Fake Taxi’s in Vietnam

I’m writing this because I paid 10x the price I should have for a fairly short taxi ride.

This is based on my one bad experience after months of living in Vietnam.

Firstly. If you are going to get in a taxi you should have the Grab app. It’s their equivalent to Uber. Even if you don’t want to, or for some reason can’t order a Grab, look at the suggested price. The taxi prices are usually within 30% of that price, actually they are usually almost identical.
It might be a little different for longer trips, but usually you have to be a hotel to negotiate good prices to the airport that are better than the Grab or normal taxi rates.

So Grab gives you a good reference point price.

The Meter

The second thing to look at is the meter.

The fake Taxi meter looked like this

A fake Taxi Meter
A fake Taxi Meter

See it’s just got a single display field. The price.

The real Taxi meters look like this

A proper taxi meter.
A proper taxi meter.

The top left most number is the price

Another photo of a proper taxi meter (with flash so you can see the front face better)
Another photo of a proper taxi meter (with flash so you can see the front face better)

See the 4 different fields. They don’t just show a price. There’s Fare, Time, Distance and Unit Price. There’s also 5 buttons on it.

For the fake taxi trip I traveled for less than 5 minutes, just over 2km and paid $420,000 VND (Vietnamese Dong) or about AUD$25. It should have cost 40k not 450k.

For the legit taxi ride as a reference when I had travelled for 10km it showed 121k VND.

The fake taxi itself looked fairly legit from the brief walk up to it I did, it had been painted green and had a thing on top. He was positioned as if he just dropped a passenger off.

If you think you are being scammed then get the taxi to take you to your hotel or even just a Circle K / 7 eleven equivalent and say you don’t have the money but you’ll get it. Go and talk to the people at the hotel or store and let them know the price the Taxi is asking. See if they think it’s reasonable. If not, they can usually help out.

If language is an issue, use the Google Translate App. It’ll do conversation mode if it has Internet access and as simcards are cheap and you can buy them from the airport, this shouldn’t be an issue. Otherwise be prepared and have the Vietnamese dictionary downloaded for offline use in the app and a Vietnamese keyboard option on your phone. With TouchPal I just swipe on my space bar to change the language.

My story

I got done by the fake taxi because I’d used up my mobile phone data on the train. I have been living and teaching English in a rural village in Nghi Loc. It’s a 7 hour train ride from the nearby train station in Vinh city to Hanoi. I was going there to meet my girlfriend who was flying in from overseas.

I’ve done the trip to and from Hanoi a couple of times, but that was some months ago and I have managed to spend very little money in the meantime. My food and accomodation being covered by the BlueSky English Language Center. As such I wasn’t used to the prices.

I walked out of the train station and was asked by someone of I wanted a Taxi, I fobbed him off and instead headed to the toilet with my heavy bags.

It was around 8pm by now and after buying some food I realised I couldn’t order a Grab because of the lack of data. I should’ve got a recharge at the Circle K I was just at, but didn’t know that was an option. There’s no free Wi-Fi on the train or at the train station, not that I could find. Instead, carrying heavy camera gear and clothes for filming a wedding, I went looking for a taxi. It was a short trip to the Hanoi Lotus Hostel where I was staying. I figured that the difference between a Taxi and Grab would be barely anything.

I saw someone standing by a legit looking Taxi. The sun had set half an hour ago so it was dark, but it looked like a painted, proper Taxi with the 🚕 augment to the roof.
I got in, showing the business card of the place I was staying and he drove me to the intersection about 10m away and pointed in the wrong direction as if he thought I’d asked to be dropped off at a different location and he was stopped between the two. No big deal I thought.

The meter said 420 and I assumed the dot wasn’t displaying and it meant 42.0 or 42,000 Vietnamese Dong. About the right price I’d expected. I gave him $50k VND expecting change and he said no, 420k.

I was tired and confused. When did Hanoi get so expensive, that was more than the 7 hour train ride I’d just done.

But haven’t I paid a lot for a taxi trip before? Yeah. OK. Whatever, I’m so close, I just want to get to the hostel.

I gave him a 500k note. He gave me 20k change. Woo I said, where’s the rest. I wasn’t THAT out of it. He nearly stiffed me on the change as well, which is more than the price of a legit trip. In hindsight the slight nervous reaction I had here showed he was probably worried the gig was up. Unfortunately I got out and it wasn’t until about a minute later realised I’d just paid the most expensive taxi ride I’ve done in Vietnam, which was also my shortest trip.

So at the critical moment, when going to pay the System 1, fast processing part of my brain remembered that I’ve paid a lot for a taxi ride before, It remembered that it’s some multiple of the train ride.
But, what it didn’t remember was the specifics. The taxi ride was from Vinh city to the rural area in Nghi Loc where I teach and live. That takes nearly 30 mins and costs 250k VND. Expensive yes, but the train ticket still cost about twice that. Or the taxi is about 0.5x the cost of a VIP sleeper trip.
So my brain got the orders of magnitude out of whack and I didn’t think about it properly. I also didn’t expect to get gauged so badly.

Hopefully after reading this you now have a better chance of not being ripped off.

Some other notes

  • It only cost me 25k VND to get from the Old Quarters area to the Hanoi Railway station.
    Also, the railway station isn’t the easiest to find in the Grab search. Try “Ga Ha Noi” as terms like Hanoi Railway station or Hanoi train station don’t really work (not when I tried on the 31st of Oct 2018).

    Example Grab ride to Ga Ha Noi — The Railway station
    Example Grab ride to Ga Ha Noi — The Railway station
  • Expect it to cost 250k VND from the Old Quarters area to the Hanoi Airport. It’s a long trip with sections that can go at 80km/hr. Those are faster by car, not bike. Unless traffic is really bad getting out of the rabbit warren that is Hanoi. But trust me, don’t do the whole trip by bike. You won’t enjoy it.

    When searching for the International Terminal at Hanoi, scroll down past the Domestic ones.
    When searching for the International Terminal at Hanoi, scroll down past the Domestic ones.
  • The Hanoi Airport International terminal is listed below the domestic terminals in Grab. If you find yourself at the Domestic Terminal T1 (A or B) and need to get to T2, it’s about 2km away to the west section of the airport, not easily shown on Google Maps unless you go into satellite view. The taxi’s won’t want to take you such a short distance. From the T1 building which is Domestic Departures you head West and see the Domestic Arrivals (E), head down and go out the airport and around to the International Terminal. It took me over half an hour to work that out in a frantic hurry.

    Hanoi Airport Layout
    Hanoi Airport Layout

Spiral Dynamics integral – An Introduction

Spiral Dynamics is somewhat a system of Psychometric Profiling. Think of Myers Briggs or the OCEAN model mixed with Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, but a whole order of magnitude more than that.

The core idea of the model is that people focus on certain aspects of life at different stages. At the higher stages they are usually in a higher order level with more complexity.

Whilst Spiral Dynamics is the work of Clare W Graves, Integral Theory is the work of Ken Wilber and SDi or Spiral Dynamics Integral is the merging of the two concepts.

 

  1. Survival (Beige) – Where all the attention is focused on survival.
  2. Tribal (Purple) – All about social relationships and maintenance of customs.
  3. Egocentric (Red) – Explore personal identity and challenge tribal authority figures or belief systems.
  4. Authoritarian (Blue) – In order to understand purpose of life and have security need to obey higher authority and rules.
  5. Enterprising (Orange) – Awaken independence and achieve results while challenging authority and test possibilities.
  6. Humanistic (Green) – Seek love and peace within through sharing and becoming useful in the community.
  7. Integrative (Yellow) – Live free and explore what is life about while understanding that chaos and change are natural.
  8. Neo-tribal (Turquoise) – Experience the wholeness of existence by becoming one with all things, and restore natural harmony and balance.

 

Spiral Dynamics outline:

 

Spiral Dynamics outline

Integral Theory is based on the 4 quadrants of I, Me, We, It’s.
A great visual explanation of the quadrant :

Video: Integral Theory in 5 minutes

 

Podcast: The Graves Model (Spiral Dynamics)

This is a really great podcast. Listen to it with a piece of paper and a pen so you can write out the levels yourself and better understand the stages.

 

 

Some Resources

https://www.toolshero.com/change-management/spiral-dynamics/ – A great introduction article.

https://www.slideshare.net/wrightleadership/culture-scan-an-introduction-to-spiral-dynamics – A presentation slide set.

https://www.bewellbuzz.com/wellness-buzz/spiral-dynamics-evolution-human-consciousness/ – This comes across as a bit more hippy than the actual theory is, but it might resonate with some people, especially those on the Green level.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Makingsense/comments/6temd1/spiral_dynamics_crucial_knowledge_about_the/ – A great Reddit post about it all.

http://www.spiraldynamics.net/ – Some official looking website. Most official looking sites want to charge you a whole lot of money so you can attend a course to learn more.

http://www.clarewgraves.com/theory_content/conceptions/intro.html – The official Clare Graves website and some content.

https://www.valuematch.net/en/spiral-dynamics-assessments/value-assessment – An example of hour Spiral Dynamics can be used as an assesment tool for understanding people’s levels and behaviour.

https://medium.com/@sterlingcooley/coral-meme-spiral-dynamics-level-9-3db412799198 – An introduction to Level 9 the Coral world view. It’s still very new and almost no one is at that level, so it’s a lot of speculation.

