[ExI] maybe im crazy, but why is most of these projects not working?

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Wed Mar 16 18:18:22 UTC 2011

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Eric Hunting <erichunting at gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Mar 16, 2011 at 1:04 PM
Subject: [luf-team] Re: maybe im crazy, but why is most of these projects
not working?
To: luf-team at yahoogroups.com

What we need as a critical mass for a working group is basically enough
people to accomplish the first tasks I've just outlined in my past post. The
size of audience we need is whatever is sufficient to produce and maintain
that sufficiently large working group as some fraction of that larger fan
base they would be found in. We can be sure that, generally, the fraction of
people with skills -and interest in cultivating skills- and resources for
physical projects is going to be relatively small compared to the potential
size of the groups satisfied being an audience. That's the nature of things.
It's hard to be precise on numbers because people's abilities vary so
greatly. Even just one very talented, prolific, and passionate artist whose
time we can very well utilize could be all I need to collaborate with to get
our media act together. Or it might take a great many because we can only
get a small fraction of any of their time or they cannot take as much as I
routinely dish out. (I've scared off some by foolishly taking them at their
word when they ask for as much detail as possible...) One accomplished Maker
with a full compliment of tools and skills could readily get Utilihab going.
If we have to cultivate a bunch of new Makers to find that basic skill base,
it's going to take more people. The projects I've outlined in the last post
are either relatively modest individually or break down naturally into
modest pieces. As a very rough guess, we can say a half dozen people
dedicated to each of these projects should be sufficient to get them
started. In business, engineering, and science, teams of around five people
tend to work well as task-specific work groups. The difficulty we've long
had is getting even five people together in the same place at the same time.
That's the hard part.

If people are willing to start contributing membership dues, they can be
sent as with any other donations through PayPal to the address
'themillennialproject' at 'gmail.com. Money will remain in that account
until applied to specific things which we'll report on here in the forum.
Such general donations would be applied to things of more general benefit to
the group -right now art and events. I don't think we're quite ready for
requiring membership dues. It may be more practical to have people
contribute to very specific tasks they are themselves involved in. But
modest voluntary dues would be a good way to start and to express some group

Going to universities and art/design schools has been suggested to me in the
past, but I haven't yet found the right venue to communicate with them. One
idea that's been proposed is to hold a kind of commission competition for
art students where you offer a commission on a full color set of
illustrations as a prize won by the best line-art/sketch interpretation of
the written material in the TMP2 articles. But this approach has generally
only been used in the lofty realm of commercial architecture where designers
are invited to compete on contracts worth six or seven figures. The catch
here is that we're not dealing with generic art. There used to be -back when
photography and printing were much more limited technologies than today- a
community of journalistic, commercial, and technical illustrators well
rounded enough to routinely work with non-artists and draw just about
anything on demand, quickly, and economically. One of the last of their kind
was Robert Ripley -who survived as that field of illustration waned by
adapting his art to comic strips and reinventing himself as side-show barker
to the world. As with so many professions today, artists and designers have
become highly specialized in the styles, themes, and subject areas they will
work with. They don't get well-rounded educations anymore and they,
decreasingly, deal in subjects relating to the real world because of the
assumption that it's been obsolesced by photography. So we can't just
generally solicit artists. We have to ferret out the ones that deal in the
very specific subject matter needed -and the subjects of science, space, and
technology have been declining in popularity with artists for a long time.
(despite, ironically, being one of the most lucrative areas of commercial
art. But the kids don't know this because the clueless art schools never
tell them) Since that means looking at their past work, you have to find
those that have some body of work published or on-line, which usually means
they've already gone 'pro' to some degree. Now, maybe I'm just going about
it wrong. I'm very open to suggestions with this, though frankly I'm also
rather burned out too. I've been subjected to The Flake Out so many time
over the past decade that it's really left me despondent. But we have to
keep plugging away. This is just too critical.

On the Yuri's Night suggestion, attending other already planned Yuri's Night
parties is as good a place to start as any. The whole point there is getting
involved in the event to help establish it as a routine cultural event in
our community. We'll build on it over time.

