Monday, December 23, 2013

Einstein's Refrigerator

The absorption refrigerator was invented in 1859 and has been improved upon greatly since, with Einstein himself deigning to participate in a patent in the 1920’s, long after his fame was assured.  In Kenya in 1969 we had no running water, no electricity, and no indoor Johnny.  But we did have a pressure lamp for light and an absorption refrigerator, both powered by kerosene.   The wick driving the full size refrigerator was about 1¼” in diameter and it burned continuously 24 hours a day.  We could make ice cubes and keep our food cold.  With a Primus camping stove to heat our bath water, we were all set.

Now I am using a frost free refrigerator that is powered by electricity generated far away at about 35% fuel efficiency, with another efficiency drop over power lines, and another drop in my compressor.  I am guessing the same fossil fuel could drive three refrigerators if burned locally using a zero maintenance absorption refrigerator.  Don’t even get me started on how much energy it takes to get fossil fuel from deep in the ground to point of use.

So why did Einstein take time out from his search for a unified theory of everything to work on a patent for a refrigerator?  Well for one thing, food preservation is pretty important.  When power went out for 4 days in our house, we were able to survive with candles, and residual water pressure, and cistern water.  But we were in a panic about our freezer thawing out in July heat.  (I will return to this theme soon in a post about cold storage for potatoes in Bangladesh using tri-generation, but for now let’s stay on track with our absorption refrigerator.)  So we installed a propane generator to see us through such power outages.

But what happens if the propane runs out in an extended outage?  Well unbeknownst to me, there is an even simpler intermittent absorption design that can use wood or solar heat in a relatively short burn to drive a refrigerator or freezer.  In this design the cooling starts when the heat is removed.  So after a one hour wood burn or a 4 hour solar run, the work of making ice begins.  So in a world without grid power, I can have a refrigerator that is run by burning twigs once a day in a small firebox on my back porch.  Want to make ice for more than one appliance or to sell?  Fire it up two or three times a day.  That is if I go to the trouble of designing and building a finished product.

I think I will call this effort SunWood Ice.  And maybe it can exist as a Fusion Enterprise without any inc. or LLC after it.  Just an enterprise to make something locally that doesn’t need fossil fuel to run.

Somehow I think Einstein would approve.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Zoning, Suburban Sprawl & Laying Hens

We often lament the dehumanization of our communities, with nobody sitting on the front porch and no conversations around the cracker barrel.  Often we blame this on the automobile or the oil lobby or some other interest group and not without some justification.  But one of the contributing factors is zoning law, which made the corner store illegal and put a real crimp on home industries.  Yes this has tidied up the neighborhood but do we really want it to be so sterile that we only see people on Facebook or at work?
This blog is pointed toward the formation of Fusion Enterprises which have one defining characteristic, they put humanity first, and this often means that they are local.  Local people using resources that are in abundance to make things and provide services for local people (and maybe some left over for export to the extended family).  We will discuss the other attributes of Fusion Enterprises as we go along, but for today I just want to look at zoning.  Zoning is something that can be addressed locally and we don’t have to flail our arms in the air in exasperation  because we can’t  bring down the Oligarchy that is ruling us, you know MiLords.  Not to say that MiLords will not fight us when we take over local zoning, but they will have to wage 10,000 little battles and we will be on home turf (sort of like why we had a big advantage over King George III in the 1770’s).

Frankly fighting this battle is not high on my personal list.  I am assuming that if things get really tough and people start making things locally, nobody is going to be enforcing zoning laws.  But for those of you who like to duke it out with the County Board of Supervisors or the City Council, I applaud your efforts to get zoning laws ready for the coming era, when Fusion Enterprises will come into their own.  A good place to start might be fighting for the right to run chickens in your back yard.  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

MiLords Are Not United

The ancient Greeks figured it out and took steps to keep their democracy from being swamped by an Oligarchy of elites.  There is you see, an identified “Iron Law of Oligarchy,” which states:  “Who says organization says oligarchy.” A corollary to this statement is that a large complex democracy cannot exist.  It must transform into an Oligarchy.  This is highly relevant to our present condition where we are at the mercy of .1% or one in a thousand.  I choose to call this powerful minority MiLords, since a mil is one thousandth of a unit. 

