[ExI] Fwd: [Open Manufacturing] Re: Solar powered RepRaps create food, medicine, cloth, soap

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Thu Sep 10 15:14:28 UTC 2009

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Paul D. Fernhout <pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com>
Date: Thu, Sep 10, 2009 at 10:09 AM
Subject: [Open Manufacturing] Re: Solar powered RepRaps create food,
medicine, cloth, soap
To: openmanufacturing at googlegroups.com

Patrick Anderson wrote:
> On Thu, Sep 10, 2009 at 6:56 AM, Bryan Bishop <kanzure at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Thu, Sep 10, 2009 at 7:43 AM, Patrick Anderson wrote:
>>> On Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 10:27 PM, Michel Bauwens wrote:
>>>> Do we have a formal definition of open manufacturing?
>>>> My take:
>>>> Any system of production whereby knowledge and designs are shared freely so
>>>> innovation can flow in the whole system.
>>> So Open Manufacturing is purely about the design side of things.
>> Wrong. Manufacturing is the actual bridge between bits and atoms.
>> That's why fablabs are run by the Center for Bits and Atoms, for
>> instance. Ever wonder about that?
> Fablabs are trying to instantiate designs of fancy new things we don't
> really need.
> What about food, medicine, cloth, soap?
> Plants and animals are the RepRaps of those basic needs, and yet we
> (the people) still have not even figured out how to co-own those
> (mostly (see Monsanto)) open designs.
> We don't need lasers and robots when we don't even have beans!
> People are starving on this planet, and it is not because of lack of
> new technology.  Governments pay farmers to NOT grow.
> Co-ownership of Physical Sources required for instantiation is what
> Open Manufacturing lacks.  Designs are a dime/dozen.

There's some truth to what you say -- there is plenty of food, it is just
some people have no money so the market doesn't hear their needs. A basic
income would solve that though, and whether we get a basic income is
somewhat related to better technology making that need more obvious. Not
entirely though, since we could have one now. It is that the technical
changes might make the social changes easier for more people to accept or

But, on design, please point me to a good open design for an agricultural
robot I can mostly RepRap and otherwise easily recycle? :-)

We have an infrastructure designed with cetralazation in mind. Open designs
could be part of a large movement to use analysis tools to see how the open
designs can fit together into open societies. That was my hope for many years:
"Self-replicating technical artifacts such as dogs, corn, and trees have
been in use by humanity for thousands of years. While humans cannot lay
credit to the original creation of such systems, they can claim the
adaptation and selective breeding of these for defense, food, and building
materials. In the past few millennia, many people have become dependent on
technology that is not self-replicating. Primarily this technology involves
fairly pure forms of metals, plastics, and crystals. These technologies have
expanded the earth's human carrying capacity in the short term, but are not
sustainable in the long term. Such technologies lack the closed resource
cycles, independent operation, redundancy, and resiliency found in natural
systems. A symptom of the use of such non-sustainable systems is the fear
that a single problem (like Y2K) could cause a major disruption of
life-support infrastructure in the developed world. ... In a long-term space
mission or a space settlement, a self-sustaining economy must be created and
supported. Therefore, addressing the problem of technological fragility on
earth is an essential step in the development of the development of human
settlement in space. The heart of any community is its library, which stores
a wide variety of technological processes, only some of which are used at
any one time in any specific environment. If an independent community is
like a cell, its library is like its DNA. A library has many functions: the
education of new community members; the support of important activities such
as farming and material extraction; historical recording of events; support
for planning and design. And the library grows and evolves with the
community. The earth's library of technological knowledge is fragmented and
obscure, and some important knowledge has been lost already. How can we
create a library strong enough to foster the growth of new communities in
space? How can we today use what we know to improve human life? ... It is
the aim of this project to create an open-source community centered around
applications and knowledge related to space settlement. To gain the broadest
participation, the project will also include knowledge related to
terrestrial settlements. The initial focus will be on collecting
"manufacturing recipes" on how to make things: for example, how to make a
1930's style lathe. Information collected will range from historical
interest (fabrication techniques of the stone age to make flint knives) to
current (fabrication techniques to make stainless steel knives) to
futuristic (fabrication techniques requiring nanotechnology to make diamond
knives). This project will involve potentially hundreds of thousands of
individuals across the globe. It is expected that ultimately millions of
individuals (many in developing nations) will benefit from use of this
database directly or indirectly. ... The Oscomak project is an attempt to
create a core of communities more in control of their technological destiny
and its social implications. No single design for a community or technology
will please everyone, or even many people. Nor would a single design be
likely to survive. So this project endeavors to gather information and to
develop tools and processes that all fit together conceptually like
Tinkertoys or Legos. The result will be a library of possibilities that
individuals in a community can use to achieve any degree of self-sufficiency
and self-replication within any size community, from one person to a billion
people. Within every community people will interact with these possibilities
by using them and extending them to design a community economy and physical
layout that suits their needs and ideas. ... Key to the whole endeavor will
be to present everything in a how-to fashion. Also needed is a way to map
out and simulate the interrelations of processes; for instance, sheep
raising requires veterinarians, antibiotics, feed, fencing, and shears;
shears require a blacksmith, metal, and a furnace. This latter feature also
would be used to keep track of the product flows into, out of, and within a
community's entire economy."

And a dozen years before that:

But alas, my life has been too filled since with distractions and confusions
and other limits for the past twenty-something years. But, I guess I should
be very happy for some of the distractions and confusions and limits, like
family. :-) But, I am very glad to see groups like Appropedia and many
others (yes, SKDB :-) going in that direction. The energy of youth. :-)

By the way, for beans:
"A truly unique development for snap beans. The result of a life-long
passion of bean breeding by the late Robert Lobitz (1941-2006). A stabilized
cross between a purple snap bean and a pinto. Best described as dusty
red-rose, pods are 4-5" long, well flavored and free of strings. Bush habit,
52-58 days."

So, SeedSavers is one of several "open source" repositories for seeds. :-)

Ideally they would be a thousand times bigger as a movement, like the
process once was of farmers and gardeners sharing seeds.

--Paul Fernhout

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- Bryan
1 512 203 0507

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