Green nappies/diapers?

Given our level of technology and the public interest in sustainable technology, it would seem like a good time to introduce nappies/diapers that can go into compost or bio-digesting sewage systems.

Lots of people opt for old fashioned cloth nappies rather than spend thousands of dollars on so called “disposables” that aren’t. But not everyone has the time and energy to go through the rinsing, soaking and washing.

The plastic outer of “disposables” can be made from bio-plasticcompost1 sourced from hemp. The absorbent filling from sphagnum moss or other forms of bio-plastics. Then, rather than being a long term bio-hazard sitting around in land fills for thousands of years, or washing yet more plastic into the ocean, the whole thing can compost away.

Together with new positive-net (energy) housing villages with the built in bio-composting, sometimes called bio-digesting or anaerobic digesting septic systems, baby’s waste can now contribute to generating methane in the bio-digester that will power the Stirling engine that runs the house, shed and business.

By connecting the household septic to power generation, the methane that is produced when sewage decomposes is collected and burnt. It produces power and CO2. The CO2 can then be piped into a green house or the outlet otherwise directed into a garden, where more of the by-product greenhouse gasses are processed naturally.

It’s another advantage of distributed power systems and management over centralised, privatised systems.

Posted in environmentality, lateforbreakfast, partnership society, sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Leave the money on the fridge, Winthrop.

Dear Winthrop. I used to patronise a chemist that sells your products. I used to go there for all my prescriptions. Since this Dr Angela Lanfranchi who is the spokes orc at World Congress of wankspanners Families is employed by your Aventis institution and our Government insists on ignoring the separation of church and state, I have no other choice than to vote as a consumer and no longer shop there or use any of your products. Best wishes for the future.

From the SMH article regarding Senator Eric “40 applications a month” Abetz and these fundamentalist excrement:

The abortion-breast cancer theory has been rejected by Cancer Australia, the World Health Organisation, the US National Cancer Institute, Britain’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and health authorities in Victoria and NSW. Senator Abetz, who is openly anti-abortion, is involved with this year’s “World Congress of Families” event to be held in Melbourne this month. One of the topics to be discussed is abortion and breast cancer.

Winthrop and Sanofi Aventis are a conglomerate.

That same WCF support the anti-gay laws in Uganda and Russia. I know I joke about our Government thinking it’s the 1750’s, but really. This is just beyond the pale.

Posted in Australia, ausvotes, social justice, what's wrong with these people? | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Kevin Andrews’ cowardly attack on disabled is motivated by religious money grubbing.

In recent days Australia’s Minister for Social Services has made yet another attack on the poorest and most marginalised people in the country. If you’ve been reading the news you’ll recall that these attacks began back before Christmas, when cuts to services and payments were rumoured.

Those of you who read International news will be aware that very similar cuts and changes are happening in the UK. Also at the behest of the Murdoch media and its tory toadies. In the UK these policies have been linked to increases in suicide amongst disabled people. But you won’t hear Rupert Murdoch complaining about that. He probably considers them to be “poor competitors.” Because life in the West is all about competing for that minimum wage job or a contract in a cube farm, while the 0.1% sit back and watch the interest on their Caymans’ accounts roll in.

People on a disability pension are disabled. They already suffer from a physical or mental condition that prevents them participating in the economy, as the media would put it. They’re disabled.

This latest attack specifically targets those living with depression and anxiety. People whose symptoms of anxiety and or depression have made it impossible for them to hold down a job. Andrews and McClure, neither of whom are psychologists, opine that since depression and anxiety are considered episodic that therefore there will be periods when people suffering from these conditions will be between episodes and able to hold down a job. That’s how they’re trying to sell their review.

There are already thousands of able bodied people who can’t find jobs, because there simply are not enough jobs. Insulting people publicly with taunts about “get off the couch” might deflect some attention from governmental mismanagement, but it won’t change the unemployment numbers. Kicking people off DSP will make the unemployment figures worse. This will be good for mill owners complaining about the minimum wage being too high or otherwise seeking to reverse Australia’s social development.

In addition to victimising people who are already disabled and affected by stigma and symptoms, what this does is funnel millions more dollars into religious organisations.