 

19th Jan – Looking back at the last week

Wow, what a crazy week.

 

Last weekend I photographed some matches of the Volley Ball SA Beach Volley Ball open which was for the Commonwealth games selection process.

 

Whilst at Glenelg I also swam out past the jetty. Although parallel to it and far enough away I wasn’t going to get a fishing hook to the face. The water 💧 was warm but waves fairly strong.
Also got to have a good dinner with Jason who’d been the official photographer for the event and had borrowed a bunch of my camera gear which was why I came down to visit the first time. I returned because it’s fun and I’m not likely to get much time to visit the Adelaide beaches in a long long while.
I was late on Sunday because I was trying to get into the Selfkey ICO, but they’d already sold out.
Ohh and that Sunday evening I checked out the TDU – Tour Down Under event in the city with my older Bro and his family.

 

Monday after work I visited a potluck house party and we watched Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Damn I love that. I now have to go watch all of Taika Waititi’s work.

Of course, chatting with awesome people until past midnight then a nearly 45min ride home and another hour to cool down. The 2nd night of not enough sleep before work.

 

Tuesday arvo I went to Salsa dancing classes at Latino Grooves. It was the first class of the year and only the beginners class. I did some classes last year but jumped into the 3rd of the season which was intense. So this was good much much easier for me. Hint to guys: There’s a LOT of girls doing dance classes and by redoing them at a slightly lower level you’ll be impressively awesome to them, haha 😂

 

Heading home from Salsa I pre-ordered a Subway sub using the OTR app, giving me a chance to test the changes I deployed hadn’t broken anything obvious. Plus I was hungry and 😴
Thing is, the police had cordoned off the main road where that OTR is. from the Maid and Magpie up to the Avenues Shopping Centre, but they let me through from the other side.
Got home, slept for an hour, got up in time to research the next ICO, AidCoin and had my transaction done within 20s of it going live. Yay. I’m getting better at this and now properly grok the Ethereum Gas prices.

 

I’ve been listening to the audiobook of Tim Ferris’s 4 hour work week and it’s very appropriate given I’m planning to spend a month in Germany and 6+ months in Vietnam.
One suggestion I want to try is an information detox. I’ve logged my phone out of Facebook and have been better at adding articles to pocket to theoretically read later. Although that lasted about 6hrs…

 

Wednesday has been dealing with broken stuff. A website down, backup server borked, stuff broken in testing at work. But crypto price dropped a lot. Time to buy!! If only Bpay didn’t take so long.

 

Ohh and I announced to the two remaining activism groups I’m a part of that I’m leaving. Need to hand over the responsibility for Zeitgeist Movement South Australia and also the CLEANSA website.

 

Thursday was wedding day for Kate and Jordan. A nice hot one in the middle of the day, but under an amazing tree, so that was good. Caught up with family I haven’t seen in a very long time and others I haven’t seen before.
Someone ended up with their keys at home, long story, but I drove them and some family to go pick them up.
The reception at Waterfall Gully was nice. The 42.5°C day wasn’t. Even opening the car door nearly burnt my hand and the aircon really struggled. The TV screen in the car complained it was too hot and shut off (I don’t use it anyway, but it was interesting to see).
Home for just long enough to change into something cooler and watch a little Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D before heading off to the Norwood Parade. It was for the the usual Thursday at Boun Giorno’s, except today was some annual food and wine festival. Helped keep it interesting.

 

Thursday night after dinner I managed to catch up on the rest of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and get a good early nights sleep, I think I was dead to the world by 12:30am.

 

Friday, another hot day.
Hot enough that the aircon at work really struggled and the Fire Alarm kept going off despite there not being any smoke.
But some Cards Against Humanity kept things fun.

 

Then it was Friday night. Writing night in the city!
Whilst riding in I happened to briefly caught up with Pas, an awesome friend. Then some pre-emptive shopping of things I’ll need for my trip overseas, like antihistamines. Had a shoulder, neck and back massage, then a burger at Lord of the Fries. I was ready to write. Except it was too hot to write outside and found out that damn it, Movenpick is still closed!
They used to be my jam. I’d write in the mall until everything closed past 9pm then head to Movenpick until Midnight. Thankfully I found somewhere close, air conditioned and seems pretty carefree about how long I stay. Australia’s Pizza house. Just next to Zamberro’s. Seats about 40, but rarely had more than 4 people, with one being an attractive waitress as an added bonus.

 

But alas, the week is over and I’m still massively behind in all my plans even if I have been enriched in experience.

 

Tomorrow I’ve got to clean up my room. Ohh. Yay… But it’s for a good cause. I’m showing a friend how to use a light tent and maybe some of the basics of Crypto, but really I want to talk to her about the big stuff. Comparing The Zeitgeist Movement with Deep Green Resistance and ways we can make a meaningful difference in society.
Sunday is a CORENA committee strategy meeting. Ideally I’d have some draft of the video I should have been putting together, but there’s no chance of that.

 

Maybe next week will be calmer. The menu calls for meditation, regular sleep and a touch of Salsa dancing. Having Friday off for Australia day will be good. I might get a chance to actually book my plane flight, work out visa’s and medical insurance.

 

I also have to work out what to do for exercise. I can’t risk doing a long run with my Achilles Tendon as injured as it is. Breaking it before going overseas is not advisable. Maybe I’ll have to be a Middle Aged Man Not-In Lycra. I’m not buying some Lycra for bike riding, but a trip to the end of Linear park would be good when it cools down.

 

Well, that’s my stream of consciousness of my week done. Yet another snapshot of my life for the archives.
Michael Kubler
19th Jan 2018.

2017 – The Year that was

So it’s the last weekend of the year and time for a more in depth than usual review.

 

I do a weekly review, usually just spending a couple of minutes looking at the list below and thinking about each item a bit.
Recently however I have realised I need to start writing my thoughts down and rating these so I can compare over time.

 

Review :
  1. Finances – Sent my invoices? Paid my bills? Next bills coming up? Financial snapshot? Assets and Liabilities listed? Working on creating a passive / portfolio based income stream?
  2. Health and Fitness
  3. Family and Friends
  4. Production vs Production Capacity – Balanced?
  5. Household tasks and general organisation
  6. Recent Short Term Wins
  7. Long Term Vision
  8. Important but not urgent tasks
  9. Learning and Education (what to direct my learning towards next)
  10. Teaching, Training, Writing and sharing my knowledge.
  11. Willpower challenges and strength.
  12. Food/Nutrition.
First before I do this I want to take a general overview of 2017. To put it succinctly this was a year of recharge and rejuvenation. I was focused on myself more than the community and I’m in a better spot now than this time last year..

 

Also my outlook for 2018 looks to be interesting.
I’m going to be handing in my resignation effective the 1st of April. I figure 3 months is plenty of time. My current plan is to spend about 3 weeks in Germany, the initial aim is to be there for the 2018 Zday conference, helping organise and film it and catch up with the amazing activists and people. I’m expecting it to be about 1.5 weeks. Depending on people’s availability I’ll go to Florence, Vienna and Frieburg to visit friends in Europe, then spend a week or however long I have left in Berlin trying to soak up some of the Startup culture they have there.
Then for the big bit. I’ll be heading to Vietnam (or maybe Thailand) and spending 6+ months writing my sci-fi novel, currently titled The Story of New Eden.

 

The reason for spending time overseas is twofold. I’ll be able to focus better. If I spend time in Adelaide I’ll be drawn into everything here and take on too many distractions. Secondly with the same amount of money I’d likely only get a couple of months in Australia.
If anyone knows of some good places in Vietnam, Thailand or similar that are: Cheap to live, have some Internet access, have enough English speaking people and doesn’t close early (I’m a night owl, I’ll happily stay up till 3:30am and sleep till 12 noon), then please let me know! I realise that the cheap to live conflicts somewhat with the Internet access and not closing early as usually rural places are cheaper to live but a city will provide the other parts.

 

OK, so my review:

 

Finances [ 0.5 -> 8 ] ( BIG change for the better! )
The financial snapshot I did on the 20th of Nov 2016 shows me in $10k credit card debt having maxed out two cards. I had about $3.6k in operating money to cover expenses. I even owed my girlfriend at the time’s Mum as we needed a loan from her earlier on to cover rent. Things were hard.
I’d rate this a 0.5 out of 10. I’d hit rock bottom, although I’ve done so a couple of times before, but this was hard to get out of. Trying to do a startup whilst also covering both my expenses and my girlfriends and living in a more expensive place, it burns through money really fast. That said, it was manageable amounts of debt and something I’ve since bounced back from. With a full time job doing web development at The Distillery and some investments reaching maturity I have now paid off all my credit card debt, closed one of the cards (the remaining is for emergency only use) and have nearly as much in savings as I had in debt, I also have some more investments I could draw upon if needed. Not too bad! From financial struggle to financial thriving. Although I expect the trip overseas will likely cost me about $10-20k given the time duration and the fact I still have to pay for web servers, storage and other monthly costs on top of plane flights and of course general living expenses.

