests, and install 90,000 square kilometers of solar panel stations, which if you don't know, is a whole hell of a lot of solar power.

But it gets even better. The most ambitious idea is who'd own this strip of land. Or, more precisely, who wouldn't own it.

While both nations would work together to build up the infrastructure, the area would be given a degree of autonomy. This would effectively turn the border into a shared, self-governing territory, what the MADE Collective is calling a "co-nation."

A co-nation. A little baby nation with the U.S. and Mexico as the proud parents. It'd be something we've never seen before and could change how we see international relations altogether.

Otra Nation currently has a petition on Change.org. If they get 250,000 signatures, they say they'll get the proposal hand-delivered to the presidents of both nations.

The MADE designers acknowledge the idea has a million-to-one shot, but they're serious about it.

The idea may seem a bit far-fetched, and it'll certainly require more schematics, legislation, and paperwork than their relatively brief proposal sets out.

But, well, it's estimated that Trump’s wall is going to end up costing more than $20 billion ($5 billion more than Otra Nation is asking for) and might not even work. If we're going to drop that much money on a grand idea, why not aim for something truly revolutionary?

People often say "build bridges, not walls." This would be one hell of a bridge.

Heroes

Andy Grammer, the pop singer and songwriter behind feel-good tunes like "Keep Your Head Up," "Back Home," and "Don't Give Up on Me," has a new album out—and it is seriously fabulous. Titled simply "Naive," Grammer says it's "all about how seeing the good in todays world can feel like a rebellious act."

"I wrote this album for the light bringers," Grammer shared on Facebook. "The people who choose to see the good even in the overwhelming chaos of the bad. The smilers who fight brick by brick to build an authentic smile everyday, even when it seems like an impossible thing to do. For those who have been marginalized as 'sweet' or 'cute' or 'less powerful' for being overly positive. To me optimism is a war to be fought, possibly the most important one. If I am speaking to you and you are relating to it then know I made this album for you. You are my tribe. I love you and I hope it serves you. Don't let the world turn down your shine, we all so badly need it."

Reading that, it's easy to think maybe he really is naive, but Grammer's positivity isn't due to nothing difficult ever happening in his life. His mom, Kathy, died of breast cancer when Grammer was 25. He and his mother were very close, and her life and death had a huge impact on him.

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Culture
via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

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The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

Inclusivity

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