- 1 Introduction
- 2 Slide 1
- 3 Slide 2
- 4 Slide 3
- 5 Slide 4
- 6 Slide 5
- 7 Slide 6
- 8 Slide 7
- 9 Slide 8
- 10 Slide 9
- 11 Slide 10
- 12 Slide 11
- 13 Slide 12
- 14 Slide 13
- 15 Slide 14
- 16 Slide 15
- 17 Slide 16
- 18 Slide 17
- 19 Slide 18
- 20 Slide 19
- 21 Slide 20
- 22 Slide 21
- 23 Slide 22
- 24 Slide 23
- 25 Slide 24
- 26 Slide 25
- 27 Slide 26
- 28 Slide 27
- 29 Slide 28
- 30 Slide 29
- 31 Slide 30
- 32 Slide 31
- 33 Slide 32
- 34 Slide 33
- 35 Slide 34
Brittany Gill: I'd like to introduce you to Open Source Ecology. Our goal is to develop a global village construction set, and to replicate it. The GVCS is about creating sustainable communities. Sustainability is about being self-sufficient, but it isn't about being isolated. Rather, the Global Village concept is about people and communities networked world-wide, sharing knowledge and trading goods.
So, what makes the Global Village concept unique?
Local people are producing the essential needs of the regional community. In the global village, people are not dependent on foreign oil reserves or slave goods from China.
The global village requires producers of local goods. For example, if you want to "eat locally", you need local farmers.
It is about much more than food. There is no reason why all the essentials that people use every should not be produced locally. It could include hybrid cars, biofuels, solar energy, medicines – all the basics - and possibly up to advanced technologies such as solar cells, computer chips, and aluminum extracted from clay.
If there is point that you walk away with today, we hope it is "Be a Producer" of local goods.
In order for people to become effective producers of goods for the local market, we need tools and information that enable local producers to be competitive on the global market. Otherwise, most people will continue to choose globalization.
That's where the Construction Set comes in.
The Construction Set is a combination of tools and knowledge that makes local production feasible. It's full of everything from saving and growing seeds that are adapted to the local climate to designing and building equipment that will last a lifetime, freeing communities from the bonds of planned obsolescence, expensive, specialized parts and equipment junkyards.
I would now like to introduce Dr. Marcin Jakubowski who will tell you more about the tools needed for this construction set and how they can serve rather than enslave the local community.
Title Slide: Thank you Brittany. I will talk about the GVCS – a set of tools for building communities based on Local Sustainability. I will get into formulating a new economic pattern based on open source economic development – and indicate how these new economics could lead to an unprececented quality of life for everybody.
What is this Global Village Construction Set? It is a set of building blocks for living sustainably. It's like a set of Lego Blocks, except they are for building an entire economy. It is a minimal set of tools and technologies that provides a wide range of needs. With the GVCS, needs can be provided largely from local resources. If there is wide access to these tools, we believe that unprecedented prosperity can follow – without the negative environmental or geopolitical consequences that we know in the modern economy.
We are using Open Source Engineering – Open Source Product Development – for everybody's benefit. This is the key to our novel economic model. We believe that such open source product development is the ONLY POSSIBLE ROUTE TO A SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY and a sound industrial system.
What are these tools? If we talk about living sustainably, we need to start with essentials. Housing. Energy. Food. Fuel. Technology. Everybody uses these. Might as well get these right. There is no shortage of markets if these succeed. Better make these low cost, durable, simple, efficient technologies. Then we can live dirt cheap and spend our time on other things than making a living.
Consider housing. The Compressed Earth Block (CEB) press and a sawmill could get you the building materials – bricks and lumber – for building your habitat. If you've got a CEB press and sawmill – plus land for soil and trees – you can build an entire village with little cost. A good home should not be the end of your American dream – it should be free. No-one in history long gone, or nature, pays for their housing. Let's take that as a good model..
Consider energy. Take solar concentrators, proven technology, with backup multifuel burner, and heat storage cistern from CEB blocks – all powering the Solar Turbine.