 

Still, I’m a long way off of my goal. My aim is to help create an NL/RBE style (Natural Law/ Resource Based Economy) sustainable town. Well it’ll start with a small village first. The thing is, I expect it’ll take about $30 Million in initial setup funds and I’d like to contribute up to 49% of that (don’t want to be in a majority shareholder like situation).

 

Health and Fitness [ 9 -> 4 ] ( Yeah, kinda injured )
This time last year I was a lot fitter. I had done the 12km City to Bay in under 55mins. However during my trip to New Zealand this year I injured my Achilles tendon and also dislocated my knee. I thus spent much of the year not exercising and went from under 5mins/km to over 6.5mins a km. I’m desperately trying to get some of my fitness back, but whilst doing an 18km run doesn’t seem that hard, it’s really bad on my ankle and I just can’t run like I used to. Instead I’ve been doing 8km runs and only last night managed to do it averaging 5mins 25s a km. Finally an OK speed, but now I have to work on distance again.
I’m only running once a week, mainly due to full time+ work and all my other activism and other tasks making it hard for me to get home and do a smaller run in the middle of the week. But also because I don’t want to damage myself further. Hence going from a 9 down to a 4. The one upside to not running as much is that I was doing a lot more stomach exercises, but whilst I’ve still got some flab around the stomach that doesn’t really show as well as I’d like. Thankfully diet changes seem to be helping with that.

 

Family and Friends [ 6 -> 8 ]
I admit it, I’m not that close with my family. Not compared to some I know. I can go for most of a year without talking to my brothers and sister and many months without talking to my Mum, but I’ve been a bit better this year.
My sis is in an interesting spot, injured her leg and is also pregnant so I’ve spent a little more around around catching up.
Also, I’ve been living at my Dad’s. So instead of only seeing him once a week or two at the usual Boungies dinner it’s now daily.
I of course moved in with Dad at the start of the year when I moved out of the rental property I’d been in with my now Ex. I was going for a 6 week trip to Brisbane and New Zealand and basically just had the room full of gear that I couldn’t easily fit into my storage unit. But I came back from the trip and organised things and have been living here since. I was going to move out a couple of months ago, but realised that I still need to keep saving for my trip, that the place I was going to move into didn’t have fixed Internet access and that this is a great time to be spending with my Dad whilst I still can.

 

 
Production vs Production Capacity [ 5 -> 7 ]
Last year things were hard. I was emotionally and financially drained and at times depressed. I was meant to be working on my own startup but instead spent a lot of the time addicted to computer games. Over a 2 year period I played over 1,500 hours of Ark Survival Evolved. That’s a LOT of gaming. It was a coping mechanism, but not a very good one.
This year, I’ve been through a number of really intense periods, followed by the daily grind which is still fairly draining. But I’ve been a lot better at detecting when I’m not in a good state and recuperating as needed.  As I once read, you can endure world class stress if you have world class recovery.
So when work felt hard and depressing, I spent a couple of weeks watching TV shows like Supergirl. Instead of feeling really bad about not getting done the things I felt I should have been doing I focused on the positive feelings and tried more gratitude meditations, simply smiling a lot more and taking solace in the fact that things are getting better. Afterwards I was feeling back to my usual productive self.
Despite my injuries I’ve still be exercising where and how I can, including doing more biking riding or abs and arm exercises if my legs weren’t up for it. Between that, meditation, occasional TV shows and the odd computer game (barely any gaming compared to the last few years), I’ve been keeping myself in balance.

 

But I’m also a lot more productive this year than last. Full time work instead of 3-4 days a week. I’ve only managed a couple of weekends working on my own programming projects (learning ReactJS, GraphQL, etc..), but I’ve got a habit now of spending Friday evenings after work writing my novel or at least going into the city and writing. Sometimes I’m really quite productive, sometimes I get distracted by friends and acquaintances and other times I actively seek any chance encounters with friends. But it was this start of a good habit, but realising how I need to really buckle down and spend a big chunk of time, without any major distractions just trying to grok all the snippets of ideas and parts of chapters I’ve been writing over the last 4+ years and assemble them into a cohesive story. I suspect the hardest bit will be throwing away all the bits of story I want, but can’t fit in.
Household tasks and general organisation [ 7 -> 7 ]

 

The nature of this has changed from me organising a whole house and even having to move out, basically on my own, to really only looking after a room and trying to clean up the kitchen after using it. I used to do a lot more batch cooking and cleaning. I’d do larger cleans once a week or so, but here in a more shared environment it’s expected you clean up after yourself sometimes before you’ve finished eating (depending on when others want to use the kitchen).

My room is a mess, because it’s also a working space. Right now I’ve got years worth of paper documents to scan and organise. I’ve not got a nice fast multi-page feed scanner and once digitised I hope they’ll be a lot easier to manage and I’ll feel a lot better about their safety and longevity. Yay for searchable PDFs and cloud hosting!

That said, I’ve got a bad habit of doing the washing on the Saturday and going for a run on Sunday. The sweaty running clothes start to stink up the room by the time laundry time comes around again.
Whilst I’m pretty good with organising my digital photos, I desperately need to sort through my browser bookmarks and some of my archived files.

 

Recent Short Term Wins [ 8 -> 7 ]
So, it’s near the end of the X-mas and New Years holidays. but I’ve been driven and motivated. So far I’ve wrapped all the presents, travelled up to Murray Bridge to visit family for xmas. Checked out the OTR Motorsport park by Tailem Bend, had a Xmas dinner with other family in Adelaide.
I’ve backed up my laptop and then wiped it and re-installed Windows 10. I’m still in the process of installing everything again.
I’ve also scanned hundreds of documents and receipts, gone to my storage unit to get a WHOLE lot more and managed to watch some Firefly (It’s still good, even if the graphics are a touch dated). I’ve also done a financial review, an 8km run, finally got a staple remover (can’t scan documents that are attached together) and I’ve organised my draws, washed the bedding, etc..
Unfortunately I was 10s too late getting to MSY to buy the 8TB ext HDD I wanted to buy. They closed exactly an hour earlier than the sign on their door and Google suggested, which was annoying. But, I’ve got until April to buy one and fill it with my photos and any content I’ll want to have with me during my trip. Considering I’ve got a 25TB NAS and 9.5TB in photos and videos I’ve taken, plus about 4.5TB in Movies and TV shows I could watch. Well, the hard thing is working out what to bring with me, especially when there’s the nagging feeling I could loose everything on the NAS.

 

Unfortunately, whilst a lot of that helps me work and be more productive for the next year, I didn’t get to spend any time working on my own projects, something I wish I had more time for.
Still, this time last year my girlfriend and I were breaking up and my life changed from a downward financial and emotional spiral into a recovering one.

 

Taking short term to mean over the year there’s been some great wins.
After over 5yrs the Repower Pt Augusta campaign has won! A 150MW Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) plant is set to be built in Pt Augusta.
I spent 6 weeks off work, most of it in Brisbane helping out with the epic 2 day global Zday event there. I helped organise it, film it and present at it and was rewarded with some amazing conversations with passionate geisters. I then got to do it all again but on a smaller scale at the Auckland Zday even in New Zealand.
Ohh and Elon Musk visited Adelaide twice, once to announce the big 100MW battery and another to announce updates to the plan for getting to Mars at the IAC – International Astronomical Congress. Although I didn’t get to see him either time.

 

Work wise, I worked on the www.southaustraliantrails.com website, especially on importing the large amounts of trail data.  Although the biggest project of the year was the Phase 2 release of the On The Run mobile app. I’ve been doing the backend programming and still am. It’s a living breathing project that is continuing to have new features and refinements and is rather back end heavy.

 

Long Term Vision [ 6 -> 8 ]
I feel like my core archetype is a problem solver. I want to fix things. I’ve got secondary characteristics based around being connected with people and whilst few would believe it, also elements of cleaning.
But, that core problem solver part of me learnt about 3 main concepts. The Kardashev scale, Crash Course and the NL/RBE.

 

Kardashev Scale
Firstly is the Kardashev scale. A basic way of denoting the size of a civilisation. A Type 1 civilisation is planetary scale, a Type 2 is solar system sized and Type 3 is galactic. It’s actually based on the power availability and basically humans are around a type 0.72, Star Trek is a type 2 and Star Wars is a type 3.

