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Diary of the Sunrise

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Published on The Doomstead Diner & SUN4Lving on October 9, 2016SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Discuss this article at the SUN Table inside the Diner

 

For those of you Diners who don't follow the Diner Forum and are mystified as to where I have been and what I have been doing over the past weeks and why I have been so scarce, the last month we have been getting the SUN Project launched in Inman, South Carolina.  The trip actually began though in Norfolk, Va and then travelled through Morgantown, WV and along with Inman in SC, we also rented a Lake House in Saluda, NC. I will be writing further over the next few weeks and months with our plans to follow up developing the SUN Project in this neighborhood.

If you are interested in helping us with the project, please visit the SUN website at SUN4Living.com and join the Forum there for discussion of sustainability topics.

RE

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I'm going to need a Bigger Suitcase…
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2016, 06:58:58 AM »

I started my packing yesterday with the intention of using my fairly large rolling duffel as my one FREE  :icon_sunny: checked bag you get sometimes get these days on the airlines, or at most $25.  This is not gonna happen.

First off, when ordering all the stuff for the SUN☼Vocation, I did pretty good and got all the stuff sent to LD & GM directly.  Unfortunately either me or the shirt company screwed up on the shipping and sent all the Logo Polo Shirts to me, and I have to bring them.  By themselves they fill half the duffel.  Then there are some nice Yellow Windbreakers I saw at Walmart ON SALE, along with Yellow Alaska Ballcaps.  Then there are tools and toys like my FRS Walkie Talkies I thought might come in handy. (BTW, if you have a set of FRS Walkie Talkies and can fit them in your luggage, additional ones might help)  In the end here using the duffel, I got no room for clothes for 2 weeks.

So I am now in the process of shifting everything from the duffel to my largest suitcase, to see how that fits.  I have an even larger trunk that everything certainly fits into, but this is somewhat unwieldy to move around.  Also, I would have to empty it of all the preps currently stored in that trunk.  Tht is not a project I really want to undertake.

Hopefully, the big suitcase does the trick. ::)

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Re: Here Comes the SUN: The long journey begins.
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2016, 05:06:25 AM »

Made It to Ted Stevens airport.   Cab was an hour late.  Fortunately I gave a huge buffer in case of something like that occurring.   Right now I am stuck outside security because Delta doesn't have anyone working the baggage check desk. Probably won't open for another couple of hours.

RE

Through baggage check and security!


My bag was over weight by 3 pounds costing me an additional $100.  I gotta get a scale at home.

Security was a breeze,  I got pre cleared and didn't have to take off my shoes or belt or take out my laptop.  No pat down or xray jusr had to walk through the metal detector.

They're supposed to call me. to board first and I should get transportation between . terminal gates  at Seattle and Atlanta.

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Re: Here Comes the SUN: The long journey begins.
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2016, 07:26:29 AM »

In the air!   I bought a day pass for gogo $20.

Flight is jam packed and I am in a middle seat. No way to pull out the laptop so I have to work on the phone.

At least the people sitting to either side of me aren't fatties.

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Re: Here Comes the SUN: The long journey begins.
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2016, 10:40:34 AM »

Safely touched in Seattle.  swallowed my pride and took my first wheelchair ride around an airport. Good thing I did too because SeaTac very big and the terminals were far apart. airport is jam packed. I am sitting right across the women bathroom and the line is about 20 people long to get in. men's room does not look like it has a line. gotta be ready to make that run for the bathroom. LOL.

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Re: Here Comes the SUN: The long journey begins.
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2016, 06:28:42 PM »

Am now safely esconced at the last gate in the journey, in Atlanta waiting for the plane to Norfolk, which appears to be on time.   So far the trip has gone flawlessly, even though the cab driver was an hour late.  OK, being 3 pounds over on my suitcase and getting charged $100 for that was annoying, but it didn't mess up the schedule.

I finally got Nature's Call on the last leg, and I was fortunate my seat position was in the far back and there was an open bathroom.  So the tragic disaster was avoided for this trip.  ;D

I am amazed now how many people are in wheelchairs nowadays.  Every airport has a HUGE number of wheelchair jockeys to push all these folks around.  It never was like this when I was a kid.

Two basic reasons for this.  First is the aging demographic and the fact such a large percentage of the travelers are OLD.  They're the main ones who can afford to be flying around, visiting grandkids etc.

The other aspect is of course the large number of fat people nowadays.  So they need a lot of wheelchairs.  This is good newz for immigrants and underclass black folks, that is who is doing the work.  In Seattle it was immigrants from Ethiopia and the Philipines, here it's the black folks.

So far, the airlines don't charge you anything extra for this service, but it definitely makes it more expensive to move around disabled people.

It's also an ideal job to automate with electric scooters and robotic guidance systems.  I think we'll see that pretty soon.
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Here Comes the SUN: The Norfolk Leg Begins
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2016, 04:42:50 AM »

I arrived in Norfolk on the stroke of midnite, 5 minutes early despite the fact we left 20 minutes late.

I got another nice ride around the Norfolk airport from what appeared to be a Malaysian Wheelchair Jockey, and Surly was waiting out by the baggage check.  The overpriced 53 lb suitcase came up pretty quick on the carousel, and we headed for Surly's McHovel, with a stopoff for beer & smokes at 7/11.  Surly thought you could buy beer anytime in VA at a 7/11, I wasn't too sure on that.  Few states allow Beer sales after midnite.  Turns out I was right, the beer fridges were locked, 11:45 PM is the latest for beer sales here.  good news is the cancerettes are CHEAP!  Half AK prices.  I will need to buy a few cartons.  Other good newz, Surly had some vodka at home so I picked up a bottle of OJ to make screwdrivers.

After we got back to the McHovel we stayed up shooting the breeze with Contrary for another hour, then hit the sack for a big day of exploring Norfolk today and planning the road trip until Monsta hopefully has as much luck as I did and arrives on time tonight at 9PM, then more Norfolk exploring on Sunday and then ont he road to WV to visit the Scooter Factory.

The Big Worry now is not so much the weather as it is GAS Shortages in SC.  The pipeline rupture has completely disrupted gas distribution logistics in the south east, and as of this weekend it is still not fixed.  LD says many stations have  no gas, and if they do there are long lines.  I'm hoping by midweek they will get alternate logistics in place and truck in the Go Juice to that neighborhood.

We'll buy some Jerry Cans with extra gas as a prep for the trip.

Kind of ironic this would occur right on the weekend we are presenting what will happen when the oil flow stops.  :o

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Here Comes the SUN: Monsta Chronicles
« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2016, 04:19:42 AM »

We had our first Big Glitch in the Plans last night.

Monsta was due to arrive here in Norfolk at 9:30 PM last night after flying in from the UK.  Unfortunately and not totally unexpectedly, he was held up so long by Customs & Immigration that he missed his flight to Norfolk, and has had to stay overnight in JFK airport, in one of those situations where it is too short a time to go get a hotel room but way too long and exhausting staying overnight in an airport where you can't really get any sleep.

He was due to get on a 6:30 AM flight and arrive here at 10:30 this morning, a little over 3 hours from now.  I asked him to call me again prior to boarding this flight to make sure he got aboard safely, but I haven't heard from him and am concerned again that he has been further delayed.

I will update again on this issue later in the day.

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Here Comes the SUN: Road Trip Begins!
« Reply #27 on: September 19, 2016, 01:45:19 AM »

 

 

We picked up Monsta and took the scenic route back to Surly's McHovel so Monsta could at least get a quick overview of Norfolk, since we are going to leave for WV later today.  When he returns with Surly & Contrary next Monday, they will basically be driving straight from the Lake House in Saluda to the Norfolk Airport for his flight back to the UK, so he won't have time to see much of Norfolk then either.

After getting his stuff settled in we shot the Collapse Breeze for a couple of hours, then we headed out to a house in VA Beach that friends of Contrary are selling as they are retiring and heading to Iowa, original home of of the husband of the couple for retirement.  After selling this place, they will get even more luxury in Iowa, given the difference in RE prices.  This place was already quite luxurious though, with a nice salt water pool and plenty of toys like Fooz Ball and Air Hockey to play.  Contrary decribes them as a couple of overgrown kids who never grew up or had kids of their own.  LOL.

On the way back we stopped to pick up a Chicken Dinner to take home from a local take out chicken shop which is supposed to be the bet in Norfolk.  While waiting outside for the order to be ready, we were approached by a very nice and polite Homeless Person who was looking for money for food.  We all gave him some so he had enough to buy a real nice dinner and also breakfast the next day.  His current home is a bench across the street from the chicken shop.  The chicken was very good.

This morning after Surly wakes up we will go SHOPPING for some of the food for the BBQ, I found a nice shop that sells Organic humanely raised meats from CSA farms around here, and then we will fill out with organic foods from Cosco. Then buy some locally brewed beers for the Beer Tasting event. After that we will go pick up a rental minivan for the road trip.  Surly's car isn't big enough for everybody's luggage, 4 people and the two coolers.

We should be leaving for WV some time in the early afternoon and get most of the drive done before finding a Bates Motel for the night, then visit the Scooter Factory on Tue morning.  Then onto LD & GMs place on Wednesday to do assembly of the Dome and various grills and smoker for the BBQ.

The Road Trip Begins! :icon_mrgreen:

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From Surly:

Re: Here Comes the SUN: Road Trip Begins!
« Reply #29 on: September 19, 2016, 04:07:13 AM »

You know how  there is always a certain amount of anticipation when you meet someone after corresponding with them for years? Well, it was thus on meeting RE. He is completely as advertised, bristling with opinions and ideas. And he does not bear them quietly. We've already had long conversations on my side porch (the favorite room in the house) with Contrary. (To whom I must give a big shout-out for allowing us to impinge on her notion of domestic tranquillity.) It has been a great pleasure to get to know my fellow reprobate in person. It is not as if we don't know what the other person thinks…

We collected Monsta yesterday. If you've formed an opinion of him in these pages, you would be pleased to have it ratified in person, as he is even more pleasant, thoughtful and well-spoken in person. M was a trouper yesterday, holding up under the day's events even though having had almost no sleep (aside from that which can be collected sitting in terminals or sitting on planes) for two days. Such is the strength and grace of youth.

The only bad thing that happened yesterday is that Contrary slipped on a wet tile floor in the kitchen of her friends' house and landed right on her knee. When I came in she was icing it, and it looked like someone had inserted an orange under her skin. As I write this she is still dozing, so it remains to be seen what sort of shape she'll be in. If she walks with a limp, she'll fit right in with RE and me. The Gimp Family Singers.

Getting ready for the day's events. RE is keen on visiting this scooter factory, which entails a trip west into northern WV. We'll be spending an awful lot of time in a small metal box. But it will be an adventure. Can Wally World be far behind?

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Re: Here Comes the SUN: Road Trip begins!
« Reply #32 on: September 19, 2016, 07:41:18 PM »

Day 1 of the Road Trip went pretty much like clockwork according to plan.

We got rolling early to go food shopping for Organic Meats first, then headed for the airport to pick up a rental minivan for the trip.  However, at the desk Alamo offered an upgrade to a Suburban at 50% off, and with the amount of luggage and food we are bringing, it seemed a wise idea to take the upgrade.  Second bonus to renting this behemoth is I won't have to also rent a truck for moving all the materials around between LD & GMs place, the Festival & the Lake House.  Together with LD's Hemi and the trailer, this should be plenty to move all the shit around.

We headed back to the McHovel to park Surly's car and load all the luggage into the Suburban, then got on the road for  WV.  Unfortunately we forgot we had one more stop to make at another organic butcher and didn't realize it until we were too far past to go back.  So I busied myself looking for another one somewhere along the route while Surly did the driving.

When we left Norfolk it was mostly sunny, but as soon as we passed through the Hampton Birdge-Tunnel, We ran into a massive line of powerful thunderstorms.  Water coming down in BUCKETS, virtually no visibility.  This lasted a good 30 minutes at least of white knuckle driving for Surly.  It finally let up to a light drizzle and then finally disappeared altogether once we passed through the front.

Looking at how far we might make it, and after calling the Scooter Factory to confirm the appointment tomorrow, Cumberland seemed like a plausible destination.  Surly suggested a stop in Fredricksburg for dinner.  I also found an organic Butcher in FB, so we headed off the interstate there to go find the meat and get some eats.  Got spme cool flavored sausages then we found a REALLY good Italian Restaraunt for Dinner and got back on the road.

Made it as far as Hagerstown and now we are esconced in a Bates Motel (actually a Comfort Inn, and it's quite nice), and tomorrow we'll start out early for the visit at the Scooter Factory.  Darus the owner says he has some units for me to test drive and it's the slow part of the season so he will have plenty of time to talk.

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Here Comes the SUN: Ewz Scooter Day!
« Reply #33 on: September 20, 2016, 10:30:55 PM »

 

Very LONG day of driving here on Day 2, but now we are in Striking Distance of SC for tomorrow.

We made the stopoff at the Scooter Factory and I had good discussions with the owner and his son on building interest in these devices in our community.  As I had hoped, the scooters are contstructed with fabulous technology, very efficient units and state of the art.  Although I was fairly convinced by the photos and literature and my email exchanges with the owner and chief engineer, I had to see them in person to verify this stuff before continuiong on.  It was well worth the extra miles, time and money on this trip to do this.  There are numerous different types of these vehicles on the market, and finding the really good ones at value price is not too. EZ.

Besides the scooter expedition, another QUEST on this journey that has evolved for Surly and me was to find Lumbar Support back rests for our seats in the SUV.  My spine issues are well known, Surly has his own as well although they are just appearing recently.  After Day 1 of driving, his back was feeling none too good, and we improvised lumbar supports utilizing my Neck Pillow and by rolling up a Jacket to stuff behind the lower back for added support, but this is rather a Kludge in both cases.  As an ex-OTR Trucker, I know what kind of back pain you get without good lumbar support when sitting in these seats 8-10 hours a day.

I also KNOW there are specific Memory Foam supports which do a great job of resolving this issue, usually available at the biggest chain truckstops of Petro, The Flying J and Truckstops of AmeriKa (aka TA).  Unfortunately on this route we didn't pass by these particular establishments while on the Quest, except for one Flying J but we blew by that exit before I realized there was one there.

We took a few detours off the interstate to smaller independent Truckstops looking for these devices, but they generally are poorly stocked overall, few independents have all the toys and necessities for Road Warriors.  We even tried the automotive dept at Walmart and they didn't have them either!  I was beginning to think they no longer are manufactured, but FINALLY  we hit a TA at our final stop of the day, and lo and behold they had exactly 2 of them, and I bought them both.  :icon_sunny:We'll test them out on the final leg of the Road Trip tomorrow to South Carolina.

