Colin Dodson

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Team Culturing Information

last updated: 22. April, 2011

WHO are you?

  • Name/Nationality/Ethnicity - Colin Dodson, United States
  • Location – Urbana, IL
  • Contact Information

colin.dodson (at) gmail (dot) com

  • Introductory Video -
  • Resume/CV

2005-2008: Attended the Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA) in Aurora, IL. worked most summers with village workers in my hometown of Marissa, IL
2008: Graduated from IMSA; Began study at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
2009: Left University due to family medical circumstances
Summer 2010: began study at College of Dupage (COD) in Glen Ellyn, IL. Also began working as a student aide in Computer Support and Printing Services (CSPS) at the Library at COD.
Fall 2010-Spring 2011: Continued courses relevant to engineering major at COD, adding Welding and Machine Shop for personal interest. Continued work with CSPS.

2011: Return to UIUC in the summer-intended major of Industrial Engineering. Will continue each semester until finished.

  • Hobbies and Pastimes - Computers, technology, appropriate technology, occasional political debate/discussion, thoughtful reading, wishful inventing. (Lots of neat inventive ideas, not all of them realistic)

WHY are you motivated to support/develop this work?

  • Do you endorse open source culture?

Absolutely. I found the OSE project when looking for 'open source hardware.' At one time, though, I was almost fanatically free software-centric. Since then, I have matured, and have recognized open source organizations for their fundamental value. To me, open source is a step beyond transparency, and it is a goal toward which we should strive if we want an effective and genuine democratic society.

  • Why are you interested in this work?

I see OSE has made tremendous progress doing something modern 'conventional' wisdom might say is impossible, and I see more great successes coming in the future. As well, this project appears to aim for a structure not unlike a 'dream' city concept I've been obsessed with since high school.

  • Are you interested in teaching about the GVCS?

Very much so, but I am not certain of my ability to teach effectively about it. The concept is brilliant, and more people should be taught about it, so even if I am unsure of my ability, I would be perfectly willing to try.

  • Are you interested in economic relocalization possibilities arising from the GVCS?'

Centering economic structures within the communities they serve is central and beneficial in too many ways to count. Resiliency of smaller scale operations, minimization of logistic costs, maximum capacity for responsible use of local resources--the list goes on and on.

  • Do you want to use the GVCS technologies yourself? Do you want to build them yourself?

I would love to build the technologies listed, and I would love even more to build them with other GVCS technologies. The so-called 'dwarf-principle' has fascinated me for several years. (the dwarf-principle is the idea that technology builds on itself-or evolution of technology)

  • Are you interested in starting up enterprise using the GVCS technologies?

Eventually yes, but I am more interested in using the open source economic model to put enterprise into the hands of the masses.

  • Are you interested in having the GVCS technologies fabricated by your local custom fabricator?

  • Are you interested in applying the GVCS to third world development? To redevelopment of crisis areas? To development of derelict areas in the developed world?

Definitely. Some of the most torn regions on Earth are the most fertile for development; and using a distributed and open sourced model provides the greatest involvement to the people of the region. I believe open source development methods have the capacity to turn a would-be economic occupancy into a welcome opportunity for the local population while providing the necessities of life.

  • Are you interested in starting up Industry 2.0 flexible fabrication enterprises for your local community, by drawing from a global repository of freely down-loadable designs and fabricating using open source fabrication equipment?

Very much so-the community level is probably the best place to establish manufacturing and enterprise in a distributed economy, and what better way is there to become involved in your community?

  • Are you interested in the potential of the GVCS for developing local food systems?

Food production, even more than manufacturing, has the greatest potential benefit and effectiveness at a local level. This benefit applies as much to the land as it does to the communities these systems would serve.

  • Are you interested in doing academic studies/papers, publishing books, or doing other analysis of our efforts?

This is a possibility I hadn't yet considered-it sounds like it could be worthwhile. I am honestly more interested in direct involvement, but I see the tremendous value in the documentation and peer-review that academic study would provide.

  • Are you interested in financial investment opportunities arising from our work?

If I had the resources to invest, yes. I would certainly invest whatever I could to bring this project to even greater fruition.

  • Are you interested in the distributive economic aspects of our work, and if so, how do you see this playing out?

I think I've already talked about this a lot, but I see the capacity for undermining many of the detrimental qualities of our current mass-manufacture model such as planned obsolescence and rigid design. With a distributed system, each tool or system can be tailored to its life-long purpose, performing each task that a tool must as effectively as possible.

  • Are you interested in building renewable energy production facilities based on open hardware (solar concentrator electric, wind, biomass power).

How many times can I say yes? I am particularly interested in solar thermal and biomass gasification and/or pyrolysis. Conceptually, wind turbines are a good renewable source of power, but technologically, biomass and solar-thermal are more interesting systems. Actually, I have a concept that I'd like to try to develop for a mobile gasification mechanism. I know this isn't critical, but I would appreciate the chance to discuss it with people knowledgeable in gasification (particularly plasma-based) systems.

  • Are you interested in building resilient communities based on access to the GVCS?

Yes, yes, and yes.

  • Are you interested in creating a bug-out hut using GVCS technologies?

Until filling this form, I wasn't familiar with the term. I'm still not quite sure what it means.

  • How do you think that the GVCS can help alleviate the instabilities of global monetary systems?

Much the same way that a biological body responds to disease or injury-if many parts act autonomously, but in communication with the other parts, the system as a whole becomes more resilient. This won't necessarily alleviate the short-term instabilities of any global economic system, but the system itself will begin to trend toward greater resiliency and long-term dynamic stability.

