Re: SOC/TECH: Greenstar <--- MUST SEE

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Mon Jun 26 2000 - 09:12:16 MDT wrote:
> In a message dated 6/26/00 9:11:03 AM Central Daylight Time,
> writes:
> > Volume production is at odds with picking a few good projects. To support
> > volume production, you'd need an easy way to find lots of good sites.
> >
> > I am highly skeptical of the economics of this enterprise. It seems
> > driven by self-indulgence of rich engineers. Comparisons across poor
> > countries, regions, and individuals almost never show any substantial
> > health effect of variations in medical spending or water and sanitation.
> > And the idea that random isolated villages could recoup $100K investments
> > via ecommerce seems just ludicrous, even if the equipment isn't just
> stolen.
> Actually, I think the e-commerce cost-recoupment idea is also impractical.
> It seems like "window dressing" for the core idea of making a modular
> power/water/net/clinic unit.
> As for the job of picking good sites, there's probably no shortcut around
> that. However, there are lots of do-gooder First Worlders who volunteer to
> work on things like this. My enthusiasm for the idea of making a robust,
> simple, modular "infrastructure" module for use in the Third World is
> undimmed.

Oh, its a good idea, no doubt about it. If they got the cost down below $25k it
would probably be quite cost effective. I think the importance of the
ecommerce/media server capabilities do more for not only building community and
cultural identity, but it gives such communities a voice and identity in the
world. When some tyrant decides to oppress such people, they won't just be some
hard to pronounce village, they will have music that anyone in the world can
hear, and pictures of their everyday life for people to empathize with.
As for protecting such an asset against theft or destruction, I imagine that
adobe walls can be built around the container, which will give the structure not
only greater thermal protection, but the villagers can fold up the solar panels
and stow them away and slap a straw roof on to make it look like a normal
building before the troops move in.
For the ecommerce server to be cost effective, its of course important that the
village have something worth selling on the world market.

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