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the trail to transition

April 28, 2011

In my March 30th post, I reported about a new group on the island that wants to

make our part of paradise more self-reliant using the Transition Towns model.

We met again last week at the community center and the intensity level was still

abuzz.  We’re breaking into groups that address major needs like food security and

alternative energy.


My interest is turning biomass into fuel.  I’ve just started researching it, so until I

learn otherwise, the sky’s the limit.  In fact, having the carbon dioxide in the air

run our vehicles would be the perfect solution.  Maybe we should start with algae.

We have some spare wetlands lying around.


My reading has already led me to some fascinating places.  One of them is in the

Kansas City area, the Factor e Farm.  That’s the mathematical constant “e”, not the

letter “e”.  e is the unique real number such that the value of the derivative (slope

of the tangent line) of the function f(x) = e to the x power at the point x = 0 is equal

to 1.  The number e is irrational, it is not a ratio of integers.  It’s also transcendental;

that is, not a root of any non-zero polynomial with rational coefficients.  The num-

erical value of e truncated to 50 decimal places is — ah, to hell with this.


The folks at Factor e Farm, according to their website, chose “e” because “we aim to

transcend.  We push toward open source.”  The modest goal of the experiment at

the Farm is “to take everything that civilization has learned to date, to create com-

munities that work – starting from raw land.  Is this sufficient to create advanced

civilization, free from compromise?”


The main thrust of the Farm is developing the Global Village Construction Set,

a collection of the 50 tools and technologies essential for building post-scarcity,

resilient communities.  Here’s a two-minute explanation.


One of the leaders at the Farm is Marcin Jakubowski.  Please take 10 minutes to

meet him here.  Marcin founded Open Source Ecology, ably explained here.  I’ll

leave you folks to get acquainted.  I need to meet our friend Lee for a trip to the

mainland.  Plus it’s gooping here and blocking my satellite access to you.  I’ll see

you tomorrow, Goop willing.







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