Monthly Archives: July 2014

Outside the Boxcutter

This is a one off that I am selling on ebay.   it is a prototype for a utilty knife based on the Hole in one chassis.  It features a retro screw lock and rough finish on the blade holder.  I have been carrying this around for a few months now and am happy with how it performs.  I am building a newer prototype with a toggle blade lock.

This is one very unique utility bladed folderuntitled event - 7 untitled event - 5 untitled event - 1

Buckminster Fuller Challenge Entry

Here is the answers I gave to the BFI Challenge:


Visionary – put forth an original idea or synthesize existing ideas into a new strategy that creatively addresses a critical need
redirecting human decision making rapidly towards whole system based laws and practices.  empowering the disempowered through restructuring of relationship.

Comprehensive – apply a whole-systems approach to the design and implementation process and aim to address multiple goals, requirements and conditions in a holistic way this will be done by redirecting concentrations of awareness and will to create broader awareness quickly as the patterns emerge and the value of adopting them is realized.

Anticipatory – factor in critical future trends and needs as well as the projected impacts of implementation in the short and long term
the current paradigm is ignore all the red lights till we crash.  what is needed is a plan for rapid deceleration of environmentally degrading activites by factoring all the costs into the decision to pursue current cannibalistic and unsustainable goals.   realizing goals through mass bottom up participation

Ecologically Responsible – enhance the ability of natural systems to regenerate
Feasible – rely on current technology, existing resources and a solid team capable of implementing the project
Verifiable – able to demonstrate authentic claims backed by empirical data
Replicable – able to be adapted to similar conditions elsewhere


What is your solution or strategy? – Provide a 50-word summary of your initiative.

Harmonizing Man’s Laws with Nature
My plan involves redirecting human decision making rapidly towards whole system based laws and practices.   Making choices based on wisdom and compassion, rather than greed and brute power.
Asking what does evolving look like? how can we embrace it? live it?

Large Scale Decision Making:
Current models of human organization are currently driven by factors such as profit, exploitation and ignoring consequences which don’t affect the bottom line.  Ignore all the red lights till we crash.  What is needed is a way to reform organizations along a more holistic, sustainable course which provides meaningful work opportunities while minimizing the the negative environmental and human damage of current systems.  The core issue seems to be how to implement theses changes in a highly corrupted system.  Current political systems are distorted by large players and their influence on policy.
The plan is to develop and promote healthy alternatives which still allow the continuation of business, but not business as usual.  One of the keys to successfully implementing this is to provide models of how to manage with a new set of priorities and then allowing those successful models to be replicated throughout society.  My cousin, Professor Gary Cox, at Stanford U. has won many prizes for developing strategies for reducing corruption in decision making systems.  My initiative is to develop the systems and strategies for redirecting our societal will to implementing beneficial laws and policies quickly and fairly.


A primary aspect of permaculture is relationship to place.  As such, a center is being created in relationship to a piece of land.  This is  a beautiful property located in Williams, Oregon.
Currently under development, the land is being restored after years of random logging.  A large focus will be on integrating the human activities with the natural world.  This location will provide a base for the development of systems for implementation in various related fields.   This location will provide the core of where this work will take place.   Though primitive, the site will provide a center for healing and evolving the ideas and techniques for sharing and expanding.
A large component of what is planned will exist on the internet through the creation of diverse relationships devoted to evolving the project on many fronts.
Another aspect of permaculture is stacking functions, that is, each part of the puzzle has connections to other parts on several dimensions.  The site will exist as a base, an embodiment of permculture design and as a springboard to delivering the quality of thought and relationship needed to bring this transformation about.

Impact * Who or what

We are at a critical time and seriously lacking in good decision making collectively, what is needed are examples of success that meet the needs of organizations.   Focusing on quality of experience and reduction of scale in the most coherent fashion.  To a large degree, the idea is to use the collective consciousness of the internet to redirect our focus to a new idea of success. Initially this would be in developing the models of organization by studying and quantifying the effects of various drivers of human activity.
The initiative would survey organizations for effectiveness and happiness.   The goal is to organize a facet of society, who would band together and use that collective processing and financial power to engender change on a scale larger than what has been accomplished to date.
A large part of the overall goal is to create meta programs, which circumvent what I call the “silicone curtain”.
Programs which fulfill the needs of social interaction based on a “common good” model would go a long way towards redirecting our path.
The core long term metric is large scale buy in.