Concerning the Fab Lab and cultivating maker skills, the goal here is a
culture of industrial literacy, not creating a community of fine-arts
craftsmen. It's more important to cultivate a common knowledge of the
spectrum of technology, industrial processes, and techniques than to be some
master artisan. Industrial literacy is like general literacy, computer
literacy, financial literacy; basic knowledge that you now need to be a
competent person in our contemporary culture. Remember, teaching slaves to
read and write was commonly illegal in slaver cultures. That fact should
give one pause whenever you realize you don't understand how some machine or
process works, or where some product you're buying comes from, or whenever
some corporation tries to prevent you from opening a product or using it in
a way they don't like, physically through design or by abuse of the legal
system. All profit originates in a divergence of perception of value between
the parties in an exchange. The less you know about how things work and
where they come from, the more easily you can get ripped-off. So I often
ask, how do you know the actual value of something if you don't know how it
works, how it's made, and where it came from? This is why Americans are
routinely raped economically through their willful ignorance of how things
work and what's going on in the rest of the world and their casual
willingness to accept what corporations tell them is fact. Cell phone
service, internet service, drug prices, textbook prices, music and movie
prices, health care, housing, banking, on and on you see all these things
where Americans routinely pay far more for far less than anyone else in the
world because they're passive, ignorant, willing suckers. An essential
objective of TMP is the cultivation of a community with it's own
progressively more independent infrastructures, eventually capable of living
well with some degree of freedom from common economic exploitation for the
sake of recovering and repurposing personal productivity so it can be
directed to space. That means we are compelled to be industrially literate
as a culture in order to cultivate that alternative infrastructure. It's an
essential survival skill. It doesn't matter that you're not proficient at
everything. What matters is the knowledge and the potential for innovation,
invention, empowerment that comes from that knowledge.

The reason I focus on the tools of the Fab Lab is because it's convergence
with information technology makes processes more accessible, less dependent
upon the kind of hand-trained-skill you noted was always a problem with
carpentry. Digital machine tools eliminate the dependence on that the same
way a computer printer eliminates dependence on the hand-trained-skills of
calligraphy and manual typesetting. Obviously, a computer printer doesn't
totally obsolesce those crafts, but it eliminates the dependence on that for
most forms of writing and so enables people who can't dedicate a whole
career to that craft to get most stuff they need in print by themselves. And
so it is with these new digital machine tools. They enable people with
modest, generalized, skills to fabricate things that once required highly
specialized skills and large expensive tools with enough quality to suffice
for most of their uses. You come away with a good understanding of
technology, materials, and process without having to dedicate your life to
learning about one particular industry just to get something relatively
simple done. That's how Fab Labs started. They began at MIT with a course
program created by Neil Gershenfeld called How To Make (Almost) Anything. He
realized that many of the basic industrial processes were, with digital
automation, being reduced to desktop scale systems. They might not have the
same capabilities, but they made the processes accessible and
understandable, even for children. They all worked rather similarly to a
computer printer. And so he could get a bunch of them, put them all in a
'classroom', show people how the world is made more-or-less, and invite them
to experiment.

These tools also represent the cutting edge of where industry is generally
going. On the one hand they are limited and so can't always compete with
mass production systems. On the other hand, because they are limited they
present infinite potential for those who understand them to improve them,
and thus hugh entrepreneurial potential. Building on that is how I intend
TMP to develop its new infrastructure. This is what Savage was talking about
when, in the original TMP, he referred to the Aquarian communities
cultivating a more advanced, highly automated, local industrial capability
and capitalizing on that. When he wrote TMP there were no fab labs and only
a few of the digital machine tools we have today. But, like many futurists,
he saw the general trend in evolution of industrial technology pointing to
this eventuality and realized its importance in an overall development
scheme. When we move to space, we're not taking three storey steel presses
with us.

