Simple Van Setup

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Brilliant simple van setup by Sam Ausden, who is pulling an equally brilliant trailer built with SIPs (structural insulated panels) with solar panels powering a big air conditioner and a 14kw 48-volt battery.

His units were on display at the TinyFest Festival last weekend.

There are 17 $8 milk crates holding everything. They are held snug with powerful magnets. Simple, cheap, practical, lightweight.

Quite a contrast with expensive, overbuilt, heavy Sprinter van conversions.

www.zerohouse.co

instagram.com/tallmaninavan

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Shelter Booth at Last Weekend’s TinyFest Festival in Pleasanton, Calif.

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Our booth at the TinyFest Festival at the Alameda Fairgrounds last weekend, where we sold books and had a great time meeting new friends.

At the booth, we introduced our just-published Rolling Homes book and we sold a lot of copies. Everyone seems to love it. For one thing, the timing — with all the new vans, trucks, trailers and other nomadic vehicles on the roads now.

Two of the contributors to the book showed up and parked their rigs next to our booth: Ben Bloom’s homemade redwood camper shell on his Toyota Tacoma truck and Paul Elkins’ bike-pulled solar- and wind-powered trailer. Both of these generated a lot of interest, with a steady stream of inquiring fair goers

On the first day, maybe 20 people came into the booth and thanked us for the books through the years. Really gratifying.

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Yes, Sand Crabs Are Edible!

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Last Thursday I saw two guys digging in the sand at Stinson Beach. They were collecting what are called “sand crabs,” or “decapod crustaceans.” Also called mole crabs. The guys were Salvadorans and told me they would be cooking them with tomatoes and having over rice.

The next day Doug and I got a batch, boiled them for 10 minutes, then marinated in olive oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and red peppers and fried at high heat, as shown here, in walnut oil.

They were delicious, like crunchy shrimp.

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Having Some Kind of Fun Every Day

I just ran across this. About 10 years ago, I got a call from Sailor Jerry Rum, asking if I would do a short video. I didn’t know what the rum was, so I asked them to send me a bottle. Which they did, I liked it, so we went ahead with the photo shoot, which was a lot of fun. Good guys.

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At Tiny Home Festival on September 10-11

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We’re scrambling to get ready to do our first festival appearance in four years.

Evan and I are in the process of packing up our trucks with all our festival gear: 10′ × 10′ booth with white canvas roof, our Shelter banner, boxes of books, tables, chairs, and lath walls that we will affix to the sides of the booth and upon which we will mount blowups from our various books.

This is for the Tiny Home Festival at the Alameda Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, California this weekend, September 10-11. Details and tickets at:
www.tinyfest.events/tinyfest-pleasanton-california-2022.

We will be selling our books at a discount and I will be doing a presentation and slideshow on Rolling Homes on the main stage at 1 PM on Saturday, September 10 (calendar file).

In the past we have appeared at green festivals, solar energy festivals, and what was the best of all: the Maker Faires, but the Maker Faires unfortunately went out of business, and then Covid came along.

The big news right now is that Rolling Homes is finally in the stores, as well as available from us via mail order.


Below are some spreads from Rolling Homes (available at shelterpub.com/building/rolling-homes, which has a 30% discount on two or more books and free shipping:

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“There Is So Much Unmobilized Love Out There” – Mike Davis on Activism in a Dying World

Quotes from article in The Guardian (10/30)

What I think about more often than anything else these days is the death of California. The death of its iconic landscapes. I wrote a piece in the Nation on why these changes are irreversible. How much of the beauty of the state might disappear forever. No more Joshua Trees. No more sequoias.

I’ve exalted in the beauty of California my entire life. Hiking, mountain running, traveling all over the state. There’s so much I wish my kids could see, could have seen, that they’ll not see. And that, of course, is happening everywhere in the world.…”

“What do you think Americans should be doing right now?”

“Organize as massively as possible: nonviolent civil disobedience. Instead of just fighting over environmental legislation in Congress, ending up in a bill that’s as much a subsidy to the auto industry and to fossil fuel as anything else: start sitting-in the board rooms and offices of the big polluters, all these meetings where the Kochs and other oil producers sit down with Republican politicians.…”

“Republicans are doing a splendid job of combining protest movements with electoral politics. It’s not only that Republicans have mastered low-intensity street-fighting, it’s that they’ve also been able to sustain a dialectic between the outside and the inside in a way that progressive Democrats haven’t been able to do.…”

“There is so much unmobilized love out there. It’s really moving to see how much.”

www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/aug/30/mike-davis-california-writer-interview-activism

From Maui Surfer

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‘They Said It Was Impossible’: How Medieval Carpenters Are Rebuilding Notre Dame

From The Guardian / The Observer
Kim Willsher

Sat 20 Aug 2022

At Guédelon Castle, the year is 1253 and the minor nobleman, Gilbert Courtenay, has ridden off to fight in the Crusades, leaving his wife in charge of workers building the family’s new home: a modest chateau that befits his social position as a humble knight in the service of King Louis IX.

