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Wednesday, 27 April 2011

New Hydroponic System

This is my new hydroponic system.  That I got a new pump last year second hand which has a bit more power than my last pump.  Also, I have a number of small buckets which it can connect and disconnect instead of one large bucket as last year.  This makes the system a bit more modular or have I can extend this next year.
Smaller buckets

The new pump

The timer used to start the pump twice a day

Thursday, 21 April 2011

A review of "Plan B" by Lester R. Brown

This book I feel starts off well.  He gives a good overview and presentation of the problems that we face, although he does seem to concentrate on the symptoms such as population pressure and water supply.  However he does seem to give some indication of understanding the core of the problem.  In the chapter on water supply he does point out exponential growth.   

Why are we in this problem?  If we live within the carrying capacity of the earth we would not have problems with water supply, we would not have population pressure.  These symptoms result from the fact that we have started pushing ourselves beyond the carrying capacity of the Earth because we live in a system that must constantly grow exponentially, precisely like the lily pond example in the book.

The book then goes on to look at a solution but a solution that aims to fix symptoms not core problem.  He goes on to talk about improving energy efficiency.  Fine, we need to do that but in a system that expands exponentially how long will it take even with the energy efficiency to end up back where we started?  This can go for many of the other measures proposed; necessary but not sufficient.  Whether we talk about designing cities for people or new manufacturing methods but unless we deal with exponential growth we achieve nothing in the end.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Understand the world in anthropomorphic terms

I am going to start with what might appear as dogmatic statements but I do have a reasoning behind these:

  1. People have a very wrong, intuitive, understanding of how the world works.
  2. Nature does not care.

People have a very wrong, intuitive, understanding of how the world works
Hunter gather; the type of society we have evolved to live in.

Essentially, human beings have evolved as hunter gathers, living in small communities.  We have evolved a number of characteristic behaviours that help us lived in such groups.  We understand each other in emotional terms; “love”, “hate”, “hope” etc., the dictionary has many words that help us to describe the emotional state and motivations of other people.   We project ourselves outwards as we try to understand others (and then get surprised when people do things we would not do)

To a limited degree, this intuitive understanding of other people helps us understand the world around us.  We project our human understanding into the world around us and understand the world in anthropomorphic terms; “Jack Frost”, “Death”, “spirits”, “wights”, The Earth goddess Gaia etc., mythology has many examples of creatures that we create to explain the world around us.  Extending this idea further we end up with religion were we explain the world around us as “divine will”.  Yet, we have it wrong when trying to understand the world in such terms because …

Nature does not care

Animals inflict suffering on other animals; nature doesn't care! (photo: jeffrey sohn)

We tend to have this impression of nature as a “caring and loving mother” (because we do care), and use other anthropomorphic understandings of the world.  We see mother nature as nurturing us (an example of our anthropomorphic understanding of the world) .  Yet, if we were to go out and explore the world we can see that nature does not care.  Animals inflict suffering and harm on other animals, cats torment their prey, diseases inflict suffering.  Perhaps you have to live in a survival situation to understand how little nature cares; make a mistake and you can die. We have a recent example of how nature doesn't care in the nuclear accident in Japan.

Building a future world

This understanding of the world causes us many problems.  In a way, the problems we have today result from a lack of understanding of how nature works; as if we see ourselves as something special and exempt from laws of nature.  I also see this same problem reoccurring when people talk about solutions to our current problem.  

Essentially we have to deal with the real world.  We have physical resources, energy and physical needs.  We need to manage these within the limits that nature provides.  To do so, we have to understand nature not in anthropomorphic terms of “mother nature” but as a real physical system and work with nature. 
However, instead of working with nature, I see people proposing solutions based on our erroneous anthropomorphic understanding of the world.  So we get things like “we need a love economy” or a “gift economy”. 
Instead, EOS proposes a different way of dealing with this; treat people as people and nature as nature.  Let people deal with each other in our anthropomorphic terms which works so well when dealing with human relationships but when it comes to dealing with the physical world we use an approach based in how nature actually works not in our emotional anthropomorphic understanding of the world. 

So, on one side we have communities of people managing their own affairs on the other side we have people with the knowledge and skills and understanding of the natural world to manage the natural systems in this world.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The Latest Energy Credit Simulator

I have finished the latest Energy Credit simulator and run some basic tests and I have assembled at all in at package. I have uploaded the sim to the EOS file site in a zip format but only members can access that area. I will look at making it more public if I can.

The zip file contains:

EnergyCredit Sim.jar

The main jar file. If you run this from the command line you would get lots of text output otherwise you will get two file dialogue windows. In the first, navigate to an select the setup file. In the second, navigate to and select the results file.

EnergyCredit simulator.pdf

This file describes the format of the input files for the simulator.

Three directories

Each directory contains the setup files for a simulation. Run the jar file, navigate to one of these directories and load in the setup file.

This represents, as far as I’m aware, the only attempt to scientifically research an alternative, energy based, resource allocation system to our current, money based, socioeconomic system.