At the same exit we parked it for the night in another Comfort Bates Motel, this time a "Comfort Suties" instead of a "Comfort Inn".  This design in their chain has a slightly bigger room arrangement, but basically the same design.  By sheer COINKIDINK, we also got EXACTLY the same room number on both nights, 108.  Bet this number for Collapse, it will occur on October 8th.  Of what year I do not know though. LOL.

We finished with dinner at a local bar, shared some beers and collapse speculation, and retired back in Comfort for the night to recharge for the adventures of tomorrow, which includes getting the damn Geodesic Dome assembled for the Festival as well as finishing off the drive.

There was one other Adventure today where RE nearly DIED, but it will remain a TOP SECRET amongst the Three Musketeers on this Road Trip.  Some things it is better NOT to tell EVERYONE about.  ::)

Road-Trip-Dinnr

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Re: Here Comes the SUN
« Reply #40 on: September 22, 2016, 07:18:03 PM »

Another long but productive day doing some final revisions on the presentation booklet for printing tomorrow.  We also have to pick up the helium tank and tables and chairs and do quite a bit more food shopping.

We also are now esconced in the Lake House which is as advertized, quite beautiful.  It is way out in the Boonies though and not a lot of services around, so you need to make sure you have all your stufff.  Last minute Beer Runs are out of the question.  lol.

Final preps for the weekend and big meeting tomorrow night.

RE

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Here Comes the SUN: Festival & BBQ wrap up
« Reply #41 on: September 26, 2016, 09:52:25 AM »

Miss me?   :icon_mrgreen:

For the first time since the last convocation more than 2 years ago I missed a couple of days of posting up to the Diner Forum.  I also missed getting up a Sunday Brunch article on the blog this week.  I have an article written but no graphics in it and I was too exhausted on both Sat & Sun to spruce it up for publication.

The last 3 days since Friday were non-stop work from dawn to dusk, actually pre-dawn on Saturday since we had to get up at 4:30 AM to get to the Festival site at 6AM for set-up, and then with the take down afterwards we didn't get back to the Lake House until 7PM.

JD arrived on Friday afternoon while we were visiting at LD & GMs house, and then he followed us out to the Lake House.  Eddie & Wife arrived on Friday Night.  Surly, Monsta & me met up with LD & GM for setup on Sat morning, unloading the trailers and getting the tents set up.  We dispensed with setting up the geodesic dome (too much work) and substituted Bamboo Tripods to hold up the hanging plants.

Getting ready for the BBQ on Sunday I had to get up early again to go into Hendersonville to pick up fresh bagels to go with the Alaska Nova Lox I brought with me, Eddie did the driving for that trip and Surly got the opportunity to sleep in a bit.  Even so, prepping up for the BBQ was non-stop work until the appointed time of 1PM, when we were just about ready for arrivals.

The musicians were the first to arrive, and then everyone else was fashionably late coming in after 2PM.  As a result I eliminated the sit-down dinner, since the buffet we set up by itself was more than enough food.  I seriously overbought food for this shindig! lol.  We now have several pounds of various kinds of gourmet sausages, and more pounds of organic chicken breasts.  LD & GM are the beneficiaries here of an enormous amount of leftover foods and booze and soft drink beverages also.

The BBQ presentation went very well, GM opened up discussing domes and a community center and storm shelter for Inman as the beginning project for SUN☼, then I followed with a history of how the SUN☼ evolved and the need to prepare for a lower per capita energy future and re-develop local production of the many things we take for granted brought to you from halfway around the globe through JIT delivery.  After the presentation we did an open Q & A session and the attendees showed a lot of interest in getting this off the ground.  We had a representative from Trey Goudy there as well as the head of the City Council and the city administrator.  Numerous people from local businesses and volunteer organizations also were attending.

The BBQ ended around 6PM and then we did cleanup followed by a post BBQ Party for the SUN☼ people staying at the Lake House.  A few intrepid adventurers went for a swim in the "Lake" which is really just an artificially created Duck Pond and only maybe 4' deep at its deepest point.  You could just about walk across it.  The party didn't run all that late, we were all pretty exhausted plus Eddie & Wife had to get up early for their flight back to Texas.  It's about a 2.5 hour drive from here to Charlotte and their flight was for 11AM.  Surly and Monsta also took off for the drive back to Norfolk, and Monsta flies back to the UK tomorrow.

All in all, the kickoff week for SUN☼ went very well, and now next week I will be meeting with Real Estate people to look at land, and also with the main commercial property owner in Inman to see about office space in town for SUN☼ Offices until we can build the first Monolithic Dome.  I will be flying back to the Last Great Frontier on Sunday.

The amount of work that went into this thing was enormous and without all the help from the Diners who showed for the convocation we never could have pulled it off.  Everyone contributed mightily, from the moving of equipment, to food preparation, to all the driving and shopping that had to be done.  Special Thanks to Surly who got the thankless job of "Driving Miss Daisy" around for most of the adventure from Norfolk to here in South Carolina.

I'll be compiling a full article with many of the pics recapping the adventure over the next couple of weeks, to publish for Sunday Brunch on Oct 9th probably, although it might take more time and go up the 16th.

GM & LD will be taking off in a little while to return the Helium tank for the balloons and the rented tables and chairs.  I have the Lake House for one more night and will stay here and relax, then tomorrow LD will return to pick me up as well as the vast quantities of food and booze left over that wouldn't all fit in his pickup and trailer on one trip.

Pretty much the whole adventure went like Clockwork and according to plan, and we had fabulous weather for almost the whole trip and particularly fabulous was the weather for the Festival and BBQ, although a tad too hot for me.  So while it was a big bite to chew here,it wasn't TOO BIG, although it took everyone who showed up working non-stop to make it happen.

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From Eddie:

Re: Here Comes the SUN
« Reply #47 on: September 27, 2016, 06:38:11 AM »

Based on my experience, the expertise of the SUN foundation leans toward the ability to cater future fund raising events.

The party we threw for the town fathers and interested citizens of Inman, SC, was a real humdinger. From RE's hand-made bagel h'ordeurves  and smoked ribs, to Surly's meatballs, to JDWheeler's gourmet burgers, to my organic salads and Gypsy Mama's deviled eggs (prepped with the assistance of Mrs. Eddie), we closely resembled a seasoned team of catering professionals.

The hired musicians were a hit with the crowd. The house RE found on Lake Hosea was a really lovely remodeled 60's era vacation home from the height of  Industrial Civilization.

Tables, chairs, displays, rapidly assembled by Lucid Dreams and Monsta, and just as rapidly taken down and returned to LD's lowboy trailer for the trip back to wherever they rented them.

Props to all those who manned the booth at the Inman Festival (it was really hot, and I managed to completely dodge that assignment). But next year we should sell food. We are the Foodmeisters of Doom!

Late Sunday evening, after it was all said and done, it is reputed that several Diners descended the steep gravel roads down the hill and jumped into the small mountain lake. Even though they were not quite as quiet as they promised themselves they would be, no police showed up, and no one was arrested.

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Re: Here Comes the SUN
« Reply #49 on: September 27, 2016, 03:42:13 PM »

As far as the festivals are concerned, Food sales are the way to go.  Nobody buys anything at those festivals except food.  It's a good place to get yourself known and recognized in the area as far as Brand Name goes, but in terms of making any money, you can only do it selling food.

Doing food this year was out of the question because we need to get insurance for that and get licensed as a food vendor  Next year however this is a priority, and part of the reason I bought all the portable cooking gear to begin to assemble what will go in the Food Truck.

Besides food preparation, we intend to be using as much of our own organically grown produce as possible, and also acquire meats from the local CSAs around Inman.

Considering the very short amount of time we had for food prep on this occassion, what came out was very good, and pretty much everything was completely consumed except the Salad.

About the only minor disaster is I got a message from the house owner saying they are missing a Salt and Pepper grinder and one of the Large Knives.  We did find the salt grinder but neither of the other items.  To maintain a good relationship with the owners I will buy replacements but besides the salt grinder I am sure we didn't take the pepper grinder or knife.

In other newz, the owner of the Feed Mill met with me today about using his land behind his Feed Store and Tire Store to put up a SUN☼ Dome.  It's in a great location on the Asheville Highway and he has a very large plot of commercial property of around 8 Acres.  If we can work out a deal he would get a tax deduction for donating the use of his land and we would get it for free, except of course the cost of the dome.  Bonus, there is already a stand of Bamboo on this property which LD can hopefully cultivate for Bamboo Shoots.

Tomorrow I meet with the head of the City Council and the main commercial property owner in Inman to see about getting some Office Space donated.  Really about the only thing missing now is a sufficient size grant to cover operating expenses and dome construction.    :icon_sunny:

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Here Comes the SUN: RE Crashes the Ewz and Fries in the SUN☼!
« Reply #53 on: September 28, 2016, 09:18:27 AM »

After most of the Diners left on Monday morning, LD & GM decided to stay for a day of rest and relaxation with me at the Lake House rather than going back right away to the normal life of School & Work.

In the afternoon we decided to go down to the lake for them to take the boys out on the lake in the pedal boat and do some swimming, and I went cruising around the lake ring road on the scooter.  On my first pass around I forgot about the Speed Bump at the end of the road and I was going over the speed limit of 10mph for this gravel road at about 25 mph. The bump twisted the handlebars and DOWN GOES RE!  LOL.

Fortunately I did not get too injured, just hurt the right wrist and elbow a bit breaking the fall.  Nothing broken and no blood though.  :icon_sunny:  I was able to get back up and on the Ewzz to finish the loop around the lake, and once they realized I wasn't mangled enough for a hospital trip, LD & GM found the whole thing hilarious.  :icon_mrgreen:  GM got most of it on video.

Worse than the Scooter Crash right now is the Sunburn I got on my arms at the Festival.  I never sit out in the SUN☼ so long and I always wear long sleeves these days so my skin is totally pale white.  I actually got 2nd Degree burns with Blistering on my arms.

RE-Sunburn

Interestingly, it is more itchy than painful, which might be an artifact of my CNS problems.  I put on some of GMs Skin care oil for her exzema and Vitamin E oil as well to try to help it heal up.  In the future I must remember to put on sunblock whenever I am outside in situations like this.  ::)

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Here Comes the SUN☼: Musicians at the BBQ
« Reply #54 on: September 28, 2016, 09:26:00 AM »

Here's a clip of the musicians we had playing during the BBQ which GM just put up on the SUN☼ YouTube Channel.

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From Gypsy Mama:

Re: Here Comes the SUN
« Reply #55 on: September 28, 2016, 11:06:31 AM »


Late Sunday evening, after it was all said and done, it is reputed that several Diners descended the steep gravel roads down the hill and jumped into the small mountain lake. Even though they were not quite as quiet as they promised themselves they would be, no police showed up, and no one was arrested.


Lake NINJAS!!!!!!  Life Experience.  That was a great end to the night– and celebration from the stress and planning of the weekend.

P.S.– Eddie is the DUDE!!!!

The food was excellent.

I have eaten about four Eddie salads so far. 

JD Wheeler– I made chili from your leftover burgers.  I didn't have much of an appetite during the BBQ, unfortunately.  Too much nervous stomach churning, I suppose.  I froze a few of them for later. :)

The boys had a great time.  They were drinking ginger Ale out of the bottle.  LOL.  uh oh.

Anne and I had a great hot tub discussion.  We are going to form a strong women club.

The house was beautifully decorated and very comfortable.  RE really did a great job booking that place.  I'm glad we got to experience a rain while there (Monday evening)– as the house had a metal roof.  That's such a comforting sound.

I have had a few phone conversations with people who were at the BBQ already.  People were very impressed with us.  One lady, Zylphia (Blonde in the lace dress), has shared a few great ideas of ways to help us.  She has began talking about fundraising opportunities….

A local business owner has offered for us to use his land to build a dome.  He also has our flyers displayed in his store. (Carl from the Feed store).

Many people came up to me after the event and told us how happy they were to have been our guest.  There were also many heads shaking (the up and down, good direction) during our speeches and square yellow table discussion.

I feel great about our future.  THANK YOU to all who came and helped with this. I think we are going to see many more great things ahead for SUN :)

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By sheer chance and serendipity, the SUN☼ Booth was right in front of a local Inman Bizness called "Everything Under the Sun"  :icon_sunny:

Here's LD doing more Bamboo Promotion to interested community members.  :)
 


Finger of God at work again!

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Re: Here Comes the SUN☼: LD Splits Bamboo
« Reply #52 on: September 28, 2016, 08:13:42 AM »

Here's a shot of LD splitting Bamboo for the crowd.  :icon_sunny:
 


We changed the Booth setup later in the morning to put the Bamboo Table out front.

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From Gypsy Mama:

Re: Here Comes the SUN
« Reply #55 on: September 28, 2016, 11:06:31 AM »


Late Sunday evening, after it was all said and done, it is reputed that several Diners descended the steep gravel roads down the hill and jumped into the small mountain lake. Even though they were not quite as quiet as they promised themselves they would be, no police showed up, and no one was arrested.

 


Lake NINJAS!!!!!!  Life Experience.  That was a great end to the night– and celebration from the stress and planning of the weekend.

P.S.– Eddie is the DUDE!!!!

The food was excellent.

I have eaten about four Eddie salads so far. 

JD Wheeler– I made chili from your leftover burgers.  I didn't have much of an appetite during the BBQ, unfortunately.  Too much nervous stomach churning, I suppose.  I froze a few of them for later. :)

The boys had a great time.  They were drinking ginger Ale out of the bottle.  LOL.  uh oh.

Anne and I had a great hot tub discussion.  We are going to form a strong women club.

The house was beautifully decorated and very comfortable.  RE really did a great job booking that place.  I'm glad we got to experience a rain while there (Monday evening)– as the house had a metal roof.  That's such a comforting sound.

I have had a few phone conversations with people who were at the BBQ already.  People were very impressed with us.  One lady, Zylphia (Blonde in the lace dress), has shared a few great ideas of ways to help us.  She has began talking about fundraising opportunities….

A local business owner has offered for us to use his land to build a dome.  He also has our flyers displayed in his store. (Carl from the Feed store).

Many people came up to me after the event and told us how happy they were to have been our guest.  There were also many heads shaking (the up and down, good direction) during our speeches and square yellow table discussion.

I feel great about our future.  THANK YOU to all who came and helped with this. I think we are going to see many more great things ahead for SUN :)

—————————————————-

From Gypsy Mama:

Re: Here Comes the SUN
« Reply #56 on: September 28, 2016, 11:21:30 AM »

Here's a video I came across on the web– shot from a drone over the Inman Harvest Day Festival :)

https://vimeo.com/184138499/bfd7700bba

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BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME!

