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ant village challenge 2019 brainstorming  RSS feed

 
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from another thread:

Gilbert Fritz wrote:If things don't come off this Friday, will there be a retry next year?



I don't know.  

If we had 12 people sign up in the first 48 hours, and we had 12 contenders right now, then I would call this a string success and want to do it again.

Jim made an interesting suggestion:  do it again, but it is only open to people that start with a bare acre.  That way, the current ants don't have a head start.   It sounds like Jim would like to do it again, but starting off with a bare acre.

Maybe it would be good just to have a bit of conversation.

I think Jim demonstrated that a house could be built pretty quickly.  And it left him itching to build another.   A lot of the lessons appeared to be:  build something really small and humble the first year, and something better the second year.   The first structure will server other functions later.  

So it seems that an optimized plan is to go through two winters.  

There also seems to be some needs to build fence, build gardens ....  plant your gardens the first year to build soil with some food - much more food later.  I know that for the current challenge, people are growing some food this year, but are gearing up to do the big planting this upcoming year.  

So maybe the thing to do is to say that the next challenge starts jan 1, 2017 and judgement day is sep 10, 2019.  So if somebody paid to get in, it would cover three years of rent.  We would be judging a better structure and a richer garden.  

Another possible idea for existing ants, or new ants that have adopted an existing ant property:   maybe on the same day (sep 10, 2019) we could offer "the gert award" for the property that is the most gert-like.  

-----

Suppose it is a three year ant challenge.    I would guess that the price would have to be something like $1600 for the three years.   I suppose we could set it up like we did last time where $1200 would cover the first two years and then the last $400 could be for the final year - only for those that are still in the running.   I think this is the minimum price for three years.  For a lot of reasons.  One of those reasons is that each contestant has to have "skin in the game."  

I think everybody reading this wants to see a dozen ants in this.   Good ants.  Great ants.  Doing amazing things.  And that it is well documented.  So maybe the thing to do is to sweeten the pot.

I think that there were a lot of people that sent in a lot of ant love and gapper love so that the pot was sweeter.   Maybe we need to brainstorm further on what might be sweeter still.  With all the tools, maybe a portable tool shed would be handy?  Maybe we should be better organized with "peasant workshops":  super cheap workshops with a focus on building experiences and simultaneously helping the ants.

Ideas?




 
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Ok, this may have been thought of and very possibly would not work or match with your goals/ethics.  But if it did, it could be a great way to help with world domination and generate some coin for the empire.

What about engaging with a tv channel and making the ant challenge a tv show?  A bit like the other homestead shows out there but with minimal drama, "be nice" ethics, permaculture education built in and the accomplishments of the ants towards surviving the winter and winning the challenge being the focus.   I don't watch many of the homesteading shows but from what I have seen, they sure struggle to put enough actual content into each episode.  The ant village would surely have plenty of things going on to educate folks about.  

The BBC shows on Edwardian Farming were what got me thinking about this.  They focused on the farming practices of the time and very little on the drama of living in that historical situation.  

I'm assuming a downside would be the desire for drama (real or manufactured) from the producers.  Plus having tv people on the lab.  

A huge upside would be a platform to introduce permaculture to the masses.  

Episode 1:  
 We join Judy the ant as she cuts trees and peels them for her wofati.  Wait, what the hell is a wofati  We then meet with Paul, mythical overlord of ant village to hear about the challenge.  Then we join Frederick the ant as he struggles to earn a bounty on a junk pole fence.  Hmm, what's a junk pole fence?  etc etc etc.

 
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Can I ask about generators?  It seems like things could go much, much faster if they were able to use power tools for longer periods on their plot.  it seems like there is plenty of fuel going into excavators and tractors which are digging up the land...generators for the purposes of construction don't seem like a stretch to me in comparison.

From the outside, it seems like there are a number of things that could have helped them get over the hump that might have had a short-term cost but much bigger long-term gain by building a viable community sooner rather than later.

It also seems like having some sort of financial reserve in place might be a good idea for challenge participants.   Perhaps that would narrow the field too much. But, it seems like one of the big challenges was balancing work on the plot with the need to pay for the basic costs of living and construction.  Perhaps participants need to come with a plan for how they are going to both survive and build their plots.
 
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Mike Jay wrote:What about engaging with a tv channel and making the ant challenge a tv show?



We have catered to these guys a bunch of times.  I've now been on way too many skype calls with these guys.   And they just seem to perpetually eat up my life and don't follow through.  

Further, you would think "I'm gonna make bank!" but they are pretty clear:  every fucking nitwit on their end gets paid handsomely, but you get paid less than minimum wage, or nothing at all.  

It has now gotten to the point that it all feels like one giant gimmick.  

Further, I have talked to people that have been on the shows - and they totally fuck with you eight ways to sunday.  

Fuck that shit.
 
paul wheaton
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K Putnam wrote:Can I ask about generators?