 

“A common speculation suggests that the transition from Type 0 to Type I might carry a strong risk of self-destruction since, in some scenarios, there would no longer be room for further expansion on the civilization’s home planet, as in a Malthusian catastrophe” — Kardashev Scale : Civilization implications

 

 

My core aim is to help humanity become a Type 2 civilisation. Most likely after that it’ll likely be computer/AI systems or species different enough to not be classified as human to us now who’ll become a Type 3 civ.

 

Crash Course
Many years ago I watched the original Crash Course video series by Chris Martenson. I would’ve seen it in 2008 or 2009, when online videos was still somewhat new. But it pointed out quite clearly but in detail how humanity was facing three main crises. Energy, Economic and Environmental. It mostly came down to our dependence on oil, our dependence on Capitalism and it’s need for infinite growth and the environment effects that both of those have.

 

Now, nearly 10 years later I’ve been a part of the Repower Pt Augusta campaign which championed Solar Thermal as a replacement for an old coal power station in South Australia, plus I’m a board member of CORENA. Without abundant energy nearly everything is impossible. But renewables is an energy source that gets cheaper over time unlike finite fuels.

 

Basically the Crash Course shows the major obstacles we need to overcome just to survive.

 

The Zeitgeist Movement
Watching Zeitgeist Addendum back in 2008 or 2009 was a pivotal point in my life because it was when I first heard about the Resource Based Economy – RBE concept. Proposed by Jacque Fresco of the Venus Project the concept is for an economic system which has sustainability and human wellbeing at the core. But it’s based on systems design thinking, automation, and things like access over ownership.
The concept has been refined over the years and the Zeitgeist Movement, and advocacy based group has added the Natural Law part making it the NL/RBE. The idea is to being living within the carrying capacity of the planet. But it’s so much more. Different governance, different ways of using and allocating resources based on need not money.  It ends up being a post-scarcity / abundance centred society.
Basically, by changing to an NL/RBE humanity and the planet can thrive and become a Type 2 civ.
Check out http://www.kublermdk.com/2017/04/10/zday-presentation-price-of-zero-transition-to-an-rbe/ for my Zday presentation about how we can transition to it.
Although the first two are mostly covered by The Zeitgeist Movement and NL/RBE, the three concepts together give a sign post of where we should be aiming, what we have to be aware of and how we can tackle the problems.
So, that’s been my long term vision for a long time. Help humanity become a Type 2, solar system wide civilisation, by helping transition to a new economic system.
It’s the details that are hard. I was already part of a failed attempt, Earth Communities and I see a number of other attempts which may or may not succeed.
As per my Price of Zero presentation on the transition to an RBE, but also other people’s similar transition concepts developed independently, the concept of building a new model to make the existing one obsolete is the core. We start small with a community, grow it out to a village, a town and eventually to a city, then spread and create more cities and the new concepts, tools, technology and behaviours are then disseminated and integrated.

 

But, setting up those initial communities needs money, land, people, connectivity and tools. My focus is on trying to gather some money, connect people up and help build some digital tools.
I’m aiming for $30 Million as a collective pool, with up to 49% of that coming from me. The rest likely to be crowd funded or at least collectively contributed. I suggest that because just the interest rates from that alone can be $1 million a year. Now, that much is stuff all. $1 Mill/yr covers normal costs for about 14 people. The full $30 mill gives maybe 400 person years. e.g 1 year with 400 people or 10 years with 40 people. But, it’s a good start. It’s a goal post to aim towards.

 

The digital tools is a newer goal, one I only started thinking about this year when part of an awesome online chat group full of like minded individuals who’ve also been thinking about all this stuff for years. With others focusing more on the land buy side of things and with discussions about multiple communities and some of the amazing digital tech, from Crypto to secure communications, resource allocation and the like, I realised there’s some tools I’d like to make to help these things happen. A suite of apps that’ll help geisty communities.
Joining the Evolution Dojo online chat was one of the unexpected highlights of the year. Despite meeting with Peter Joseph the founder of the Zeitgeist Movement and many other TZM activists, helping deploy the new website and a number of other things, it was that chat room which I feel will have the best long term overall impact on me.

 

Future: Gather Together and The story of New Eden
So next year I’m claiming for myself. There’s two projects I want to work on which are in line with my long term vision. The story of New Eden is the sci-Fi novel I’ve been working on in my precious spare time over the years. It started as a movie script, but someone else came up with almost the exact same premise and it’s since morphed into something quite different. It’s set 50yrs in the future and is the story of Eli, a 19yr old who thinks he’s living in the last city on Earth the only one surviving after a Nuclear Apocalypse only to go on a quest and find that he’s actually in a quarantined zone and the rest of the world runs as an abundance centered NL/RBE  based society.  He has to adjust to it, finds someone to love, uses neruoMods to talk with animals, nearly dies a few times, travels to the Moon and returns home as part of a hero’s journey.
I’ve been researching for years, writing up sections, parts, ideas, chapters, bios and am starting to finally allocate some good names to the characters. I feel like it’s been gestating inside me, but it’s been kicking and growing for long enough. It’s time to push this thing out into the world.

 

The other project is Gather Together. An event management platform aimed at grass roots organisations. I’ve been a part of plenty of orgs and to properly organise even just the monthly events properly usually too much work. Normally you create a Facebook Event or maybe send out an email. But to try and reach everyone you need to easily spread the message across multiple platforms. From Facebook and email to posting on the website, sending out sms reminders and email reminders. Then you’ve got to deal with last minute changes in the weather, venue or other such potential problems. Having a central system to coordinate all these and be able to schedule reminder messages, be alerted to potential issues (like more people have RSVP’d than the venue can hold) and be able to communicate quickly with people is just the first step.
Unfortunately I’ve only been able to spend about two weekends properly working on the platform, I only have an functioning API able to send out SMS’s, but not able to schedule messages. The VueJS based UI I created was a flop and I’m still trying to learn ReactJS, MobX and GraphQL, or I’ll just jump over to MeteorJs or AngularJs, but Meteor doesn’t scale as well as I’d like and Angular whilst being great for the main site, isn’t good for widgets and these days there’s some cool ReactJs capabilities for mobile, desktop and even Augmented Reality.

 

So the Story of New Eden novel hopefully inspires people towards a hopeful, abundance centered future, whilst the Gather Together lets people connect and might some day pay some bills.

 

Important but not urgent tasks [ 4 -> 7.5 ]
Most of the important but not yet urgent tasks around around prepping for the trip overseas.
From scanning a vast array of documents and sorting them through to making space in my storage unit for all the stuff I want to put in there whilst I’m gone to buying plane flights and accommodation.
There’s always the work on Gather Together, my novel and my other writing projects, including this post which niggle at me. But I’m in a far better position to work on them now than this time last year when my spare time was spent in Ark Survival Evolved taming or breeding dinos, helicopter harvesting (using two different accounts to collect resources faster), expanding my buildings or prepping for cave runs. I had a SHIT load of stuff in that game, but wasn’t getting far in IRL. Now, I’m able to actually get things done that should be done.

 

Learning and Education [ 8 -> 8 ]
I’m still learning at a prodigious rate thanks to audiobooks. I’m usually listening to 3-5 books a month, depending on their length, contents and how I’m doing. Listening when riding to work, washing the dishes, going for a run, driving the car. If my hands are busy but my mind is free, then I’m usually listening.
Although I’m now also allocating time to my thoughts. Empty spaces of time where I’m not listening to an audiobook, watching a movie or actively engaged in thinking about anything in particular. It helps me process things that have been on my mind and not feel like my head is full, but without just dumping the ideas out like meditation seems to do when it clears my mind.

 

Still, I need to focus a bit more on learning ReactJS and the like and maybe one day I’ll be able to implement a CRDT based collaborative editor similar to Google Docs.

 

Teaching, Training, Writing and sharing [ 4 -> 6 ]
I’ve been doing a lot more general writing. Or at least, I’m closer to what I consider the minimal amount I’d like to do. I still have a lot of thoughts that have partially turned into draft blog posts likely never to be completed, but I’m at least writing more, but nothing like what I would like to be doing. I’ve not even finished editing my own Zday presentation, let alone those from the No More Bad Investments Forum and I’ve got things to write up about the education 2.0 manifesto from years ago.

 

Willpower challenges and strength [ 7 -> 7 ]
The Keto diet and usual exercise things have been my main willpower challenges, not that I was that good at sticking to under 50g of carbs a day, but I definitely felt a change. The rest is about trying to get things done and keeping happy.
The next step is to be able to put off some projects (like editing videos) until after I’ve done a bit more work on my own (like the Gather Together API) so I feel accomplished enough to continue working on the other projects whilst having made at least some progress on my own.
That said, I’ve got a lot of things to finish off before my trip overseas, it’s going to be hard to fit it all in!

 

Food/Nutrition [ 5 -> 7 ]
I recently tried out a low carb, high fat Keto diet, and whilst the full strict diet isn’t for me, it’s helped me kick my carb and especially sugar heavy diet, so that’s a good start.
Written 30th Dec 2017 by Michael Kubler.