Consider the tractor. Articulated, multipurpose ag-construction, with PTO for sawmill, hydraulics to power your CEB press, rototiller for ag and CEB soil prep, front end-loader and backhoe for all purposes. Stewarding the land – agriculture, building, forestry, ponds, berms, and industrial power are possible with this.
Consider fabrication machinery. Open Source multimachine – a mill, drill, lathe – fittable with other attachments to make it into a table saw, cutoff saw, metal saw, grinding disk, pipe threader, and so on. All types of machining from 1 machine, starting at $300 for a basic machine – built from discarded engine blocks which provide the necessary precision. Add computer control using widely available techniques - and you are talking about the backbone of digital fabrication.
Open source engineering comes in for price reduction. I'll talk about how a typical 5-10 factor of cost decrease is likely – but without any decrease in quality. Moreover, we are talking of the highest quality, lifetime design.
Compare the economics. Materials for CEB and Sawmill are $2k total. $30k for both if you got them as consumer products from competitors. With open design blueprints and simple design, you can build these yourself in a week's time for each. If you are not skilled with your hands, come to a workshop and get these made.
Solar concentrator turbine system with storage - $5k for 5kW of peak power. Compare to $1k/year electric bills, or $25k+ for equivalent photovoltaics.
LifeTrac multipurpose tractor – but with all these attachments – including sawmill and backhoe – for $8k. Absolutely modular attachments, shared hydraulic motors – such as the same hydraulic motor for the roto-tiller can power a cement mixer. The same functions would cost you about $80k if you got them off the shelf.
Fabrication – the computerized Multimachine, computer controlled torch table, and welder – for $3k.
Food – come to a workshop, propagate all of our plant and animal stock – and you can have a permacultural garden feeding you 100% for the rest of your life.
Just in case you are not interested in working for someone else for the rest of your life – you can Buy out at the Bottom - $18k, independence included. Or, pursue the American Dream, slave your life and pay off a 250k home, full dependence on the System included.
If you are not interested in Buying out at the Bottom, the GVCS has many other applications. It is a set of tools that is meant not to hunker and bunker in a sustainable community – but it is meant as a set of tools to bring into any community to make it more self sufficient. On the scale of a block or 40 acre development – imagine insalling solar concentrators or permaculture garden for 100% food and energy independence, or even fabrication capacity for local production.
Imagine the twist on any new 40 acre cookie cutter development. In the master plan, include an agricultural manager, or community fabricator – both fueled by the skill and toolset of the GVCS. Then this combined, built-in CSA and CSManufacturing capacity could provide all food, energy, fuel, cars, technologies, by local production, and based on local resources (outside of advanced technology feedstocks – the next frontier). The trick to this is having a person who is trained in the multidisciplinary GVCS technologies to turn dirt into gold.
We go so far as to say that without a doubt, liberatory technology – or open source and lifetime design - is a prerequisite for sustainable living. The promise of technology – making life easier – has not been delivered. The have-nots continue in slave labor and the haves have not decreased the number of their working hours. To get to liberation and to sustainable living, we must start with technology that does not require our constant energy to keep it alive. We must rethink our need to work so many hours of our precious lives.
Your cost of living is the cost of all the things – or technologies – that you buy. These are based on scarcity, monopoly, and planned obsolescence. The market must keep things scarce, or otherwise there would be no profit.
Open Source, Lifetime Design is an antidote to all these ills.
What is the open source production model? It is where a repository of collaboratively-developed, openly accessible design blueprints serve as the foundation for all types of production. This could be factories or industry, or farms and architecture firms. Open design applies to a wide range of activity that results in physical products – or it could be design for a school curriculum or an improved legal and financial system. The key is transparency and access.
Let's look at open source production and compare it to a typical factory or corporation. The open source variant relies on a repository of open design – not proprietary design protected by company lawyers. It is based on multipurpose production machinery in small flexible production facilities – not specialized equipment in large factories. It is based on skilled labor, not slave wage. The open source producer captures the value of their skill, produces for local needs, utilizes social networks or word of mouth for marketing. Overall, wealth is distributed to the producer, and to the buyers – and the producer is an asset who brings wealth to others in the form of quality products.
