Monday, October 31, 2011

back to "the field"

I want to finish the field.
3 months to write a 120 page novella.
With this length I will not be able write about every part of it I wanted to write about. I will have to focus on one of the following:
(1) The 2 weeks that I took copious notes
(2) A fictional novella following seven weeks from mid-fall to winter

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Example of cooperative farm enterprise

From Rodale Institute Classifieds:

Organic Farm in Oregon
Submitted by Robert Styler (not verified) on Wed, 10/26/2011 - 17:03.
Not sure if this would interest you:

23 acre organic farm just north of Medford, Oregon (also close to Ashland, Or). Three wells (one pumps 100 gallons/min). Two streams that run 8 months out of the year. Mostly flat – irrigation throughout. 20,000 SF of greenhouses. 7,000 SF stone ranch house. The house can easily be divided into three separate living areas, each with their own kitchen and bathroom. There is also a HUGE commercial kitchen to process food in another building. There is also 40,000 SF below roof for shipping, offices, etc. We have a climate similar to Napa, CA…not much rain…we get about two or three snows a year that stick around for a few days.

I am looking for 3 couples or families who each want to pay $2,500/mo to earn equity in the farm. I have a deal where we can pay off the whole mortgage in about 10 years (even faster with the farm producing income…or the income can offset the monthly payments). The families would own the majority of the farm once the loan is paid off. The investor I would own the rest. The farm is worth much more than the mortgage and with a small, committed group working together, we can create a great deal for everyone. It is just too much for me and I want to find the right people who would cherish this opportunity to build equity, live on an organic farm, and create something special together. I am open to other arrangements than the one explained above, as long as it is fair to everyone involved.

[I am looking for 3 couples or families who each want to pay $2,500/mo to earn equity in the farm. I have a deal where we can pay off the whole mortgage of $670K in about 10 years. The families would own about 60% of the farm once the loan is paid off. The investor would own about 25%, and I would be left with 15%. The farm is worth much more than the mortgage and with a small, committed group working together, we can create a great deal for everyone. It is just too much for me and I want to find the right people who would cherish this opportunity to build equity, live on an organic farm, and create something special together.]

If you have farming, construction, or general handy skills...all the better. This farm is magical...and an amazing opportunity for the right people. Each family will need to buy in with a minimum of $30,000 each, which will go into a farm account to make sure we have plenty of reserves.

Please only reply if you are solid, responsible, and have the financial resources to be a partner.

My focus right now is, a nonprofit that I launched to fund the green economy…and I would enjoy living with and working with positive people who have an inspired vision for a future were we all can thrive. 541 232 1020


In Search of An Education

10 years
Objective 1
Gain a solid foundation in all the skills necessary to be reasonably self-sufficient in the 21st century
Objective 2
Gain a specialized skill set that provides for a secure, disposable income
Objective 3
Prove that both have been adequately gained by demonstrating success
Objective 4
Do it all while starting a family
Objective 5
Document the whole process transparently, as a contribution to the study of learning and livelihood in the 21st century

"Jack of all trades, master of one."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Don't stop till you start to get a lot of overlap

Another very useful concept. When researching or learning something new, keep going till you start encountering the same things over and over. At the point, you'll know you've covered the field, and you can begin to orient within it.

The weather

Another useful way of thinking about things. What's weather and what's not? What is beyond our control and what is not? How do we decide? The risk is in expending ourselves against something insurmountable, on the one end, and expending ourselves unnecessarily against something surmountable, on the other.

"People are happiest and healthiest when there is an optimal fit between self and environment, and this fit can be substantially improved by altering the self to fit the world" (Rothbaum, Weisz, & Snyder, 1982).

Fit self to world or world to self?


Return on Investment. Is what you get out of something worth what you put into it?

Investments can be time, money, heart, any sort of sacrifice, any transferance of something that has value to you into the project. For all non-economic investments, and for many economic ones, the assessment of ROI is subjective. The key is to recognize when something isn't returning to the enxtent that it has to for you to be satisfied, and decide what to do about that.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

on "Jobs" and Occupy

Dear Big Business, I don't want your "specialist in exploitation" job, nor your generally shitty terms of employment; Dear Big Government, I don't want your manufactured handout job.

Occupy Wall Street will break around this issue, but hopefully the discussion will have begun. It's time for us to take our livelihoods back into our own hands, coordinate and learn as communities and regions, and become producers rather than consumers again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Open Source Ecology distillation [DRAFT]

Right now, the Global Village Construction Set is being driven primarily by the enthusiasm of makers, those that love the idea of local, DIY production. To tap the enthusiasm of the broader public, we need to explain the theory of change - how the GVCS is going to change the world, and why it's viable.

