Music to the Masses


In a distant galaxy, on another planet, a reader with the pseudonym Viking had written, “Interesting! I want to know more! I need an How to become an Audiophile-guide, telling me which gear to use to achieve the greatest sound for the cheapest buck!”

Viking was responding to The Real Differences Between 16-Bit and 24-Bit Audio by Wesley Fenlon on 2011-03-03 at 8:00, Located on that parallel planet’s Internet.

For just a moment, I imagined myself becoming an Amazon Affiliate, then writing such a guide with links to the site’s most expensive products. Yes, I read that bit about cheapest, too, but nothing beats price, especially if commissions are tied to it. Once the reader has acquired the book, and purchased the equipment, it will be too late – at least for him (or her).

Of course, this will simply be the first of many books on innumerable subjects. How to become a lead guitarist, … rhythm guitarist, … bass guitarist, … keyboardist or … drummer spring instantly to mind. Even, How to become a singer. Singing is so much more than just another pretty voice. It is condenser microphone, xlr cable, pre-amp, amplifier, speaker -wait, no not a single speaker, but a stack, no, a wall of speakers.

There is just one little problem with this approach. If the aim of the exercise is to make music that people will actually listen to, then there has to be another input factor other than raw cash – talent. Even listening to music appreciatively, requires talent – an ability to listen.

A knowledgeable and experienced recording engineer can’t make anything valuable out of noise. Garbage/ rubbish/ trash/ detritus in, garbage/ rubbish/ trash/ detritus out.

There has to be talent at every step of the music production chain. If Amazon and Apple are to be prevented from obtaining/ retaining a musical monopoly, then ordinary people are going to have to devote their time and energies freely to make this happen. They are going to have to become part of a production chain that is independent of Amazon and Apple, and Fender, Marshall, Roland and Yamaha.

Previously, I have mentioned Project Retrograde. One focus of this project is the encouragement of people to make digital instances of their own art (literature, music, painting, photography and more) freely available. The works I am talking about are not those performed by The Rolling Stones or Sixto Rodriguez, but by more anonymous groups, such as Skylane or Wes Honeywell and the Thermostats. For example, digital copies of the art works by Billi Sodd are available to subscribers of this weblog.

Previously, I have mentioned that I want to put some of my energies into the production of musical instruments using modern technology, such as CNC machining. While this is still true, I would like to encourage this type of work on a broader basis. In particular, musicians need to be encouraged to design and make their own instruments, or to find local people who can make them.


Experimental Musical Instruments was a magazine that appeared in 70 issues between 1985 and 1999. It was edited and published by Bart Hopkin. Much of the material published is still available at his website:

Another site of interest is Odd Music.

In 1981, Maurice Fleuret (1932-1990) became Director of Music and Dance at the French Ministry of Culture. According to myth, he reflected on musical practice and its evolution: “the music everywhere and the concert nowhere”. He discovered that half the young people played a musical instrument. Since 1982, the Fête de la Musique has become an international phenomenon, celebrated annually on the Summer Solstice (June 21st) in more than 700 cities in 120 countries.

Further information, along with an opportunity to practice your French, is available here.


With the Spring Equinox fast approaching (March 21st), there is slightly more than 3 months for readers of this weblog post to prepare themselves for the next Fête de la Musique. It is just enough time for the musicians among us, to compose some music, write some lyrics, and to prepare for a free public performance. It is probably not enough time for luthiers and other instrument makers to have equipment ready, so they might want to focus on completing instruments during the upcoming winter, so that they would be ready for musicians at Spring Equinox 2020.

Forget cars, Détroit is the World Capital of Music

The Charm of Namsos

Correction: The photo of the Harbour transportation centre claimed that a catamaran runs between Namsos and Trondheim, almost at the southern end of the map. This is not true. The catamaran runs between Namsos and Rørvik, further north.

Namsos is a municipality in Trøndelag county, Norway. It is part of the Namdalen region. It occupies 779 square-kilometres (301 square miles) and has a population of 13,051. The town is located on a small bay, about 24 kilometers (15 miles) from the sea, near the head of Namsenfjorden and at the mouth of the Namsen River, one of the richest salmon rivers in Europe. The municipality also includes the islands of Otterøya and Hoddøya and the south-western half of Elvalandet island.

Patricia and I decided to play hooky on Wednesday, 2019-02-20 and drove off to Namsos for the day. For those unfamiliar with our dialect, playing hooky is skipping school. At our age, no one actually cares what we do, as long as we are civil and law abiding. We contributed to the local economy by buying two books and lunch.