 

2017 – The Year that was PDF version

Low Carb, High Fat – Ketosis Diet

It’s been a month since I started the low carb, high fat diet also known as the Ketone (or ketosis) diet. I started it by eating (well drinking) KetoOS and here’s my thoughts and journey.

 

As intro you are best off reading this part of Melia Robinson’s article:
The low-carb, high-fat diet — which first became popular in the 1920s as a treatment for epilepsyand diabetes — limits carbohydrates to no more than 50 grams a day, which is the rough equivalent of a plain bagel or a cup of white rice. Dietary guidelines laid out by the US Department of Agriculture recommend between 225 and 325 grams of carbs a day.
Adherents of the keto diet fill up on healthy fats, like cheese, nuts, avocado, eggs, and butter, as well as leafy greens and animal protein. The body switches from burning carbs to burning fat as its primary fuel source — a process known as ketosis, which gives the diet its name.
Firstly, I’d like to thank Nichelle Ryan. She put me onto KetoOS and helped me through the process. If you want to skip ahead you can get the packets from here. I went into this without doing as much research as I probably should have, I saw a couple of good YouTube videos about a Ketosis diet and I was especially interested in seeing if it would help me increase my energy, although I’d also been switching from a very carb heavy diet to a higher protein and fat based one partly to see if I could shed some stomach fat. paraphrasing Ali Spagnola “It’s the food you eat, not the crunches you do which shows your abs

 

So, I jumped straight into it and used a full packet straight away. Thankfully Nichelle warned me to drink it over the course of 10-15mins. Don’t chugg it, but don’t take too long. That said, I hadn’t heeded the advice about doing a half packet first, so ended up with some minor stomach pains. Nothing bad, just a touch uncomfortable.

 

My suggestion is that you first check out this site and do the keto calculator to get your recommended diet.
As a 33yr old, 82kg male who is moderately active but was coming from a very high carbohydrate (especially sugar) intake I found the suggested default carb allocation of 20g a day very hard…  That’s only two slices of bread! There’s more than that in a small 390ml  bottle of Lift, in the jam I’d have with the Peanut Butter and Jam on toast I’d have for breakfast and a surprising number of things. So I
I’ve increased my ice cream consumption over other sugary lollies, changed from veggie burgers to chicken burgers (being wary of the climate I’m trying to keep away from higher CO2 intensive foods like beef) and I’m devouring large amounts of Avocado, but I’m not actively avoiding all carbs that I can, so haven’t gone through as full a diet change as suggested.

 

As such, I’m probably not the best test case. The calculator explains: “The end goal of a ketogenic diet is to be in a metabolic state known as ketosis. We do this through starvation of carbohydrates. On keto, it’s a general rule of thumb to stay under 30g net carbs a day”

 

What has changed is my appetite. As the literature mentions, I wasn’t as hungry, not snacking as much. Much longer between meals.
Ohh and I’ve lost 3Kg. This is impressive for me as I’m someone who’s been basically the same weight for years, despite doing 12-18Km runs weekly or barely any exercise for months. I feel like I can see a lot more of my abs as the belly fat is slowly melting away. It’s taking a while, but it’s happening which is pretty cool.
The first KetoOS packet seemed to put me into a state of Ketosis. I was peeing more, got dehydrated and went through the KetoFlu. There was a day or two with stomach cramps and not feeling 100% but that went away.

 

I highly recommend you read some of the signs and symptoms of Ketosis which include:

 

  • breath that smells fruity or like nail polish or nail polish remover
  • rapid breathing or shortness of breath
  • excessive thirst
  • frequent urination
  • stomach pain
  • nausea, vomiting
  • fatigue, weakness
  • confusion

 

The one thing I regret that others probably won’t care about is that I got the packets which contained caffeine. I’ve only recently started taking caffeine somewhat regularly and I would like to have had more control over my intake of that versus Ketones. That said most people have multiple cups of coffee a day and would find it has little effect on them and wouldn’t lead them to having sleepless nights and being too wired during the day. Although some of that could be associated with the diet and my normal bad sleeping habits.

 

The KetoOS packets themselves don’t have much listed in the nutrients listing. Doesn’t seem like it contains any of the normal macros, but I guess Ketones aren’t a required macro to be listed.
The order arrived fast, within a few days. The box and packets are colorful, you won’t miss them. At least not the Raspberry Lemonade Flavour one I got.
Add 💧 water, shake vigorously for a while and the drink tastes pretty good, at least I enjoyed the sweet flavour. It wasn’t bad, bitter nor bland. You don’t get the urge to add extra flavouring to it unlike with Aussielent.

 

If you asked me at day 2 or even day 5 I wouldn’t have been sure it was worth it, but I’ve adapted to it and at the moment feel like it’s been a positive experiment although the KetoOS packets are expensive and I’m not sure if I’ll keep using them daily next month, but are far better than doing a 3 day fast!
Actually I’m going to temporarily drop trying to do the Ketone diet during the X-mas holidays and see how much my food preferences have changed.
So far it seems like I’ve gone from a sugar addict to rarely much interest in sugary foods, except maybe right after a long run.

 

As a hint, don’t do an 18km run 🏃 in hot weather on your second or third day. You’ll be dehydrated already and I lost 4kg of sweat. Took me a couple of days to get fully rehydrated. As a hint, check the colour of your pee to know.

 

There’s some medical evidence that Ketosis helps those with Epilepsy. There’s even trials to see if it helps with the treatment of cancer, but these aren’t detailed enough to draw strong conclusions.

 

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend the diet for everyone, but I have felt the benefits, from weight loss to reduced blood sugar variability during the day.
It’s helped me dramatically reduce my sugar intake.

 

Links :

 

https://nichryan.pruvitnow.com/au/ – Where you can buy the KetoOS packets from if that’s how you roll. If you need to know more about it, checkout this video first, that’s what sold me at least.

 

https://www.ruled.me/ketogenic-diet-faq/ – Some really good stuff here, especially “What Are Macros and Should I Count Them” and the form you can fill in to calculate your suggested carb, protein and fat intake.

 

https://www.womenshealth.com.au/what-is-the-ketogenic-diet – Conclusion: Though it may offer some metabolic benefits when followed in the short-term (a few months), and pose as a novel treatment for certain medical conditions, a ketogenic diet isn’t recommended for the general population, as the long-term efficacy and safety of the diet are unknown.

 

https://rebootedbody.com/ketosis/ – A good general beginners guide

 

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/keto-diet-is-like-atkins-on-steroids-2017-7 – A good general overview and someone else’s experience.

 

One last note. I’ve not been paid to say anything here. I’m not remunerated by you clicking or buying anything from any of the links. There’s positives and negatives of any diet and there’s suggestions that staying on a Ketosis diet can be damaging, e.g increased risk of heart disease. As such, this is definitely not official dietary advice. I’m guessing you should consult your doctor or a dietitian, especially if you have any existing health complications.

What is your core?

What do you care about? What’s the core of your life?

 

For me it’s relationships, for others I’ve noticed it can be food, music, sometimes it’ll be work but that’s rarely actually the case.

 

Your core part of you is what your mind drifts to thinking about when you are idle. It’s what you remember well, it’s what matters to you. It’s what provides greater than normal satisfaction, but sometimes also greater than usual stress.
It can sometimes be hard to know what your core is without being able to compare with others and realising they don’t weight those parts of their life nearly as much as you do.
Your core is likely linked to how you show your love to people. Do you want to hug them or cook for them? Do you go out to a music venue or play some yourself?

 

As a note. If people seem addicted to computer games, work, sex or something like that it’s a problem in their environment, likely related to what their core is, or often is just financial troubles. Whilst they might be thinking about their addiction a lot, that’s not what their core is. The same often goes for work. You might spend a lot of time thinking about it and it might be a grerat source of both satisfaction and stress, but that doesn’t mean it’s your core.

 

For me, my core is about relationships. My last girlfriend also had it as her core, but my ex before, was mainly about food. She could rattle off the dinners we had over the last week or so and couldn’t understand how I didn’t remember them, where as I remembered the people we’d met and conversations we’d had.

 

“If I’m not in love, if I’m not with a long-term companion, I cannot be happy.” — Elon Musk (in RollingStone)

 

That said I don’t think everyone has a single prominent core that you can easily perceive, or like with most people, it might take a while to discover.

 

What do you think your core is?

ZDay presentation – Price of Zero Transition to an RBE

At both the Global ZDay event in Brisbane, Australia the New Zealand ZDay event in Auckland in 2017 and at the Global Zday event in Frankfurt, Germany in 2018 I gave this presentation about the Price of Zero transition to a Natural Law Resource Based Economy.

The slides are based on the presentation given on Sunday the 26th of March 2017 at the New Globe Theatre in Brisbane, Australia as part of the Zeitgeist Movement’s 9th annual ZDay event, but with some tweaks incorporated from the New Zealand presentation, although that was a shorter version.