Inman couple seeks backing for eco-village

gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Bob Montgomery

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Published on GOUPstate on October 1, 2016

SunWebGraphic3

Discuss this article at the SUN Table inside the Diner

http://www.goupstate.com/storyimage/NC/20161001/NEWS/161009784/AR/0/AR-161009784.jpg

Wendy and Aaron McCarty of Inman believe the lifestyle many of us enjoy today could be completely upended if a major disruption ever occurred in the energy grid.

They dream of building a self-sustaining eco-village, complete with energy-efficient geodome structures, vegetable gardens and bamboo stands, and self-made clothing and goods.

They hope to partner with local schools to teach students the dying trades of blacksmithing, candlemaking, looming and more, she said.

“We’re hoping this will bring in tourism — breathe new life into the community, and jobs,” said Wendy McCarty, an artist and photographer.

The couple has sought the support of local leaders, and needs about $1 million and a 100-acre property with a running stream to get the sustainability park project off the ground.

They’ve gotten moral support. Now comes the hard part — raising the funds and finding the right piece of property.

“It would be great to have this in Inman,” said Tom Plemmons of the Inman Area Chamber of Commerce. “I am proud they have tentatively selected Inman as a host site. I hope to help them turn this into a reality. The hard thing is turning from paper to reality. It takes a lot of hard work.”

The McCartys hosted a barbecue last week in Saluda, N.C., which was attended by local officials as well as the president of SUN (Sustaining Universal Needs) Foundation, the nonprofit that is working with the McCartys.

SUN’s mission is “to assist people and the society in general in transitioning off the fossil-fuel based economy that currently is winding down around us,” according to John Litter, president.

Wendy and Aaron McCarty of Inman believe the lifestyle many of us enjoy today could be completely upended if a major disruption ever occurred in the energy grid.

They dream of building a self-sustaining eco-village, complete with energy-efficient geodome structures, vegetable gardens and bamboo stands, and self-made clothing and goods.They hope to partner with local schools to teach students the dying trades of blacksmithing, candlemaking, looming and more, she said.

“We’re hoping this will bring in tourism — breathe new life into the community, and jobs,” said Wendy McCarty, an artist and photographer.

The couple has sought the support of local leaders, and needs about $1 million and a 100-acre property with a running stream to get the sustainability park project off the ground.

They’ve gotten moral support. Now comes the hard part — raising the funds and finding the right piece of property.

“It would be great to have this in Inman,” said Tom Plemmons of the Inman Area Chamber of Commerce. “I am proud they have tentatively selected Inman as a host site. I hope to help them turn this into a reality. The hard thing is turning from paper to reality. It takes a lot of hard work.”

The McCartys hosted a barbecue last week in Saluda, N.C., which was attended by local officials as well as the president of SUN (Sustaining Universal Needs) Foundation, the nonprofit that is working with the McCartys.

SUN’s mission is “to assist people and the society in general in transitioning off the fossil-fuel based economy that currently is winding down around us,” according to John Litter, president.

The gathering was attended by Inman council members Ray Rogers and Ginger Morrow McGuire and chamber members Plemmons, Bessie Fisher and Cliff Newmark. Also attending was Missy House, a representative with U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy of Spartanburg.

Litter estimated it will cost $1 million to get the eco-village up and running, with more funding needed later as it grows.

Fisher, an experienced grant writer for Inman, said she could help by exploring grant funds.

Rogers said he was impressed by the proposal Wendy McCarty delivered to council earlier this summer, and he’s found a real estate agent to help her look for available land.

“I’m amazed they selected Inman as a prototype,” he said. “I’m glad she selected Inman to do it.”

Newmark said he believes the McCartys could succeed in drawing more business and tourism to Inman. “I’m certainly open to ideas,” said Newmark. “I’m excited because Wendy is so excited. Her enthusiasm is so infectious. I want to learn more.”

The McCartys think communities should start becoming self-sufficient — free of fossil fuels and powered by the sun, wind and water, and able to grow their own food and make their own goods.

“We aren’t preppers,” said Aaron, a professional landscaper, referring to doomsday survivalists who build underground shelters stocked with canned food and guns. “And we’re not hippies.”

Residents would produce their own food, including meat and vegetables, cider, bread, cheese and butter. They could even generate income by producing enough to sell.

“It will be as self-sustaining as possible,” he said.

The farm would not be totally devoid of modern conveniences. It will have electricity — generated by sun, wind and water — and plumbing.

In fact, the inside of a geodome home can be built with all the amenities found in any other new house.

“Even the Amish are dependent on many industrially produced farm implements and tools, as well as industrially produced milled lumber,” Wendy McCarty said.

Plemmons said the idea of a self-sufficient community isn’t new to Inman. In the years before automobiles, residents had to be self-sufficient, he said.

 

 

 

Scooter Solutions!

youtube-Logo-4gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of RE

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on September 4, 2016

scooter-shopping-,meat

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While I am well aware that there are many Kollapsniks out there who think the situation we are in is irretrievably HOPELESS, I am not one of those depressing nihilists.  I continue to look for solutions, which even if not implemented on the grand scale might be implemented on small scale to maintain some semblance of modern living a while longer.  At least as long as I expect to live anyhow, maybe another 10 years?  After that, the question of how to transition and adapt is no longer my problem, it is the problem of the people still left after I buy my ticket to the Great Beyond.  Meanwhile though, while I am still above ground level walking the earth, I can try to Save As Many As I Can.

So in this episode today, I am going to talk about the transportation problem and the reliance on automobiles for everyone to drive around, doing the daily shopping, getting the kids to school and activities, commuting to work, etc.

http://www.worldincbook.com/images/illus_ch04_trafficjam.jpg Automobiles are really marvelous devices, and I own several of them.  All old used vehicles bought on the cheap and rarely driven these days, but I do own them.  They are indespensible with the current infrastructure we live in to get certain tasks done.  The problem of course with the carz is they are tremendously consumptive of energy and they emit tons of CO2 all the time, which is not doing wonders for the atmosphere or ocean pH levels either.  The traffic jams are no fun either. So they are doing a lot of damage, and if we could reduce our dependency on them, then that extends out our time in transitioning down to a lower per capita energy future.

My solution to this particular problem came as a result of serendipity, it was not something I thought of in advance.  A few years ago even prior to my neck injury, Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) was making it difficult to walk long distances, much less keep up with my gymmies when out for a run to develop cardio-vascular fitness.  So I bought a small electric scooter to be able to keep up.  It wasn't EZ to get up to Alaska either because of various Hazmat regulations regarding batteries, but I did get it up here with some creative shipping methods.

At first before the neck injury it was mainly a recreational type toy and not used too often.  I rode it in a couple of parades and took the gymmies out for a run a few times.  Today though, it is an indespensible device that increases my mobility, and not only that saves me a huge amount of money on gas for the carz.  It has more than paid for itself over the last 2 years.

So, scooters like this are great for cripples like me, but might they not have a much wider applicability?  I think they could be so useful, and cut total energy consumption by half or even more without a huge change in lifestyle otherwise.

http://tw.on.cc/tw/bkn/cnt/finance/20160220/photo/bkntw-20160220214423310-0220_04311_001_01b.jpg?20160220234119 These devices are far different than the Teslas that Elon Musk is snake-o‎il selling at the moment on gobs of debt money issued by Wall Street.  Those vehicles are basically replicas of an ICE powered car, just they use an electric power plant instead, with the energy stored in batteries rather than in distilled petroleum products like gasoline and diesel.  Their size and weight is approximately the same as a conventional car, so they take the same amount of energy to accelerate and to overcome wind and internal resistance.  That energy generally still comes from fossil fuel powered thermoelectric plants, which might be slightly more efficient burning the fuel, but not that much after transmission losses, battery storage losses and so forth.  The problem here is that driving around such a big hunk of metal, plastic and glass all the time is a HUGE energy waster and thoroughly unecesary for the typical tasks you do each day.

Really, do you need to move around 2000 lbs just to go to the convenience store to buy some milk?  Do you need it to get to work and then leave it in the parking lot all day, and then sit in traffic on the way home too?  Do Soccer Moms really need to function as taxi drivers for their kids to get them from school to their various activities?

In contrast to a 2000 lb car, my current scooter weighs only 90 pounds.  It runs on 3 typical 12V 10AH batteries which give it a range of about 15 miles.  As opposed to Elon Musk's even cheapest Tesla, instead of costing $30,000, it cost $600.  A full new Battset for it costs $150, as opposed to a new Battset for a Tesla which goes for over $5000.

What can I do with this scooter?  Well first off my main use for it these days is to do all my food shopping, as the picture heading the article and this one indicate.

Scooter-Shopping-Nuts

Not only can I ride it to the store to shop for food, I can actually ride it right INTO the store and do my shopping! 🙂 Because of that, I can actually do the whole food shopping expedition in less time than it would take me to drive my car there, park, walk around the store and then drive back home and park again and take the groceries from the car inside the digs.

How much food can I load up on the scooter?  Well normally I only buy bits at a time, so I don't load it up, but if I really wanted to I could drop about 100 lbs of food on to it.  I have panniers for the back as well as the basket on the front, and I can put a case of beer no problem on the bottom platform.  Shopping with it once a week, I would have no problem feeding a family of four.

What about the Soccer Mom issue?  Well, instead of mom driving around the Minivan to get the school for pickup and then driving the kids to activities, the kids do this THEMSELVES on their scooters!  Anybody above the age of 10 or so who can ride a bicycle safely can ride one of these safely, at least as long as there are Bike Paths for them to do it on and not be out in the car traffic.

http://nb9.stumbleupon.netdna-cdn.com/kky7EkGxff1EnyyTdTg6MA These kids can then ALSO ride the scooters to school, reducing the total number of School Buses you need for a given population.  Long as the school is within 5 miles of where your McMansion is, the scooter will get the kid to school inside around 20 minutes or so, at the Federally mandated max speed of 15 mph for such devices currently.  That is way faster than the school bus with all the stops it has to make for individual pickups.

What about Work Commuters?

The biggest problem for work commutes is the "Last Mile" on either end off a Light Rail, Subway or Bus system.  If you live out in the suburbs, your McMansion is probably 2-5 miles away from the nearest light rail station.  So you gotta drive to the station, park your car for the day, get on the train and then when you get to the other end you still might have 2-5 miles to cover to get to the workplace, which you would need a cab or bus to cover.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/57/Interior_of_a_WES_Commuter_Rail_train.jpg/220px-Interior_of_a_WES_Commuter_Rail_train.jpg The scooter solves this problem on BOTH ends, as long as you can take it on the train.  Ride the scooter from home to the station, bring it on the train, get off the train and ride it to the workplace!  Think of the vast reduction in traffic problems you would get doing this, and the concurrent energy savings!   Of course, you would need to redesign the cars and provide more of them to be able to accomodate the scooters, especially on really packed commuter lines.

There are other ways beyond the trains you could do this on smaller scale.  Use one with a 16 passenger van pulling a 15' Trailer to load the scooters on to.  Everybody in your area going to a given location the van goes to loads up in the morning, the van drives to a central location for everybody and then they drive their scooters to work.  Now instead of 16 carz on the road, you have only one 16 passenger van!  It could even still be ICE powered and the energy savings would still be enormous, but also vans are amongst the easiest things to convert to electric themselves because of their design.  Plenty of room for batteries, no problem there.

The biggest complaint I get when pitching this idea is the WEATHER problem.  Rain, Snow, Cold etc.

http://pix.avaxnews.com/avaxnews/f3/c1/0000c1f3_medium.jpeg Well folks, remember where I live. ALASKA! lol.  Yes, there are some days that I do not venture out on the scooter because it is too wet, snowy or rainy.  Never because it is too cold, you just dress for the weather there.  In terms of total number of days in the last year that riding the scooter was if not impossible (forget 6" of fresh snow, I tried it just bogs down and doesn't GO) just real unpleasant and not worth trying, MAYBE it was 30 days worth.  In areas of the country where it hardly ever rains or snows like Sunny California, I can't imagine more than 10 days you couldn't ride.

However, you still would want to have Backup Plans for days that the scooters are impractical.  Easiest there is just to have an old car like I do.  When the weather sucks, I just use the car instead of the scooter.  However the total amount of driving miles each year on the car tires is enormously reduced, an order of magnitude here.  I used to spend 10X the amount of money on gas each year I do now.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/eb/Fietsstrook_Herenweg_Oudorp.jpg The next big problem/complaint is the infrastructure necessary here.  These scooters travelling as slow as they do are NOT SAFE to be riding along with car traffic!  They need separate Bike Paths to operate on.  I am fortunate in that where I live has such a bike path, but for these things to be used ubiquitously, the road setup would need to be modified in most places.  A simple way to do it would be to just put a Barrier on current roads separating the carz from the scooterz.  Since there would be fewer carz on the road, you wouldn't need so many lanes for them.  This solution only works for multi-lane roads though.

For single lane roads, you would need to cut a parallel bike path in order to keep the scooters separate from the carz.  However, in generally quiet suburban communities, you can ride relatively safely on the road as long as the car speeds are regulated down to around 25 mph.

So, obviously such a transition cannot be made in all places simultaneously, but if we get the process underway making this transition, just tons of energy can be conserved this way.  If we halve the amount of fossil fuels we use each day, we double the time we have to ween ourselves off of this addiction.  It is the CHOICE of every community whether they wish to do this.  Later this month I travel to South Carolina to try and get one town to begin this effort with the SUN☼ Foundation.

Build it, and they will COME!

 

In Defense of Nature: Pressing the Societal Reset Button

gc2smOff the keyboard of Gypsy Mama

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Published on The Butterchurn on September 2, 2016

Butterchurn-2

Discuss this article at the SUN Table inside the Diner

Tonight I have had an overwhelming need to protect Nature.  To shorten a lengthy tale, let me get right to it: the state that I live in, South Carolina, recently sprayed a poison from the sky via planes, and killed millions of bees.  MILLIONS.

In Defense of Nature:  Pressing the Societal Reset Button Sometimes I feel as if the human species has become a plague upon the planet. If you stop to think about that for statement for awhile, you won’t need me to list all the reasons why I believe this.

As a species, I believe we need to grow…back into basic mammals of the Earth.  I believe that we need to start learning from our past– and PRESS THE BIG RED RESET BUTTON.

Think of how terrifying that would be– a complete and total reset of the way you have learned to live.  A way of life that was passed down to you from your parents and their parents.  A life where everything comes packaged and easily accessible.  A life where you don’t even have to grow your own food anymore– you just buy it in plastic containment.