The means of open source production rely on a small set of multipurpose tools. The noteworthy feature is that these don't take up a lot of space and are not particularly expensive. In particular, just the Multimachine, torch table, and electronics fabrication can produce the great majority of the products of the GVCS: turbine, CEB press, tractor, solar concentrators, power inverter, welder. Indeed, these machines can replicate themselves. Add computer control to the multimachine, torch table, and electronic circuit router – and you have Digital Fabrication. This is computer controlled fabrication – where you can download a design from the internet and produce it in your garage workshop.
The 3 machines, including CNC control – are $3k for their open source version, and about 10 times that for commercial counterparts.
Other important pieces of technology are laser cutter – for cutting in many media – including stainless steel – with extreme accuracy. Metal casting yields all kinds of cast shapes. Plastic extrusion could yield advanced glazing – for greenhouses.
We are at a great fork in our civilization, as we have always been. Do we turn to open source production, or keep business as usual – depriving those at the bottom of the pole, as we always have? We are proposing a GVCS- which is a toolset. It is also the means of production – the flexible fabrication infrastructure. It is also a paradigm for replication of individual enterprises up to the building of entire new global villages – based on open training – which constitutes an open business model.
We emphasize our option of going sustainable because in truth – there is an abundance of resources in most places on earth. It only requires the tools and skills to extract them – like turning dirt into gold.
Look at all the products that come out of the ubiquitous solar energy, sand and clay, water, plants, and animal. There is enough to support civilization – up to solar electricity, CEB bricks, biofuels, silicon wafers for solar cells, and aluminum, to name a few. It only requires that abundant energy be available to convert one form of substance into another.
If the above were possible, forget about any ills related to our planned economy of resource scarcity – wars, taxes, corruption, and others.
The positive news is that energy is abundant in the form of solar energy. When tapped, it can be a replacement to the entire fossil-fuel economy. This tells you why we place the solar turbine as one of our priorities.
Did you know that ten thousand times more energy intercepts the earth, from the sun, than the entire world economy uses today? We can extract electricity from the sun with at least 10% efficiency, whether by PV or solar concentrators. So we have 1000 times more energy than we can use. Thus, if we cover 1/1000 of one hemisphere with solar collection, we could transcend all our energy ills.
Solar energy is distributed. It makes local economies possible. Even in cloudy regions, there is enough sun to grow plants, and plants can be turned into fuels. Did you know that the area required to grow all fuel crops for a given city is approximately the same in area as the city itself? Take a town of 1000 people, or 1 million people, check its surface area, calculate how much Jerusalem artichoke you can grow on the same area – and you'll be surprised to find that its fuel alcohol yields will be sufficient to cover all of the city's fuel needs – even in wasteful North America. The point is – even if we could not tap solar energy directly and had to trap it in plants- it is not prohibitive in terms of land area – to provide all energy and fuel needs locally.
Did you know that just one acre provides enough electricity, through solar concentrator electric or PV means – to power 1000 average American homes – and that is considering night-time storage in heat cisterns.
In the upper right our friend Dan from West Orchards 60 miles north of here produces solar alcohol for his lawnmower using a solar still and waste apples.
In the bottom picture, we have solar cookers that heat up a large metal mass, that retains enough heat for cooking the entire day in India.
We believe that the real promise lies in scaleable, linear concentrator systems that are used with a simple turbine - to generate electricity. Who is going to make it happen? The company, Ausra, has already demonstrated commercial systems based exactly on this design, where a large number of slats like this feed a linear concentrator tube to produce electricity – including at night – from heat stored during the day.
People, solar energy is abundant. It's everywhere. Tapping it effectively is perhaps the gteatest sociopolitical challenge of the present day. It will be realized within about 1 year at Factor e Farm.
Here I show a minute in the life of a village energized by its own resources and its own productive capacity. This could be your next home town.
I've so far covered the possibility of wise use of local resources using the GVCS toolset, developed by means of open engineering. Now I turn to the design.
We begin with a pattern language for open source technology. This is a set of icons that correspond to the technological patterns or components that make up all types of devices. It is an 18-word vocabulary for understanding the language of technology. All the GVCS technologies may be represented graphically as a combination of these icons. The icons cover just about any electromechanical or electronic device. There is only 18 of these icons, in main categories representing structure, motion, power sources, and means of fabrication. You can read more details online under the reference. A lot of these components are so important that they are also in themselves part of the GVCS.
