Saturday, 2 June 2018

A Picture of Transition

This article serves as the full and extended notes for my presentation to London Zeitgeist Day 2018 (once the video has been edited and uploaded I will link it here).
These include points that I wanted to mention but couldn't squeeze into the time-slot offered, and full explanations for topics that I had to breeze over. Any later town hall style presentations are likely to benefit from the full story.

I will be exploring the challenges that we face in transitioning to a 100% renewable-energy economy, how this may impact on society, how we can adapt in such a way as to not only ease this transition but end up taking an improved quality of life out of it, and some practical actions that you and I can take in order to move this transition along in a healthy direction.


Free books:

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Still Alive

Now I've learned far more about the world since graduating than I ever did at university in the same timespan, and this weekend I'll be presenting just a few of my thoughts, on a general topic of transitioning our wasteful and unsustainable linear economy into a circular economy founded upon 100% renewable energy. In summary, it's certainly necessary, but definitely not easy.
The subject deserves at least an hour for me to get all my points across clearly, but I have less than half of that to deliver it, so I intend to post my notes here as a companion guide at the same time. Stay tuned for more.

Plot-hole filler:

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Evolution of 3D Printing

3D printing, that amazing technology that has recently grasped the media's attention, evoking comparisons to Star Trek's 'replicator' that could assemble any known object out of its basic molecules. Behind all the hype, what can it do, and will it really change our world?

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Winter Finishing Touches on a Windbreak

So, for a well-overdue update of what's happened this winter of 2012 to '13, some of the useful things I learned, whether hard lessons or delightful ones, are as follows:
While I saw most of the annual plants that I put out demolished either by slugs or sheep, and only got a few halfway-decent fruit from Alpine Strawberries in their first year of planting, the only significant food crop that I was able to grow in spite of all that and the mostly unfettered hard winds came from a very unexpected place. A bunch of radish seeds that I had sowed on compost mostly next to a plum tree and a few other spots were taking off very healthily.
I had mistaken them for turnip plants at the start of autumn when they brought out lots of pink flowers, but upon pulling one out to thin them down, I discovered that not only were they radishes, but the root growth was utterly terrible, no larger than a single chick pea and very woody by the time the plant was in flower, so I left them to self-seed, until I got this surprise as their flowers fruited...
It turns out that radishes grow not only an edible root crop, but also some tasty little seed pods (only roughly similar pea pods in shape), which were very nice when sliced into salads.
See the root of the plant that I plucked these off of; it was tiny in proportion to the above-ground part of this plant, although I shouldn't really be surprised when growing root crops in rocky soil.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Prep to Prototype

On the way to prototyping my ducted wind turbine design, there have been a few silly setbacks as usual with 3D printing, and that's before even mentioning how awkward part sourcing is when no one supplier ever has everything you need, and I end up forced to waste postage on a few orders just to get electronics to build a data-logging controller with. Also I'm writing this for a second time since Blogger ate my post by erroneously bringing up a blank workspace one morning after I was 90% through this post, and saving over it before I could close the tab. Unlike those lovely etherpads, there was no writing history to revert back to.

I've brought this reprap to its working limits in a couple of different ways over the last few weeks, firstly with a bespoke drill-guide that I made in a similar way to the dremel cutting kit only super-sized so as to allow a cheap hammer drill to make nicely perpendicular holes in the absence of a drill press.
A trouble with this print is its huge width compared to the narrow surface area actually in contact with the print surface, which meant that, being a PLA prototype, it could barely adhere to the kapton-taped surface strongly enough to stay down. When some overhanging edges started to curl up slightly, the resulting light collisions with the extruder head caused the wider of two parts to start lifting up off the printbed with an audible crack. I found a quick fix to keep that part in place before the whole surface dislodged.
Bulldog clips and small allen keys were handy, so they held the part down.
This print was eventually successful, but not before another limit in size surprised me.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Practical Plants

A new website launched in the last month that could be a powerful tool for Permaculture designers worldwide. At Practical Plants, produced by a web developer and a writer who are together also building an organic farm in northern Spain, the huge database provided by Plants For A Future has been forked in a wiki format, while retaining database-search functionality and adding a beautifully-styled new interface, so that hopefully the information brought from that old database can be improved by weeding out inaccurate or incomplete information and using better sources.
Practical Plants beta homepage
While PFAF has primarily focused on species appropriate for a temperate climate, Practical Plants aims to cover information on species in all climates on Earth, while adding other useful structural information to the database such as companion-planting guilds. Various practical uses of each plant will now be linked clearly to relevant parts of the plant, for instance to help people avoid eating unpalatable or toxic bits of some plants. This extra structure needs some tidying to install though since it wasn't already in the existing database structure, so why not help out when you have a moment?

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Every Sheep Has a Silver Lining

With the Elaeagnus shrubs that suffered greatly after I planted them outdoors a few months ago, for a pair of evergreen species to lose most of their leaves during spring, I was understandably worried that they would die due to root shock and waterlogged soil.
What's more, they seemed to be completely over-run by local 'weeds' to the point that I couldn't see this one.

However, since the tiny forest garden that I'm pioneering was slightly chewed up by marauding sheep a couple of weeks ago, I've spotted signs that they are getting some strength back, and noticed some of the other plants that I stuck out growing vigorously.