Concerning the use of Utilihab for housing, initially we're dealing with
more generalized work developing a diversity of parts. Longer-term, we're
looking at teams -and eventually individual business ventures- specializing
in development and production of specific areas of components. A key aspect
of the system is eliminating sophisticated 'craft' through prefabrication to
facilitate user-assembly. The Utilihab home is mostly two kinds of parts;
the T-slot framing and panels that attach to that. The framing is already
prefabricated. You can order frame components pre-cut to length with
fittings for connectors. So you just use a hex key and put it together.
That's still a bit expensive in the US because of marketing for the
'special' industrial automation market. We'll have to expand our sourcing
and consider doing our own extrusion eventually. But for now the added cost
is compensated by the great savings in labor overall. The panels require
some fabrication skill, but aren't produced on-site. They too are
prefabricated -though we have to do that prefabrication. The biggest are
wall panels about 1m wide by 2.4m high and 20-50mm thick depending on
composition. Roofing and exterior cladding panels are larger, but will be
based on off-the-shelf panel roofing at first that is, again, just pre-cut
to length at the factory and assembled by being attached to the framing with
screws. The system favors materials that don't require elaborate finishing.
So we're looking at pre-finished interior fiber-cement, luan, wood and stone
veneer, cork, fabric, etc. that is pretty much just cut to size and glued
onto a backing panel like wheatboard if necessary that's also just cut to
size. We can make panels with integral insulation by, again, just gluing on
some panel insulation material There are some more sophisticated panel
mounting schemes in my Utilihab catalog that I intend to explore, but the
basic methods either bolt to the T-slot or, use press-fit battens, or, in
the case of flush interior panels, press-fit into the space between
secondary framing members and are held by a finished wood strip that snaps
into the facing T-slots. So the fabrication throughout is generally not
complicated. There's no joinery or things that need special skills. (though
I have included a few things in the catalog that will get into that, like
shogi, latticework screens, and so on) With the pavilion framing system it's
even simpler, since you're likely employing an open plan interior with that
which means fewer walls and more reliance on furnishings in organizing

That iT House I posted a slide show of is a very custom design. It doesn't
have the the kind of standardization of parts I propose with Utilihab, its
framing system is a little peculiar -as if the designers somehow didn't get
the whole Bosh/Rexroth parts catalog- and in a couple of things they
'cheated' with the use of wood framing to support old fashioned drywall for
a fireplace enclosure. Construction was apparently protracted by the problem
of lining up suppliers, since this wasn't fully pre-frabricated in advance.
But it still well illustrates how many things would assemble with Utilihab.
This site offers an overview of that house's construction;


Eric Hunting
erichunting at gmail.com

On Mar 11, 2011, at 4:29 AM, luf-team at yahoogroups.com wrote:

> Re: maybe im crazy, but why is most of these projects not working?
> Posted by: "keithd21" keithd21 at yahoo.com keithd21
> Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:48 pm (PST)

> Eric,
> That was wonderfully said.
> I'll weigh in with my reaction on some of your earlier steps to keep this
important thread alive. I don't want to weigh in on everything as you've
given us more than enough work for years in just the first few steps. Don't
want to jump ahead of myself.
> Building membership: How many do you think it will really take to get this
thing off the ground? According to the records Reg was able to get from
Tami, we peaked at 423 members (if memory serves). I'll throw my hat in the
ring and be counted. So far that officially gives us...two... I mentioned
earlier in an off list discussion that I think we need more than warm bodies
and you expounded on that more clearly than I can. It is a leap far beyond
my original intention to recruit folks who already had the skills we needed
to actually build them from the ground up. Ambitious.
> Membership 2: Anyone here willing to pay monthly or yearly dues? I've been
toying with the idea of fronting the cash to re-instate our 501(c)3 status.
It would take about 500 dollars. Maintenance of the status would eat 400 a
year out of any dues income. Worth it? Maybe TMP2 should be for profit.
> Illustrations, graphics, and richer media: This is a real chicken and egg
problem for us, isn't it? Media is expensive. Do you think there is any
chance if we worked with a University art program we could get quality
images at a discount by commissioning a starving student? I could talk a
friend whose brother got his MFA and see if he is either interested in
producing some media for us or getting us in contact with someone who might.
> Events: 1) Yuri's night. I just checked and there are already 4 scheduled
in my area. I can attend one or more as they are on different nights in some
cases and show up with my copy of TMP. If I can recruit anyone I will.
Anyone else here in the Houston area that would like to join me? 2) Anyone
here going to the Mars Society convention in Dallas Aug 4-7? I need to clear
it with work because it is mighty close to the close cycle but I think I'm
going. Would love to meet up with anyone else who is attending.
> Fab labs: Here is where I am really going to struggle to live up to
expectations. I have a basic set of tools and do my own auto repair. But it
always results in a lot of swearing and busted knuckles. My home carpentry
work is, despite great effort, never quite true and square. I'm afraid the
accountant in me goes down to the bone. I'm willing to try but it might be a
lost cause due to personality constraints.
> You said "Relating to this, I think everyone in this group needs hands on
experience with some of the following; gardening, hydroponics, permaculture,
aquariums, mariculture, algaeculture, Living Machines, and
renewable/alternative energy systems like wind, PVs, fuel cells, Sterling
and Rankin cycle systems. Everyone here should have experience with building
at least something like a sub-irrigation planter, a 5 gallon bubbler
hydroponic planter, a table-top flood-drain unit, and know how to assemble a
home PV/wind power system." OK, I'm game. I used to have a lot of fish but
I'm over that. PV and wind would be a poor choice for my current site but
I'll build a small hydroponic system in the backyard this Spring. It can't
go any worse than my last attempt at gardening.
> Utilihab: It will be a few years to five before I am ready to replace my
current dwelling. Using Utilihab construction will be the number one
approach considered. The interior might be ugly if it depends on my own
carpentry but maybe I can sub out for a conventional make ready team to do
the buildout. If the housing glut continues and interest rates continue to
rise, they will be desperate for work.
> -keith-