Here, in a forest clearing in northern Burgundy, history is being remade to the sound of chisel against stone and axe against wood, as 21st-century artisans re-learn and perfect long-forgotten medieval skills.

The Guédelon project was dreamed up as an exercise in “experimental archaeology” 25 years ago. Instead of digging down it has been built upward, using only the tools and methods available in the Middle Ages and, wherever possible, locally sourced materials. Now, in an unforeseen twist of fate, Guédelon is playing a vital role in restoring the structure and soul of Notre Dame cathedral.

Paris’s imposing 13th-century cathedral, a world heritage site, was consumed by fire in April 2019, destroying its complex roof structure, known as La Forêt because of the large number of trees used in its construction. The widespread view was that it would be impossible to rebuild it as it was.

“The roof frame was extremely sophisticated, using techniques that were advanced for the 12th and 13th centuries,” Frédéric Épaud, a medieval wood specialist, tells the Observer.

“After the fire, there were a lot of people saying it would take thousands of trees, and we didn’t have enough of the right ones, and the wood would have to be dried for years, and nobody even knew anything about how to produce beams like they did in the Middle Ages. They said it was impossible.

A number of the companies bidding for the Notre Dame work have already engaged carpenters trained at Guédelon, and more are expected to beat a path to the Burgundy clearing 200km down the autoroute du Soleil from Paris.

It might be quicker and cheaper to turn wooden beams out of a sawmill — especially with French president Emmanuel Macron’s pledge to reopen the ravaged cathedral in 2024 — but you will not find anyone at Guédelon who believes it should be done that way.
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How Humans Grew Acorn Brains

If we are going to tackle humanity’s biggest challenges, we will need to use our unrivaled ability to think long-term. Understanding how we developed this ability can help us use it to its full potential.

by Roman Krznaric


Human beings are quite capable of dealing with immediate crises. A devastating flood takes place and we send in the emergency relief. A pandemic occurs and we shut the borders and develop the vaccines. A war erupts and the refugees are found homes. More or less.

But when it comes to long-term crises, humanity’s record is less exemplary. Our response to the climate emergency — which is already here but whose greatest impacts are yet to come — has been painstakingly slow. We freely create technologies, from AI to bioweapons, that could pose devastating risks for our descendants. We fail to tackle deep problems like wealth inequality and racial injustice, which get passed on from generation to generation.

This temporal imbalance raises a question: is it even in the nature of our species to take the long view? Looking at the record so far, you would be right to be skeptical.

But there’s some unexpectedly good news: we are wired for long-term thinking like almost no other animals on the planet. As I argue in my recent book The Good Ancestor, grasping this scientific truth requires understanding the crucial difference between what I call the Marshmallow Brain and the Acorn Brain.

The Marshmallow Brain is an ancient part of our neuroanatomy, around 80 million years old, that focuses our minds on instant rewards and immediate gratification. This is the part exploited by social media platforms that give us dopamine hits by getting us to constantly click, scroll and swipe, as so brilliantly depicted in the film The Social Dilemma. It is named after the famous Marshmallow Test psychology experiment of the 01960s, where children who resisted eating a marshmallow for 15 minutes were rewarded with a second one: the majority failed.

There are well-known critiques of the test, for instance the fact that the ability to delay gratification is highly dependent on socioeconomic position: those from wealthier backgrounds find it easier to resist the treat, while a lack of trust and fear of scarcity can push kids towards gobbling it up.

A more fundamental critique, however, is that we are not simply driven by immediate rewards. Alongside the Marshmallow Brain we also possess a long-term Acorn Brain located in the frontal lobe just above our eyes, especially in an area known as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. This is a relatively new part of our neuroanatomy — a mere two million years old — giving us a rare ability to think, plan and strategize over long timeframes.

But don’t other creatures think and plan ahead? Sure, animals such as chimpanzees make plans, like when they strip leaves off a branch to make a tool to poke in a termite hole. But they will never make a dozen of these tools and set them aside for next week.
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