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    • August 10, 2016 3:18:02 PM PDT
    • Steamtech - Permaculture is a design of beauty. We have a group experimenting with aquaponics using the dirty fish water to fertilize the plants in their greenhouse and the plant soil also cleans the water (granted still grey water) but I am uncertain if it's ethical to basically trap fish, especially those that have the instinct to migrate. Seems kind of cruel. So far, all the group has grown is catfish and tilapia. The stock is quite expensive and you can't forget about it, it requires daily monitoring - technology could help with that. If you can reproduce your own little ones, you've got a very cheap source of protein. We've also tried inoculating birch logs with oyster mushroom mycellium. Mine didn't turn out but others have had better luck.

    • August 10, 2016 1:18:36 PM PDT
    • SZNEL - The permaculture is awesome, mix that with aquaponic gardens, and it would make an incredible difference in the amount of food produced in a facility. I like it!

    • August 10, 2016 12:58:54 PM PDT
    • ConsumerOfStories: I share your doubts re: forsaking technology or "going" backward. Also, from what I've seen of the communities I belong to, homogeneity in terms of shared values and goals is crucially important. That type of community does tend to attract impractical people or those looking for a free ride. You may be able to keep the community small and avoid expansion if all the members agree to limit births and manage their population in accordance with the territory they have. I also agree with you that you need to attract the skills, expertise and education necessary to sustain the community and resolve technical problems. As for money, no getting around the need for it, but you could set up a local, non-capitalist economy with functional links to the outside economy. Getting the latest iPhone, Wii or Xbox would have to cease to be a priority. I think the issues would arise in the 2nd generation. If the community was not able to pass on their values or skill sets, it wouldn't survive unless people embraced the concept of "family" as people who share your values and lifestyle and not necessarily those who share blood ties.

    • August 10, 2016 12:35:34 PM PDT
    • I would suggest a permaculture approach and design which would fit in very well with self-sufficient communities. Are you familiar with the approach? It uses the observed features in a natural ecosystems and is based on care of the earth, of people and a return of surplus. It has a strong ecological foundation and is meant to be a social enterprise. There is an interesting example right here in Quebec: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3riW_yiCN5E

    • August 10, 2016 11:19:58 AM PDT
    • SZNEL - Of course, it needs to be done. But the idea would be to recreate a sane ecosystem over an important land including water, and other natural ressources.
      Then a few cattle and hogs wouldn't matter much ? As the ecosystem would be sustainable.
      Don't think that I am eluding the consumption of some animals compared to what they actually "output". Some breeds might be much more interesting than others. But that might be only achieve within an emulative try & fail loop.
      TL;DR: This place needs a lot of diverse lands.

    • August 10, 2016 11:11:30 AM PDT
    • FrenchCoq - Did you say cattle? I love a thick, juicy, medium rare faux-fillet as much as the next guy but bringing cattle or hogs into your community is "une autre paire de manches". Your land and water needs go sky high as you have to sustain the creatures and the ability of the land to absorb the waste is severely taxed. Self-sufficient communities are based on taking only what you need. You need to do a cost-benefit analysis including environmental costs before you bring in cattle or any large animal. I agree with Switzerland as a location, although I think the Scandinavian countries might also be an option [Norway, Finland and Sweden].

    • August 10, 2016 10:56:50 AM PDT
    • Steamtech - [problems cont'd] among other issues. 8. the architect, Mike Reynolds, hasn't helped his cause by exaggerating the benefits and features 9. All the problems of solar-wind energy - inefficient storage, etc. also have to be dealt with. It's not a one-size fits all solution. Each ship needs to tailored to the environment in which it's built. I think the concept have much merit and the more we build, the more data we can gather, the more solutions we can develop for the issues.

    • August 10, 2016 10:53:54 AM PDT
    • steamtech - problems with Earthships are many: 1. you can't get a mortgage so you need to be wealthy or build out of pocket; 2. they don't go up in a few days like a modern house - minimum 6 weeks, most take years 3. very labor-muscle intensive to build, so labor costs can be exorbitant or you can rely on volunteer labor - there is a sort of tacit agreement among Earthship enthusiast: you help me build mine, and I'll help you build yours; 4. getting municipal building permits can be a pain or they can downright refuse 5. the structures have their own infrastructure so you need to be a bit "hands-on-do-it-yourself" to maintain and repair it. It's not like you can call someone 6. maintaining a comfortable environment can be a challenge depending on the climate where you're building and more experimenting with different technologies and materials needs to be done in the area of humidity, cooling and heating. 7. there is a lot of controversy about using recycled tires, rubber degradation and off-gasing among other issues. 8. the architect, Mike Reynolds, hasn't helped his cause by exaggerating the features 9. it comes with all the problems of solar-wind energy - inefficient storage, etc.