The above map is a bit out of date, since Nord-Trøndelag and Sør-Trøndelag amalgamated 2018-01-01. However, the map shows Namsos almost directly North of Steinkjer.
The coat of arms for Namsos dates from 1961. It shows a golden moose head on a red background. The moose was chosen as a symbol, since Namsos is the capital of the forest-rich Namdalen region, and the moose is the “king of the forest”.

The climate in Namsos is generally maritime. The average temperature in January is −2.4 °C (27.7 °F), in July it is 13.3 °C (55.9 °F). The mean annual temperature is 5 °C (41 °F) and the annual precipitation is 1 340 millimetres (53 inches).

The shopping centre in Namsos. A mishmash of styles, architectural and otherwise.
From the Himmel & Hav (Sky & Sea) Restaurant. Parking/ mooring is available for your boat, if you would prefer to use it shopping, rather than your car.

The Harbour transportation center. Express catamarans travel between Namsos and Rørvik.
Not everyone drives a car in Namsos. John Deere tractors are sold by Felleskjøpet (the Farmers’ Co-operative).
A typical Norwegian bus.
There is not much life at this square in February. The bust is that of Norwegian author Olav Duun (1876 – 1939). From 1907-38 he published 25 novels, four short story collections (he called them “sagas”) and two children’s books. Most incorporate local dialects of peasants, fishermen and farmers. Psychological and spiritual characteristics of rural life, family traditions, and awareness of those who have lived before dominate his books. His most notable work is the six volume, The People of Juvik, about four generations of peasant landowners. In English this work was published as: The Trough of the Waves (1930), The Blind Man (1931), The Big Wedding (1932), Odin in Fairyland (1932), Odin Grows Up (1934) and Storm (1935). The upper secondary school in Namsos also bears his name.
Four sparks sitting outside a sporting goods store awaiting owners. A spark consisting of a chair mounted on a pair of flexible metal runners that extend backward to about twice the chair’s length. The sled is propelled by kicking (“sparka” or “sparke” in the Scandinavian languages) the ground by foot. They are in common use in Sweden, Norway and Finland, especially where roads are not sanded or salted. They are also excellent means of travel over frozen lakes to go ice fishing or just to explore a lake. The first definite record of a spark was in a newspaper in northern Sweden around 1870. In that era stiff, heavy wooden runners were used. In 1909 the design of the modern spark, with flexible metal runners was introduced by the Swedish factory Orsasparken, This quickly became the standard in Sweden, Finland and Norway.

Many Thanks to Wikipedia for providing detailed information.


I need read no further than the first word of an announcement for FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Developers’ European Meeting) to see that it is not an event for me. It is not that I fear that my non-drinking won’t be tolerated. Rather, I don’t want to have to put up with inebriated or half inebriated people.

Far too often in my working life, I have had to attend events populated by people who didn’t know the limits of propriety, after consuming alcohol.

Even though I share many of the aspirations of FOSDEM, this ad clearly demonstrates that this non-commercial, volunteer-based free and open-source software development community, is not sufficiently mature to warrant my attention, at least at this annual event held at the Université Libre de Bruxelles since 2000.

Alcohol use is a health concern, and with so much abuse in society it should not be promoted.

The Charm of Lemon Pudding

This web-log post is a co-operative venture between Patricia Joyce McLellan née Commins, and Brock. Trish has done all of the hard work needed to publish a recipe. As purchasing agent, she has selected all of the ingredients. As cook, she has transformed the ingredients into something edible. As administrator, she has written out the recipe, and sent it onwards to Brock. Brock’s role, in addition to that of dishwasher, has been to photograph the final product, and to transform provided information into a blog post.

Of all the deserts in the world, Brock’s favourite is lemon pudding. He ate it as a child and continues to eat it as long as it is regularly made for him. This recipe serves six. However, there is a difference between hot lemon pudding, out of the oven, and cold lemon pudding served the next day or later, out of the fridge. Both have their own special charm.

This is what lemon pudding looks like, out of the oven

At this point I should be pointing out all of the dangers involved in making lemon pudding, including: be careful with sharp knives, hot ovens, oven dishes (filled with hot water) set out to cool. These dangers don’t end even when the pudding is served, especially if someone has allergies/ sensitivity to: eggs, milk, flour (gluten). General caution: Living involves innumerable dangers, and will ultimately end in death. If you are reading this you have not gotten to this point yet.