The presentation video was based on audio which I recorded in a Karaoke bar in rural Vietnam as the original Frankfurt presentation had audio recording issues.

You can view the original Google Slides online or get the PDF version.

Slideshare version

Slides :

Afternoon everyone.

We’ve heard from plenty of speakers over the last day and a half about how screwed our current socio-economic system is.

It’s obvious that this shit’s got to go.

Thankfully there’s a variety of alternative economic systems we can choose from:

True Cost Economics – which values human well-being and the environment.

Steady State Economics – Which helps us live within the carrying capacity of the Earth.

Participatory Economics (Parecon) – Understands that there’s an issue with voting for people to represent you if they are meant to work in their own self interests.

So instead of representative democracy at the core of Parecon those most affected by a decision are the ones with the most influence in the decision.

Then there’s the Natural Law, Resource Based Economy which is based on

the application of the scientific method to social concerns.

access over ownership and

abundance through automation and a systems design approach

As you can see the current best option is to transition towards is an RBE.

If this is a journey then that’s our target.

It’s a combination of science, technology, and a mindset change which helps us reduce scarcity, waste and violence towards zero.


Before going on our journey we need to know where we are.
We are in a fiat based, fractional reserve lending system

With a culture who’s definition of success is how much financial and material wealth, power control and fame you can acquire.

The engine of this system is the cyclical consumption cycle, powered by people earning money and buying things

Due to the way supply and demand works with the priority of profit, and externalities, when you boil it down we currently consider the cost of things based on :

  • Human Labour
  • Property Rights and
  • Perceived Scarcity

We don’t really value human wellbeing, nor the environment.

Knowing the system, we can predict 3 main ways that it can collapse.

The Price of Infinity collapse is really just business as usual

Whereby the issues with Capitalism cause Environmental, Energy and Economic crises and would mean that nearly everything costs so much you can’t afford it.

In short, it’s not good.

The Phoenix Model is the price of infinity, but somehow as the monetary system is collapsing we transition to an RBE, despite there not being any Internet and barely enough food, water and electricity to survive.

This is the transition model I heard being advocated a lot when first joined the Zeitgeist Movement.

I think the thinking behind this is that no one will change to a new system if they are happy where they are.

It’s like being asked to cross a long thin plank to go from the roof of one building to another. It’s dangerous, very few people are going to do that.

As per http://kevinpojezny.com/the-compound-effect-part-2/

However, if the building is on fire you bet your ass you will.
You’ll walk, crawl or do whatever you can to get away from the burning building.

But the trick is to put the plank on the ground and make the trip easy and fun.

There could even be a party at the end which people want to go to.

NB: Photo by Michael Kubler

https://www.dropbox.com/s/992eq11j5hnx824/IMG_7864.JPG?dl=0

That’s why thankfully there’s a third option, the Price of Zero.

The aim is to at least have Food, Water, Electricity, Transport, Education, Entertainment, Health and all the necessities of life for free to everyone on the planet.

But it’s beyond that. The end game is to create such long term abundance there’s no longer a need for money, so we transition away from Capitalism.

So which is the best transition approach?
Well the Price of Zero is obviously the better option as we can :

Start it today and

we are heading towards the end goal.

The Price of Zero is also based on the Buckminster Fuller idea that

You Never Change Things By Fighting The Existing Reality.

To Change Something,

Build a New Model which

Makes the Existing Model Obsolete.

OK.
So you can’t build a global Resource Based Economy instantly. But we can start small and expand.

Like a plant spreading seeds all over the place

we would want at least a dozen or so RBE like sustainable communities

Which can develop into towns, cities and beyond.

Now, not all will succeed, but we can learn from those that fail.

Through systems based thinking plus automation they will be creating an excess of goods and services which can be sold off to the surrounding monetary system for cheaper and cheaper prices whilst also allowing the communities to expand, converting our current system into an RBE over time.

Just like it takes years for a tree to bear fruit it could take 10 or so years to go from a tribe of under 150 people, to a city of tens of thousands and producing a substantial amount of abundance.

I mentioned 150 people in a tribe as it is Dunbar’s number beyond which you can’t really know everyone in the group.
Adding more people means changing from a connected tribe to a large community,

In the process requiring more complex governance structures plus tools for management, trust and the like.

Thus it’s an important milestone.

After the cities get to around 10k or 100k people that’s when we hit a tipping point.

It’s also when we have to start worrying about crossing the chasm.

With the adoption of new disruptive or highly innovative trends, be it social media,LGBT rights or an RBE different stages of the uptake are done by different groups of people.

At the start the RBE concept is being developed by ourselves. The innovators and early adopters.

We can see the potential and are willing to work on making it a reality.

Even if not that many other people share our passion and aren’t ready to join us.

Then there’s the chasm, this is where a lot of ideas and trends die out. They don’t become mainstream if they can’t cross the chasm.

Often what is needed to cross the chasm is a whole new set of branding as a way of attracting the pragmatists.

These are the people who will join the RBE because it provides a tangible benefit, a better life for them than they currently have.

They are likely to be people who have a dream of something they want to do, but are too limited by capitalism.

After the pragmatists join the late majority will often tag along simply because it’s what everyone else is doing,

whilst the laggards are those still trying to use a rotary phone until they no longer work.


Not shown here are the Luddites, those who will actively try to suppress or attack the adoption of a Resource Based Economy.

The luddites are the main reason why we will need to defend our cities, ourselves and the core RBE concepts.

In saying that, we should treat violence like a contagious disease. We don’t want to inflict it or spread it.

There’s some broad structures we can use for the transition.

I would suggest starting with a Decentralised community of like minded geisters. They would be limited to what they can do whilst living within the monetary system.

But could be an initial support network that are donating their time and resources towards helping create a small village that can grow into a sustainable RBE like city.

These initial cities are for trying out new paradigms, such as being created around access abundance and designed to work without the need for fossil fuels nor money.

Being Distributed is the end goal whereby we have all the communities and cities physically linked together, hopefully by Maglev trains.

The communities should have lots of communication from early on so they can learn from each other.

We don’t want to keep making avoidable mistakes.

Note the structure of the movement should be as leaderless or starfish like as possible.

What I mean by that is that if you:

  • Cut head off spider, it can’t control itself, it dies.
  • Cut legs off spider, it can’t get food, it dies.

Many corporations and capitalist systems are spider like in nature, they have a central leader and will attack as if we are the same.

But if you cut the leg off a starfish, it contains everything needed to grow into a new starfish.

That’s the power of leaderless or leader full movements.

When attacked we can spread out and create more communities, fantasia broom style.

Reference :
The Starfish and the Spider – The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organisations 

When creating the RBE like cities they should be adapted to their local environment and resources.

Trying to live in the desert? Build a long thin city in the sand dunes

Living in Bali? You might want to learn from the green school about how to build with bamboo.

You might also want Earthship houses, tiny houses, Venus project style circular cities or massive million people plus buildings.

An important concept during infrastructure design for reducing waste is Access instead of ownership

An example of access over ownership is that not every house needs a vacuum cleaner. You could have one industrial grade long lasting vacuum that is shared among a block or apartment. Now you’ll be using a 20th of the resources.
Apply that thinking on a large scale for everything from kitchens to cars and you have reduced a lot of the resource requirements, allowing more access abundance.

Although in some cases we might be able to retrofit existing cities we will usually want to create new infrastructure which is designed with this mindset from the start.

To implement this all properly you need to use some systems design thinking which works best by zooming out your view on a problem until you see how the whole system works, and how it should actually work.

An example is Litter

The current thinking is around ensuring people put their trash in the bin.

A better option is to have signs saying Please litter here because the packaging is Bio-nutritional and good for the environment.

Supermarkets
When dealing with automation people might ask how for example you would replace checkout chicks at the supermarket. Self-serve checkouts is the current answer but that’s the wrong thinking. Zoom out and you realise what you want is to have Food in your fridge, or things in your cupboards.

Imagine taking some tomatoes out of the fridge, making a meal and by the time you are done a new set has already been picked from the local vertical farm and is already in your fridge.

Now you no longer have a need for supermarkets.

Cradle to Cradle Materials Flow

Just like there’s a water cycle and carbon cycle we should have a materials cycle. Instead of the cradle to grave system used where we throw things away we should be tracking the flow of say steel, titanium, glass and other materials and be creating things to be broken down into their component elements and reused.

Reference
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cradle-to-cradle_design

Mindset Change

It’s not just technical changes, one of the biggest changes is with the mindset.
There will be a much greater focus on Social and community relationships.

Ownership replaced with Responsibility
Another important change is that Instead of money we’ll have to have a culture of responsibility.

Think about it.

you don’t really own an apple.

When you eat an apple you use the life supporting nutrients which then get passed through into the ecosystem.

But, you now have a responsibility to the tree that bore the fruit, the people who helped tend the orchard and the ecosystem that enabled it.

So yes.

The Price of Zero means that Capitalism Collapses, Because there’s no longer a need for money.