    • August 10, 2016 9:17:18 AM PDT
    • Now, we need to put some figures on all this for 20 people.
      Switzerland would be a good spot to start with (Political stability, interesting tax system, ...). What do you think ?
      This plan would probably cost less than 30 millions from land to cattle.

    • August 7, 2016 7:03:26 AM PDT
    • @SZNEL - What kind of unresolved issues do earthships have? I'm curious as its not regularly mentioned in anything I've read up on yet.

    • August 5, 2016 3:58:47 PM PDT
    • ...pooling of skills, labor and technology. The concepts attracts two types of people: adventurous geeks and idealistic flakes (no offense intended to anyone who identifies with either camp).

    • August 5, 2016 3:57:54 PM PDT
    • I'm with allblackeverything - I belong to an EarthShip community in my area and have participated on several builds. They are awesome. Although they've been around for several decades, they still have some unresolved issues. They are self-sufficient, mortgage free, use recycled materials, treat waste water by recycling grey water up to four times and through the built-in year round greenhouse. They don't draw on the aquifers for water - instead collect rainwater. You can also build other structures such as greenhouses and barns using the same design and technology. Building one of these babies is extremely labour intensive. You haven't suffered until you've pounded 300 lbs of earth into a one tire using a sledge (x about 750 tires for a 1000 sq ft earthship). For a barn-greenhouse and aquaponics, I would prefer the design of Anna Edey as described in her book Solviva. The thing about that type of living, is that it almost requires a like-minded community approach, a type of makerspace, sharing of tools, pooling of skills, labor and technology. The concepts attracts two types of people: adventurous geeks and idealistic flakes (no offense intended to anyone who identifies with either camp).

    • August 5, 2016 3:00:53 PM PDT
    • I would build an underground tunnel system, with a geothermal plant for energy, and a farm+arboretum, also underground, for food / CO2 processing. I think THE technology I'd like to see is that knocky thing where you can control stuff by tapping different rhythms on the surface of anything. Or maybe a VI-controlled central computer.

    • August 5, 2016 11:46:59 AM PDT
    • @ConsumerOfStories - I think "Going backward" Would be the worst possible thing we could do as a society. Technology is a paramount in the development of a sustainable colony or community.

      We'd need lots of these, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzMV6IBzmjs some specialized for medical uses, and some designed more for engineering or sciences.

      And in order to go forward we need to innovate, mix old tech with new tech. For example mix sterling engine(old tech) with newer tech, micro-controller, thermal sensors, and atomized fuel injectors or even better magnetically confined plasma chamber as a heat source instead, to come up more efficient power generation.

    • August 5, 2016 11:01:05 AM PDT
    • I just spent more time reading up on communes and the Amish than I think I ever have. Thanks for that.

      I have doubts about intentional communities that intend to sustain themselves by "going backward", i.e. forsaking modern technology, engaging in complete isolationism, and trying to do away with the idea of money or personal ownership. It seems like the only ones that survive longterm (I'm mainly talking about the Amish and similar groups, here) started back in the day, holding onto a way of life that they were largely born into, and though different, was not too different economically and technologically from what was available in their day. Unless a community splits every time they hit 150 they're going to have to expand, and that usually means purchasing more land, setting up more infrastructure, and increasing production, which is going to cost money, force them to connect with the outside world, and likely adopt modern farming methods.

      I think to do it in this day and age you'd have to start off with a lot of funds to set things up (I'm talking millions), in an area safe from most natural and manmade disasters and with an endless supply of water (preferably a waterfall), and eco-friendly modern conveniences should be embraced. Hydroelectric power, supplemented by solar in the winter if necessary (having separate winter behaviours and accomodations may not be a bad idea if there's enough money). Set up the greenhouses and the plant agriculture before introducing poultry and small livestock (sheep, goats, and the like; cattle probably wouldn't be the best if you're trying to be eco friendly or keep costs down). Be selective with the populace regarding profession (mainly farmers, mechanics, engineers, medical and veterinary professionals, a few economists, and teachers) and attitude (no hermits, no loafers), keeping them at the population level of a [small] township.

      Democracy (esp. by a council) seems to work decently well for small, nearly homogenous communities, so let's go with that.

    • August 5, 2016 10:03:14 AM PDT
    • Personally
      A self sufficient community would need aquaponic gardens, either centrally located in a large facility or split up per household. Aquaponic gardens would need a bit of care to get going but could easily sustain multiple families, there is one in Colorado US, that's around 3,600sq/ft (335m^sq) that can output as much produce as a 20acre farm, not to mention just as much in fish as well, as thats part of the cycle. These farms can be built at any scale.