Equipment needed: oven, mixing bowl, juicer, grater, rubber spatula, measuring cup, mixer for beating egg whites, pan of hot water, trivet.

Ingredient Metric amount American amount
White sugar 2 dl 1 scant cup
White flour 0.5 dl ¼ ample cup
Melted butter or oil 2 tbsp 2 tbsp
Grated lemon rind From one lemon From one lemon
Lemon juice 5 tbsp 5 tbsp
Egg yolks 3 3
Egg whites 3 3
Milk 4 dl 1.5 cups
Oven temperature 160 degrees C 325 degrees F

Preheat oven to the correct temperature.

Measure, then combine sugar, flour, and butter/oil in a mixing bowl. 

Use a grater to remove lemon rind. Cut lemon in half and use a juice squeezer to collect lemon juice. Add lemon juice and rind to the flour/sugar mixture. 

Add combined egg yolks and milk.  Mix well. Fold in beaten egg whites.  Pour into greased baking pan or individual cups. 

Put the baking pan or individual cups in a larger pan where you add hot water.

Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a trivet.


Why was this post written? The main reason is to encourage others to start their own blogs, to write posts about interesting topics, and to distribute them to a limited group of family and friends. Putting the recipe into web-log form took about five minutes, it involved copying a table from an email, along with the instruction. The photograph was taken with a mobile device (aka cell phone), downloaded and added to the post. Additional time was taken researching and writing about lemon pudding.

People who are interested in the history of lemon pudding can look at:

Domotics: Room Controllers

Controllers for buildings have existed since 1883, when Warren Johnson, a Milwaukee school teacher invented the thermostat. Back then, it was not just a round device on a wall. Rather, when room temperature fell, a light in the boiler room was turned on, indicating that janitors should shovel more coal into the furnace.

You’ve come a long way, Virgil!

In the 135 years since this invention, building controls have improved, and are extensively used in offices, commercial buildings and factories. Most owners of these buildings have deep pockets, and are able to afford integrated solutions vendors provide.

The pockets of the average Joanne, or median resident as statisticians want to refer to her, are not quite so deep, and this weblog post focuses on room controllers that can be used by an extremely average person.

Domotics, or if you prefer terms that people actually understand, house/ home automation, refers to systems used to control: lighting, temperature and humidity (indoor climate), audio and video (entertainment), unauthorized access, smoke/ fire detection (security) and related services, in a residence.

There are three main reasons why I am interested in this field. First, it is a field that combines my studies in computer science and operations research. Second, I like to play with technological toys. Third, I interact with people who have allergy and other indoor environment issues, and have a need for indoor climate control with very fine tolerances.

A potential fourth reason, is that I know people who are aging, and may in the future need assistive devices, for dispensing medication or spoon feeding. As mentioned in a previous post, I certainly don’t want to be spoon fed by another human being; give me a robot any day. I would rather have human contact with another person as an equal, not as a patient requiring help.

At Cliff Cottage, there are plans to install one room controller in most of the rooms of the house.

Power over Ethernet (PoE)

Factoid 1. All devices need power. Some get it from batteries, others get it from wall sockets. PoE devices get it from Ethernet data communication cables.

Factoid 2. Most devices need to communicate. Some communicate wirelessly using Bluetooth or WiFi. However, the number of such devices is limited, and the speed can be slow. Thus, it can be appropriate to connect devices using cables, and Ethernet cables are the most common ones used today.

Factoid 3. A switch is a device that allows multiple other devices in a local area network to be inter-connected. Yes, these connect using Ethernet cables. A typical switch may have up to 48 different cables connected to 48 separate devices.

Factoid 4. PoE eliminates the need to have two different cables. Each device can is provided with power from the switch itself. Voltage levels can be up to 48 volts, and the same cable can be used to send data in both directions.

At Cliff Cottage, we have now invested in two PoE switches. A person was trying to sell five switches for NOK 1 000 (USD 120), or one for NOK 300 (USD 36). They were very inexpensive because businesses won’t buy used equipment, and most other people don’t know what they can be used for. Each of the PoE switches will allow us to connect up to 24 devices, and provide power to them. A cable is connected between a switch and a device through the walls of the house. So these cables are being installed, as the house is being remodelled. We have 305 meters of CAT 6A cable to make these connections. CAT 6A was selected because it is the fastest cable type currently available for Ethernet, allowing for PoE. That means it won’t have to be replaced anytime soon. Hopefully, the cables will last 30 years.