Setting aside the question of our ever having been a democracy, we can agree that the terms of engagement are at a crisis point with MiLords controlling an ever increasing share of wealth and using that wealth to wield power.   Now before you shake your head and click on to another story, I want to say one thing: this is not a conspiracy in the purest sense of the term.  I am not suggesting that there is a unified movement of the very rich designed to control every aspect of our lives.  They are only united in one singular goal and that is what Winters calls the “Income Defense Industry.”

You see MiLords are not united on much else.  Their social agendas do not match.  Their political agendas are practical not ideological so there is no world standard.  It is a “Warring Oligarchy” that only comes together to defend the borders of wealth.  So on many issues, MiLords let us duke it out.  In fact they are quite happy that we have something to fight about so that we do not pay too much attention to their ultimate agenda.  They love it when conservatives lob bombs at liberals calling them socialists and liberals chastise conservatives for their inhumanity.  In the end they do not have to finance bread and circuses.  They can sit back and enjoy the circus put on by zealots from all quarters.

The problem would be much easier to address if MiLords were united.  We could clearly identify them as the oppressors and launch a revolution.  But their disunity protects them and makes it extremely difficult to find a place to stand to move a lever let alone identify a fulcrum to lean against.  To this dilemma I suggest two strategies.

The first is to simply refuse to play their game which is centered around a contrivance called money.  Money that is rooted in debt, compounded by a fractional reserve system that must escalate to survive.  A Ponzi scheme that in its present iteration has taken 100 years to blow up.  We can choose Visualizing Intrinsic Value Alignment instead and work to create a Fusion Economy.  We can support productivity over exploitation, well being over consumerism, etc.  This is a grass roots approach and must avoid being corralled by a “movement” lest it succumb to the Iron Law of Oligarchy.

The second strategy is to take a lesson from MiLords and unite behind our goal to disempower MiLords.  To do this means setting aside our religious, economic, political and social differences to be fought out on a different battle field.   We cannot allow MiLords to taunt us into disbanding.   If MiLords use myths to keep us bound into factions, then we must demystify our world.  It is a myth that we live in a democracy for example and to identify and understand the Oligarchy is a step toward dispelling the myth.

I suggest that the starting point is to name the Oligarchy.  I have settled upon MiLords but that will not likely be the final accepted designation.  It is vital that there be an agreed upon term so that we can get on with the task of defining this “Warring Oligarchy.”  The name must embody the fact that this is a very narrowly construed Oligarchy with Income Defense as its goal.  It is more insidious than a conspiracy.  And it has over reached.  Income Defense has been replaced by Wealth Abrogation.  Greed is rotting the log upon which MiLords stand.  No longer content with 10 to 1 disparities in income they are striving for 400 to 1.

And it will be their downfall.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Revolution: Will It Happen In My Lifetime?

Revolution: Noun
1. An overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.

2. Sociology  a radical and pervasive change in society and the social structure, especially one made suddenly and often accompanied by violence.

The question I would like to address here is this: can we the people foment a non-violent revolution that will bring about much needed radical and pervasive change in our social, economic and political structure?
In my first entry, I have outlined seven areas of focus for this blog and the list does not include revolution.  Intrinsic to the list, however, is the notion that investigation into and critical thinking about these seven disciplines, by a small minority of folks, will set the stage for profound change in our society.  Some posit that even as few as 5% of the population can influence direction and tip the balance toward profound change.  My hope is that we can think our way toward action oriented strategies and avoid the chaos, destruction and bloodshed that could occur as the culmination of our present folly.

My premise is this: we are living under an oligarchy made up of large corporations (food production chain, pharma, chemical, energy, etc.), a web of financial entities (Goldman Sachs and the like), mega-banks (JP Morgan, etc.) and last but not least, Central Banks (our own dear Federal Reserve and its cousins all over the world).  In this construction of the way things are, it really doesn’t matter much whether a Democrat or Republican is in power.  It does matter a lot that we can be distracted by the discord between them, but ultimately they are there to do the will of the Oligarchy.
For instance, Obama is finally starting to make some noise about the obscene disparities in wealth distribution, but his own Attorney General, chief law enforcement officer of the land, has declared in testimony before congress that he will not prosecute known crimes by “Banksters” (not his term) since it would hurt the world economy.  Republicans are more forthright in their support of the wealthy, wrapping themselves in the flag of free enterprise, but for all practical purposes there is very little difference in what would have happened under McCain/Romney or Obama.  The maverick McCain was already “tamed” during the time leading up to the election of 2008 and Romney… well let’s just say that Romney was drinking (swimming in?)the cool aid and seemingly had no idea he was running to be the stooge, not President.