But this isn’t the specifics of an actual transition plan, just a broad approach.

RBE Aspiring Communities

The great news is that there’s already at least 6 different RBE aspiring communities, 5 of which are still active.

Koto Coop –  https://kotocoop.org/                                               : Juuso Vilmunen – Will start in Finland

ASIMPAC https://www.facebook.com/ASIMPAC/                       : Léo Caussan – Aiming to run more like a corporation

Ubuntu Planet – One Small Town http://www.onesmalltown.org/ : Michael Tellinger – USA. Been raising funds.

RBE 10k projecthttp://en.rbem.org/wiki/RBE10K                      : Ziggy ( Ezequiel Tolnay ) – Queensland, Australia

Kadagaya –  http://www.kadagaya.org/index.php/en/                    : The most successful, has been running for years in Peru.

Earth Communitieshttps://www.facebook.com/earthcommunities.com.au/ : The failed attempt primarily started by Craig Cowling

There’s going to be a whole lot of different variations. There’s already been some attempts, here’s some of the learnings.

Earth Communities was a decentralised RBE like community started in Adelaide, South Australia.

It failed for a number of reasons:

  1. It tried to grow too quickly and purchased an organics food shop that had some crushing debt.
  2. That was a bad decision done in haste which showed how important it is to find the right balance of speed and quality when working out decision making processes.

I suggest trying to identify decisions which are important and lasting versus small and inconsequential and ensure that the lasting ones are made with quality and consensus (has buy in).

There’s a variety of decision making processes and often the important point isn’t the voting, but the discussions which stress test the options and can sometimes uncover new, better options.

Ideally we’ll use the scientific method to work out what the best decision making processes are for the variety of decisions.

Some examples of different decisions :

  1. Technical decisions with quantifiable metrics
  2. Things with quantitative and qualitative goals,
  3. People and their positions
  4. Ethics, morals and behaviours.

These likely all need to use different decision making processes which will also vary according to the number of people making or being affected by the decision.

Revolving funding model

For the continued creation of new communities we will need some starting resources.

A great method for this is the revolving funding model.

You get people to donate towards the pool of money and resources. This is used to create the first RBE aspiring communities. As those communities develop they pay back the interest free loan, which can be used to kick start new communities and fund larger projects.
I’ve been a part of a group in Australia called CORENA who’s applied this thinking to SolarPV installations and we’ve funded 14 projects so far. If someone put in some money at the start to buy a SolarPV panel then the money from that has have already gone on to fund multiple panels in other projects.

For those that are interested in the idea a crypto currency smart contract could be a great mechanism for orchestrating this.

Of course, the aim is to not need the fund in the future.

Blackbox Thinking

That said, I might be completely wrong about everything.

Failure is OK and expected. Failures provide an opportunity to develop better understandings and mental models.

But, you need to be willing to learn from the mistakes and failures.
The aviation industry is one such org which does that. They have black box flight recorders so that if something goes wrong they can investigate and learn from the problems.

We should learn from them and be open and transparent, recording everything we can. From meetings and decisions to the measurements tracked and outcomes of what was being done.

Whenever there is an issue we can do a 5 whys analysis. Asking why a problem occurred and then you ask why that was allowed to happen and keep asking why until you get to the core problem. You then work on fixes for each level of why.

There’s lots of other techniques, like randomised controlled trials, A/B testing, dealing with the cultural issues of blame, fear of failure.

Learning from failures and near misses is probably the most important part of my talk as I can be wrong about nearly everything else and with the right approach we can discover the best solutions.

This is also the core of what the Zeitgeist Movement advocates.

Check out the NZ Earthsong community for information about how they go about their consensus based decision making process which is great for up to 70 or so people.

We still have a lot we can learn from existing communities.

For example Christie’s Walk, the only sustainable community in a capital city in Australia (Adelaide) found that working on things together helps with conflict resolution so much they haven’t yet needed a formal conflict resolution process.

But when looking at the communities we have to realise that few communities are trying to be RBE like.

That’s why the Brisbane ZM chapter (which also hosted the Global ZDay) has started creating the RBE Aspiration Index. A way of rating the sustainable communities they have been visiting.

Currently the ratings are based upon :

  • Locality,
  • Construction
  • Economy
  • Society

It’s still in it’s infancy but ask me or Zac Syme if you’d like to learn more.

Because you’ll be limited to what the government requirements are, from building codes to use of money and paying of taxes, it will likely help if you can convert the RBE like city’s land into a micro-nation, a block of land that’s considered it’s own country.

There are 12 Micronations in Australia alone and 79 around the world.

Although few are still active or officially recognised as it’s hard to pull off.


The Hutt River Province is one of the most famous micronations in Australia and Sealand is more well known Internationally.

You likely have a number of questions and want every step of the transition explained in great detail. Unfortunately

This is a long journey currently without a good map.

We know the direction to head, but like the Fog of War concept used in computer games, we can only see a few steps ahead of us, not all 100,000 steps.
Thankfully as we walk along we can work out the next few steps ahead of us and in an iterative process make our way towards ->

A far more abundant, inter-connected and sustainable Future…

Thank You.

Other things I could have also mentioned if there was more time :

  • Inertia of decisions and what the first people do. Like a small water trickle turning into the Grand Canyon over time a lot of things are set early on and get harder to change over time.
  • The sheer amount of work needed. Expect something like 15hr days for 8+ years.
  • Likely costs AU$20 Million+ (of current day power purchasing equivalent), e.g as $1/mill yr in interest payments for a proper shot at a decent community and that’ll still be really hard..
  • The Rules for Rulers and how we need to work out what the actual values we want should be and what the structure should look like instead. Would love a deep discussion about this.

Disclaimer and other notes :

Whilst I’ve purchased or taken many of the stock photography used in these slides, there’s still plenty of images that I’ve used which comes from online and I’ve had for such a long time I’ve lost the references to. I’m sorry if I haven’t properly credited your imagery, please let me know if this is the case.

This was a repost from the ZInfo website. But I have kept this version more up to date, so this is now the canonical version.

Zday 2017 – My Experience

Wow, the last 4+ weeks has been INTENSE. Certainly the most intense of my life so far.

First it was 12-16hr days at work trying to get a web project at work over the line.
Then 20 hour days (yes, only 4hrs sleep a night) trying to move out, putting most of my stuff into storage. There was my sisters wedding (sorry about being late for that sis, I got the starting time wrong).
Then with only just enough time I was off to Brisbane and I’d be doing both mentally and physically demanding work.

Casey and Zachary met me at the airport and we hung out for a few days whilst getting some ZDay prep work done and I caught up on sleep a bit.

Eleanor Goldfield and Casey Davidson walking in Brisbane

Eleanor Goldfield and Casey Davidson walking along the Brisbane river

Things got busy once I picked Eleanor up from the airport, from then on we were all very busy. There was social events every night and lots to do during the day. I still had my ZDay presentation to prepare for, tech stuff to organise and there was a whole lot of other stuff happening, Zac and his mum working on the food, Casey and all of us organising things, people and unexpected changes, etc..

 

 


Even before ZDay started we did so much socialising and connecting. Doing a pre-Zday podcast at Frequencies TV wtih Paul who even edited it. Meeting with Jason, visiting New Globe the venue, doing the presenters meet and greet at Zac’s, meeting Federico, cleaning up the venue, then the pre-Zday get together at Frequencies TV again, meeting Peter Joseph, plus a whole lot more amazing people.

Zac, Federico and PJ at Frequencies TV

Zac’s place had become the main hub of geisty activity and most of us there were only getting 4-6hrs of sleep a night.

ZDay hit and there was only an hour and a bit between rocking up at 8:45 and allowing people in. It was hectic but lots of people rocked up early and helped make it work.

I loved being able to delegate very broad tasks, like “You are now in charge of the Workshop space, you can delegate the task to someone else but it’s your responsibility for now” and then an hour or two later checking it out and things were running smoothly. The same with the merchandise and other areas. People just helped out.
That said, in hindsight I didn’t delegate the video camera stuff in quite the right way. I’d happily give people a camera, show them the shutter button and let them loose, but I should have delegated someone to make sure the GoPro was working at pointing at the stage and another person to be filming with the Canon 600D from the other side of the stage during the talks but taking photos during the breaks.
Still, the Panasonic HC-PV100 was amazing and I’m glad I got it. The dual SD card slots meant it would fill up one card and continue recording onto another.

We had all sorts of tech issues. The HDMI -> VGA adapter failed in various ways, mainly that it’d work the first time you tried, esp on a Windows machine, but if you disconnected it and reconnected then it wouldn’t connect. Restarting the computer would sometimes not even be enough.
We had a spare projector we used for the first presentation.
Then found enough laptops with direct VGA cables which would work flawlessly… Except everyone had their own devices. Mac’s, Windows, Powerpoint, Keynote, Google Docs. They all needed their own bits of work and most people needed to see the presenter notes (myself included) so whilst showing PDF slides was our ultimate backup, it wasn’t really acceptable in most cases.