See more details about the Open Source Technology Pattern Language.
For example, the CEB machine may be represented by a structure icon combined with two linear motors. These are shown. The bolt-together frame is the structure. The big, 5" diameter cylinder is the main compression cylinder, and the 1.5", long cylinder is the hopper cylinder. This is the essence of the CEB machine. It's just a structure with two moving cylinders. Note that the icon does not include the power source – hydraulics from a tractor. That is external to the CEB machine.
The sawmill is a structure with a motor controller (PWM sign), electric motor, and a rotor. The rotor is the cutting blade, either a circular blade or a bandsaw blade. We could go into details from there, such as how the log or structure moves, but that's the essential composition.
The point is, the icons provide a simple diagram for how the machine functions.
Two more examples are a hybrid electric car and a solar turbine. The hybrid car is a structure, fuel and turbine power system that generate electricity, with motor controls that control the four electric wheel motors.
It is noteworthy that the solar turbine consists of all the same components as the hybrid car, plus a few additions.
The car runs on fuel only. The solar turbine can run on fuel, the sun, or heat storage. The different products of the solar turbine – such as heating and electricity – are shown. The solar turbine is a combined heat and power system.
There are 4 particular features that underlie the structure and design of sound technology that is meant to last a lifetime and have least maintenance costs. These are design for disassembly, modularity, scalability, and simplicity. The first is basically a guarentee of a lifetime of service. If you can take something apart easily, then you can fix it easily. Modularity is the possibility of add-ons that modify the function of a machine, so you don't have to buy a new machine to obtain that new function. Scalability is the ability to scale the size – make it smaller or larger – without making major design changes. Absolute simplicity refers to KISS design – such that the same functionality cannot be obtained with any fewer parts.
We have a good example from Factor e Farm that shows why design for disassembly is desirable. Our tractor broke. It takes 8 hours just to split the tractor in the middle to find out what is wrong. That job cost us $2k to fix. Soon after, the engine exploded. It may or may not be an easy fix, but it will also cost considerable labor to get into the engine to see what's wrong. We decided to let the tractor lie dead in the woods – we can't keep up with what turned out to be $3000/year overall costs of the tractor.
We decided to build a tractor designed for disassembly, from 4x4 steel tubing that bolts together at the corners. This is a true life-size Erector Set in action. We designed it to be taken apart, entirely, within about an hour. It is a multipurpose agricultural/construction tractor, with maintenance costs designed to be $100/year.
Modular design is the second desirable feature of sound, lifetime design. Modular means that the object can be modified. This is particularly desirable, as needs change over a lifetime. The Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems in Texas has designed Green Forms – a modular building system based on xyz-corner bolted post and beam construction. A sample building beam with predrilled holes is shown. There are functional indoor modules, such as a bathroom or entertainment module, that can be fitted into the rooms.
It is important to note that lifecycle costs of products, such as buildings, occur mostly not in the original purchase price, but all the modifications that are made over the lifetime, as shown in the illegible graph in the middle. The up-front cost is about one third of the lifecycle cost. To keep the lifecycle costs down, modular design is desirable.
The boundary layer turbine – the general motor that we propose in the solar turbine or electric vehicles – is en example of good scalability. The entire device is designed for disassembly, and more disks could be added. Larger disks may be added as well. The working gas shoots tangentially into the device. More and larger disks mean more power output – from 1-100 kW. That is a large range, and lends itself to powering tools, cars, tractors, and power plants – all based on the same design of the turbine.
I don't have a good example of simplicity of design outside of the CEB press, whose hallmark is its simplicity. I will talk about the CEB press now – our first working prototype of the GVCS toolset. This example shows the open source production method and its economics in practice. We built the prototype in November, and are now moving into the production stage.
The Liberator is the name we gave to the CEB press. It is the world's first, open source, high performance – meaning 3-5 brick per minute – CEB press. It costs $1350 in parts and we are getting ready to produce it at about 8x lower cost than the competition. There is really nothing new about the CEB machine in terms of invention – except the economic model by which we are building the machine and deploying its production. Our work has been featured on BoingBoing and Wired Magazine blogs.