Long-term Effect *

Long term awareness is a core principle.  The question of what distant future posterity sees as the turning point in human consciousness, where we “got it” and returned to honoring our own nature and nature as the world, finally realizing that the war on nature was a war on ourselves.  Where planning is restored to a design goal of “what is best for all beings” as the center.
without major changes in policy and resource allocation, more environmental catastrophes will surely ensue, only through rapid systemic rethinking of many of our core beliefs will these changes be able to emerge.  Disruptive technologies are not welcomed, they succeed because they are not seen coming. The over all goal is to provide more human happiness while reducing the impact of our existence in the most cost effective and least disruptive ways.  That decision making is based on accurate information, sound science and compassionate use of what is our home and relationship to all beings.

History and Vision    Embodying Evolution
In large part this is the result of a lifetime of asking the question:  What are the optimum ways that humans can interact with each other in ways that honor each other, the earth and posterity?
or as Rodney King said: “why can’t we all just get along?”
My own interest in this has led to the study of existing corporate and government models, as well as traditional societies, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist thought and practices.   It has also incorporated the thinking of many of the pioneers of developing this way of relationship.  Out of this contemplation and through having the opportunity to work with permaculture mentors, I feel that the core principles and ideas of permaculture hold the best opportunity going forward in redesigning societies to reflect a healthier relationship to all things.   To this end, the key question to hold is what does evolution look like, how do we recognize it, expand it and embody it and share it.  To this end the initiative is a distillation of quality consciousness, that we as a species have incredible collective wisdom if we choose to organize, create and implement systems superior to existing systems.

Planning and Operations *
Create a center that attracts the best minds to participate on site and online.
Network to attract enthusiastic and skilled individuals to create self organizing teams to promote various goals
Create a database of best practices to share
Initially we need to walk the talk, embodying the systems that we want to share.
Obtain a yield from the transmission of information,  sharing best practices and providing mentoringon how to implement reorganization of systems.

Risks include personality issues, mistakes choosing which technology or operational model is most suitable for a situation or how energy is focused or spent.
Practicing mindful meditation and invoking ancient wisdom to resolve difficulties.
The biggest risk is not doing anything.

Up to now this has been self funded and I am just at the verge of looking for outside help.  Getting funds will allow the creation of the systems, applications and media needed to share and entrain others into the plan.
The center is very low cost to operate and will rely on options such as internships, selling informational products online and providing consultation about finding best practices for whatever we can provide.

Compare and Contrast *   Polli-brick and Ecovative:
Bottle Blocks
These are two wonderful examples of technological fixes, because I like them so much, I have invented a process to utilize and improve upon both of their products in relation to insulatory waterproof structural materials made from recycled bottles and waste plant material.

What this initiative envisions is beyond any individual technology or product.  It is to look at how to revise our core decision making practices and implement those changes on a large scale quickly.  This is a huge undertaking and a huge challenge, yet how could the stakes be higher.
I would compare this initiative more to the safe landing of the plane by Captian Sullenberger with no power on the Hudson river, with no loss of life.  We don’t have the luxury of time as living systems are destroyed and no one is responsible.   A systematic deceleration is envisioned, as opposed to a crash.
The goal of the initiative is to create tangible organizational structures which supersede current models by providing long term solutions to existing dysfunctional models.

The Team *

Currently this initiative is emanating from Tom Hitchcock.  To help me I have the help of both a website designer and business coach.
I am currently on the board of directors of the ASET, a  registered 501c3,   and the board is more than willing to support this initiative.

One of my primary goals of this entry is to stimulate thinking and discussion of how to best design and implement novel programs, as there seem to be many good options. The task I am setting myself to, is how to implement these options through the process of the qualification of ideas and means of dissemination and adoption of them.
Another goal is networking and finding others with similar minds both through this entry, and as a design goal of the end and ongoing evolution of the project and team.

Other things I have done:
Worked at Strawjet for 2 years, where I learned a tremendous amount  from my late mentor John Hobbit Cruikshank.
Obtained Permaculture Design Certificate from Tom Ward
Invented and designed the “Hole in one knife” , cargobikes, and winning kinetic sculpture racers.
Spent many years studying and practicing meditation.


Bottle Blocks

in order to save resources provide affordable shelter and reduce plastic waste  behold bottle blocks:

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This is currently being done in a variety of ways such as simply stacking bottles, either empty of filled with earth.