A person suffering from mental illness that is periodically better or worse is not likely to be able to compete successfully in the work force. Unless the government is planning on handing out funding to employers willing to take on people living with disabling mental illness. That doesn’t seem likely since they’ve declined to fund SPC and others just to stay in operation.

There is already a system in place for assisting those who are able to return to work. The Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service has 160 offices around Australia and provides the necessary services to people who can look to get back to work. But that’s a Commonwealth, public service. The Australian government, increasingly in bed with religious organisations such as those implicated in the school chaplains program, seeks to cut public and secular funding in favour of bible bashers.

If you take a bit of a look at our Mr McClure, this all starts to make a bit more sense. Patrick McClure has been associated with Mission Australia, among other religious organisations. You may recall that Mission is involved in the so called work for the dole forced labour. That organisation also runs job seeker and housing agencies. They recieve funding from the Federal Government to operate these businesses as well as being religious and able to dodge paying tax on their profit.

Putting people with specific mental health disabilities onto a “working age payment” puts them under more pressure which is likely to make their symptoms worse. That increases the burden for them and their families as well as increasing health care costs to the public. Employers are unlikely to take on someone who has “episodes.” This means that more than 200,000 more people will be on the books at Mission and Salvo’s job agencies at a cost of something like $1,000 per week each, to the taxpayer.

It’s a bloody brilliant way of fattening the bottom line of Andrews’ religious mates. Choosing a group of people already having trouble keeping their heads above water, unlikely to be able to mount a vigorous defence against these policies. People who have been stigmatised and degraded repeatedly in the Murdoch media, that has sought to create a stereotypical belief that the disabled are all lazy rorters who choose to be ill rather than work. Taking advantage of a picture that has gradually and carefully been built up over a long time, to serve exactly this purpose. Then subject them to a punitive system that results in more opportunity for religious exploitation.

The question will be, are Aussies vindictive enough to be willing to pay a grand a head for this little endeavour?

If we were seriously considering the welfare of human beings the best and simplest option would be to pay a basic living income, as is being discussed in Switzerland. But this is not about the well being of people. This is a ruse for a business deal. A bloody lucrative one at that.

Posted in Australia, ausvotes, social justice, sock puppets, the bad joke, what's wrong with these people? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Underground Cities


Interesting concept. Repurposing an old mine to serve as an underground city in extreme conditions.
I’m inclined to think that a lot of the structural issues could be solved by making subterrainian buildings only a few storeys deep, rather than hundreds of feet. They’d get natural sunlight that way, too.

Originally posted on Cities of the future :

Hi everybody!

I want to show you a different way to connect the past with the future.

If i ask you to think about an underground city, you realize that i’m talking about an ancient city. It isn’t. This way of building a city is not only an ancient way, but also our minds are projecting cities that will be able to transform humans in ants.

This is not new, because  the principal city’s half of transport is the underground, but i want to talk about this new idea, because i think it could be interesting!

If the population continue to grow, we will need to discover new ways to build our cities, and this could be a solution, in prevision of a self-sufficient underground city.

An interesting project is proposed by a russian architect, Ab Elise, that has designed a city to be constructed 550-meters deep in an abandoned…

View original 108 more words

Posted in Uncategorized

3D printing. The future is now.

A 3D printer.

A 3D printer.

This is a 3D printer. Full article. If you haven’t seen these around, it’s worth doing a bit of reading. The basic idea is that instead of ink on a flat surface, the printer uses extruded plastic to build up a 3 dimensional object. Most, like the one above, are fairly small.

Some are smaller, like a 3D printing pen.

Here’s a video of another type that can print with felt. Read more. This system is also capable of including metal parts to include speakers, among other things.

Metal printing.

Metal printing.

3D printers can also be used for creating metal parts. The Japanese are trying it out for heavy industry and robotics.

They’re not the only ones. NASA have printed and tested 3D printed parts for launch rockets.

3D printing is not only for toys and industrial parts.


Prosthetic limbs can and are being 3D printed, to provide injured people with assistance at a much lower cost than conventional prosthetics. And if a part breaks, another can be printed. Perhaps even from the same material, recycled.