So, if your response to what is going on is to rant against Republicans for propagating wealth distribution upwards (with trickle down to create more minimum wage jobs), or against Democrats for propagating wealth downwards (you know, Socialism, ugh), then you are falling into a trap (for sure I am guilty of doing this at times) designed by the Oligarchy to keep us docile.  Ferociously docile, but docile for all intents and purposes.  I implore you to take the time to get the facts and apply critical thinking.  Go back in history and look at the roots of money and banking.
If you are looking for a short cut, just go back 100 years to the formation of the Federal Reserve and come forward through the myriad attempts to curb the excessive power granted this a private bank, and the Oligarchy’s responses often cloaked in “reform” legislation.  Take a stop along the way to study the confiscation of Gold (by Democrat FDR) at one price and setting the price six months later at a level 75% higher, and the Securities Laws of the early 30’s, and Bretton Woods (1944) elevating the dollar to reserve currency status, and Nixon taking us off Gold and establishing Petrodollars, and the final bringing down of the walls separating banking, finance and insurance (signed into law by President Clinton).  If you’re really keen, take a look at the efforts to control the world order with patent law using the World Trade Organization as the war horse.

If you accept the premise that we are no longer a free society with a democratic form of government, then we can turn to the question of revolution and address the issue of violence.  My second premise is that an organized violent revolution will not occur and even if it did, would be crushed with impunity under the freedom flag of our sacred constitution.  It will not occur because the gun rights folks have been captured by the Oligarchy and will go down shooting in defense of property rights, defending their one acre against “socialists,” while the corporations with 10,000 acres smile benevolently from their bunkers.  Even if it did occur, the razor wire enclosures to squelch the revolution have already been built and ammunition has already been bought up.  And military coups, not part of our lexicon, would be preempted by the Oligarchy. 

This is not to say that there will not be violence.  It is simply to say that I do not see much hope in relying upon a violent uprising to replace the present order with anything revolutionary.  If it is attempted, it will be squelched.  If it were to “succeed” against all odds, the subsequent societal structures would be shaped by the very powers that we are subject to now.   I posit that centralized mega movements are subject to manipulation. I suggest therefore that we look for grass roots actions that can shape the future organically and be spread biologically from cell to cell, without a manifesto and without violence.  Impossible you say?  Perhaps you are right.  But can we try?

Fusion Enterprise
I put forward a term to describe an old way of doing business.  An old way based on credit instead of debt, innovation in the commons instead of patent controls, well being instead of consumerism, intrinsic value instead of paper derivatives, respect for our world instead of exploitation of commodities, and acceptance of the other instead of religious fundamentalism.  (I borrow this term, Fusion Enterprise, from David Martin ( and encourage you to read his blog.)  It is out of this mix that I have coined the phrase Visualizing Intrinsic Value Alignment (VIVA).

My attempt to visualize a world made up of Fusion Enterprises will flow through a continued discussion of the seven topics outlined more than a year ago.  I welcome your thoughts.  I only ask you to set aside the rancor of debates pitting Liberal Socialist against Conservative Reactionaries.  If that is where you want to go with this, you are totally missing the point.  Take it elsewhere, I beg you.  You can argue that a violent uprising is the only way to succeed (and I will disagree) but please don’t argue that we simply need to squash the Tea Party and get the House under Democratic control or that all we need to do is hang Liberals and impeach Obama.  You will be succumbing to the Oligarchy’s desire to divide and subjugate.  I suggest that if we engage sincerely we will find that we have similar ideas about what our intrinsic values are.  And we can get on with the business of shaping our future and rise above the machinations of President Snow (yes we can learn something from the Hunger Games).