Monday, October 3, 2016

Q&A - 3/11


[Liquid food company Soylent founder Rob Rhinehart's] latest project is building a home in Los Angeles, off the grid. This is surprisingly possible in one of the world’s most urban environments. He found disused land in an unfashionable part of town and plonked a shipping container in it, which he now lives in.  This might be eccentric but it’s not a millionaire’s whimsy. The land was cheap because it is not served by electricity or water; the shipping container was $1,500. [..] The container’s power is solar-generated. Of course there is no need for a kitchen. Rhinehart is currently relying on a “Porta Potty” but has hopes for advances in new toilets that vaporise waste.


I'd love to try this out: buy cheap land and put a shipping container on it. This guy did solar & battery combo for ~10000 Eur (I looked at Powerwall, the web page needs some work, I wanna see a moderate price for moderate use right away, instead you are shown prices ranging from 100K to millions for probably heavy industrial use). 

There were some advances in portable toilets, (thanks to Bill G). One that is available today, here

Shower with recyclable water.

Patch of land around Berlin area 10 shipping containers wide ~60K Eur, 

Living unconnected to the grid, without getting f**ing bills everyday seems to be possible. I loathe excessive bureaucratization, and it seems we built a lot of unnecessary bureaucracy around the simple act of living. Even paying rent, while simple, seems like money down the drain. Time to cut the cord?


But don't we need connectivity?

To what? How?

Humans are built for intermittent connectivity, not constant connectivity. Yes there is the concept of six-degrees-of-seperation (where any person in the world is related to another by less than six hops of friendship/kinship) - but the interesting thing about that is not that "we are all connected", it is that relatedness is possible even in a network as sparsely connected as ours. In nature, small-world networks occur a lot, and artificially building one on your own is instructive on how all these things really work: you take a fully connected graph, and start randomly breaking off connections.

The version control system Git and Github are all built around the concept of intermittent connections.

There are two formulas that model human population growth, one is Malthusian, the other Logistic. In order to reach the better / latter one, you simply add a "death rate" that is proportional to the connections between N people meaning that more connections, more denseness creates conflicts, probably while sharing limited, shared resources, and ultimately death.

(This does not mean collaboration is bad - that can happen in asynchronous fashion).


What do you want out of your smartphone

A Better OS

[geek] I'd like to be able to login to my smartphone through command-line tools such as ssh and find well-known Unix tools and libraries there. OpenCV, Python should be available, instalable out-of-the-box. There is Ubuntu Touch which aims at this, that could be my next try. It would be nice being able to program a phone without getting into f--ing Java, or go through layers of obnoxious OS [/geek].

It was nice to have Android, the alternative would have been iOS everywhere which in technical quality terms is the very definition of Armageddon. But, say, Android on Samsung is also a no-go, similar apps are fighting on the phone to do the same thing (do you want to use this or that app to view a web page? just open the effin page). Plus the battery is heating up, so this OS/phone combo sucks.

I believe such a simple OS that manages power well, and programmer-friendly at the same time will happen. Right now a student in Finland might be sitting at his desk, he wants to do things with a smartphone he just bought. This student, Finus Forvalds, will transport / write / re-write parts of Unix to first make a call on this phone, then access its camera, then all its devices. He will publish first version on some group, chatroom and we will have an easy-to-use smartphone OS Finux.