Other cables are not so important, as they are not placed in walls and can be changed easily. The same is true of devices, such as a NAS (network attached server) or a room controller.

Room Controllers

Room controllers, and similar devices, are one of the main categories of devices that need PoE connections. Take, for example, a front-door access controller. It will typically have an infra-red camera, proximity sensor and infra-red light connected to it, that will be activated as someone approaches. Video of each event will be sent to an external location, that could be located anywhere in the world. A room controller may have proximity sensors as well as others to register temperature, CO2, humidity levels and more. Data gained from these sensors and others throughout a house, can be used to activate lights, or heating, display time, temperature and other data on a touch screen. It can even listen and answer using a microphone and speaker.

Controllers need to be placed in the following locations: 1) access control at entrance doors; 2) living room control; 3) dining area control; 4) kitchen control; 5) bedroom control; 6) study, studio and workshop control. Some people may want to have controllers in 7) bathrooms and/or laundry rooms, while others may want to avoid this. In addition, there will be 8) PoE access points for WiFi.

A second switch, without PoE, can be used for other devices dependent on higher power levels. These include: 1) a home theatre connections; 2) a printer and/ or scanner; 3) clothes washer and/ or dryer; 4) dishwasher; 5)  refrigerator and/ or freezer; 6) stove top and/ or oven; 7) microwave oven; 8) kettle; 9) hot water tank; 10) heat exchanger; 11) heat pump or solar thermal controller; 12) greenhouse controller.

The preferred solution uses a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+. Unlike more conventional Raspberry Pis, the CM is totally flat, but uses the bottom edge for connection. There are five versions of compute modules available with 0 (Lite), 4, 8, 16 or 32 GB of eMMC memory provided. A Compute Module Development Kit is made for developing industrial applications with these and other CM boards. The purpose of a development kit is to provide hardware that allow the use of CM boards in custom systems that avoid unnecessary components.

The Compute Module IO (CMIO) board, is a simple, open-source breakout board into which one can plug a Compute Module. The board hosts 120 GPIO pins, an HDMI port, a USB port, two camera ports, and two display ports.

A Compute Module on a Compute Module Input-Output Board used for development purposes (Photo: Raspberry Pi Foundation)

Not everyone will have the possibility to retrofit their dwellings with Ethernet cable, so one will always have to provide a backstop room controller. In terms of current technology this could be based on a Raspberry Pi Model B 3+, with a Pimoroni Automation HAT for Raspberry Pi. See:

A Pimoroni Automation HAR on top of a Raspberry Pi Model B (Photo: Piomoroni)

Each of the room controllers would have a 7″ touch screen. This is a standard RPi product category, so there is no problem finding these in Norway.

The Invisible

What I can’t show in this weblog post are the plastic fittings, and the printed circuit board populated with electronic components, that I intend to use with this room controller. The reason for this is that they have not yet been designed.

I am waiting to design them until a 3D printer and a PCB printer arrive at the local makerspace. This could be a matter of weeks away. The proposed printer is a Ultimaker 3.

Ultimaker 3 with dual extruders, allowing for 2 materials to be used in the same product (Photo: Utimaker)

While there are many different systems that can be used to make printed circuit boards, the additive process provided in a Voltera V-one has many advantages. Its one drawback is initial cost.

Voltera V-one, a complete tool for the manufacture of printed circuit boards (Photo: Voltera)

Lotta Hitschmanova

Lotta Hitschmanova, CC (1909-11-28 – 1990-08-01) was a Canadian humanitarian. In 1945, she founded the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada, an international development organization that began as a small group of aid workers sending supplies to war-torn Europe for relief and reconstruction.

Lotta Hitschmanova
(1909 – 1990)

She was born in Prague, where she earned a Ph. D. She worked as a journalist, and was an outspoken critic of the Nazis. Both of her parents died in the Holocaust, while she had to flee Czechoslovakia in 1938. For four years she wandered over Europe, eventually finding her way to Marseilles, where she helped refugee support groups.

In 1942, after a 46-day voyage on a converted banana boat, she arrived penniless in Montreal “with an unpronounceable name” as she said, and feeling completely lost. Three years later, she founded the Unitarian Service Committee (USC Canada). Her mission from the mid-1940s into the 1980s, was to educate and mobilize Canadians. “I experienced personally how much it hurts to be hungry. To be a refugee, to be without a home, to be without country, to be without friends. And this is something dreadful; you have no more roots, you have no one to turn to.”