  Reply to sender<erichunting at gmail.com?subject=Re%3A%20maybe%20im%20crazy%2C%20but%20why%20is%20most%20of%20these%20projects%20not%20working%3F>|
to group<luf-team at yahoogroups.com?subject=Re%3A%20maybe%20im%20crazy%2C%20but%20why%20is%20most%20of%20these%20projects%20not%20working%3F>|
via web post<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/luf-team/post;_ylc=X3oDMTJxZnQ0cmxrBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzI0NTI2NzMEZ3Jwc3BJZAMxNzA1MDgzNTQzBG1zZ0lkAzEyNzQxBHNlYwNmdHIEc2xrA3JwbHkEc3RpbWUDMTMwMDI5ODcwNA--?act=reply&messageNum=12741>|
a New Topic<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/luf-team/post;_ylc=X3oDMTJlaHA5c2tsBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzI0NTI2NzMEZ3Jwc3BJZAMxNzA1MDgzNTQzBHNlYwNmdHIEc2xrA250cGMEc3RpbWUDMTMwMDI5ODcwNA-->
Messages in this
 Recent Activity:

   - New Members<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/luf-team/members;_ylc=X3oDMTJmZm42NmU3BF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzI0NTI2NzMEZ3Jwc3BJZAMxNzA1MDgzNTQzBHNlYwN2dGwEc2xrA3ZtYnJzBHN0aW1lAzEzMDAyOTg3MDQ-?o=6>

 Visit Your Group<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/luf-team;_ylc=X3oDMTJlOHZodDlmBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzI0NTI2NzMEZ3Jwc3BJZAMxNzA1MDgzNTQzBHNlYwN2dGwEc2xrA3ZnaHAEc3RpbWUDMTMwMDI5ODcwNA-->

Don't forget to visit these LUF Sites!
LUF Home     http://www.luf.org/
LUF Team     http://groups.yahoo.com/group/luf-team/
LUF Website  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/luf-website/
LUF Admin    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/luf-admin/
TMP 2.0      http://tmp2.wikia.com/
LUF Blog     http://theluf.blogspot.com/
OTEC News    http://www.otecnews.org/
 [image: Yahoo!
Switch to: Text-Only<luf-team-traditional at yahoogroups.com?subject=Change+Delivery+Format:+Traditional>,
Daily Digest<luf-team-digest at yahoogroups.com?subject=Email+Delivery:+Digest>•
Unsubscribe <luf-team-unsubscribe at yahoogroups.com?subject=Unsubscribe> • Terms
of Use <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/>


- Bryan
1 512 203 0507
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20110316/efb62b78/attachment.html>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list