We went from prior art, to our design, to the prototype machine. When fed with soil dug up at Factor e Farm, the machine pressed with about 20 tons of force, and produced bricks that we estimate are 500 psi strong – or as hard as some rocks.
The Liberator is not just another gadget. It exemplifies the design features that we are promoting. It is lifetime, human-centered design. It is largely bolted together, and can be taken apart easily – in about 15 minutes down to all its parts. Thus, it can be maintained easily. The parts are standard, and no special components are used outside of what can be obtained readily. The machine is a module – it is separate from its power source. It is scalable: a 4-fold, tandem version can be made by putting four of these machines next to each other, making a slight modification to the hopper.
The machine is simple. It does not require special tooling to build. Moreover, we are currently building a computer-controlled XYZ acetylene torch table – for cutting all the metal automatically - for those who are interested in going into production. The XYZ table is meant to optimize the fabrication process – and is one of the necessary GVCS components which will make such local enterprise competitive with anyone around the globe. This is what we discussed with respect to the need of the GVCS in terms of making local enterprise competitive in view of global market forces.
All the tooling for such optimized production will cost $3000.
The model for building the CEB press is based on Community Supported production. This is a general model that we are applying to all of our products. It is like the CSA – Community Supported Agriculture – except that it is Community Supported Manfuacturing. Therefore, we have the possibility of both Permaculture – and Permafacture.
It relies on the collaborative development and funding of the production up front. Then, the buyer receives high quality product at the cost of production.
The collaborative development process takes the development from prototype to product, as mentioned previously. The process continues, however, to the development and building of an optimized production facility. Remember that we are about providing tools for the local economy, and these tools must be the best in order to be competitive. For that reason, we are demonstrating a real production facility as part of our process.
Once the enterprise model is developed, the producer can capture the high value of optimized production and skill.
After a feasible business model is produced, it is put into the public domain. In order to assure that a quality product is made, Product Release Funding is collected to make sure that products meet specifications.
A Product Release Fund is created to turn prototypes into products. You must understand that there is a huge difference between a prototype and a product. In order to make sure that the necessary optimization and development takes place – to work all the bugs out and to produce a replicable manufacturing process – and to meet certain specifications, we created the Product Release Fund. This is a way to fund – just as the name suggests – product release – with firm adherence to OSE Specifications, which I discuss next. We are exploring this Fund as a viable value-capturing process substitute that could apply anywhere that people seek patent protection.
The OSE Specifications are a metric for distributive production. This means, we are creating a standard for what it would mean to make good enterprise replicable – such that the world becomes a better place. We are interested in a step beyond sustainability – the regeneration of our ecosystems and communities – or regenerative development.
OSE Specifications are the standard for transparency regarding the qualities of a product that make that product contribute to distributive production. The rating is expressed as a 5 star rating. When a product achieves 5 stars, it is said to meet OSE Specifications. Each of the qualities of Design-Production-Replication is considered and described on the product label to promote the transparency.
For example, the five stars of design are: (1) open design and process, such as availability of CAD drawings and CAM files, (2) bill of materials and sourcing information, (3) optimization of design, (4) lifetime design, (5) evolution of product.
Sound design is not enough. Next is production. (1) An flexible production facility must be demonstrated. (2) A viable distributed enterprise model must be shown. (3) The enterprise must rely on local production. (4) Local materials must be used as much as possible. (5) On-demand, optimized production must be shown.
Sound production is also not enough to meet OSE Specifications. If we are truly interested in transformative, regenerative enterprise, then we must also consider replication of the enterprise for distributed wealth production. To replicate successfully, the five points considered are: (1) Availability of training materials. (2) Availability of a hands-on training or apprenticeship program. (3) Capitalization assistance, such as utilizing the training period to produce the related equipment and machinery. (4) Product testing must be available to document the resulting performance. (5) A certifying organization must be able to assess the product according to OSE Specifications, and to provide a rating and a transparency label.
As you see, OSE Specifications are a rigorous set of conditions. At present, the CEB press has only one or two stars – which shows that the prototype that has been built is only a small fraction of the process.