Wow, this is a heart wrencher of a 3D Printing story. We have already seen many prosthetics 3D Printed in the past, from legs, to hands, to eyes, to noses. In my opinion this is probably the most impressive 3D printed prosthetic to date. An organization called Not Impossible Labs, whose slogan is “Technology For The Sake of Humanity,” has 3D Printed an entire Prosthetic arm. Not only that but these arms are being printed out in bulk for amputees in war torn Sudan.

Other designers worked on a different scale.

In China houses are being printed at the rate of 10 in one day. These homes are fairly simple structures, made from concrete. There are a lot of other materials being investigated for 3D building, including foams and even silk. What I’d really like to see Australia do is use hempcrete. Hemp in building is a fantastic material, resistant to termites, damp and fire as well as being a natural product and carbon sink.

I’m excited to see technology developing that will allow various types of used plastics to be recycled for use in 3D printers. One type uses old milk containers. Hopefully it won’t be long before a printer for bio-plastics will be available. That’s plastic made out of organic materials like hemp, soy, apricot stones or nut shells.

In typical consumer fashion, some companies are working on developing 3D printers for home use. This is not necessary, a printer at home would spend most of its time idle. A mechanics’ institute or even community centre or library could house a few different types of 3D printers and recycling systems for public use. The housing and industrial printers could be community owned and leased or shared around, since they work so fast the one machine could move between new building sites.

Imagine living in a home that you own because it’s so affordable, made with 3D printed hempcrete and having all the utilities and technology you need. Everything from bio-digesting sewage and grey water recycling to solar to high speed internet cabling is included in the planning and construction. When you would like a new smart phone, so you select a design from the internet and take an old phone or a few other bits and pieces up to the library. The hoppers take the things apart, sort and prepare the materials. The public printer goes to work and in a few minutes you have your new phone.

Personally I’d prefer to see these open source designs focus on durability and include options for upgrading. But when the source materials are largely recycled or organic and the energy to run the printer comes from solar power, it wouldn’t really matter. Gone are the days of shipping container loads of cheap fossil fuel plastics all over the planet. You can produce the things you need locally. You can choose from a variety of different blueprints. The scope for open source and independent design is huge. Almost anyone can create, test and develop things using this technology. It’s one of the most incredible new technologies around. Best thing since sliced bread.

When we’re using them to print robots to help automate our labour, even better.

Posted in environmentality, Go for it!, sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Paramedic protest Stat!

Ambulance protest

All the ambulances around here are currently decorated with political graffiti. This one is about paramedics being taken to court by the State Government, (Yes we’re looking at you Denis Napthine) to keep them from talking to the media about cuts to funding and conditions.

See, we have money to spend on private prisons, on perks for politicians, on social media campaigns, on subsidies for big business. But we don’t have money to pay those who care for us when our lives are at stake. In fact, we take these people for granted and treat them like they’re disposable.

Of course if we legalised cannabis we could use the savings in the health budget to adequately fund and pay the ambulance service. But then how would be find enough people to fill the private prisons? And never mind that the war on drugs has never worked anywhere, ever, we’ll just keep throwing billions of dollars at it in cheap stunts to get lazy, useless politicians like Denis Napthine re-elected.

I promised the guys in the ambulance that I’d blog the photo and stick it up the Liberals. For those of you who are overseas, the Liberal Party in Australia is actually retrogressive like the Republicans in the US. Even the party name is a blatant lie. Rather than invest in funding and services that could make Australia safer and more secure for everyone, they’ll cut spending on necessary public services in order to give tax breaks to their wealthy mates.

If I’d wanted to live in the US I’d have moved there. Give me back my Australia of the fair go and a bloody community where people looked out for each other. This social Darwinism of poor competitors and rich parasites is a bloody disaster. Kill it before it kills the entire planet.

Posted in Australia, social justice, sock puppets, sustainable community, what's wrong with these people? | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Legalise cannabis so we don’t have to cut pensions

Kevin Andrews is talking about kicking 20,000 people off disability in Australia. Let’s leave aside for the moment that these are 20,000 people whose lives are already so fucked up that they are disabled. They live with stigma and symptoms of their disability.

Say your average DSP is 20k. It’s not, it’s more like 19kpa, but we’ll round it up for the sake of simplicity.