Day 1 came and went and I needed sleep and to work on my presentation and dump all the footage and charge all the batteries, so I missed out on the after party.

Then Day 2. Whilst we had a bit more of a groove, I didn’t have as many people to delegate tech things to and those who I could, Jason and Ziggy were both presenting as well and at the end of the day all three of us were on the panel, so that made things a little harder. There was also much more animated presentations and I had planned to put the slides over the top of people’s presentations but animations or people directly pointing to parts of their slides was not something I’d put enough effort into filming.

Still, we’ve got plenty of good audio, 3 copies of the house / mixer audio, a zoom H4n and shotgun mic on the stage as backup, plus mic on the Panasonic camera and whatever else was recording.

The Canon 7D with zoom lens got some great close up photos. Thank you Jason and others for picking it up, and the other cameras and taking snaps.

https://www.dropbox.com/…/3v1q9p…/AADdzrDFOOaNufTMzbgppuiNa…

My presentation went fairly well, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be. I went for a short run and also meditated to burn off some of the excited energy, but I was also very exhausted. The biggest issue was that I was reading from the presenter notes a reasonable amount and the screen and microphone weren’t quite in the best position. I’ve not got the charisma of some of the Day 1 presenters, but I did get some great thanks and feedback from people like Libby, THANK YOU! I love that people loved it and found the Price of Zero transition presentation informative and even wrote some notes.


Zday Panel Day 2 with myself and some amazing geisters

After Zday I wanted to go to the after party, I had my heart set on it, I’d basically been dreaming about it. Finally a chance to relax and hang out with people after the pressure was off, but Zac, myself and others ended up at the wrong hotel and didn’t get in. It’s a long story.
Amazing, intense conversations continued, especially between Federico and Rich, some of which is still going, continued as an online group chat.

I’ve finally paid off enough sleep debt to think properly and with all the cyclonic weather yesterday flooding the place it was the best day for staying indoors and just watching movies and sleeping.

Now the rains have past and it feels like ZDay 2017 is already fading into the past a little and I’m able to start thinking about what is happening next. But this ZDay was a big milestone point in my life and I think in the lives of the many people it’s touched.

For most the work for Zday is over, but it’s only just begun for myself and others who will be editing the videos or dealing with the positive and negative effects from such an amazing meeting of minds. The biggest annoyance now is that I didn’t stop/start the recordings after each presenter so there’s 8hr audio recordings and 1.5hr+ video recordings but people only need their 20mins of all the different files which can be over 30GB in size. That’ll be fun.

On the 8th of April I’m heading off to Auckland NZ so that the next day I can present my talk at their ZDay event. A week after that I’ll be back in Adelaide, living at my Dad’s place, back working on web development stuff and doing ‘normal’ things. Whatever that is. Probably dealing with web servers and programming more PHP and NodeJS sites.

The conversations have been amazing and intense. We’ve worked out whole new ways of decision making, esp when selecting people and thinking about change.

I’m reminded of a ‘an old African proverb that says “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We have to go far — quickly. And that means we have to quickly find a way to change the world’s consciousness about exactly what we’re facing, and why we have to work to solve it.’

I hope that we’ll collectively help get Humanity to being a Type 2 civilisation instead of a major collapse. As Eleanor put it in her talk. we have to both Fight and Build.
I’ve done a lot of fighting the current system, but that just negates things. It’s time to focus on the building a new model, a new system. Let’s get ready and do it!

 


 

 

Michael Kubler and Peter Joseph at the ZDay 2017 global event in Brisbane.

LetsEncrypt / Certbot – Virtualhost vs VirtualHost

Certbot, formerly letsencrypt is a great tool for setting up SSL certificates on websites. I love being able to quickly, easily and for free, setup a HTTPS SSL (TLS) certificate.

I use apache to host lots of WordPress sites, custom sites (e.g Symfony) and the like and Certbot helps keep them secure. Except when it doesn’t understand the <VirtualHost> config.

 

Here is a virtual host entry that works. running /opt/certbot-auto sees it and lets you create an SSL cert for it.

<VirtualHost *:80>
 ServerAdmin kublermdk@gmail.com
 ServerName www.kublermdk.com
 ServerSignature On

 DocumentRoot /var/www/kublermdk/www/
 CustomLog /var/log/apache2/www.kublermdk.com.log vhost_combined
 ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/www.kublermdk.com.error.log
 <Directory /var/www/kublermdk/www/>
 Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
 AllowOverride All
 Require all granted
 </Directory>
</VirtualHost>

 

Here’s a similar virtualhost entry. Apache happily uses it and it looks fine but Certbot can’t see it. See the difference? I’ve bolded the two characters that have changed.

<Virtualhost *:80>
 ServerAdmin kublermdk@gmail.com
 ServerName www.kublermdk.com
 ServerSignature On

 DocumentRoot /var/www/kublermdk/www/
 CustomLog /var/log/apache2/www.kublermdk.com.log vhost_combined
 ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/www.kublermdk.com.error.log
 <Directory /var/www/kublermdk/www/>
 Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
 AllowOverride All
 Require all granted
 </Directory>
</Virtualhost>

That’s right, the certbot apache plugin doesn’t understand <Virtualhost> with a lowercase h, only <VirtualHost> with an uppercase H, but Apache accepts both versions.

It took me 2 hours and lots of struggling to realise this. Hopefully this post saves you some time and maybe Certbot will be updated to work with either.

Also, if you are trying to get it to work with multiple ServerAlias’s that won’t work. So if you have www.kublermdk.com kublermdk.com and resume.kublermdk.com they all need their own site config file and to be configured individually, which is a bit of a pain.

 

More info :

I’m using certbot v0.11.1

https://certbot.eff.org/

https://github.com/certbot/certbot/issues/3545- I got a touch of help reading this and understanding that the apache plugin reads the sites-available folder for the HTTP version of the site not HTTPS and after reading through some of the actual certbot apache plugin code I found out it uses a specific parsing engine and there was a reference to how they parse VirtualHosts needing more work.

https://github.com/certbot/certbot/issues/4183 I posted a bug report about the issue.

Looking Forward to 2017

Looking ahead, it seems like there’s some crucial parts of 2017 that I’m looking forward to. Mainly a 4-6week period around March and April.

Emma my sister’s wedding on the 12th March. Then flying to Brisbane to help organise and also finish prepping my ZDay speech which will be on the 2nd day of ZDay, I’ll be presenting just after Peter Joseph. w00t!

I’ll hang around for a little while with the awesome Brissy geisters, then I’m presenting at the NZ ZDay event in Auckland on the 9th of April. Fk yeah. Hopefully I’ll get to spend a week enjoying the sights. I’ve never been to New Zealand. Then heading home.

Before that big trip I’ll be packing up the place I currently live, putting most of the stuff into storage for a little while. I’ll likely come back from overseas and stay at my Dad’s place for a bit until I can find somewhere I like.

Most of the rest of the year I’ll be working full time at The Distillery. I’m a web dev / sys admin. Working with Symfony PHP, WordPress, Drupal, LAMP stack, Ansible server config, that sort of stuff. I’m also interested in playing with my own ReactJS, Apollo, MongoDB web app for Gather Together a meeting reminder / organising system I had the need for years ago.

The aim is to pay off my remaining credit card debt which is left over from when I tried to work on eMotively full time last year.
I’ve got a backlog of taxes to then start paying off and depending on how things go, my aim is to save up a 3 month runway whereby I can try working on my sci-fi novel The Book of New Eden. It’s meant to be set about 50yrs in the future, but at my current rate when I finally get around to actually writing it the future will already be here.

I know that I’m not going to spontaneously have the spare mental capacity to write an epic heros journey without actually putting the time aside. I’ve got years of ideas, notes, chapter parts and other stuff that needs to be assembled. I have the core framework of the novel, the chapter outlines, small parts of the story, but there’s a lot missing and a lot of work to do.

The first couple of months of the year I’m looking forward to being single. Flik and I were together since just after the Walk for Solar, basically the start of October 2012 so over 4yrs. That’s the longest relationship I’ve been in and before that I’ve always lived in a shared house or with family, never spent more than a couple of weeks living on my own. Hopefully I don’t let the house get too messy.

Talking about the Walk for Solar, the Repower Pt Augusta campaign is getting back into gear with a big, South Australian wide vote for Solar Thermal or Gas. You should vote, it only takes a second.

We know, thanks to BZE the volunteer engineering organisation that Australia can be powered by 100% Renewables using a mixture of over 60% wind, a bunch of Solar Thermal and a touch of biomass backup. Solar Thermal and Wind compliment each other extremely well and SA already has over 30% of it’s power from wind and renewables, with some days wind power produces over 100% of our power.

So yes, I’ll be helping with the Repower Pt Augusta campaign. Getting the first grid connected Solar Thermal power station in Australia would be an amazing first, an epic win. Did I mention it’ll also create a mass of jobs and be good for the economy?