All in all, we claim that Community Supported Production is a viable business model, and we are backing this claim up successfully so far with our experience in the CEB press. The main points to consider that collaborative development means that your entry barriers are low – you don't have to reinvent the wheel anywhere in the process. As a producer, you can capture value strategically – through the Product Release Fund, preorders, training others – in addition to good-old, honest production. You capture the high value of your skill. And the entire adventure takes you to a different level of economic and spiritual playing field – you are doing good work by creating win-win situations. This results in huge potential for changing the way society operates in general.
To give you an example of what this looks like for the CEB press production, consider our current plans. If we are to do exactly as in the picture, our costs of startup are $20k – for everything. This includes the building, with full, off-grid energy with up to 20 kW of industrial power available (solar cells, large battery pack, PTO generator and Lister Engine backups, inverter). This also includes the computer controlled, open source acetylene torch table for rapid fabrication. It includes an off-shelf MIG welder. Plus, it includes our open source LifeTrac multipurpose tractor – for powering the CEB, plus with rototiller and front end loader for all soil preparation.
The building itself will be made from CEBs, and we are actually set on building a circular sawmill powered by the tractor – so we could have all the wood and brick that we need for building.
That's just a start. We'll evolve to the solar turbine for combined heat and power, and to SolaRoof dynamic liquid insulation – made of soap bubbles – instead of polystyrene sheets.
The price is right, and the technology base is sound. The two critical pieces of equipment – tractor and torch table – would otherwise cost us $30k by themselves, and the entire package would be on the order of $100-200k if we utilized business as usual practices. The main difference is that we are distributing the startup cost – and benefiting all in the process by engaging in honest production.
Here are the types of enterprise opportunities that we'll be able to distribute, as soon as next year. First, we can make 1000 brick/hour machines as the necessary tool for brickworks for the entire community or region. We can produce bricks, we can produce machines, we can begin incubating green development entrepreneurs, and others interested in brick or machine production. If we don't see visible changes in our community- then we have failed. Personally, I'd like to see all the decrepit trailer homes around our area convert to beautiful CEB construction.
To begin summing up, we have a radical business model in front of us. A distributive production model is a welcome guest in a world of monopoly, guarded by patent lawyers and other parasitic behavior. Product Release Funding, as we propose, may become a viable alternative.
At cost production is definitely a welcome addition to any community – and we are showing how that can be done.
And look at this – can advanced technology finally start serving human needs, instead of providing more planned obsolescence products? Digital fabrication is a route to high-tech, appropriate technology – and open design is the only antidote we know of to planned obsolescence.
The open source production model is also reasonable. The bottom line is typical 5-10 fold cost reduction. This cost reduction also makes various forms of high-tech self-providing possible – such as harvesting all of your own energy or making all of your fuels.
The economics work in favor of working together: zero competitive waste, zero R&D, copitalization, marketing, and inventory costs. You are your own boss, you capture the value of honest work. Marketing is via social networks or word of mouth – you don't need too much production because your wares last a lifetime – and you've got more important interests to pursue than struggling for survival.
We also see the OSE as a guardian and steward of this process. If we see monopolistic behavior developing, we may step in to production ourselves – on-demand – or work on incubating other producers. We provide a way to keep the standards of the OSE Label, by creating a certifying quality control organization.
The bottom line, together we can make a better economy. That's exactly what we've seen with the CEB press – and I must add, that on a personal level, it is rewarding to approach people with a progressive, transformative agenda – because many people are quite excited about becoming a part of the solution. There is just another type of energy when you are operating in a world where it's not just about ripping somebody off or stealing their resources – which is unfortunately the norm.
Our program is different. All in all, we have a 3 step program for building and applying the Global Village Construction Set. First, we build the GVCS – we're in the beginning of year 2 of 3 on this program. The second step is applying our tools in the local community – such that if we don't see visible changes, we've failed, period. This stuff must be applicable right in our backyards first. The 3rd step is replication. As we gain experience in building one village and understanding all of the productive technology that goes into that endeavor, we become able to replicate. Each place that we build becomes a place of world heritage – every inch of the soil improves with time – so that heaven on Earth is made. These places are not for sale. They are for the benefit of their stewards and communities. Replication – if successful in a large scale – implies global economic transformation.