Keeping someone incarcerated takes about $200,000 per year. The figures are from $100,000 to $300,000 depending on where they are and who they are, but the average tends to be higher than not. But we’ll round it down to 200k to make this simpler.

Since our State governments have so little vision for leadership they’ve been running on platforms of law and order in recent years. Increases in penalties for marijuana and the infamous biker laws are examples. Passed in States where the governments have declined to extend criminal investigations into the government itself because too many representatives and their staff are being sacked for breaking the law.

cannabis recolte 300

For every person doing time for growing or selling weed, we could have ten people living on welfare or disability, still participating in society. Still paying their rent, paying their bills, buying their food, putting that money back into the community.

When Australia legalises cannabis, for every 2,000 people who are not locked up we’ll be able to fund 20,000 disability pensioners or aged pensioners or unemployed people. Without any other cuts.

For the government to avoid considering this option in the 21st century, given what we now know about the effects and medical uses of cannabis and given the current state of the economy, would be frankly stupid.

Posted in Australia, ausvotes, environmentality, social justice, sock puppets, sustainable community, what's wrong with these people? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Late for breakfast

The other day I was sharing some articles on G plus relating to zero net and pos net building. Someone asked me how we were going with the sustainable development and I told him we’re networking the whole thing. He’s asked to be included in the planning and asked what we’re calling it. I’ve been kicking around a few hashtags like #village and #posnet and considering names like sustainable living village development. Which is a bit of a mouthful. We ended up with that tired old joke about call me anything, just don’t call me late for breakfast. So in the spirit of a piss take, this being Australia and all, I’ll use the tag late for breakfast in posts relating to this whole village enterprise, in future.

Posted in environmentality, Go for it!, partnership society, sustainable community | Tagged , , , , ,

Coconut oil as deodorant.

coconut-oilI’ve been hearing about this for a while, from various people. This week I finally tried it. I can’t believe how well it works!

When I say “oil” it’s not like the olive oil you pour into a pan but I guess no one’s going to go for “coconut lard” these days. We haven’t sufficiently overcome the misinformation about fat that led to the HFCS boom.

Some of you will have a laugh that it took me so long to try it, since so many people are talking about coconut oil and finding it to be so good. Not only is it effective, it’s cheap and so much better than the aluminium based deodorants. Quite frankly, I’m amazed.

I’ve put a spoonful in a little container in the bathroom, rather than stand in the pantry every morning. It only takes a small amount to do the job as a deodorant but the stuff is also great for dry skin and a tiny bit melted on your fingers works beautifully to calm frizzy hair. The one I have is a refined, organic coconut oil. It has no fragrance at all. Some of my friends have some other type, perhaps the unrefined one? Anyways, one woman said there was a subtle smell, like the neighbour was baking cookies. It certainly doesn’t get in the way of perfume or fragrance.

Hopefully humanity will manage to organise growing coconuts in a more sustainable manner than the palm oil plantations that are causing enormous damage to the environment. Perhaps the fact that a little goes a long way will be a selling point for coconut oil? There’s quite a few brands of Fair Trade coconut oil available, thankfully. Of course rethinking dominator culture and colonialism will help more. In the long run, that’s the only way forward for us unless we want to live in a poisoned wasteland in perpetual war. That’s a fine future if you’re a psychopath but for the 99.9% of humanity who don’t own oil fields and who actually give a damn about each other and the environment it’s a flat out nightmare.

Good thing we have alternatives. Good thing we can get networking and organise ourselves to take the Transition Towns movement, permaculture and sustainable design to the next level now. And if that sounds contrived, well, it is. I’m living in Australia at the moment, watching what our elected representatives are doing with the environment and social welfare and I must say, it’s depressing in the extreme. To see 17th century ideologies promoted and informing governance in the 21st, at a time when we could be using research based policy to resolve our problems… I’m struggling to stay positive right now. Small victories, like realising you can use a safe, non-toxic, natural product as a really effective deodorant, are worth writing about.