Many “what if” theories come to mind, here.  What if there were no more petroleum?  What if the transfer trucks stopped driving? What if all things electronic ceased to operate?— forever!?!?.  Panic would merge with the streets.  I imagine that the sky in this fictitious setting would turn red and purple with the collective human rage.  Imagine the energy of such a world– where we actually have to “do for ourselves.”  Where we aren’t taken care of by the society we have built for ourselves.  Where we have returned to nature, as mammals of the Earth.

This thought– of Humans being “of” the Earth again… intrigues me.  I want this life.  I think it is beautiful and simplistic– the way it should be.  We have “went and got ourselves into a big ol’ Hurry.”  ME ME ME!!!! NOW NOW NOW!!!!  ZIP!  ZAP!  This is the energy of our current population.  We seem to have forgotten how to just “be.”  To be in the Now.

I daydream of living in an earthen home someday.  I see myself walking around singing, sweeping the floors– all nice and witchy like.  I envision sitting outside of our home, built entirely from the Earth, watching our boys experience nature.  I most definitely see this man of mine roasting meat over the open flame of the firepit. This is a sort of goal of mine, to live this life.  It is what I have set my heart and intention toward.  It is going to happen.

SunWebGraphic3I have written a lot, lately, on Ye Olde Facebook, about how I have hung my hope on a Non Profit organization that I’m working with called “The Sustaining Universal Needs Foundation” or, SUN☼ for short.  I see this Non Profit as a way to work together with my community toward the greater good.  The greater good being, in preserving a natural way of life.  Of learning methods of farming that will soon be forgotten and replaced with styrofoam containers of chemically processed vegetables.  Our elders are dying… and they are taking a lot of what many deem to be “useless” knowledge with them.  Cobblers are scarce.  Farming is foreign.  This is a huge problem.  HOW, as a human species, have we gotten to the point to where we don’t even know how to FEED OURSELVES anymore?  Sheesh.  It makes me shiver to think about.

We have become a processed product of the life our parents, our ancestors have built for us.  They believed it was a better way.  They believed it was right, the way we live on this Earth.  “Burn fuel.” “Don’t worry about cooking dinner, buy one.”  “Why make it when you can buy it?” “I don’t have to know when to plant vegetables so that I don’t go hungry– that’s what the store is for.” These are the messages we have received since our infancy.  They’re wrong.  They’re terribly wrong.  We need a RESET.  We need a Preservation.  We need it now.  NOW is the time to make the change.  Blessed are they who still care this strongly about protecting the Earth.  What if these important ones were no more?  What if we just stopped caring about our Biosphere?  Our Planet?

I fear that we have passed a critical point in our existence.

I feel a need to prepare myself and my family, our children, for how I believe the world will be for their generation:  Lack of Fossil Fuel Energy. Unexplained Illnesses. Mass Chaos and Panic.

Something big is coming.  I feel it in my soul.  It is going to alter our society– quickly, and without due warning– yet, for the better.

What can I do about it?  Well, that’s why I mentioned SUN.  That’s where I’m going to hang my hat for awhile.  I wear many hats, believe me.  I work about 6 different types of jobs as a photographer, homemaker, artist wife and Mother.  Some of these hats (roles/jobs), I will never fully take off.  I’ll just stack a top hat over a beret if need be. The SUN hat, however, I have taken on and off for about 2 years now.  Now, I see the value in the hat, and I’m going to proudly display it for the community around me.

SUN has plans to build what we’re calling a “Sustainability Theme Park” in my hometown of Inman, SC. I have compared it to Williamsburg, Virginia– where a Colonial Style Theme Park exists.  Most people in this area have been to visit Williamsburg, so its a good way to set the tone for our idea.  SUN employees will not be walking around in period style costumes (or will they?), but they will be there to educate and represent the common goal of building a resilient community for the City of Inman.  We hope to a blacksmith you could visit at our Park.  A cobbler too!  Maybe there’s a petting zoo, or a little playground, or both.  Perhaps you could take basket weaving lessons, or learn how to split bamboo…all in one day!  There will be classes, clubs, courses, speakers, events, celebrations, and teachers.

SUN is not about SUN.  It is about helping communities to come together to learn from and preserve (to sustain) the universal needs that are important for a thriving civilization.  Food.  Shelter.  Water.  Energy.   There’s a few important things to learn about as a human– and learn we must.

http://inmanscchamber.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/harvest-day-logo-large-300x158.png On Saturday, September 24, 2016, SUN is going to set up a bright yellow tent in the middle of Main Street, Inman SC.  We are going to display a bright yellow geodesic dome, and have photo examples of natural and alternate forms of housing.  We’ll even have an electric scooter, heirloom seeds, balloons for the kids, handmade sandwich wraps and more.  This year, we decided to go SUN or bust.  We went all in and decided to help sponsor The Inman Harvest Day Festival.  We are a “Tractor” sponsorship level 🙂  I suppose that means we are there to help get things moving– and that’s exactly what we plan to do.

We are going to attempt to raise money for SUN at our festival booth, so that we may hire a grant writer in the future.  We are going to search for land in the Inman area and we are going to bring tourists to a fading town.  A large majority of the buildings in downtown Inman, where the festival takes place, are vacant and falling into disrepair.  We believe that SUN will bring in tourists, and provide a need for businesses to fill those old buildings. Sometimes I daydream that SUN Headquarters will form inside of one of those ancient beauties (they’re old– and I love them).  Inman is just the beginning.  The idea and method of SUN is designed to spread, much like awareness and positive change should.

We are going all in.  It’s go time. We’re bringing in our big yellow moving truck. Now is the time for change.

I’m ready to protect the greater good.  I’m ready to take a stand for Nature.  Are you?

If you’d like to know more about SUN, visit our website at: www.SUN4Living.com

Godspeed, fellow humans.  Protect yourselves.  I am thankful that I have this Non-Profit to cling to in this time of change.

~*Wendy

https://cascade.madmimi.com/promotion_images/0764/2950/original/harvest_photo.png?1410801088

Another Auld Lang Syne: 2014

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published originally on the Doomstead Diner on December 27, 2014

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Christmas Eve has past, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day too, so it is time to Say Goodbye to Christmas and start getting ready for Holiday #2 of the Winter Solstice Season, New Year's Day!

I took down my favorite Christmas Song from Angel up all last week here on the Diner Blog Homepage, and now replaced it with my favorite version of the classic "Auld Lang Syne" by Dan Fogelberg, which Guy Lombardo and his Orchesta made famous playing it every New Year's Eve when the Ball Dropped in Times Square from the Radio Era through the early years of TV, when eventually after Guy got too OLD, the ageless for decades Dick Clark took up the banner.

And now, every last New Year's Eve in Times Square from 1976 to 2012 from Dick…

Sadly of course, though Dick was the Picture of Dorian Gray for so many years, even he finally succumbed to age and Bought the Farm in 2012.  Regis Philbin dropped in for a couple of years in the early 2000s. Then Dick CAME BACK.  I don't know who has picked up the Banner for the New Year's Celebration in the last 2 years.

Anyhow, New Year's is always an occassion for Nostalgia, and a time to Recap the events of the year past.  My partner Surly will do the recap here in a few days, I see he has got started on this enormous task in the Drafts here on the Diner Blog.  My recap can be found by clicking through the archives of the God Only Knows how many Articles and Rants I did this year.

This post is just about the Nostalgia, and for me, 2014 is all summed up in one photograph, this one.

SAMSUNG CSC

Left to Right in the Photo, RE the Doomer, Eddie the Dentista, Doomer Support the Tech Wizard, Lucid Dreams the Permaculture King,  and Bertie the Lurker

The Photo was taken at our first Meeting IRL after a couple of years of Jawboning Doom on the net.  Others were there too, WHD from Off the Grid in Minneapolis made the show for a few days, Gypsy Mama, LDs wife and kids, and Eddie's family had to put up with all of us for a bit over a week in all of Eternity.  We all survived it, somehow. LOL.

The occassion was our first Convocation, a meeting to bring the ideas of the SUN Project to life, to begin the task of Building a Better Tomorrow.  Up days and Down days with this, but we soldier on.

In HONOR of this meeting of minds,  and wallowing in this year of 2014 Nostalgia, I wrote a Weird Al set of Lyrics for Diners to sing to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne" this year on New Year's Eve

Another Auld Lang Syne (Diner Version)

Sing to the tune of Another Auld Lang Syne by Dan Fogelberg

Met my old friends on the internet
The snow was falling Christmas Eve
We talked about Collapse again
Getting so bad you can't believe

Yen or Ruble, which will go down first
as the Bond spreads crater wide
Read the news and you just want to curse
Inflation or Deflation you can't decide

Stood at Walmart in the Checkout stand
The preps were totalled up to buy
Pulled my wallet out and paid for them
Before the FRNs are fried

Got home and cracked a beer or two
Then turned on the mic to record a rant
Filling in Diners on what Doom is new
So we can hash it out until we cant

We drink a toast to innocence
We drink a toast to Doom
We try to reach beyond the emptiness
To find our way through soon

I found a good friend in a dentist
with a doomstead down in Texas
we wondered how long the drought would persist
or if money, energy and climate had reached a Nexus

My partner Surly tied the knot again
a triumph of love against experience
Finding joy in a world of pain
Living life in the present tense

They see me on the net all the time
So the Rants must be doing well
I say the fans out there are heavenly
But the assholes still are Hell.

We drink a toast to innocence
We drink a toast to Doom
We try to reach beyond the emptiness
To find our way through soon

We drink a toast to innocence
We drink a toast to time
Reliving, in our eloquence
Another "Auld Lang Syne"

Collapse is here and it's coming to an end
But still there is a lot to say
Trying to find that one way out
Before we're blown away

Just for a moment I was back at school
And felt that old familiar pain
And, as I turned to make my way back home
The snow turned into rain

As we close out 2014 here, I just want to say THANK YOU to my friends here on the Diner for all the help you have given me in the past few years as we chronicle the collapse and try to figure out just WTF to DO about it.

It is always Darkest Before the Dawn.  Days come and go where I get overwhelmed by the Doom, but you know, bad as it is, THE FAT LADY HAS NOT SUNG YET.

It ain't OVAH till it is OVAH!

http://quotes.lifehack.org/media/quotes/quote-Yogi-Berra-it-aint-over-till-its-over-42443.png

Never Quit!  Never Say DIE!  Not until you are well and truly DEAD!

GO FUND SUN!

House of the RISING SUN

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on March 22, 2015

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Discuss this article at the SUN Table inside the Diner

SunWebGraphic3As veteran Diners know, a while back a few of us got together to develop our ideas around building Sustainable Communities in the face of Collapse.  After a few false starts and a few mistakes, last year we chartered a Non-Profit 501c3 Corporation, the Sustaining Universal Needs Foundation, or SUN for short.  It is based in South Carolina, one of the most economically deprived states in the FSoA, in the Bottom Quintile*.

The logistics of getting these sort of things off the ground are immensely difficult, first from getting all the paperwork correct, but then even after that getting everyone to work together to make it a going concern is difficult too.  Then there are all the details, like getting the bank account set up, getting the PayPal account setup, getting it all hooked together, yadda yadda.  If you are currently working, it is kind of hard to find the time to devote yourself to all of this nonsense.

Conveniently or serendipitously however, I just Retired from paid work, and have more time to spend on this project.  I went into the Grants.gov website to look for possible Grants that SUN might be eligible for, and found a very appropriate one offered by the Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, and I am now fully engaged in making an application for one of their Grants, which if successful will get the first SUN Community off the ground.  It is however a daunting task to get this level of Grant Funding from Da Federal Goobermint, there are an enormous number of hoops you need to jump through successfully before they will dish out the Dollars to you to get rolling.

Now, some people might call me a HYPOCRITE, since first off I chartered a CORPORATION, and second off because I am seeking MONEY from DA GOOBERMINT to make this community possible.  My answer to that is first off I have absolutely ZERO problem with being a hypocrite in this regard, you do WTF WORKS!  LOL.  It is PRACTICAL, and it makes CFS.  So hypocrisy worries me not a bit here on this.

Now, the deal on this one is we have just about exactly ONE MONTH to get our Ducks in a Row and file this Application by the Deadline Date.  I have already downloaded 3 Files regarding the rules for applications, how they must be submitted, what should be in them, the application forms themselves etc, well into the hundreds of pages.  Fortunately I read fast, but still this is a ton of material to digest and then produce the appropriate and fully acceptable Application inside a one month window.  I need to put together at least 50 Pages worth of dense material complete with biz plans and economics.  I can write 50 pages in no time, but to make it acceptable here and have all the detail they ask for in the format they require, this is quite another story.

So, if there are any Lurker Diners out there who have experience with writing Grant Proposals and would like to assist us in this task of wresting our fair share of the Debt Money from the Belly of the Beast, PLEASE CONTACT ME SOON!!!!

If you do not have Grant writing experience, but wish to help us Financially in getting off the ground, contact me directly at my ReverseEngineer77 AT Yahoo DOT com email address, and I will give you instructions on how to Donate.  Do NOT use the Diner Donation PayPal Button for them or the SUN4Living PayPal Button for this purpose at this time!!!!  These are not all correctly hooked up yet for this project.

Contributions to the SUN Project are TAX DEDUCTIBLE!!

You can find most of the Basics of the SUN Project at the SUN4Living website, including an early Prospectus we wrote up, but which will undergo extensive Modifications for this Grant.

Briefly though if you do not want to go cruising the SUN4Living Website, the fundamentals are this.

We need to create Local Food Production by the people who are consuming the Food in their own neighborhoods.

We need to build Structures & Systems that can last and are Resilient.

We need to work cooperatively to REVERSE ENGINEER to a more sustainable system of living in harmony with the rest of the ecosphere.

We need to eliminate MONEY and Bankstering as an intermediary for Sustaining Universal Needs.

We welcome all suggestions and ideas on how to move off the fossil fuel economy and into the world of a low per capita Energy future, we welcome all who will help in any way in this most important directive.

Only through Cooperation and Sharing can we successfully traverse the Zero Point.   Only by working together can sustainability be accomplished.  Now is the time to work together.  There is NO TOMORROW otherwise.