Her work took her first back to post-war Europe, and then to Africa and Asia, to conflict zones and newly-independent nations, where the need was greatest. She urged Canadians to become aware of the living conditions of people living far away, and calling upon them to take action and help: “Charity begins at home…and then it goes on to embrace next door neighbours and all those who need help.”

Yet, Lotta’s influence went well beyond her work with USC Canada. Her educational efforts over four decades, provided a foundation for the Canadian public’s ongoing support for international humanitarian aid and development assistance. I remember listening to her talk about her work, and admiring her unique army nurse uniform, complete with military-style hat. She spoke with a thick Czech accent, but it never detracted from her message.

Each year she travelled to poor and strife-torn towns and villages of the world, in need of Canadian assistance to recover from drought, war, disease and poverty. Her message was sincere, and received as such by many thousands of Canadians. People from all faiths and occupations responded by becoming lifelong supporters. USC’s address 56 Sparks Street, Ottawa became the most recognizable address in Canada.

Nova Scotia author Joan Baxter wrote: “It was Lotta Hitschmanova who shaped my values as a Canadian, and the type of Canada I believe in. She helped give us our identity.”

I am neither the first person, nor the last who was moved by Lotta. The CC after Lotta’s name refers to her merit as a Companion of the Order of Canada, the highest grade after that of the Monarch and the Governor General, given her in 1980. She has received numerous other awards and honours from countries and organizations on four continents.

In 2007, the Canadian Museum of History included her as one of the founders in its Canadian Personalities Hall. In 2013, when the Museum conducted a poll, she received the most votes as the person who had shaped Canada’s history most, ahead of Tommy Douglas, Terry Fox and Pierre Trudeau.

Her greatest legacy remains is the deep, emotional reverberation of her values in the memory by hundreds of thousands of Canadians. Her background as an articulate refugee impacted and enriched Canadian society. Today, Canadians – especially – are awaiting the next Lotta Hitschmanova, who may be arriving soon in Canada. Let us welcome each and every one.

In Vancouver, folk singer Vera Johnson (1920 – 2007) commented for decades on political events starting in 1949. Her humorous, original songs spanned every conceivable forbidden topic: censorship, divorce, family life, liberation, politics, religion and sex. Her most famous song, The Fountain, described the Vancouver hippie protests of 1968. She also attended the Vancouver Unitarian Church, although in periods of her life she also lived in Penticton BC, Stratford Ontario, as well as in Britain and Mexico.

Johnson writes, [While in Ottawa for a singing engagement at the beginning of September 1968] “I wrote Nagamma and, next morning, went into Lotta’s office and sang it for her. She cried. I cried. She phoned CBC. They didn’t cry but made an appointment for me to record it at 1:30. Then Lotta used it as the theme song for [her next] campaign.

I have tried to find Nagamma on YouTube, without success. In fact, I have been unable to find anything sung by Johnson, anywhere. She was a generous person. Royalties for Nagamma, went to the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada. For The Fountain they were given to the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association. That’s What I Believe royalties went to the Unitarian Church of Vancouver. We’re Gonna Make His Dream Come True, went to the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, Martin Luther King’s organization. For Pierre Trudeau, they went to UNICEF.

Lotta is one of many Unitarians who have influenced my life positively. Others include: Tim Berners-Lee (born 1955) – inventor of the World Wide Web; Ray Bradbury (1920–2012) – author; Brock Chisholm (1896–1971) – director, World Health Organization; Charles Darwin (1809–1882) – English naturalist and biologist; Charles Dickens (1812–1870) – English novelist; Buckminster Fuller (1895–1983) – inventor, engineer; Ashley Montagu (1905–1999) – anthropologist and social biologist; Isaac Newton (1642-1726) – English physicist and mathematician; Kurt Vonnegut (1922–2007) – writer; Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959) – architect; and, N. C. Wyeth (1882–1945) – illustrator and painter.

For more information on Lotta and USC-Canada, visit:

Workshop Activism

Artwork from Makerspace Nanaimo celebrating Canada Day, 2018-07-01. Nanaimo was my father’s home town, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. For more information about it, visit:

Dear everyone,

This is a letter to potential partners regarding a maker’s workshop. It is not an official request, but loose thoughts from an individual. Not everything I do is commercially profitable. I am grateful that I am in a financial situation as a pensioner, where I can prioritize socially beneficial activities. Many – but not all – who read this are probably in a similar situation. But my life is too short, my brain too small and my hands too few to do everything I want.