      Solar can be used in a few ways, not only electricity, but put the right lens in a ceiling and it could be used to cook food, or heat water depending on the aparatus. Wind energy could be used for electricity or to generate compressed air, or pump water from an aquifer. Not to mention sustainable electricity can also be pulled from ionizing particles in the atmosphere. The article that @TheFrenchCoq links would be instrumental for power storage.

      Heavily insulated homes, and geothermal cycling of air would help maintain temperatures inside the homes. The heavy insulation I'm thinking of would be like dirtbag homes, or using large compressed dirt bricks that have been fired. All of which can be locally sourced in most countries, build those houses deeper in the ground or in the side of a mountain the less resources you'd use on construction.

      The geothermal cycling would be like pumping water through tubing into a 30ft (9m) hole and back up, removing heat or adding heat to an area. Down at 30ft (9m) the ground is temperature stabalized, pumping water down that far then up again stabilizes that water, have air running over those pipes and that will either add or remove heat depending on the season.

      Live stock, would be chickens they are easy to raise, produce lots of eggs and can be eaten as well.
      Honey bees and farms also need to be at each aquaponic farm. Honey bees other than pollinating each plant in said farm, they create honey which can be stored for very long periods of time. Not to mention that honey has been and can be used as a preservative, and an antiseptic for bandages. Honey when it decomposes creates hydrogen peroxide as some antiseptic molecules.

      Food wastes can be put in compost bins and broken down into compost and used in the hydroponic gardens. Human wastes can be dealt with much the same, as long as the people going into the community aren't squeamish. Solid wastes can be broken down and separated, the solid material once the bad bacteria is washed/baked away it can be used to create biodegradable cups or planters. Not to mention Urine can be recycled down the elementary components for use in other areas.

      Water can be stored, and reclaimed in a man made aquifer and smaller aquifers for each home. Filters can be made from charcoal and locally sourced sand and dirt. Charcoal can be made from waste materials, I.E. fibers from plants or waste plant parts. This can be made on site.

      Bamboo will also need to be grown and used on site for things such as scaffolding, piping, flooring, laminate, charcoal, etc. Wheat would also be a useful resource.

      Local sources of iron, and other minerals can be found to supplement for trade or other uses. A self-Sufficient community should have its own maker space essentially. Large machines like a lathe, mill, loom, thread wheel, saw, press, forge, and metal working tools need to be all supplied.

    • August 5, 2016 9:45:16 AM PDT
    • Nice, Steamtech also showed me:
      http://phys.org/news/2016-01-battery-molten-metals-low-cost-long-lasting.html
      This could be helpful on a higher scale, for necessary industrial plants and maintenance factories.
      But on a house level, this is very interesting.
      Thank you

    • August 5, 2016 9:35:27 AM PDT
    • Not sure if you've ever heard of earthships, but my ex fiancé would never stop talking about wanting to live in one, it grew on me as well. Earthships are extremely versatile and economic, they are made out of natural and recycled materials and they aim to be completely self-sustaining hence off the grid (reason as to why the american government completely hates them). They use solar and wind energy for heating, cooling and electricity amongst other things, its a pretty cool concept.

      https://youtu.be/L9jdIm7grCY

    • August 5, 2016 8:41:14 AM PDT
    • Hello people.

      What do you think about self-sufficient Communities (Energy, Food, etc..) ?

      How would you build up one ?
      What would be "THE" technology you would like to see in it ?
      Solar / Wind ? How to deal with livestocks ?

      Just curious how other people would do it with the tools we have today.
      See you.

    • April 2, 2016 6:49:00 PM PDT
    • I'm down with deep thoughts. As long as you ramble on about something cool, all is fine in the universe.

      Not making sense sometimes and harboring a couple internal inconsistencies are part of what makes INFJs so adorable. Unless you're contagious. Then it's not cute at all. OMG, what did you do ruute66? INTPs tend to be much more coherent! lol

    • April 2, 2016 11:09:01 AM PDT
    • You like me rambling on. Anyway have a prerogative to ramble based on being a woman and making sense :P okay i make sense sometimes.

    • April 2, 2016 10:28:00 AM PDT
    • I'll wait for the film....
      Pickle.... concise.......? pot, kettle, black!

    • April 1, 2016 10:41:18 PM PDT
    • Crow:
      Lol

      Inra:
      That didn’t seem so harsh. It looked more like a genuine effort to help me improve my essay. I appreciate it. It kinda is a first draft. I didn’t mean for it to be exceptionally scientifically rigorous. Jotting down some supporting points is exactly what I did. Though I was hoping to build enough of a case to gain consensus with the reader by the end of it. Looks like I failed at that.