RE

Rank State Poverty Rate
(by Household Income)
People in Poverty
by Household Income
(in thousands)
2014 Poverty Rates
(includes unrelated children)
Supplemental Poverty Measure (2010-2014 average)
(Geographically Adjusted)
United States 12.6% 45,950 16.0%
01 New Hampshire 5.6% 73 7.9% 10.3%
02 New Jersey 6.8% 592 9.5% 15.5%
03 Vermont 7.6% 47 9.6% 10.1%
04 Minnesota 8.1% 412 12.1% 9.7%
05 Hawaii 8.6% 110 12.6% 17.3%
06 Delaware 9.2% 78 12.4% 13.9%
07 Utah 9.2% 231 9.8% 11.6%
08 Virginia 9.2% 684 10.8% 13.3%
09 Nebraska 9.5% 167 10.0% 9.8%
10 Connecticut 9.7% 326 8.6% 12.5%
11 Maryland 9.7% 542 9.7% 13.4%
12 Idaho 9.9% 143 13.9% 11.6%
13 Alaska 10.0% 66 12.1% 12.5%
14 Massachusetts 10.1% 641 10.9% 13.8%
15 Washington 10.2% 636 11.9% 12.2%
16 Wisconsin 10.2% 553 11.1% 10.8%
17 Nevada 10.6% 260 13.1% 19.8%
18 Wyoming 10.6% 54 9.3% 9.2%
19 Florida 11.1% 2,250 14.6% 19.5%
20 North Dakota 11.2% 70 11.0% 9.2%
21 Pennsylvania 11.2% 1,372 11.2% 12.6%
22 Iowa 11.3% 327 10.9% 8.6%
23 Colorado 11.4% 530 12.4% 13.7%
24 Illinois 11.5% 1,441 13.3% 15.2%
25 Missouri 11.6% 659 15.6% 12.4%
26 South Dakota 11.8% 90 14.3% 10.6%
27 Michigan 12.0% 1,196 27.6% 13.5%
28 Oregon 12.0% 436 13.7% 13.9%
29 Rhode Island 12.1% 127 13.2% 13.6%
30 Ohio 12.3% 1,392 13.5% 13.2%
31 Kansas 12.5% 337 13.9% 11.5%
32 Indiana 12.6% 774 16.4% 14.2%
33 Maine 12.6% 166 11.6% 11.2%
34 North Carolina 13.1% 1,115 17.0% 14.2%
35 California 13.2% 4,716 15.5% 23.8%
36 Montana 13.8% 128 13.5% 12.1%
37 Georgia 14.4% 1,298 18.5% 18.2%
38 New York 14.5% 2,760 15.9% 18.1%
39 Kentucky 14.8% 599 17.1% 13.6%
40 Tennessee 15.0% 872 16.7% 15.5%
41 South Carolina 15.0% 626 13.8% 15.8%
42 Arizona 15.2% 917 21.3% 18.8%
43 West Virginia 15.4% 276 16.0% 12.9%
44 Oklahoma 15.6% 543 13.0% 13.4%
45 Arkansas 15.9% 509 19.1% 16.5%
46 Texas 16.2% 3,681 17.4% 16.4%
47 Alabama 16.7% 750 16.8% 13.5%
48 New Mexico 17.9% 347 19.6% 16.1%
49 Louisiana 18.3% 748 14.3% 18.5%
50 Mississippi 20.1% 571 23.2% 16.1%
51 District of Columbia 20.7% 15 18.0% 22.7%

Evidence of the Bamboo Monster

Off the keyboard  & cameras of Lucid Dreams & Gypsy Mama

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Published on Epiphany Now on August 3, 2014 & on SUN4Living on Aug 4, 2014

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Discuss this Photo Blog at the Doomsteading Table inside the Diner

Let me take you on a journey through a magical land inhabited by Pagans, Druids, Witches, and Bamboo Monsters.  It’s located in the Upstate of SC and is home to the SUN Foundation.  Ancient Earth Design  also resides in this location, as does the Fox Den and the Gypsy House.  Tribanns are to be found, as are treasures, gourds, and bamboo bones (I think they are the phalanges of the Bamboo Monster himself).  Legend and myth is unfolding here, and if one looks closely enough fairies can be spotted racing from earth mound to earth mound.  It all amounts to hope in a hopeless time.  In other words, beyond monetary value, and beyond business as usual.  For there is very little BAU to be found here.  It’s cordoned off and kept at bay by intentional magic.  As in the esoterically occult kind.  The kind that uses natural objects to weave meaning, purpose, and intentionality.  Join me on this journey.  Captured in one windy, unusually chilly, overcast and drizzily day after a storm had passed.

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“Little Chicky” with his mother the broody hen. His only other sibling drowned in the water bowl on day two.

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most of the flock

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my favorite wild edible, Sorrel. Taste like lemon and it’s growing all over my yard probably due to the horse manure brought onto the land three years ago.

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The front swale and berm. Most of my garden is behind it.

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Phyllostachy Spectabils. This is a 2014 cane, or culm, showing spectabilis character with the twisting motion. It will also grow canes in a zig zag pattern from time to time.

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the reddish looking canes were the original canes I transplanted. The yellow are 2014 canes.

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spectabilis, gourds, and peppers on the front berm.

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phyllostachy aurea “koi”. The other side of that cane is green. What you see is the south facing side. It changes color due to southern exposure, while the other side stays green.

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see what I mean?

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rooster spur pepper next to phyllostachy negra. No canes yet, just leaves and stems off the rhizome. Next spring I’ll get canes.

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the tip of “bamboo island” with several peppers and Pseudosasa Japonica, or “Arrow Bamboo.” The Japanese use it to make arrow shafts due to the perfectly straight growth and perfect culm diameter.

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Arrow up close

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Bamboo Islands swale full of water after it rained the previous night.

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Bamboo Island

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Bamboo island as seen from my deck. In five years you won’t be able to see the trailer park.

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Saint John’s Wort growing on a hugel bed amongst Lavender, gourds, tomatoes, blueberries, morning glories, and grass.

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raspberries planted this spring.

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comfry

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a fuji apple tree guyed with some bamboo. Planted late spring 2014.

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the hugel bed that Saint John is growing in.

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Aji Crystal peppers. They have a citrus flavor with the heat of Jalapenos.

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gourd central

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one of my many bamboo trellises

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one of my compost bins. I actually used this compost today for the planting of phyllostachy Vivax and Negra.

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a maple I transplanted after it grew from underneath my deck. It grew through the deck and leafed out. The part I transplanted was the part that was beneath the deck.

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Montmorency Cherry tree with Georgia Belle peach behind it. Both are growing in hugel.

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Aji Crystal growing next to one of last years dried out gourds on a hugel bed.

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Tomatoes, gourds, and peppers growing on a hugel bed.

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cut this maple down on a job a few weeks ago. I used the entire maple for a hugel spiral. My foot is size 13 to give an idea of the size of that tree.

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Front swale after a rain.

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Zen’s leg in the swale

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front swale with a black locust tree sapling I planted a couple of months ago growing at the edge. Black locust is very fast growing, it grows straight, makes rot resistant posts that will last 80 years plus in the ground as posts, and it’s blooms are edible. It would be the most valuable species of wood for the timber industry if it weren’t for a beetle that gets it at around year ten.

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concord grapes growing amongst gourds next to a fuji apple tree.

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our sacred fire pit

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a message to the future about what us Druids did to television in the 21st century. Presumably that plastic cathode tv case will be there on that post when the post rots to the ground.

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blueberries being “gourdtacked” as my wife likes to call what gourds do if you let them alone.

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one of our hundred of gourds.

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bamboo bones left by the Bamboo Monster. He lives here at the Fox Den and SUN HQ.

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a lot of plant growth in my garden.

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a bee on a gourd flower

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a “golden” bamboo staff altered by the sun and my creativity.

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The end of that bamboo staff after I stuck it in the soil of one of my hugel beds.

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mushrooms love hugelkulture

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Another type of mushroom. I use mulch I get for free at the dump. It’s got a wide diversity of different wood in it, therefore my garden has a pretty wide diversity of mushrooms.

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more green in the garden

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The Hugel Garden seen from my deck.

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The front swale and berm of my hugel garden. The Gypsy House is seen in the background. The Gypsy House is actually where the SUN Foundation is physically located.

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phyllostachy Aurea, AKA “Fish pole bamboo,” as well as “Golden”. It’s growing next to my house. I just planted it there a month ago.

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the decorative nodal segments of Aurea. In Asia they use them for umbrella handles, as well as any other manner of craft you can imagine due to that type of growth. It’s amongst the most ornamental of any bamboo, and it’s ubiquitous in the south.

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where most of the water goes on my property. The pond, which I still need to line. I’m going to use old blow up mattresses to line it. Then we’re getting ducks.

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The new chicken shack I built from mostly salvaged wood and bamboo. I bought one sheet of plywood.

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Aurea

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me, Lucid Dreams

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my oldest boy, Ayden Zen, protecting his bamboo bones from the “ostrich,” apparently aunt Bee had just red him a book about ostriches. You can also use bamboo bones for divination. I do.

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the reflection of spectabilis in the swale beneath the berm it’s planted in. If you watch and listen closely, you can see and hear the Bamboo Monster himself drinking the water from that swale.

An Unlikely Convocation

Off the keyboard of Lucid Dreams

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Published on Epiphany Now on May 14, 2014

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Discuss this article at the SUN Table inside the Diner

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There’s a Knight standing next to me now. He’s got a peace necklace on and he’s holding two black and white feathers found in Texas. Before that, while he was still in Texas, he was holding flowers. He was a gift given to me by a stoned and druken WASP shaman from Minnesota. What he was doing in Texas is hard to say, but so is saying what I was doing there. I was there to meet people I’ve been in written communication with for the last several years. Those in attendance included a shaman, two ritual magicians, a Dentist, a webmaster hermit shut in from Alaska, a Druid, a Shaman Witch (for now at least, and born during the Convocation), and two Druid/Shaman Witch children.
There were wigs, and boomerangs, and 50 year old Texas spider monkey dentists 30 feet up in a tree trying to retrieve a stuck boomerang, and weather magic, and shamanistic happenings, and a 200 year old pecan tree that was actually Old Man Time, and tractor joy rides ending in busted hydraulic lines, and Monolithic dome building, and out door showers erected complete with a Diner noose, hugel beds constructed, gray water retention snake heads (I dug a big ass hole), and my wife walked naked down a limestone dry creek bed by full moonlight…ohh, and I had an actual fox run across my path. Ayden Zen was in communion with the fox just before I walked up and interrupted.
You should have been there for this meeting of minds and souls. I can speak to what I was doing there now. I was there with my family looking for some hope. It’s looking pretty hopeless out there these days, what with the writing on the wall and whatnot. BAU continues until it doesn’t. So some Diners got together in Bum Fuck Egypt Texas to figure on some hope, and to learn how to build Monolithic domes, which are earthquake, hurricane, tornado, and fire proof domiciles that can be built for less money than a stick built piece of shit of the same square footage. These are domiciles that have withstood 300 mph winds and American Apache helicopter strikes, and simply need you to shut the door when a fire breaks out (they’re so air tight that the fire will starve for oxygen before it can do much damage…and anyways concrete doesn’t burn).
What’s the point of a fox crossing my path, or any of the other oddities encountered during the first Diner Convocation? I’m still trying to figure all of that out, and there’s a lot that happened that I won’t be writing about (including what happened after I found my wife walking naked down the limestone creek bed by moonlight). Interestingly, while all of this real life magic was going down in Bum Fuck Texas, trolls were hard a work lambasting the very thing that was allowing all of the real world magic to occur. Why is that? I think it’s because they are afraid. They don’t want to admit that it’s come to a group of internet forum friends meeting in Texas for difference to be made in this rigged catastrophe of a petroleum dependent clustercuss. They don’t want to admit that technotriumphalism is not going to save a damn thing…accept maybe some people from dealing with the thermodynamic constraints we’re all forced to adhere to.
Will we build domes as a result of this meeting? Is there a chance for prosperity for normal people in the near future? Is the Orwellian New World Bravely going to persist and even evolve into draconian dystopians unimagined by the doomerist doomers? Why does BAU continue unabated?
For my part, and the part of my family, we’ve only just begun on this journey that started here at Epiphany Now and migrated to the Doomstead Diner, and now the SUN. My family is planning a trip to California soon. We’ll be burning a lot of petroleum by way of the internal combustion engine in our Saturn Vue to make it there. We’ll be camping in state parks just like we did to and from the Convocation. I’ve got a cousin getting married, and we’ve got a tribe to meet in Fresno. The tribe is a coven of magicians. While at the Convocation I had visions filled with symbols I’m not ready to understand yet. My family slept outside of the Toothstead house in an REI tent titled the “Hobitat.” I awoke from these mysterious visions at the beginning of the Convocation to a monstrous clap of thunder followed by a torrential downpour. The day before this I saw intentional weather magic being worked, as well as a group rain dance in which I supplied the shamanistic beats. Beats I didn’t even know I had. Beats accompanied by impromptu musical instruments made by using common kitchen utensils (I was using a 3 gallon bucket myself to drive this thing). This downpour happened amidst a terrible Texas drought.
I was confused by all of this meaning. I was depressed after it was over and we returned to our trailer park Whoville everywhere America. I’m still depressed by how beautiful it could be and yet isn’t. How it could all just mean nothing, and how we could remain stuck here where the Zombies will eat our table for lunch. Some things in life do not make sense, and yet they are magical in spite of Cartesian, Newtonian, and Apollonian logic. I chose to believe that all of the Convoction magic was just that, magic. It’s not as if anyone can prove me wrong, not when we know that the act of scientific observation changes the outcome of the observation. Not when the truth is that we make our own meaning, our own myths, and our own minds. What’s your mind doing about infinite growth on a finite planet? Mine is creating 21st century living tribes out of the virtual reality of the net. We’ve met, in person, in Bum Fuck Egypt Texas, and we still like each other. We’re all who we said we were. Here’s to the first Diner Dome we’re gonna build. Here’s to a future where some of us survive and even thrive. Some of us…likely not many…but at least my new tribe is trying. How about yours? RIP Mike Ruppert. I’m already not the slowest camper. It may be that my tribe is the fastest. However unlikely our Convocation.

The 1st Diner Convocation III

Off the keyboard of Eddie

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on March 25, 2014

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Discuss this article at the SUN Table inside the Diner

How long has it been since I showed up on the DD forum? A year? A year and a half, maybe? When I arrived the discussion about forming an intentional community of some sort was already in full swing. But there were some obvious hurdles to be overcome.

Younger people were more willing and able to make quantum changes in their lives to pursue an experiment in sustainable living, but lacked the funds to buy land. Older folks. like me, were already dug in and making our preps around whatever piece of dirt we’d managed to latch on to. Some of us were willing to take on partners, but not to the extent of granting ownership rights to the land we’d mortgaged our lives to get. Younger people wanted to participate in something with some kind of ownership stake. They weren’t interested in arrangements that left them unvested after possibly putting some years of their life into building systems that they didn’t own.

It seemed like a bit of an impasse, but we kept talking. Among the half dozen or so regular participants in our discussions, there was a lot of knowledge about the “how’ and ‘why”, and even the “where” for some kind of eco-village project, and a stubborn willingness to keep trying to dream something into existence.