I have just read Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson’s book, Empty Planet (2019), which explains one of the greatest challenges mankind faces in the future, a rapid population decline, in the second half of this century. In Norway, fertility is now slightly above 1.6 compared to 2.1 which is necessary to maintain the population. With the exception of Africa, almost the whole world is now below this limit, or will soon reach this limit. The authors believe that it is possible that in the year 2100, the US and China’s population could be about the same, 600 million each, with the US population increasing by immigration. Despite the freeing of child production, fertility in China is only 1.2. China does not want immigration, but are not alone in this. Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has provided “slave laws” that impose increased overtime on workers, and has also promised women who give birth to 4 (or more) children, tax exemptions for the rest of their lives, along with some other benefits. He also refuses to accept immigrants, but focuses on domestic production. It will probably not help to bring up the birth rate. Women are too wise to fall for it. Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s New Year’s speech did not generate much enthusiasm either.

I am committed to removing useless work, including driving. A lot of construction work consists of old fashioned methods, which are used only because of traditions. Working methods that promote low energy, environmentally friendly products and minimal use of labor must be used. I want more robotics, which can also relieve people from boring work tasks.

It will be impossible to launch every single project I have proposed. However, I would like to share some of the project proposals. To a couple of them, I add links to current material, including YouTubes video of short duration. What I would like to know is which of these YOU would like to work with and in which priority order. Are there other projects you could suggest that you would prioritize? What role do you want in these or other projects.

1. The Norwegian Society for Nature Conservation Inderøy has been granted some money to build an up to 15 square meter geodesic dome to grow vegetables using hydroponics. Part of the thinking is to try it as a method for producing “near” food. The dome could be built with reused impregnated wood, and recycled glass. The facility could be controlled with microprocessors, Arduino or Raspberry Pi.

2. Monitoring of the environment has also been discussed at the local group of Norwegian Society for Nature Conservation. This could involve the construction of drones and underwater robots (ROVs) for monitoring sea and land areas. Equipped with camera and/ or different sensors. See:

3. Smart house. Well the houses are not so intelligent, but this project is about using control technology and similar methods to control the house conditions, including light and heat. As usual, I am concerned about open source software such as Home Assistant, cheap microcontrollers, LED lights, and more. See:

4. Robotics are important to relieve people from work. Self-propelled cars (and tractors) are part of this. At the same time, with an aging population, there is a need for machines that can help people with their chores. I am interested in initiating training in robotics with an emphasis on mechatronics, ie the interdisciplinary engineering field that combines mechanics, electronics, computer technology, regulation technology, and systems engineering design in the development and production of useful new products.

5. As any reader can see, most of the activities here have a male orientation. I regret that, but for my own defense I would also like to have women participate. In addition, I would also like to encourage other activities, especially those that women would like to participate in. Despite this, I feel that women can also benefit from gender-separated education, especially in technical areas that have a male feel – mechanics, electronics , programming. I would like to know female views here, especially. Also think that here women can have more nuanced understanding in areas that concern clothes and food.

6. Other locations. The workshop at the municipal centre (Straumen) has been granted money from the Gjensidige Foundation. If workshop activities are to replace TV viewing as Norway’s national sport, then several workshops must be put into use. These workshops should be located everywhere in the municipality, preferably a stort distance from where you live! It should be possible to find suitable locations.

7. Machines. There will be a need for new types of machines over time. The workshop is intended for training and production with a limited range of materials, with a limited range of machines. Construction of, for example, geodesic domes must take place elsewhere and use other types of machines. These machines could be purchased used then repaired and deployed.

The Service Network

“The Service Network consists of people with complimentary skills looking for ways to serve society. We particularly target gaps and can aid other organizations where their skills are insufficient. Our competence range from social networking and marketing to metalworking and wireless technologies.”

This week, I have devoted much of my time to compiling a list of equipment for a workshop. This is by no means an individual activity, where one can impose one’s beliefs and opinions on others. Rather, it is a time to listen to (and reflect on) the un-articulated needs of a diverse group of people, and to mesh them into a harmonious whole. I am particularly concerned about the needs of children. Far too often they are distracted into playing games and using toys. Yes, these activities are important, but there are times when they should be treated as adults-in-training, as people who can make a significant contribution to the betterment of the world.

Of course, I am also concerned about the needs of the weaker gender, that one that has a shorter life-span, more debilitating disease, more undiagnosed mental health issues and a reduced ability to speak face-to-face. They need a place to work, and an opportunity to speak shoulder-to-shoulder.