      The comment about Lake Baikal and the New Madrid fault should be corrected to have stronger wording. They’re not directly associated with global tectonics. Tectonics is a matter of crustal plates moving in relation to another. Fault lines exist at the boundaries of plates. Lake Baikal and New Madrid are sitting in the middle of a plate. Under current theory, they have no business being there. They are not suture zones like you’ll find in New England. They are not rift zone (expanding) like eastern Africa… There is no real explanation for them. New Madrid is suspect enough but Baikal is nearly definitive proof on it’s own accord. Pretty much the only physical process we could attribute to Baikal’s formation is stress fracture from forcing it to adhere to a reduced arc.

      “Subduction” of equal density crust is against the laws of physics. When crustal plates of similar density meet they will crunch and build a mountain ranges. -you get Himalaya, not subduction.

      The Second Law of Thermodynamics states organization will decrease with time; or entropy will increase with time, however you prefer. Fractional Differentiation says is it takes a chaotic ball of molten planetoid and organizes the lightest of crustal material to cover about a third of the surface area, in discreet chunks, that fit together, so that the next lightest layer of crustal material can produce a secondary crust. The second law of thermodynamics says you’re kidding, right? Concentrations are highly ordered states. Concentrations have a high level of organization and low entropy. The second law of thermodynamics (or thermodynamics 2, as I like to call it) demands systems move toward less ordered states. Entropy always increases –so says Thermodynamics 2! You can smell food because Thermodynamics2 demands that concentration of scent is dispersed. Thermodynamics 2 is why things mix when you shake them. It’s why milk spills, but spilled milk will never just jump back into the glass. –milk in a glass is higher ordered state so migrating that way is against thermodynamics2. In like manner, Fractional Differentiation is taking a less ordered state and evolving it into a highly ordered state. It's the lithospheric equivalent of having a puddle of milk jump into a glass. It’s not scientifically legitimate. Thermodynamics2 demands the lightest of materials are distributed relatively even across the surface.

      I thank you for the great advice but this theory is so low priority for me; not sure if I’ll try to make a decent paper of it or not. Besides, it’s my writing I need to defend! -It’s horrendous... Needs so much work. =( There’s no touching the theory. =)

    • April 1, 2016 4:57:49 AM PDT
    • Forgive a harsh and scientific critique.

      This reads a little like a first draft, like a jotting down of ideas. You need more references for the established facts which I presume are your starting point, you only cite two sources which are websites and neither is especially known for it's integrity. Your references should include written texts and scholarly articles.

      Don't be discouraged by the critique, rise to the challenge of writing properly and defending your theory well.
      Go through and edit this work, so it is more concise and has a better flow, it reads a little bit like a story at the moment, making it's merit as a theory harder to ascertain. Provide a clear structure, an introduction, tell your audience the established facts, you are not talking to a group of well studied scientists so you should either explain the second law of thermodynamics or you should provide a link where people can read it for themselves.

      After your introduction and the established facts, introduce your theory in more detail and the things which stand for and against it. Then sum up in your conclusion. As your audience are for the most part, not scientists, you should presume they have no former knowledge and write in a way that is engaging and easy to understand.

      "Supporting evidence also includes Lake Baikal and the fault line that runs beneath the Mississippi River (New Madrid). Those features don't seem to have much association with global tectonics and are subsequently hard to explain in current contexts" <---- why don't they have much association with global tectonics? Back up your statements with evidence.

      You state fractional differentiation is a violation of physics, why?

      Pull your written work together and then lets see what merit your theory has.

    • April 1, 2016 4:57:47 AM PDT
    • Forgive a harsh and scientific critique.

      This reads a little like a first draft, like a jotting down of ideas. You need more references for the established facts which I presume are your starting point, you only cite two sources which are websites and neither is especially known for it's integrity. Your references should include written texts and scholarly articles.

      You state fractional differentiation is a violation of physics, why?

      Pull your written work together and then lets see what merit your theory has.

      Don't be discouraged by the critique, rise to the challenge of writing properly and defending your theory well.
      Go through and edit this work, so it is more concise and has a better flow, it reads a little bit like a story at the moment, making it's merit as a theory harder to ascertain. Provide a clear structure, an introduction, tell your audience the established facts, you are not talking to a group of well studied scientists so you should either explain the second law of thermodynamics or you should provide a link where people can read it for themselves.

      After your introduction and the established facts, introduce your theory in more detail and the things which stand for and against it. Then sum up in your conclusion. As your audience are for the most part, not scientists, you should presume they have no former knowledge and write in a way that is engaging and easy to understand.

      "Supporting evidence also includes Lake Baikal and the fault line that runs beneath the Mississippi River (New Madrid). Those features don't seem to have much association with global tectonics and are subsequently hard to explain in current contexts" <---- why don't they have much association with global tectonics? Back up your statements with evidence.