Various schemes for making money to support the project were discussed. Eventually RE took the step of pursuing a  501(c)3 non-profit corporation to manage any funds we managed to raise. The name chosen for our dream of sustainable living was the SUN Project. A website was launched, and articles were written and posted.

JD started working on a website designed to teach permaculture online. I dedicated ten weekends in the fall of 2013 to get my own Permaculture Design Certificate. LD made the decision to drop out of nursing school to pursue his own dream of working in the business of permaculture. WHD continued to turn his suburban home in Minneapolis into a food forest.

I also spent a good bit of time this last year pursuing education in alternative power, which was already high on my list of useful tech to get schooled on and implement on my own place. I took a good seminar on alternative power in May, and started getting the gear together to put up a wind generator. I had already gathered about 4.5kW of solar PV panels with the idea of eventually building a large PV array on the ‘stead. I decided that while I was continuing to acquire the nuts and bolts for that, that I would build what came to be known as “The Bug-Out PV Kit.”. The idea was that it might be nice to have a portable PV array, one powerful enough to provide adequate electricity to meet the basics of modern life, including lights, refrigeration and the ability to charge the myriad of battery operated devices we now consider part of our daily lives. A PV system for nomadic living, if nomadic living turns out to be necessary.

After some months, I’m  happy to say the Bug-OUt PV Kit is built, and ready for testing. I also built what is known as a “quick-charge alternator” which is a small, high ouput fossil fuel generator that sips gas, but produces enough power to back up the PV system..and it doubles as a 150 amp welder.

In our online discussions, we often spoke about the desirability of having some kind of meeting in the real world. We had read each others blogs, and we had discussed every subject remotely related to collapse, so we felt we knew each other. But it was generally agreed that at some point it would be important to get together somewhere. We came to call this meeting “The Convocation”. We wanted to have it. But when? And where?

One of our number, Haniel, expressed a strong desire to study shotcrete dome building in Texas with the acknowledged experts at Monolithic Domes. My existing plan was to eventually build a passively cooled house on the ‘stead, and I had already started studying both domes and Earthships with another mentor. I told Haniel I’d join him this spring (yikes, it’s only two more weeks now) for a five day seminar at Monolithic’s headquarters, which is only about three hours from my house, in Italy, Texas.

From there, some encouragement and cajoling  persuaded RE and Lucid Dreams to sign on for the dome course, and WHD is coming down to at least join us for….The Convocation, which is being held on the ‘stead the weekend prior to the domes course. LD and his lovely bride Gypsy Mama, will be be binging their two young boys.

I’ve been working hard (sometimes) for the last couple of months making preparation to guest my fellow SUNsteaders. Right now I’m working daily to complete building a new bathroom in the cabin at the ‘stead.  The old facility works but requires training to operate, and is being made redundant as soon as the new one (complete with grey water recycling) is online, hopefully this week.

I have a nice new deck built on the cabin, which I think will be a fine place to sleep outdoors during the convocation, barring any April showers that weekend, which is a good bet given the drought. But I still need to haul the big smoker out there, and figure out provisioning.

I’m also now working on an outdoor solar shower (designed back during the winter and  based on the solar showers I saw at the Concordia Eco-Resort in St. John)  which would nice to have working for the convocation. Currently I’m racing against the clock. In case you’re wondering, I do work full time at my day job, which is practicing dentistry in my little one-horse office. Tempus fugits, baby, and Carped diem, every damn diem now.

We will, in addition to drinking beer, be working together at the convocation to build a refractory core for my future Rocket Mass Heater to be installed in the cabin. I plan to demo the Bug-Out PV Kit and my quick charge alternator. If the solar shower is finished and the sun shines, there will be that to experiment with, too. I have more projects in the wings, so more fun building projects may be added, time allowing.

Why am I neglecting my garden to do all this? Because it is important to seek community in these changing times. It is important for like-minded people, people who are aware of the multiple challenges facing us from climate change, economic instability, Peak Oil and all the other Black Swans swimming around in the pool as the water drains out to…talk, to figure out better plans, to make connections in the real world.

We of the SUN Project are just one tiny group. But we are hoping to inspire and teach others. We collectively believe that EVERYONE needs to be planning and preparing for a future with lots of challenges. We hope to see dozens more, hundreds more similar groups emerge over the next few years, as more and more people seek a new, more sustainable, resilient way of living that stresses cooperation and local community.

We have room for a few more campers, if anything here strikes a chord with you, and you’d like to break bread and drink a few beers with us, starting Friday afternoon, April 4th, and continuing through Monday the 7th. Contact me at the diner Forum for details.

Release Your Inner Rock Angle

Off the keyboard of Lucid Dreams

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Published on Epiphany Now on January 23, 2014

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Discuss this article at the Sustainable Energy Table inside the Diner

I’ve been quiet lately here at Epiphany Now. I’m suffering from a bit of reality induced writers block. I’m tired of doom, and the amount of doominess that’s just outside waiting for me, and you, and anybody else not anesthetized on fukitol, corn beer, and big idiot clowns smashing into each other for the purposes of moving a pigskin around on fake grass. Even the fuckin’ grass is fake in that wallerd out carcass of a long past stinkin’ dead horse that is American football. Even the name is arrogant since football (as in the game where you kick a ball around with your feet) is probably one of the oldest sports. A game that’s played and recognized globally as football, but here we call it soccer and reserve the name “football” for a sport that has very little to do with kicking a ball. It seems we can’t even be honest about our sports, and that we need to be exceptionally different along with how we measure things. The rest of the world uses metrics, what with it’s easy to understand increments of 10.
What of the metrics of the future? Agreeing on how we measure that, be it with metrics or standard, they both spell the collapse of our complex civilization. Not a collapse fit for television or the big screen, but one fit for a detention room with a group of misfits nobody wants to be around (that’s the rag tag group of genius boomers at the Diner… well actually the Diner is a good cross section of different ages). Each year will be shittier for more people, and eventually you may be amongst their roles. Present and not accounted for as an economic non-person who’s been pushed to the margins of a collapsing society without so much as a reach around for the years spent servicing that big tube up your anus, stuck there by the machine, and always sucking memories out to feed the bullshit black hole that the American Hologram projects into every mush for brained i gadget wielding cyborg. Where reality is presented on smaller and smaller screens that we all hunch at, growing crooked, and gnarly in our weaknesses with obsolete flesh. Flesh composed mostly of man made chemicals…flesh maintained on genetic modification and powered by ancient fossil sunlight, as John Michael Greer recently dubbed petroleum.
Why should those internet i gadget cyborgs look away from their ithingies? Why should they wake up and notice that memory hole tube up their ass that’s powering the Matrix? We can’t all be Neo, and it seems whenever he tries to make an appearance he’s whisked away to a kookville for profit, corporatocracy owned private prison (it’s interesting to me that Google Blogger doesn’t recognize “corporatocracy” as a word). Those state of the art prisons they’ve been steady building need prisoners to remain a profitable business. You can’t make money on building and running prisons with no prisoners now can you? It helps that the laws have been rewritten so that we can be deleted in some forgotten military prison that’s tucked away where nobody will ever notice. They might as well just send us to the land of away, with the rest of the trash in our consumer fueled “landfills,” or trash dumps as I prefer to call them. At least that’s an honest description. The place where our inability to think past the newest flavor Dorito goes to rot, along with any chance at a future that doesn’t resemble something you’d likely find somewhere in a smog choked Chinese slum, or an Indian one for that matter. There’s nowhere left to go from here except straight into what’s left when the fog from a perpetual progress myth dissipates, and there’s no longer anything that agrees with the stories you tell yourself…that you verify with that imagidgit and all of those stupid scripted stories that pass through that memory tube up your ass. It’s always convincing you that what you need is to work more hours for less pay and no benefits so that you can afford to support those slums that steady chuck out shit for you to buy. Shit that breaks just as soon as you bring it home. Your home being just a place for the thing to pass through on it’s way to the trash dump.
How empty can we imagine ourselves to be? Can we get much more empty than a paradigm that mines the wealth of nature for the production of trash? A system that subjugates everybody to it’s incessant worship of profit as the only sacred. The game is rigged. You gotta have money to play. Now you gotta comply to the new wealthcare mandates or be fined, leading to imprisoned…eventually. Just being alive requires that you pay, and only money will be accepted as payment. Well, that’s not true, there is also the option of an all expense paid incarceration in one of those for profit prison businesses where you can make a few cents a day to pay for the cigarettes that will hopefully kill you before your prison gay cell mate decides to push your shit in. It doesn’t sound that bad does it. It sounds like you could almost learn to enjoy having your shit pushed in doesn’t it?
The trouble is not in imagining a world where money is not required.  It’s actually quite easy to imagine. It’s just that you’d be imagining a lie. Money’s not going to go away, and nor are the men whom control it’s completely hallucinated nature. In fact, those men control trigger happy goons in police suits. And those police suits revel in their high tech deadly weaponry, and in the sound that their boots make when they stomp on your freedom to be a slave in this Orwellian New World Bravely that’s become the reality surrounding the imagidgits we’re all plugged into. Well, we’re not all plugged into them, at least not unconsciously. There are those of us whom are trying to come up with solutions to all of this totalitarian tyranny over nature and the mass human mind. We’re out here hiding in plain site where we are free to think about the world outside of the Matrix. Hiding in glitches hoping for a miracle and trying not to fall prey to near term human extinction nihilism (or one of those shit pushin’ in prisons).
The way forward is to no longer care about the Matrix and the goons whom worship at it’s suffering feet. We need to collectively turn our backs on the system. I’m trying my hardest to do that, but there aren’t many options and it requires a bit of luck to pull off. We don’t have the money to build a future before the Matrix grinds to a halt (one stair step at a time all the way to collapse). The answer is as simple as access to land so that we, the unplugged and empowered forward thinkers, can begin setting up the natural systems that will sustain us. It’s easy to do! Real easy on the ground, and especially while we still have tractors and chainsaws. Restoration Agriculture, permaculture, ecological design, and perennial agriculture are all ideas that seek to implement the answers to all of the problems we face as a species.
Money stands in our way, true, but more importantly we stand in our way. We need to get out of our way, and that’s exactly what us Heliopaths are trying to do at the SUN Foundation. We are trying to believe that as bad as the endless procession of problems we face on this planet are, that they are not insurmountable. There has to be a way through the endless storm that industrial civilization is proving to be. We’ve turned ourselves into slaves and are doing our level best to destroy life supporting biomes on this planet. As a Heliopathic Rasta Man Druid it’s my job to figure this shit out (and it’s okay to laugh at my dumb ass self applied moniker). As a father and husband it’s my responsibility. Hell, as a sentient being with access to abstract thinking, it’s my responsibility to figure this out. This is a call for help. If you are reading this, and you have not been to the SUNFoundation website, please do drop by for a visit. Have a look around and ask questions. Join the dialogue about how we’re going to fix this mess and contribute to the solutions we’re so desperately in need of.
I believe that the solutions to the demise of this industrial civilization will have to be small, grass roots, decentralized, and connected to the natural world, just like SUN Foundation is. The solutions will not happen if you don’t try to pull them out, if we don’t try. You, I, the other guy…us all. The goons are coming for us all sooner or later. Their masters already have all of your rights locked safely away at the bottom of the Land of Away with all of our mindless consumption, and that’s all right next to the shit storm future we’ve left for our children. I refuse to be a part of a wealth pump that grinds up whole mountains, and oceans, and peoples just to spooge it all back out onto itself and everybody else in an endless act of hedonistic narcissistic greed. We fuel this machine with our apathy. We give our power away for the right to consume imagidgits and America’s Got Talent. Let us take the land back, and so take our power back. Help us figure out how to do that. Become a Heliopath and help the SUN Foundation come up with the solutions to our problems. We’re interested in solutions at SUN. Solutions that will weather the building storm. Got any ideas you want to share?
The first person to guess what a “rock angle” is will get a bottle of SUN sauce…my fermented hot pepper sauce mailed to wherever they want it free of charge (and there are two possible answers I’ll accept).  Here’s a hint…it’s a word that my son Ayden Zen McCarty thought up.  Guess I should prepare to give away two bottles.
Here are some pictures of one of the ongoing SUN Foundation projects.  It’s a monumental hugelspiral.  The hugelspiral will be completed once we wheelbarrow 12 yards of topsoil on top of the 2 yards of mushroom compost, on top of about 6 yards of leaves, on top of white pine, poplar, oak, and maple sourced from the land.

 

Here Comes the SUN!

Off the Keyboard of RE

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Published on SUN4Living on November 12, 2013

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SUNround * Genesis of the Sustaining Universal Needs Project:  Birth of the SUN *

A few years ago I became a Blogger on the topic of Economic Collapse. I did not start my own Blog back then, rather I blogged on Message Boards and Forums concerning themselves with the topics of Economic collapse and Energy Depletion issues, most specifically the PeakOil.com message board. I migrated around quite a bit over the intervening time, to OPBs (Other People’s Blogs) and my own little Yahoo Group Reverse Engineering before setting up the Blog & Forum Doomstead Diner in 2012 with my friend Peter and a few other friends I got to know over the years of Collapse Chat on the internet.

http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/depression/images/migrantmother.jpgAt first I saw the problem mainly through the lens of Economic Collapse of a Monetary System, I had not back then really worked through yet all the problems which accrue from that, particularly once you factor in Energy Resource Depletion. At first I thought of it something like the Great Depression of the 1930s, but after not too long I saw that the problems were much greater now because of Population Overshoot and depleted Energy Resources. At first I thought like many still do even inside the Collapse Community that we could Reverse Engineer to some earlier technologies like Railroads and Sail, and develop a Sustainable Living paradigm from that. I no longer think so, for a variety of reasons too complex to go into here.

At a certain point in this timeline, not sure precisely when, I realized that simply writing about what was occuring was not sufficient, something more active and constructive was necessary. After many long discussions with friends on the Diner, we developed the idea of the SUN Project. It is built around the concept of Community Action on the small to medium scale. Large Government structures are no longer either responsive to the real needs of people, nor are they very effective in meeting them either. One Kludge after another is dropped into place to keep the system we have running another day, but it is living on Borrowed Time. It is a difficult thing to accept that the way of life we have known here with easy travel by car and jet plane will not persist, harder still to grasp that within many of our lifetimes we likely will not have electricity on demand either. Again, the reasons why this is so are deep and complex, though over time here on SUN we will make further explanations of the problems involved. Not today though in this introduction to SUN.