That said, the needs of the stronger gender also need to be addressed. In the past, they have often been denied access to workshops and to technical education. Given the opportunity during the second world war, they excelled brilliantly, until the end of the war forced them out of the workshop and into the bedroom, so they could become the mothers of the boomer generation.

Immigrants have a special place in a workshop, for it is by working and contributing to a society, that people start to understand how society functions, in the real world. A workshop offers an opportunity for the lives of the immigrant, as well as the native populations to intertwine, and for both groups to become integrated.

Verksted aktivisme… på norsk

Kjære alle sammen,

Dette er et brev til mulige samarbeidspartnere når det gjelder et maker-verksted. Dette er ikke en offisiell henvisning, men løse tanker som privatperson. Ikke alt jeg driver med er bedriftsøkonomisk lønnsom. Jeg er takknemlig for at jeg er i en økonomisk situasjon som pensjonist, der jeg kan prioritere samfunnsnyttige aktiviteter. Mange – men ikke alle – som leser denne er sannsynligvis i en lignende situasjon. Men mitt liv er for kort, min hjerne for liten og mine hender for få til å gjennomføre alt som jeg har lyst til å gjennomføre.

Jeg har nettopp lest Darrell Bricker og John Ibbitsons bok, Empty Planet (2019), som forklarer en av de største utfordringer menneskeheten står overfor i fremtiden, en rask befolkningsnedgang, i den andre halvdel av dette århundre. I Norge er fertilitet nå litt over 1,6 sammenlignet med 2,1 som er nødvendig til å opprettholde befolkningen. Med unntak av Afrika, er nesten hele verdenen nå under denne grensen, eller vil nå denne grensen snart. Forfatterne mener at det er mulig at i år 2100 kan USAs og Kinas befolkning være ca. det samme, omkring 600 millioner hver, der USAs befolkning økes ved hjelp av innvandring. Til tross for fri slep av barneproduksjon, er fertilitet i Kina kun 1,2. De vil heller ikke ha innvandring, men er ikke alene om dette. Ungarns statsminister Viktor Orban, har sørget for “slave-lover” som påtvinger arbeidstakere økt overtidsinnsats, og har også lovet kvinner som føder 4 (eller flere) barn, skattefritak resten av livet, sammen med en del andre goder. Han også nekter å ta imot innvandrere, men satser på hjemlig produksjon. Det vil trolig ikke nytte til å få opp fødselstallet. Kvinner er for klok til å falle for det. Statsminister Erna Solbergs nyttårstale har heller ikke nøstet begeistring.

Jeg er opptatt av å fjerne unyttig arbeid, herunder kjøring. Mye byggearbeid består av avleggs metoder, som brukes kun på grunn av tradisjoner. Arbeidsmetoder som fremmer lav-energi, miljøvennlig produkter, og minimal bruk av arbeidskraft må benyttes. Jeg er også opptatt av robotikk, som kan også avlaste mennesker fra kjedelige arbeidsoppgaver.

Det er slik at jeg kan ikke bare sette i gang hver eneste prosjekt som jeg kommer bort i. Jeg vil gjerne dele noen av prosjektforslagene. Til et par av dem, legger jeg ved lenker til aktuelle stoff, herunder YouTube video av kort varighet. Det som jeg vil gjerne vite, er hvilke av disse kunne DU tenke deg å jobbe med, og i hvilken prioritert rekkefølge. Er det andre prosjekter du kunne foreslå som du ville prioritere? Hvilken rolle vil du ha i disse eller i andre prosjekter?

1. Naturvernforbundet avdeling Inderøy har fått innvilget litt penger til å bygge en inntil 15 kvadratmeter geodetisk kuppel til å dyrke plantevekster med et hydroponisk anlegg. En del av tankegangen er å prove det som en metode for produksjon av kortreist mat. Kuppelen kunne bygges med gjenbrukt impregnert treverk, og gjenvunnet glass. Anlegget kunne styres med mikroprosessorer, gjerne av type Arduino eller Raspberry Pi.