The bottom line in this program is local production. The entire economy rides on the back of physical production. If you are a computer worker or a paper shuffler – don't forget that it is real, physical production that constitutes the substance of society.
Start producing. Start tinkering. Start becoming a producing member of your community. That's the only way we can make a better world, and get the bad uglies out of running our lives.
We are asking you to absorb the type of philosophy embodied by the GVCS – that it is about tools with which communities can produce their own wealth from local resources – and keep that wealth in their borders. Once again, we're not against global exchange – but just not in favor of complete dependence.
As another story – I must say what level of technology is appropriate. It is that which is common sense. If it doesn't make sense, someone will try to use it to enslave you.
We have been swindled out of practical skills and technical literacy by our education and media. We don't know that we can be self-sufficient – only that the Corporation will provide for us.
But the answers are beautiful and simple. CEB bricks. Solar energy. Permaculture. Permafacture. Let me assure you that the high level physics and science are rarely about making life better. I was searching for those solutions myself when I was back in school – going into Fusion thinking that it could be the next solution to the world's energy crisis. I was totally oblivious that we can provide all energy amply from what already comes from the sun.
At one point it hit me, though. I was faced with a physics formula on a wave traveling in space that took up a good fraction of a page – and frustrated with my lack of understanding of it- I asked the professor if he could just point to some physical situation or occurrence that would clarify what the formula meant. He answered, ‘There is none. I made it up.'
You see, that's the type of swindle that we're up against. The high level science will not save us – it is more about making the obvious solutions accessible. That's precisely the nature of the GVCS. It doesn't require rocket science to get involved – just high school math and physics – and beyond that, it's primarily organizational work of distilling the relevant information to what truly works. That's what we've been doing nearly full time for about 5 years now, and I believe that the solutions we're proposing simply work. If you can propose better solutions – and if you can demonstrate that they have the potential of meeting OSE Specifications – then we want to hear about them. We're always open to better solutions.
The point is, there is still so much good work to be done to make an open society, based on open, regenerative technology.
With that, I'd like to close. We need your help in building the GVCS. First, if you can contribute to the technical or background development of the Global Village Construction Set, then call us. You can go to our wiki, openfarmtech.org. It is a wiki – a webpage where you can sign in and edit the content, simply by going to any page and clicking edit. It is our main collaborative platform. If you have any information that substantiates, or disproves, any of our claims, or provides designs, bills of materials, fabrication procedures, and other details relevant to building the GVCS tools – feel free to contribute to the relevant pages. The list of all the technologies is at the top of the page.
Second, we are interested in students taking on research projects. Typically, you can get independent study credit, or you can make this into a paper or project for a class. We cover many areas – from agriculture, to engineering, to organizational theory, sociology, computer science, economics – you name it. Many Ph.D. theses and other papers could be written on the topic of bringing the open source economy to life. Our material provides good substance if you are truly interested in interdisciplinary and applied studies, research, or experimentation.
Third, we are interested in further college speaking arrangements or talks in front of other groups. If you have friends or family at other universities, ask if they could arrange a speaking engagement. If you know of other groups, please contact them and let us know if anyone is interested.
Fourth, with the help of Kat Erdel, we have set up the Kat Erdel Resource Development Center, Columbia, MO. We are looking for contributions of any tools, supplies, and equipment that you don't need that are relevant to building a village. Garden tools, hand tools, power tools, bolts, wire, structural and sheet metal, building supplies, electric motors, etc – if it in any way relates to building a sustainable village – drop it off with Kat by giving her a call.
Fifth, if any of you are interested in helping with a brochure and press kit, please let us know. We are trying to get a clear message out to the public.
Plus, if you want to get your hands dirty, we are holding work days at Factor e Farm. We are planning on days related to our agriculture operations - mulching the orchard, plant propagation planting – and infrastructure building. Or, arrange what you want to do and come on over. We have just about anything that needs to be done, we're doing a lot of different things. Once we have our 2 machines up and running, we will be building with CEB blocks. We may also be building our solar concentrators and putting up our solar cells. Those would be great weekend work parties for groups.