Creating a structure to harbor resources and Develop Community in our current environment is very difficult. People come from widely disparate economic means, and for most people it is economically out of reach to buy their own patch of land, grow their own food and try to live by more sustainable methods. Even if you DO have means though, and Individual “Doomstead” is not in itself really a very sustainable paradigm. You require quite a few people working in Cooperation to make any type of Sustainable System for Homo Sapiens, just on the lowest level of being able to Protect and Defend your patch of land you need quite a few. So early on in our discussion our core members pitched the idea of small Doomsteads in favor of trying to build a larger Community, with many people involved. The problem here is that in our fractured society as it stands, bringing together many people of disparate means and life experience is pretty difficult. The Infant Project of SUN is designed to try to overcome these problems.

The first and biggest problem for most is one of MONEY, they just don’t have much (in fact quite often NONE). So Fundraising is Primary as a goal to make SUN a reality, and to do that we formed our 501c3 Non-Profit corporation, Sustaining Universal Needs. We created a membership system that allows people to “buy in” at a nominal cost, or to gain similar membership through “Sweat Equity”, working to build the organization in numerous ways.

http://www.cam.ac.uk/sites/www.cam.ac.uk/files/styles/content-580x288/public/news/research/news/tile-vaulting-credit-michael-ramage.jpg?itok=zjEK25rLThe paradigm for living is one much simpler and less dependent on energy input than the current one, which includes much more simple housing as well. Mostly we do not believe in putting up permanent structures for housing, but rather smaller and more portable ones. This is not to say we think everybody should be living in Tents either though! There is a middle ground to be struck here which is sustainable, and still has a decent amount of Creature Comforts most of us are used to. Even if some of these middle ground housing arrangements are not long term sustainable, they are less energy intensive and can hopefully provide a bridge toward long term sustainable living.

Similarly, though long term it may be impossible to keep Electrical systems working, that does not necessarily mean you can’t keep some electricity working in your community some of the time, even if your local electrical grid goes down. Most of us would prefer not to give up this marvelous invention of the Industrial society sooner than we absolutely have to.

The greatest problems faced are in terms of Food & Water Security. Access to these most basic needs for life is essential, and in a failure of our larger system of Just In Time delivery and the monetary system that serves to distribute these products, it is necessary to build your own resilient local system to replace that. Here on SUN, we seek to find and develop the best means for doing that with the lowest energy inputs possible and least damage to the surrounding environment possible. This is ongoing work for SUN members at all levels.

In the end, the goal is to disseminate the knowledge, to teach more people to be self sufficient while at the same time securing our own needs in this world. Following beneath this page you will find the Prospectus for the SUN Non Profit, its directions and goal, its means and methods as we begin to change our way of living, together. We hope to find many more people through the SUN Website who will join with us in this project and contribute what they can as they can to its success.

No Man is an Island. There are hard times ahead, and though the society at large probably will not change direction until it is too late, Individuals and small communities CAN come together to make the necessary changes. Read through our Prospectus if this interests you, and talk with us. Help us to pave the way to a Better Tomorrow.

RE

For Whom the Bell Tolls
XVII. MEDITATION.John DonnePERCHANCE he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that. The church is Catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that body which is my head too, and ingrafted into that body whereof I am a member. And when she buries a man, that action concerns me: all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another. As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come, so this bell calls us all; but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness. There was a contention as far as a suit (in which both piety and dignity, religion and estimation, were mingled), which of the religious orders should ring to prayers first in the morning; and it was determined, that they should ring first that rose earliest. If we understand aright the dignity of this bell that tolls for our evening prayer, we would be glad to make it ours by rising early, in that application, that it might be ours as well as his, whose indeed it is. The bell doth toll for him that thinks it doth; and though it intermit again, yet from that minute that that occasion wrought upon him, he is united to God. Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises? but who takes off his eye from a comet when that breaks out? Who bends not his ear to any bell which upon any occasion rings? but who can remove it from that bell which is passing a piece of himself out of this world?No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee. Neither can we call this a begging of misery, or a borrowing of misery, as though we were not miserable enough of ourselves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbours. Truly it were an excusable covetousness if we did, for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it. No man hath affliction enough that is not matured and ripened by and made fit for God by that affliction. If a man carry treasure in bullion, or in a wedge of gold, and have none coined into current money, his treasure will not defray him as he travels. Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our home, heaven, by it. Another man may be sick too, and sick to death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a mine, and be of no use to him; but this bell, that tells me of his affliction, digs out and applies that gold to me: if by this consideration of another’s danger I take mine own into contemplation, and so secure myself, by making my recourse to my God, who is our only security.

Why I Support the SUN Project

Off the keyboard of Eddie

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Published on SUN4Living on November 6, 2013

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Back in the beginning, the promise of the internet was to allow the building of virtual networks to connect people with people, across broad reaches of real-world distance, to engage in mutually beneficial activities, communication and sharing.

Although those early dreams of connectivity seem to have devolved into something less than what many of us had hoped, it has allowed certain like-minded folks to find each other.

The SUN Project is an initiative that has arisen out of a world-wide discussion between people who read and write about subjects related to issues of permaculture, sustainable living, peak oil, climate change, population overshoot, alternative energy, and other related topics.

My own involvement with SUN is a continuation of my online friendship and connection with a number of courageous individuals from the blogosphere who write on the subjects I mentioned.

A few years ago now, soon after the economic near-collapse of 2008, I came to the web to search for the real truth about subjects that I felt were glossed over and avoided by major media outlets. I also began to read a variety of authors who were predicting imminent collapse of our modern world due to climate change and peak oil.

The truth is that the more I learned about the realities of our polluted and strip-mined planet, the more concerned I became about the very likely consequences that would soon impact me and my big family, as well as the rest of the humans on this Spaceship Earth. Indeed, the more educated I have become, the more concerned I have gotten.

I began, in small ways, to try to do things to increase my family’s resilience. I began to accumulate small stockpiles of food, water, and medical supplies. I began to experiment with food gardening in my suburban backyard.

At the same time, I was talking to like-minded folks who visited the same sites and read the same books I was reading, and getting valuable insights and suggestions, and making some acquaintances that would turn out to be more lasting than I might have thought.

I also became aware of the world-wide Transition movement , which influenced my thinking a great deal. That, along with the advice of many writers whom I respected, convinced me that in order to achieve any real, lasting, truly sustainable way of life, it would be necessary to form sustainable, local communities.

To make a very long story short, I eventually ended up in a dialog with several extremely well informed individuals who had already been trying to kick-start an intentional community. The SUN Project is the culmination of those discussions, brought into being by the hard work and dogged persistence of long-time collapse blogger Reverse Engineer (RE) and a small cadre of people who sincerely wanted to establish a community that could build working systems and show the way to a better, more sustainable future.

It became apparent to all of us that most younger people lacked the funds to do things like buy land or expensive tools. They were already barely treading water financially, most of them, in a hostile economic climate that made them wage slaves to the existing extractive economic system.

The first task of the SUN Project is to raise funds to empower the people who want to show the way by building a working intentional community, based on permaculture principles. If we can do that, then the ongoing task of SUN will be to educate, raise awareness of the need for such communities, and to share the knowledge that we’ve gained.

I can’t think of a better cause to support, and I urge each of you who reads this message to join me and send whatever donation you can in support of SUN.

Although my own expertise is as a dental professional, I do write occasional pieces about small scale off-grid alternative power topics and about my own ongoing education in permaculture. I continue to apply the knowledge I’ve gained toward improving my own rural property in Central Texas, and building local, sustainable communities. More of my story can be found on the Doomstead Diner forum pages, where I usually post about my current projects under the heading of Doomsteading.

I’d love to hear from you, either by contacting me at SUN4Living or at the DoomsteadDiner.

The SUN’s Youth Rebellion

Off the keyboard of Lucid Dreams

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Published on Epiphany Now on October 23, 2013

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On my way to deliver the letter with the magic EIN number on it, I looked at my truck radio display and it read 3:33. My wife, whom was at home, looked at a digital clock at that same moment. The radio station 93.3, that I was listening to had decided to play Metallica’s “Sad But True” for the journey. I pulled into the post office and watched that letter go down the post office box memory hole as the last chord from that song rang out. That song from my youth, when I was angry about life. It was cleansing.
Days before my 32nd birthday I placed my resignation letter on my supervisor’s desk. This was more than just a resignation from the career I had worked for 6 years as a street medic for Piedmont EMS in the Upstate of South Carolina. This was my Resignation from the Matrix, which was picked up by Michael Ruppert and published on collapsenet as a free feature article for several months. It wasn’t particularly well written, because I wrote it one night half drunk as a journal entry, and then emailed it to Ruppert. Apparently he read it and liked it. I worked a one month notice because that’s what my supervisor asked of me. Her point was that I was going on vacation for two weeks on the next day, and so would I actually “work” a two week notice. Just days before resigning from my career I signed up to take part in a Permaculture class in Asheville NC called “Permaculture In Action.” It was a 10 day, hands on, gathering of like minded people spread over five weekends from May to August. We learned permaculture methods while implementing design from paper to the land. We didn’t create the designs, the instructors did. This was to be my new career. Permaculture. I resigned from the Matrix so that I could take permaculture seriously and devote all of my free time to it.
Starting in 2007, after reading James Howard Kunstler’s, The Long Emergency, and gettin’ edumacated to the concept of Peak Oil, I learned that infinite growth on a finite planet results in a particularly sordid predicament, and what was I going to do about it? Our civilization is completely dependent on a shrinking non-renewable resource. Look around you and notice all of the objects in your view. It’s a safe bet that every single one of those objects has been in a trailer on the interstate at some point on it’s likely over 2000 mile journey to you. It’s also another good bet that some part of all of those objects has been on a large container ship from China as well. The power you are using to participate with your computer, the cup of Joe you’re enjoying, and the food that keeps you alive, all have fossil fuel energy in common (even nuclear power is not possible without fossil fuel energy…at least as it’s currently practiced). We have built our modern day global civilization on a limited resource! There are a LOT of ramifications from this one easily understood fact that’s placed on us by the mandates of our physical reality.
Nearly five years after reading Kunstler’s eye opening book, I was in front of my supervisor turning in my resignation. Five years of rabidly searching for the answer to the question “what am I going to do about our infinite growth paradigm on a finite planet?” I had become a father, and now the ante was raised by several orders of magnitude. In a label, permaculture was what I found to be the answer. Permaculture actually addresses a future where there is no longer any affordable fossil energy. It realizes the precarious nature our free energy inheritance is leaving us in. Staying alive as a material being requires energy via food. All 8 billion of us stay alive right now because we still have the cheap energy to run the large tractors and combine harvesters, and to manufacture and use the petroleum based pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and natural gas based fertilizers. Our agricultural land has become a moonscape of dead dirt that does nothing other than act as a chemical sponge. Nothing can live in the dirt except for the genetically modified organisms that we’ve created to withstand the chemical onslaught. The bulk of the calories that keep us alive, the wheat in our pasta and bread, the rice in our bowl, the soy bean baby formula in our dairy allergic newborns, and the hundreds of corn derived ingredients in the nutrition free high fructose petroleum sugar, and the animal meat that you eat are all possible because of our massive monocroped agriculture which requires petroleum energy to exist. Permaculture recognizes that this is not a sustainable arrangement.
Even the “organic” agriculture in this country is really just the same old “green revolution” shit dressed up in a delusional “we’re gonna save the Earth” drag. They spray chemicals just like their Monsanto dependent counterparts. Granted, it’s better than conventional agriculture, but it’s still not enough. It’s not “sustainable.” Monoculture agriculture, devoid of the cheap energy, collapses under the weight of it’s own gargantuan flesh. Permaculture provides the answers to this mess we’re in. I’m always weary of saying such a thing. That this or that provides ALL of the answers, but it’s true in this case…this is a too good to be true actually being true. Mark Shepard, the architect of “New Forest Farm” and author of Restoration Agriculture, provides proof to my claim. Perennial forest agriculture is a sustainable practice that is capable of withstanding a changing climate. It can provide us with the calories and nutrition that we need to live. The bulk of the calories in this system come from perennial tree nuts and animal products like milk, eggs, and meat. Petroleum inputs of any kind are not necessary (although they sure do help getting the system up and matured). My point is, Permaculture provides the solutions we need for the post-petroleum world that we’re standing on the brink of. I know of no other entity which can make this claim.
Given that you understand the predicament we are in as a global civilization, and given that you want to do something about it rather than nothing, what are you going to do? Permaculture can save us, but it can’t save us if we don’t practice it and implement it on our landscapes. I have two children now, Ayden Zen whom is 3 and Harper Tribann whom is 5 months. They are collectively the most beautiful thing I have ever done (aside from the Goddess I did to create them). Next to my family the most beauty I have ever created I have done in my backyard using permaculture principles. I have no doubt in my mind that given enough time I’ll be able to use this 1.6 acre lot (and hopefully the six acres that surround the Fox Den that are currently owned by in-laws) to keep my family thriving, alive and healthy, and to create a surplus to share with the surrounding community. I’ll be doing this using permaculture principles and strategies. Permaculture may not provide my family and I with the money we need to buy the things we buy in this current perpetual growth paradigm, but it will provide us with the food, medicine, raw natural materials, shelter, energy, and community that we need to live a life that is more than worthwhile, but exciting and full of meaning. With any luck it will keep my tribe out of any kind of government line.
I have concluded that there is no better way to spend my time than permaculture. I can practice it every day in the company of my family while creating beauty and regeneration. I believe that is possible. It’s already happening. My plan has been a two pronged plan. Practice permaculture and go to school for a nursing license in order to ensure my family will have access to the digibits that are required of us. The problem with this plan is that it lands me in another wealth care career that I will not be able to stomach. I burned out after six years on the meat wagon. But I didn’t burn out because of the death, disease, and destruction that comes with knowing the Reaper intimately. I loved that part of the job. I revealed in getting to know what the Grim Reaper actually looks like, and I even got in a few fights with him.
A quick anecdote from my real past:
 I managed to kick the Grim Reapers ass out of the back of my meat wagon once.  He made himself my business when someones grandma dropped dead while shopping at Walmart. She walked out of the hospital a couple of months later on her own two legs (well, she was wheeled out cause it was hospital policy, but she was able to walk). One time in six years I actually got a “save.” I burned out due to the bureaucratically generated bull shit that came from the Bull Shit Black Hole that feeds our wealth care system. We went from being taught that our job began and ended with “patient care” to being told that we were responsible for the happiness of our “customers.” That is how our rotten health care system looks at you now. You are no longer a patient to heal, but a customer to keep happy. That’s because the lawyers, medical insurance, and big international pharmaceutical companies dictate the nature of our wealth care. It’s ALL about making money. End of Subject.
I’m not plugging back into the Matrix. I’m going all rogue Permaculture on the Matrix’s ass. And at any rate I destroyed the ports on my physical body that allow me to plug back in, anarchy happened to my Matrix equipment. I’m a permanent inhabitant of what Jason Heppenstall calls Realandia. The place you come to inhabit when you take the red pill. People are too afraid to do anything meaningful about our meaningless perpetual growth paradigm. I’m no longer afraid. I was recently told that I’ve “got some balls” to do what I’m doing. Giving the Matrix the finger and all. I responded to that claim, “well, they stuck my ass in a solitary cell, and fed me nothing but bread and water, due to my protest about killing thousands of people via bombs from the jets launched off of the US Navy carrier I was splitting atoms on…so I guess I know what I’m up against.” Maybe I do have some balls, but I don’t frame it that way. I see it as that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. It is my responsibility to help in this transition that our species is going through. I have the tools and the mindset. I have the training. In truth, I have been bred for this my entire life. I have been searching for something worth my time ever since I can remember. Even EMS failed me, and I was able to find myself in a moral dilemma with being the help?!?! That speaks volumes to me.
This is not my resignation to the Matrix. I turned that in already. This is my “fuck you” to the Matrix. I’m not afraid of you. What I am afraid of is what you’re ensuring will happen if I, and many people like me, don’t do…something. If we don’t resist your stupid dictates than we will get what your incompetence has planned for us all. We will get a climate that won’t support human life, we’ll get more and more super bugs resistant to our drugs and chemicals, we’ll get nuclear contaminated radioactive material blanketing the globe (this has already happened…did you know that 14,000 deaths in America are attributed to the fall out from Fukishima Daiichi), we’ll get a completely collapsed fishery as our ocean loses the ability to buffer the carbon levels due to acidification thanks to our dependence on petrochemicals, well get more and more neutered and dysfunctional governments, well get less and less nutrition in our food, and we’ll get sicker and sicker as Big Pharma crams more and more frankenchemical fukitol derivatives down our collective throats. The Matrix has no answers for a world on the backside of perpetual growth.
I will not be acquiring a mursing license from the Ministry of Health. From this point forward I will be practicing permaculture principles. I’m now an agent for a non-profit corporation called the SUN Foundation (sustaining universal needs). The foundation is headquartered here, at my current residence in the Palookaville sector of Whoville. I have a gaggle of geniuses on my side over at the Doomstead Diner. Essentially the Diner has become a think tank. We talk about Realandia and what we’re going to do and are doing about it. The SUN Foundation is the result of more than a year of this think tank activity. It has fermented into the SUN and I am one of it’s agents. I believe that the SUN Foundation is a magnate that is attracting the most brilliant thinkers and doers available.
We have members in Australia (which is good due to it being in the southern hemisphere, away from the potentially 15,000 times more nuclear radiation than the atom bombs dropped on Japan, ending the second world war, that is damn near fated to happen with one of the next earth quakes, or tsunamis, that are happening at increasing frequencies around Japan), England, and all over the U.S. Our ideas and tactics will go viral and we will make the Matrix obsolete. We’re attempting to use the Matrix against itself by playing the game by their stupid rules. If you’re interested in learning more about the SUN Foundation (we’re still working on the website because we just got incorporated) you can go here and read till your hearts content. We’re gonna fix this mess one tree at a time. One durable and inexpensive shelter at a time. One Foxstead at a time.
But my Fox Den is still alive and thriving, and it’s beginning to multiply and grow. Like Gremlins, the more bull shit they get on us, the more we will become. The Fox Den is metamorphosing into a Foxstead which will in turn replicate into many Foxsteads. Or I’ll fuckin’ die trying. They’re gonna have to pry my cold dead fingers off of this Fox Den. I’ve got a Vixen and Kits to keep healthy and happy, and I’ve got a community to build that can withstand the post-petroleum future they are guaranteed to inherit. What are you gonna do about that? Dear reader!