Polli brick melts down bottles and recreates a part called a parison (image below right), this requires very precise engineering, and a very expensive plastic injection molding machine (image below) to make.

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The Parison is then blown into the polli-brick shape.     see this video for technical details of how a polli-brick is created.    see this video for the story of how all this came together, funding, project  & people.


What is new.  The method I envision can easily reform bottles into a single common shape designed to create structures.  It eliminates the complex and costly injection mold and press.  $1M estimated needed for the Polli bottle.     And replaces it with extremely simple, easily copied tooling made from materials available in even very primitive regions.
How does it work?
The basic principle here is that when bottles are blown, they want to shrink, but can’t because the plastic is cooled and solidified when the bottle is placed into a mold and compressed air is  forced into it defining  it’s unique shape while it cools and hardens.
Reheating bottles allows them to shrink back towards  the original test tube (parison)(see images below)  shape of the injection molded part they started as.   Inflating them in a different mold reforms them into a new uniform and stackable shape.
Below is a schematic of how the Polli Brick is produced, my process replaces the first and most costly and complex step (recreating the parison) with an existing bottle which is then shrunken to the parison like  shape, then re-blown into the block mold.

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The bottle on the left was the size of the bottle on the far right before heat shrinking.

A primitive idea of the reformatted bottles appears below.



Tests I have done show that the typical bottle will shrink to about half the size of the full shape.  While the bottle is still soft, it is re-blown into a new shape, that of the bottle block.  Through this method, a diverse array of bottles of similar volume can be reshaped to a single, uniform structural component.
I am envisioning the bottle block  filled with a mycylial mix, such as Ecovative is currently demonstrating.  The bottles provide a natural mold for mycilial growth, the food provided by local waste plant material.  The combination of the mycilial growth through the  plant material increases its strength, fire resistance and insulatory properties.

Alone the bottles are very combustible, but with the myclia adjacent to it, it is much less easily  burned because of the greatly reduced surface area.   The bottles provide a  sealed membrane to maintain a desired environment inside and out, both during growth and use phases.  The amount of moisture could be selected based on a variety of parameters.   The myclia is encapsulated, the adjacent surfaces, smooth and nonporous, provides a barrier to prevent degradation from weather and damaging life forms, ie termites, mold.

Criteria for structural materials.  During my two years at Strawjet,

I learned of the incredible complexity of providing a novel building material.
Strength, fire, weather, mould and insect, plant and animal damage are just some of the issues to be addressed to succeed.
And lower cost than comparable solutions.

Embeded Energy:  Captures more of the embeded energy in the bottle, requires heat: 400° oven or hot liquid, and time to create.  approximately equal to the heat needed to dip it in boiling water for 30 seconds.
Tools:  Cleaning tank,  blow pipe that can grasp diverse neck shapes, resist heat and deliver valved compressed air to re-inflate the bottle.  Heat source to reformat the bottle.   oven or hot liquid around 400 deg f.    Mold to produce shape.  can be cast in concrete, 2 pcs, copied from any brick.

Starting with safety, materials need to be tested for consistent strengths, compression and failure analysis needs to be done.  Initially the bottle blocks can be used as infill while the strength is evaluated and explored.
Explore the viability of various growth media and innoculants.
Various interlock, fastening and sealing strategies need to be evolved.
What lies ahead?
The critical path for me is to determine that the reformatting process is simple, robust and easily copied.  This involves getting the blow tube & clamp a little more refined, and the compressed air connection, then make and test some simple molds.   This will show me that there aren’t any early deal breakers, such as blowouts or inability to reform or make a useful shape.  I don’t expect this, and will get good feedback on temperature, pressure and optimum re-expansion size and shape, and what geometries and tolerances can be held.
The next phase will be to design the “universal brick”  this will involve the feedback from above, with a study of the parameters of the actual bricks.   The goal being to create an easily created part, requiring few tools, little energy and minimal skills to transform bottles into a shape that can be used in a variety of ways to build structures to condition and create space.
Defining the optimum  brick shape involves many parameters such as symmetry, stacking patterns, dealing with foundations, doors, windows and corners to name a few.
Part of creating the universal brick will be exploring the unique characteristics of the product.   The media is more compliant than conventional material, such as bricks but lighter.
Even two dimensional tiling is complex as seen below.   three dimensional interlocking parts are even more so, with a Rubic’s cube like variety of options.Sphinx 9