Flexible Fabrication
A flexible, high-tech, low-cost tool set operated by skilled craftsmen promises:
(a) just-in-time, client-centered LOCAL production
(c) a greater margin between cost of production and the current price of comparable products, meaning prices can go down and producer profits can go up
(d) fewer sunk costs for machinery, since most machinery is not product-specific and can be adapted to other uses

(a) zero sunk costs for labor, since labor is able to self-sustain between jobs
(b) flexible, episodic work arrangements for neosubsistence craftsmen

Distributive Economics
(a) open sourcing everything means everybody can make use of it
(b) innovation resulting from need

Omnivorous Energy
(a) home, farm or village scaled energy systems (on or off grid)
(b) diverse fuel inputs for adjustment/adaptation to different needs and environmental conditions (solar, wind, water, biofuels, biomass)

(a) a HANDS-ON make-anything, do-everything integrated tool set for learning the fundamentals of all sciences and emphasizing an understanding of the underpinnings of society and economy (agricultural surplus = free time = education = skills = specialization = technology = economy)
(b) K-12 curriculum that goes above and beyond current high school expectations, taught in an experiential, lifestyle environment
(c) community-centered education in "eco-villages"; children educated where parents live and work
(d) networked education allows access to online classes (MIT lectures), learning forums, webinars, etc.
(e) college education optional but kids can specialize from K-12 GenEd base
(f) goal: a resilient, useful, successful individual; "jack of all trades, master of one."

Friday, October 7, 2011

the "bucket" list - first to mind

write a book
grow all or most of my own food
be in a fight, and win
make a living off my own ideas, doing my own work
be a valuable/valued team member
walk around barefoot most of the time (for a while)
fix a complicated machine
convert a complicated machine to do something else
build a house
plan way ahead and be grateful I did
nurture something to maturity
be inducted into a tribe or shamanic order
make something complicated from scratch
be a cornerstone of a community
be known for fair arbitration
inspire others to be honorable and good by example
be able to teach something of real value to people
be calm and patient
be okay with dying but not eager
love a woman for my/her whole life and leave the kids with that
raise natural, free, brilliant, honorable children
be good at a sport
cultivate the will and determination to create the life I prefer
hunt and bring home game
die happy
and nudge us a little closer to being a spacefaring race

Envisioning livelihood

a set of planning tools for envisioning and plotting out a desired livelihood, or just next year.

- values
- criteria
- non-negotiables
- "bucket list"
- matrices
- logic models (from current inputs to desired outcomes)
- scenario planning
- financial planning/budgeting
- education
- annual review and planning
- ideal world exercise
- plan of attack (mind mapping, eg FreeMind)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

the economics of social/human technologies

The important thing about an economy (socially) is that it provides opportunities for people to specialize and profit off that specialization. It allows for sorting, which creates conditions for mobility, exploration, discovery, challenge, and victory.

High skills = high earnings = prestige. We tend to focus on material technology, for that is what people are most commonly willing to pay for because it delivers something concrete. But is this because of a deficiency in non-material--e.g. human, or social technological development? Yogis 1000 years ago were innovating incessantly in the arts of meditation, astral projection, and so on. Can we assume they were able to deliver concrete results to their customers? They were likely far more advanced technologically in these areas back then than we are now.

That said, people now do pay for entertainment, art, psychotherapy, and so on. These are (potentially) high skill, high value occupations, with a need for training and a demonstrated value. These are human/social technologies--the Arts. But the information asymmetries of the modern economy make it difficult for people to know the real practitioners from the hucksters, or the effective arts from the merely promising. It would serve the material resources of our earth well if we were to develop human/social technology into demonstrably valuable consumables, and cultivate an endless innovation of diverse offerings.

What other high-value social products that deliver real results exist as possible niches in the economy? Briony has touched on one--the shaman, or facilitator of ritual.

"Accelerated Learning in Accelerated Times"

Long Now Foundation podcast with Timothy Ferris

1) Find the person who's really good at something they're not a natural at. Find their personal blog. Discover (ask them) their trick.
2) Discrete units. Break things down into component parts and learn them.
3) Identify the extremes.
4) Minimum effective doses. Fat loss tricks: 5min (1set) 3x week kettle bell swings ("4hour body"); 30g w/in 30min of waking up (whey protein); 90-120sec muscle tension; 1200 words for fluency in a language
5) Sequencing.
6) Frequency. Cram a language for 7 days 8-10hrs/day before immersion. Michel Thomas books.
7) 8 sense audit for languages. and so on.

Percentage Gains in Job Categories 2006-2010

From Wired Magazine.

Podcast here.

Major Takeaways:
1) You don't necessarily need a college degree
2) Manufacturing jobs will be less mundane due to constant innovation
3) Place matters, due to talent pools and proximity of suppliers
4) The old becomes new

Also, Emerging Epicenters of High Tech Industry map:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Categories of Skills by Learning Objective

Skills can be divided into (1) those that take time to learn well, and (2) those that take time to learn at all. We can consider which ones we want to be able to do well and which we want to be able to do in a pinch, and base the extent to which we pursue mastery on:

- If it’s a category 1 skill—where anyone can do it but not anyone can do it well—do you need to do it well? The answer is yes only if you want to be able to barter or make money with it. Otherwise, just learn to do it or figure out when you need to. An example is butchering a hog. If you need to butcher a hog, it'd be a pain the ass but you could figure it out. You'd want to know how to do it well if you were going to offer butchering in trade or for money.

- If it’s a category 2 skill that takes a lot of practice to be able to do at all, then you need to decide if it’s necessary for survival or desired for barter/sale. If so, learn it; otherwise, don't bother, unless it's for fun.

decisions, uncertainty, and regret

We live in uncertainty. We use the information we have available to us at any give time to make the best decision we can at that time. That is the best we can do, and having done so, should forgive ourselves the rest.