The Next 10 Billion Years: Part II

Off the keyboard of Ugo Bardi

Published on Cassandra’s Legacy on September 14, 2013

red-giant-sun

Discuss at the Collapse Cafe Table inside the Diner

Thou must now at last perceive of what universe thou art a part, and of what administrator of the universe thy existence is an efflux, and that a limit of time is fixed for thee, which if thou dost not use for clearing away the clouds from thy mind, it will go and thou wilt go, and it will never return. (Marcus Aurelius, “Meditations”)

 

You can’t understand a man’s actions if you don’t take into account that what he does on a specific day is the result of events that took place during his whole lifetime and that will result in more events in the future. It is the same for a whole planet, although the lifespan of the Earth is much longer than that of a single human being. If we want to understand what’s happening today on our planet, we must try to understand how it has changed over the eons to become what it his now and what it may become in the future.

That of looking at the whole span of the history of a whole planet or even of the whole universe has a special flavor; even though none of us will ever witness the ultimate end of our biosphere, still the idea that we can imagine it is a source of great fascination. And it is not something new: it is a whole field of human thought that we can call “eschatology”, from the Greek world “eskhatos”, meaning “the last”.

In the history of people musing on the ultimate end of everything, we can see two lines of thought that we might dub, purely for convenience, the “Western” and the “Eastern” views. The Western view sees the universe, humans and everything, as having a finite and limited lifespan, the Eastern view sees the same concepts as an infinite series of cycles. The single cycle view is typical of thinkers steeped in the Greek-Latin tradition and of the monotheistic religions that arose around the Mediterranean area. In its basic form, the idea is that God created the world and that the world will have an end (apocalypse, from a Greek world meaning “revelation”). Human beings are supposed to live a one-time trial. You succeed or you don’t, but God doesn’t give you another chance. East-Asian thought seems to have been based on a different viewpoint: Buddhism sees the soul as forever reincarnating in new bodies. There is no end and no beginning to this endless cyucle that the wise may, however, be able to interrupt.

It is hard to say what factors created these two different schools of thought. One thing we know, however, is that today Western science can be seen as continuing the ancient tradition, that of the single cycle. For what we know, the universe appeared in a specific event called the “Big Bang” and it is destined to end, according to the most recent data, as a cold and dreary place made out of matter scattered over an immensely large volume. Back in  1956, Isaac Asimov was reasoning within this tradition when he wrote a story titled “The Last Question”, where he imagined humankind engaged in a forever quest for how to reverse the cycle and rejuvenate the universe. But Asimov was also thinking outside the Western box when he proposed at the end that the question could be answered, although not by humans themselves but by the computer they had created. As there is nobody to tell the answer to, the computer proceeds to carry on the answer in practice by creating light and restarting the universe.

I must have read this old story by Isaac Asimov when I was, maybe, 15 years old and it inspired a post that I wrote on “Cassandra’s Legacy” with the title “The Next Ten Billion Years” for which I borrowed from Asimov the same finale. This post of mine had a certain success and, recently, John Michael Greer (“The Archdruid”) commented on it and produced his own version of the next ten billion years as he sees them. It is by all means a fascinating piece but different from mine in a deep philosophical sense. True to his role of druid, Greer explicitly rejects the Christian “one-cycle” tradition and leans on the multiple cycle view of the universe, for instance saying that, ten million years from now,

No fewer than 8,639 global civilizations have risen and fallen over the last ten million years, each with its own unique sciences, technologies, arts, literatures, philosophies, and ways of thinking about the cosmos.

and then he goes on to describe several non-human civilizations arising and disappearing in the span of several hundred million years, including one derived from raccoons, one from ravens, and one from freshwater clams. There is no evidence in Greer’s vision of the entropy caused winding down of the universe. The atoms that once formed the Earth and its inhabitants are flung away in space by the last convulsion of the Sun and end up forming another star and a number of planets. The cycle restarts.

As I said, we are discussing philosophical matters and we’ll never find an agreement on what the Earth will look like – say – ten million years from now. So, I’ll just comment here on how science gives us very strong evidence for a “one-cycle” Earth. With that, I don’t mean just an apocalyptic end of our planet when it will be finally consumed by an expanding Sun. No, the Earth has changed all the time over its four billion years of existence, it keeps changing, and the changes are profound and irreversible.

What we call the “biosphere” has been part of this great, long lasting cycle. As all things that are born and are destined to die, the biosphere must peak and decline. Actually, it has peaked and it is declining. The biosphere productivity over the past 3.5 billion years looks a little like a gigantic Hubbert peak according to a paper by Franck, Bounama and Von Bloh,

In a previous post, I wrote about this graph that:

As you see, the Earth’s biosphere, Gaia, peaked with the start of the Phanerozoic age, about 500 million years ago. Afterwards, it declined. Of course, there is plenty of uncertainty in this kind of studies, but they are based on known facts about planetary homeostasis. We know that the sun’s irradiation keeps increasing with time at a rate of around 1% every 100 million years. That should have resulted in the planet warming up, gradually, but the homeostatic mechanisms of the ecosphere have maintained approximately constant temperatures by gradually lowering the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. However, there is a limit: the CO2 concentration cannot go below the minimum level that makes photosynthesis possible; otherwise Gaia “dies”.

So, at some moment in the future, planetary homeostasis will cease to be able to stabilize temperatures. When we reach that point, temperatures will start rising and, eventually, the earth will be sterilized. According to Franck et al., in about 600 million years from now the earth will have become too hot for multicellular creatures to exist.

Of course, the extinction of the biosphere is not for tomorrow or, at least, the calculations say so. But it is like estimating one’s lifespan from statistical data. Theoretically, the homeostatic mechanisms that operate your body could keep you alive until reach a respectable age; sure, but homoeostasis is never perfect. For instance, there are mechanisms in your body designed to reverse the effects of traumas. You may expect these mechanisms to work well if you are young but, if you are hit by a truck at full speed, well, you end up on the wrong side of the life expectancy statistics.

Similar considerations apply to Gaia. Theoretically, the planetary homeostatic mechanisms should keep Gaia alive for hundreds of millions of years, but what about major perturbations, some planetary equivalent of being hit by a truck? Would Gaia be able to recover from a human caused runaway greenhouse catastrophe?

We cannot say for sure. What we can say is that we are living in a period called the “sixth extinction,” similar to other major past extinctions. In most cases, these extinctions appear to have been caused by an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The sixth extinction, too, is taking place in correspondence to a rise of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that may never have happened so fast in the history of the planet. This rapid rise is also taking place under a solar irradiation that has never been so high as it is today. We can’t rule out that the sixth extinction will be the last one.

So, as I said at the beginning, the present and the future of a single person can be understood from his or her past, and it is the same for the Earth (aka, “Gaia”). Science is telling us very, very strongly that the present moment is unique in the history of the planet: the future will not be like the past. It is true that, if we fail to survive as a civilization, there will be probably space for more human civilizations. And, if we go extinct, there may be space for the evolution of new sentient species. But all that will happen in different conditions and along a downward slope.

New human civilizations developing within the few hundred thousand years will not have the coal and the fossil hydrocarbons that we have consumed today. In a few hundred million years from now, new sentient species might find oil that has reformed in shallow anoxic seas – but they won’t have coal, the result of very special conditions occurring only once (for what we know) on this planet. And they will live in a planet with a much reduced biological productivity in comparison to ours. That doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to develop spaceflight – the future is full of opportunities, but it is never like the past.

In the end, these considerations give us just a hint of the sheer immensity of the future and of how difficult is the human attempt to conceive it. For what we know, we are a small ripple on the top of a gigantic tsunami wave that’s crashing on some remote shore. As a ripple disappears, new ones appear, but the wave keeps rolling onward to its inevitable end. And yet, we know so little: there may be other shores, other waves, the universal sea may never stop to roll, and light and darkness may exchange places in a never ending dance. So, just as Asimov concluded his story, someday, the words “Let there be light” may be said again. And there will be light again.

all-pervading,
ever moving.
So it can act as the mother
of all things.
Not knowing its real name
we only call it the Way

If it must be named, 
let its name be Great.
Greatness means going on,
going on means going far,
and going far means turning back

(Tao Te King, as reported by Ursula K. Le Guin)

Collapse Cafe Vidcast: 10 Billion Year Scenario Discussion

Off the cameras and microphones of Ugo Bardi and RE

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on September 11, 2013

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Discuss this article at the Diner TV Table inside the Diner

In the first “Official” Vidcast of the Collapse Cafe today on the Doomstead Diner, Ugo Bardi and I got together to discuss some of the issues brought up originally in an article he wrote on his blog Cassandra’s Legacy last year, and which John Michael Greer of The Archdruid Report added his own thoughts and scenarios for in his blog last week.  I looked at the ideas both authors put forth in the last Sunday Brunch article on the Diner The Next 10 Billion Years, which brought up many issues worth discussing in greater detail.

We did air one Test Vidcast before this basically to get familiar with the Google Hangouts software so that we can do a decent job with the production, which is not so easy really.  You are subject to problems along the way since these things consume gobs of bandwidth, so you have to have a very strong and consistent net connection to keep them running.  Midway through this Vidcast with Ugo, we experienced an outtage, but fortunately the connection was reestablished before I stopped the recording, and we were able to complete the vidcast otherwise free of technical gliches, except for Ugo’s Dog.  LOL.

The Vidcasting has some advantages over a straight Podcast of just Audio, it is more Information Rich in the sense you can see facial expression and body language, which communicates quite a bit beyond just the words.  It is also possible to drop on other visual material while recording, though we did not try that in this Vidcast.  It also is a better format for several people to be chatting at once, since you don’t get confused as to who is speaking.  The main limitations are first that you can’t stop and start it and editing it would be difficult.  So you pretty much have to do it “live”.  The Audio Quality also is not as good as a podcast.  So one does not replace the other, you merely use them for different things.

Far as the content of the Vidcast is concerned, many unanswered questions remained from both Ugo’s original blog and JMG’s more recent one, in particular the question of just what motivates a person to write a scenario for such a long timeline?  We have plenty of problems to solve just in the next decade and century which MAYBE we can have some effect on, why concern yourself with Millenia and Billenia length issues we cannot affect, and moreover are pretty much inescapable due to constraints of Astrophysics?

Then there are questions of the accuracy of the Science involved, even in a Science Fiction/Fantasy treatment of such ideas to make them plausible they need to at least pay passing attention to known Scientific principals and limitations.  Is it reasonable to believe that the Earth can duplicate the conditions which allowed for millions of years of energy collection in microorganisms to replenish fossil fuel stores over the next 100-200M years?  Is it reasonable to believe Sentience will recur in another Species after Homo Sapiens goes the way of the Dinosaur?  Is it reasonable to expect we can recreate another Agricultural Civilization of Homo Sapiens after this one crashes?

These are a few of the questions raised in John Michael Greer’s and Ugo’s scenarios we look at in this Vidcast.  Does it make any real difference as far as the near term problems we face?  Probably not.  Still, there are philosophical questions of Existence and its Meaning which occupy the mind of the Doomer that are always out there, and for Ugo and myself, it is something worth chatting about.  Maybe it will be worth listening to for you.

RE

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

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