Maybe that's more of an "ant village" question than part of another ant village challenge brainstorming thing?
 
Mike Jay
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paul wheaton wrote:

Mike Jay wrote:What about engaging with a tv channel and making the ant challenge a tv show?



We have catered to these guys a bunch of times.  

they totally fuck with you eight ways to sunday.  

Fuck that shit.



Gotcha, I did figure that you'd explored that and it's good to know that it was an easy decision
 
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I've had this thought banging around for a few days--thinking outside the box of the acre.

Homesteading is a super-American idea--highly individualistic.  Mediaeval villages were much more like a pigpile in one area where people lived huddled together, and then the fields next to it.  Made things more communal in a lot of ways.  In West Africa, from my limited experience, the land of the great smiles, it's like that but a bit more spread out--compounds in one area, lots of space but still it's walkable and everyone hangs out in the courtyards.  Then the fields are a walk from there.  Everyone "commutes" together (on foot) when it's growing season.  Lots of community, lots of social interaction, lots of sharing of resources.

It would be good if the ants could pool resources in a meaningful way, and one part of this is the design---if each person has their own acre the best you could do to cluster would be to put four houses together in one corner.  But if there could be your own acre PLUS one extra acre for the whole group of ants (present, past and future, I guess)...that extra acre could be a place for the ants to build a main house and workshop and so on.  It would be great to have a commons that people begin to contribute to.  

I get it that having "an acre of one's own" to have freedom to do it my way without anyone else being the boss of me, that's super important.  But if everyone else is at least on the same page then it's better to have a team than to work alone.

I get that there are reasons to have people start out all from scratch, so that fresh thinking gets enacted and no one's relying on infrastructure that's old-paradigm.

However, I think it could still both-and.  And I think the one-acre-one-person thinking can blind us to an ideal next step that could promote more longevity.  Even if everyone does splendidly on the challenge, you would end up with a rather un-walkable neighborhood.

BTW I really appreciate how big an advance "one acre per person" is over "parcel for sale, 100 acres, cannot subdivide" which is the norm and precludes many people.  the one acre gives so many people a chance who have skills and passion and wouldn't otherwise be able to attempt this.  I just want to think even more outside the box about what would be the most sustaining design if habitual thinking about land ownership could be released.  I don't have this idea fully fleshed out yet, but I feel it's an important question to open up.  Even if no one's thinking about it yet, in the back of their mind's I believe is the worry about loneliness and lack of interaction with other people...the pull to leave and go back to family and the familiar.  

And if there's something communal to go _toward_ then that's more of a draw. . .heat the chimney, draw the fire.


----
Haha, I love the idea of an in-house TV show on Wheaton Lab's terms instead of ratings' terms!  how about Errol Morris documenting things! I wanna  put that on the reverse kickstarter.




 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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I think the key word in that post was "BBC"


Mike Jay wrote:Ok, this may have been thought of and very possibly would not work or match with your goals/ethics.  But if it did, it could be a great way to help with world domination and generate some coin for the empire.

What about engaging with a tv channel and making the ant challenge a tv show?  A bit like the other homestead shows out there but with minimal drama, "be nice" ethics, permaculture education built in and the accomplishments of the ants towards surviving the winter and winning the challenge being the focus.   I don't watch many of the homesteading shows but from what I have seen, they sure struggle to put enough actual content into each episode.  The ant village would surely have plenty of things going on to educate folks about.  

The BBC shows on Edwardian Farming were what got me thinking about this.  They focused on the farming practices of the time and very little on the drama of living in that historical situation.  

I'm assuming a downside would be the desire for drama (real or manufactured) from the producers.  Plus having tv people on the lab.  

A huge upside would be a platform to introduce permaculture to the masses.  

Episode 1:  
 We join Judy the ant as she cuts trees and peels them for her wofati.  Wait, what the hell is a wofati???  We then meet with Paul, mythical overlord of ant village to hear about the challenge.  Then we join Frederick the ant as he struggles to earn a bounty on a junk pole fence.  Hmm, what's a junk pole fence?  etc etc etc.

 
paul wheaton
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It is now 18 months since I started this thread.  I have since learned a few things.

I thought that there would be 12 people right out of the gate.   And then 10 would make it to the finish line.   And we would see some really fascinating designs.  And some people would have arrived with nothing but lint in their pocket (no tools, no coin) and do a huge amount of horse trading, hunting, fishing and foraging.  

The lesson out of all this is that I am a foolish optimist.  

Apparently, the intent of nearly all of the participants was to game the system.   After it was over, I learned about the intent to meet the calorie requirements by buying a cow at the last minute.  They were planning on having one person win, and then they would all move onto that one plot.  

I thought we would end up with ten excellent plots.  8 people would probably stay on, living on their excellent plots, and two would sell their improvements.  

...   right now I very much like the idea of focusing on the boot camp and PEP.
 
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