  • How do you think that the GVCS can address issues related to resource conflicts?

I see two mechanisms involved, both related to scarcity as a source of conflict:
1.) Alleviation of scarcity economics. All the necessary resources for survival and civilization are relatively abundant. Today, 'scarcity' is largely artificial.
2.) alleviation of scarcity itself. In a consumer-based mass-market economy, the economic solution to poverty, war, and overpopulation falls short because we fail to distinguish between necessities and desires, as the market makes no effort to do so either. By producing on a smaller scale in a distributed fashion, the people become responsible for their own subsistence, becoming producer-consumers and learn to distinguish between needs and wants, so that the necessities can be provided for all before providing for desires.

  • How do you think that the GVCS can address issues of overpopulation?

Overpopulation, as studies show, is linked directly to poverty. All other factors aside, in an impoverished state, mindsets likely return to a subsistence mode, and in a subsistence economy, children are effectively worth. If the capacity for self-sufficiency can be established, and there is no longer a fight for subsistence, opportunity will grow, and it is likely, though not 'proven' that population should stabilize.

  • How do you think that the GVCS can address issues of resource depletion and environmental degradation?

In a distributed system, each actor becomes relatively small. Being that each unit is so small, the force it can exert on its environment is also relatively small, and likely within nature's capacity for restoration. This is compared to large industry, which blindly exerts a massive force based on limited information, causing more damage to its environment faster than nature can recover. In this sense, one community may utterly destroy its ecology, but the damage done is much smaller, and the environment is much more likely to recover on a shorter timespan.

  • Other comments

The more I try to put OSE into context, the more sense it makes.


  • What have you already contributed to the OSE project? (technical contributions, blogging about us, financial support, organizing events, translations, interviews, video editing, publications, publicity work, behind-the-scenes work, CAD work, wiki contributions, computer support, etc)

Nothing yet, but I would love to start.


  • About the only 'reaching' communications I'm involved in are on Facebook and anonymous web-forums, but if I had a closer relationship with the project, I would definitely document my experience for the world to see.


  • Not particularly

Computer Support

  • I am familiar with linux, and use it daily. I only know enough code to roughly read an existing program, but given some instruction and projects, I could definitely learn. I know plenty of html, and a little bit of the structure of PHP, but not enough to do anything useful. Again, I could definitely learn how to administrate web services, but I do not have any experience yet.


  • No.


  • If I knew how to, sure.

Home Economics

  • I roughly know my way around a kitchen and I can handle just about any utensil. If I have a recipe or a little guidance, my cooking usually turns out well. (but it never looks like the photos)


  • Not yet, but I'll surely have to learn in the course of my studies at University.


  • I can lay quality beads using Oxy-Acetylene, TIG, Stick, and can learn MIG. I know the basic operations of an engine lathe and vertical milling machine, and if I had access to the equipment, I have a decent idea (principly) of how to machine gears and other such parts.

Electronics and Magnetics

  • I've taken university level calculus based Physics focused on electricity and magnetism. I'm a bit rusty, but given a text-book, I could calculate just about anything about an electric or magnetic field. I'm reasonably skilled with a soldering iron, and started building circuits when I was around 12 years old. Within the next year or so, I will likely have taken an electrical engineering course, and should have the knowledge and some practice in designing most of the items listed in this question.


  • I am highly interested in this area, but I do not have any real experience. I should know the design side of the circuitry after taking the EE courses listed in the previous answer.


  • No, but I definitely want to.


  • No, but I hope to be. I will be majoring in Industrial Engineering at the University of Illinois.

HOW can you help?

  • How are you interested in contributing to the work of GVCS development?

I would like to help design systems and tools suited to distributed economic models, automation, and help fabricate the same.

  • Can you volunteer to work with us, and if so, how many hours per week?

I would love to volunteer, but I will only be available for a few weeks a time and possibly summers (not including 2011) until I graduate from the University of Illinois (likely after two more years of study). This year, I should be available near the end of July to the middle of August, and possibly all of the following summer.

  • Are you interested in working with us for pay? If so, what services can you offer, and what is your hourly or per-project rate?

If possible, yes. However, I am not yet a professional in any particular field. I would be happy to volunteer my help, but some pay would help pay a few expenses and possibly offset college costs.

  • Are you interested in purchasing equipment from us to help bootstrap development?

If I had the resources, I would probably consider starting a venture and purchasing equipment from Factor e Farm. As it stands, I feel I would much more likely help build said equipment.

  • Are you interested in bidding for consulting/design/prototyping work?

Not at this time.

No, but I am considering it. My finances are quite limited, and I do not feel I can make too many financial commitments yet. At this time, I am, you might say, a professional student.

  • Would you like to see yourself working with us on a full-time basis?

I would definitely like to work full time with OSE following my graduation.

  • Are you interested in using the technologies that we are developing directly?

Absolutely. I am most interested in using the manufacturing technologies soon to be developed at Factor e Farm for personal prototyping and potential small-scale production purposes.

  • Are you interested in being part of the world's first, open source, resilient community? The GVCS is the preparatory step for the OSE Village Experiment – a 2 year, immersion experiment (2013-2014) for testing whether a real, thriving, modern-day prototype community of 200 people can be built on 200 acres using local resources and open access to information? We are looking for approximately 200 people to fill a diverse array of roles, according to the Social Contract that is being developed. This may be the boldest social experiment on earth - a pioneering community whose goal is to extend the index of possibilities regarding harmonious existence of humans, ecology, and technology – as a beacon of light to benefit of all people on Earth.

This sounds like an opportunity of a lifetime. I've always fantasized about starting a new village for just these reasons.