And if it means the big mining and smelting companies, not to mention the international banking kleptocracy that organised warehousing of metals in order to fabricate scarcity, take a hit in their profits… All the better. To think there are people apparently lucid enough to put their pants on in the morning, who think that a dollar is more important than breathable air or drinkable water… It’s mind boggling how artificial some people’s lives have become. We’re a gregarious primate species that evolved over 3 million years walking around in extended family groups. Now days we put on pants and go to “work” in a cube farm or on mahogany row, and think that we’re some how separate from the rest of the ecosystem. Every time a tornado wipes out a town, it’s a reminder that we are just as much a part of life on this planet as a cockroach. And in some cases, it would seem, about as sentient.

Posted in playing with food, sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Transport of the future

I’ve spent hours today looking through videos of some fantastic designs. It started with someone reminding me of Big Dog, but soon ended up about transport. (Oh, turn down the volume on that video because some of the lyrics are dreadful. :-(( )

This is part of the conversation about the Sustainable Village Development Network which is getting off the ground at the moment. You know all those hashtags about locavore, organic and handmade? You know those movements like sustainable design, Occupy and Transition Towns? It’s taking those to the next stage using technology that’s already available.

Naturally distribution and transport are part of a network of sustainably designed, environmentally friendly villages and towns. Years ago I’d seen a documentary on some sort of plane that flew at very low altitude, so it could carry much more stuff using much less fuel. Searching around and asking friends, I was referred to the Ekranoplan. It’s the first Russian ground effect vehicle.

These are massive military craft developed and built after WW2. The big one here was nicknamed the Caspian Sea Monster by US intelligence who used to see them in photographs. It can carry twice as much cargo as an ordinary plane using half as much fuel. Great idea.

Here’s a video of a couple of models, demonstrating how the ground effect works.

This is the Alexseiev A 90 Orlyonok. It can also fly at some altitude and is smaller than the so called Caspian Monster.

After the end of the cold war the technology has transformed and is being more widely used. Here is it in a very different form. A French prototype of a one or two person transport called a WIG or Wind In Ground effect. This is twenty years old.

Korea has built this magnificent craft that can fly at up to 200kph with a range of 800 kilometres. It carries five people on 25 litres of fuel per hour. Transports like this are a fantastic idea around South East Asia for all the island hopping.

At this point I was thinking of the new Airbus e-fan that’s being built, using electric engines, carrying two people. How would this look as a solar craft? Solar Impulse and SolarFlight Sunseeker are both working on this, having flown prototypes.

Might it be easier to fly a design that is already demonstrated to require less energy for greater lift?

Well, it turns out the Japanese, as usual, are one step ahead of us. They’re working on a solar powered WIG train.

The prototype was tested in 2001. Currently they’re trialling a system that transports six passengers at 350 kph. By 2020 the aim is to have a full blown train, carrying up to 325 people at 500kph. It’s designed to incorporate solar cells and wind turbines in the rail system so it’s a power plant as well as public transport.

When the network of sustainable towns and villages is being built, systems like this can carry supplies and later serve as free public transport for those wishing to travel or to distribute goods. Given how flat much of the landscape in Australia is, these things could replace an enormous number of trucks and buses. Maybe even cars? We can 3D print them from hemp bio-plastic and recycled metals, powered by the sun.

Because the housing is 3D printed in hempcrete and other environmentally friendly materials, incorporating all the utilities like solar, wind, water catchment and bio-digesting sewage, the cost of living will be minimal. This means the work overhead will also be minimal and debt will be abolished. This leaves people free to spend their time with their families, engaging in hobbies or playing at anything that interests them. A couple of people in the conversation today suggested metal working, casting in particular. Robots can play a big part and the technology is incorporated in an unobtrusive manner. It’s similar to the Venus Project which uses technology to solve humanity’s problems and live respectfully in the environment. The network is a way of beginning building by side stepping political and paradigmatic issues. Start small, from the bottom up.

Again, all of this is existing technology. None of it is fantasy. As for the new designs the prototypes are tested as shown in the videos above. It’s not US Libertarian or Utopia as there will be plenty of regulation, however, it will be research based regulation. More like Norway than Texas. I’ll be writing more on this in coming weeks.

What we need now is simply a bit more networking to plug more people in to the current movements.

It’s an exciting time.

Posted in environmentality, Go for it!, green thumbs, partnership society, social justice, sustainable community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,