These guys haven’t seem to have seen Jurassic Park



After reading this article I am reminded of the movie Jurassic Park.  The novel by Michel Crichton (and to some extent the movie directed by Spielberg)  try to show an interesting interplay between nature and complex networks. What these scientists don’t seem to understand is that there are balances not only in the networks of nature (ecology) but of those of mankind(e.g. food networks,  socio-politico networks, comm networks, ect) .  These networks extend beyond any degree of control that appears to exist within the scope of the GM lab. In fact, a very property of large complex systems (like the one that exists in the universe where this lab resides ) is that there are some variables that are impossible to compensate for.  The book does a great job at illustrating how these variables can attempted to corrected for but ultimately they compound upon themselves.  It is certainly worth a read even if you are familiar with the movie.  Although, I doesn’t appear that these fish will have the same impact as the “dinosaur” monsters created in the book , but it is certain that some degree of oversight has occurred within this laboratory.


Homebuilding: A report on various structures

There are several different ways in which shelters can be constructed.  Most importantly, of these various types each can be created from whatever resources on finds on hand in the environment.  Creating the shelter that best suits the needs of the owner and is constructed in such a manner that is both sustainable, as in it conserves as much resources as possible, and two is durable enough to withstand a high degree of wear and some degree of severe weather.  When considering such a design it is useful to reflect upon the housing that various indigenous peoples and that of certain roving nomadic bands. Of these types it can be divided further into at least 4 major types.

Temporary structures

These are one off shelters of any kind, designed for temporary use, but sometimes can be modified from longer term usage. These usually require the least amount of energy and resources to construct and destruct. Examples:

    1. Lean to
    2. Modern two man tent
    3. Quinzhee(snow shelter)

      Inside a quinzhee shelter

      Inside a quinzhee shelter

Semi permanent structures

These can be quite durable however they tend to be able to be either portable or perhaps are unable to withstand (or be habitable during) bouts of poor weather or other environmental factors. These can require a large amount of effort to construct but typically are created with materials found on site and are designed for minimal maintenance. Examples:

    1. Yurt (portable)
    2. Wigwam
    3. Adirondack or three faced shelters

      An three faced shelter

      A three faced shelter

Short term permanent structures

The major difference here from semi permanent structures being these structures are designed for repeated use however are not intended for year round habitation. These structures may be seasonal or even only used during certain parts of a trans human cycle. These can require resources from off site in order to increase durability and sometimes require annual maintenance to upkeep. Examples:

    1. Yurt (Non portable)
    2. Igloo (In nomadic or trans-human settlements
    3. Mountain Huts

      A yurt made of modern plastic.

      A yurt made of modern plastic.

Long term permanent structures

These are typically the most resource heavy and can require the most materials and expertise to create . These however are used for long term settlement style dwellings. Long term structures are usually designed to stand up to the highest degree of locale environmental challenges. Examples:

    1. Cabin
    2. Stilt house
    3. Long house


      A recreation of a native longhouse

Each of these structure types has certain benefits associated with it. There may be benefits in terms of the speed and ease of construction or in regards to the resources required in order to construct such a structure. These, benefits must be analyzed before construction should commence. If for instance, one lives in a climate that is constantly below freezing then constructing a shelter that is made of ice such as an igloo could become a regular long term permanent structure. However, if part of the year it is too warm or if part of the year it becomes to harsh to live in cold conditions and migration is needed, then such a shelter may become a short term or even constructed to be temporary. There is an implicit assumption made in these lists and that is that the knowledge, tools, and resources are at the disposal of the individual or group that is constructing such a structure. These like with food are part of an intricate network and if built upon to tenuous of a foundation of knowledge or skill may become difficult to reproduce, maintain, or even construct in the first place.

Aside from the resources and expertise required there are other considerations to ponder.  Is this home going to create more work via maintanance, is a good starting question. Also, one must also consider whether the effort in building and maintaining will in some ways keep the person tied down and attached to a certain spot.  This may cause unneeded attachment to a set of circumstances, land, or even a structure.  If a strucutre is impermanent than it may cause less psychological attachment to the structure and way of life that it enables and in some cases requires.  Modern cities are an example of how this can get out of hand.  These are particularly long term settlements that are sometimes built without accessing the long term environmental effects.  This sometimes leads to large scale human decay, waste, and suffering.  This does not always have to be the case with human settlements or structures but becomes the case when a certain mandate or preference to lifestyle is considered before other important factors in structure building.

As always comment and ask questions and more posts of this sort will certainly be in order.

See also

The Problem of Problem Solving blog post and check out this link for more information about this sort of thing.



The problem of problem solving

One important thing to consider about our group is that we do have some views that may oppose those of the “modern or western” world.  This however is not exactly the case.  In fact the only reason this might appear the case is because of perhaps of the axiom we occasionally subscribe to, “If something appears to be broken, or if there is something happening that you disagree with, do not complain, but work towards solving the problem”. The idea is to become active in attaining a solution.

In practice this means learning about many differing sets of skills and becoming used to the idea that sometimes what appears to be an easy quick fix (such as using a power drill or purchasing all of ones food) is actually a short cut that will lead to just more problems down the road. For example, food is an essential for any human and completely needed for survival.  For much of the world food is actually quite sparse at least in terms of what modern agriculture provides to these people. Agriculture however has propped up populations in these areas far beyond what is should be.  In some cases perhaps modern agriculture is the only reason people can survive in certain areas at all. This problem tends to compound upon itself very easily, as I will show. First and foremost, having abundant food will lead to population growth at least in the short term( as small as one generation). This will then extend population beyond which could have been provided if the land was just hunted and gathered upon, small scale subsistence farmed, or even types of nomadic pastoralism.  Then if these people have began a certain type of food gathering method, it may limit the knowledge of other methods from the society.  For example if food being supplied to these people in the form of food being delivered and sold in local markets, they are then more dependent on not merely the food being delivered but all the problems associated in maintainable such a system.  Thus compounding potential problems.  This coupled with the inability or at least limited capacity to get the food from the land and the larger population created by the food network can lead to potential devastating consequences.  This does not have to follow such a slippery doomsayer sort of lay out but it is just used to illustrate the point that interdependent networks that require a knowledge, skill, and resource base that is not possessed by those who require the effects of the network can be limited by changes in this network.  Thereby, it become more difficult for individuals to act as they are limited by agents who seek control to maintain the delicate balance that has been struck.  The Earth does hold abundant resources however and the human capacity for learning and adapting is quite high so fortunately we are able to subsist.


The Ryup aim however is to have a society that is based off of as few of these tenuous networks as possible. One that is hyper adaptable, sustainable and maintains its own skill and knowledge base.  This sometimes seems to conflict with the goals of other groups, however it is not pertinent to object to or even actively fight these groups, what is important is developing the skills,the knowledge, and the resources to a live within these limits even if they are self imposed to attempt to maximize sustainability, adaptability, and ultimately survivability. If you are interested in more of this sort of thinking perhaps you could read Garett Hardin’s Living Within Limits   or contribute to this blog or our upcoming wiki site which will include skill manuals and other related information.