2. Også på Naturvernforbundet lokalt, har man drøftet overvåking av miljøet. Dette kunne gjerne kreve bygging av luftroboter (droner) og undervannsroboter (ROV = remotely operated vehicles) til overvåking av hav- og landområder. Utstyrt med kamera og/eller ulike sensorer. Se:

3. Smarthus. Vel husene er ikke så intelligente, men det gjelder å bruke reguleringsteknikk og lignende metoder til å styre husets tilstander, herunder lys og varme. Som vanlig er jeg opptatt av åpenkilde programvarer som Home Assistent, billige mikrokontrollere, LED-lys, med mere. Se:

4. Robotikk er viktig til å avlaste mennesker fra arbeid. Selvkjørende biler (og traktorer) er en del av dette. Samtidig, med en aldrende befolkning er det behov for maskiner som kan hjelpe folk med sine gjøremål. Jeg er interessert i å igangsette opplæring innenfor robotikk med vekt på mekatronikk dvs den tverrfaglige disiplin innen ingeniørfag som kombinerer mekanikk, elektronikk, datateknikk, reguleringsteknikk, og systems engineering design i utvikling og produksjon av nyttige nye produkter.

5. Som enhver leser kan skue, så er de fleste aktiviteter overfor preget litt for mye av interesser som er mer vanlig i mannfolk. Det beklager jeg, men til min egen forsvar vil jeg gjerne også ha med kvinner. I tillegg vil jeg gjerne også prioritere aktiviteter som kvinner kunne gjerne glede seg til å delta i. Til tross for dette, så føler jeg at kvinner kan også ha fordeler av kjønnsdelte undervisning, spesielt i tekniske områder som har en mannlig preg – mekanikk, elektronikk, programmering. Jeg vil gjerne få vite kvinnelig synspunkter her, spesielt. Tenker også at her kan kvinner ha mer nyanserte forståelse i områder som gjelder klær og mat.

6. Andre lokaliteter. Verkstedet på Straumen har fått innvilget penger fra Gjensidige Stiftelsen. Om verkstedaktiviteter skal erstatte TV-titting som Norges nasjonalsport, så må flere verksted tas i bruk. Disse verkstedene bør lokaliseres overalt i kommunen, gjerne i gang avstand av der du bor! Det bør være mulig å finne frem til egnete lokaliteter.

7. Maskiner. Det blir behov for nye typer av maskiner etter hvert. Verkstedet er tiltenkt brukt til opplæring og produksjon fra et begrenset utvalg av materialer, med et begrenset utvalg av maskiner. Bygging av, for eksempel, geodetisk kupler må foregå andre steder, og bruke andre typer av maskiner. Disse maskiner må anskaffes gjerne brukt, istandsettes og utplasseres.

Det tjeneste nettverket

“Det tjeneste nettverket består av folk med utfyllende ferdigheter som ser etter måter å tjene samfunnet på. Vi retter oss spesielt mot hull og kan hjelpe andre organisasjoner der deres ferdigheter er utilstrekkelige. Vår kompetanse spenner fra sosiale nettverk og markedsføring til metallbearbeiding og trådløse teknologier.”

I denne uken har jeg viet mye tid til å lage en liste over utstyr til et verksted. Dette er på ingen måte en individuell aktivitet, der man kan pålegge sin tro og meninger om andre. Det er snarere en tid å lytte til (og reflektere over) de uforutsette behovene til en mangfoldig gruppe mennesker, og å samle dem inn i en harmonisk helhet. Jeg er spesielt bekymret for barns behov. Altfor ofte blir de distrahert i å spille spill og bruke leker. Ja, disse aktivitetene er viktige, men det er tider når de skal behandles som voksne-under-opplæring, som folk som kan gi et betydelig bidrag til verdens forbedring.

Selvfølgelig er jeg også opptatt av behovet for det svakere kjønn, den som har en kortere levetid, mer svekkende sykdom, mer udiagnostiserte psykiske problemer og en redusert evne til å snakke ansikt til ansikt. De trenger et sted å jobbe, og en mulighet til å snakke skulder til skulder.

Når det er sagt, må behovet for det sterkere kjønn også tas opp. Tidligere har de ofte blitt nektet tilgang til verksteder og teknisk utdanning. Gitt muligheten under andre verdenskrig, utmerket de seg briljant, til krigens ende tvang dem ut av verkstedet og inn i soverommet, slik at de kunne bli mødrene til boomergenerasjonen.

Innvandrere har en spesiell stilling på et verksted. Når man arbeider og bidrar til et samfunn, så begynner folk å forstå hvordan samfunnet fungerer, i den virkelige verden. Et verksted gir en mulighet for innvandrere, så vel som den innfødte befolkningen til å blande seg, og for begge grupper å bli integrert.