I checked out the Global Village Construction Set today, and did some looking around. It looks like a great project in general, and they have some fantastic plans. The long story made short, in their own words, is to create:
The Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) is a modular, DIY, low-cost, high-performance platform that allows for the easy fabrication of the 50 different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a small, sustainable civilization with modern comforts.
It’s an awesome idea of a project and if you have some extra money, you should throw some at their Kickstarter.
As cool as I think the project is in spirit, I was kind of astounded at what tools they put in the construction set and in what order. Tractor, Brick Press, Power Lifter? Sure I see the use in all of that. But I’m astounded to see that the GVCS has a ‘3D Scanner‘ in it, but no Sewing Machines. And on what planet does ‘Aluminum Extractor’ beat out a ‘Washing Machine‘ on the list of tools to create in 2012? Have you ever washed clothes by hand? Don’t! It’s a waste of time, it destroys your hands, and is entirely soul-crushing. To me ‘Modern Comforts’ include clean (and whole) clothes, blankets to sleep under, plates and bowels to eat from, and windows. And to make those you need Looms, sewing and washing machines, and tools for home crafts like pottery making. I really dig the concept of the project, and I want to support them. However I think the priorities on chart hint that the organizers have not entirely grasped what it takes to keep a household or village running.
It’s also sad how stereotypical American that list of overlooked technologies is. I like to imagine the Open Source and Open Engineering community full of imagination, creativity, and driven to understand the true details as things work. Missing entire categories of village necessary equipment in such an geek-stereotypical way shows a less-than-thoughtful approach to truly understanding the system of civilization as a whole. As well as a lack of imagination in requirements creation and problem-space exploration.
Emma Goldman said “If i can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution” and I’ll have to add “If I can’t make clothes, I don’t want to be part of your DIY Village.” That said, it’s still an awesome project! You should still go and fund their kickstarter and check out their excellent wiki despite my grousing. And while you are there, feel free to add to my private page of Things_This_Village_Is_Missing_That_Make_Me_Cry.