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master stewards:
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RMH in a Tipi  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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Kelly,

How many podcasts have you listened to?

You do you plan on earning money while living in the tipi?

 
Kelly Farris
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Hi Paul,

I haven't listened to podcasts. Is there certain ones that you would recommend? I have watched read many articles on this site, watched documentaries, watched your TED talk, volunteered at a homestead and the like.

I was thinking of earning money if it is a possibility, which increases greatly if it is close to a job site.

-Kelly
 
paul wheaton
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There are currently work opportunities (one deep roots couple is paying to have peeled logs brought to their site). And I suppose that they could carry through the winter.

There are people that have listened to all of the podcasts, and we have terrific luck with them here. The only folks where things have not worked out has been folks that have listened to less than half the podcasts. Naturally, we wish to get the best fit that we can.
 
Kelly Farris
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Fair enough. Adding new people into the mix that are unfamiliar can be a risk. I'll get to listening to the podcasts and touch base in a bit. How many are there or how many hours of material do you have?
 
Kelly Farris
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Never the mind. I figured it out. Over 200 hundred! Wow.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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actually we published podcast 294 yesterday and there are 2 more to be published in the next few days, so almost 300.
 
paul wheaton
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I'm not saying that listening to all the podcasts is required. But i am saying that if we get different applicants ...
 
Derick Greenly
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Say, paul,

I've contacted Emily by PMoose directly a couple days ago, but I suppose I should voice my interest here as well. I'm quite versed with your podcasts, lab projects and videos, as is my girlfriend/co-applicant. I was one of the "extra days in the permies house" folks and came to the re-visit of the earthworks workshop, if you recall.

We'd love to see what's doin' at the lab and oversee the warming of the tipi his winter. Would it be like a gapper-type orientation in terms of work, fees, etc.?
 
paul wheaton
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Derick,

It would seem that you have advocates here. So I've heard of your interest!


To answer your question: it could be a gapper thing. But doing the gapper thing is not a requirement.

With the gapper thing, there would be certain amount of work done each week (bread labor and soul labor) and you would then be invited to share my table. On the other hand, some folks might prefer to be more self-sufficient: doing their own food. Tony and Emily did something gapper-esque where they would eat at the tipi about half the time and eat with us the rest of the time.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Kelly Farris wrote:Fair enough. Adding new people into the mix that are unfamiliar can be a risk. I'll get to listening to the podcasts and touch base in a bit. How many are there or how many hours of material do you have?



Just thought I'd add that there is a thread for the best 12 podcasts. (Because eventually, even visitors here at wheaton labs would be required to listen to 12 podcasts.) Might be nice to start there.
 
Emily Aaston
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Location: montana
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Tony and I have been getting prepared for our departure this week. We are currently "on call" for wildland fire so may need to pick up and go at any point but in the meantime we are trying to complete some of the things we started here before we depart, and prepare the tipi for its next occupants. We have been getting a little sentimental about leaving the tipi so I took a few photos yesterday and wanted to share them here.

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august at the tipi
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sunchoke and berm
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sunscoop berm and tipi
 
Emily Aaston
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Here are a few photos of our berm and growies.
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daikon radish, peas, vetch, wildflowers
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yarrow on corner of berm
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sunchokes galore!
 
Emily Aaston
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more berm/plant photos.

In the spring, the berm was vibrantly green and lively. These photos were taken yesterday, in the August heat.

Although we planted lots and lots of different seeds, the plants that have done the best are: austrian winter pea, hairy vetch, daikon radish, sunchokes, potatoes, and a few others here and there.
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top of the berm
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inside of berm
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clover
 
Emily Aaston
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some tipi flowers
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potatoes are flowering
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poppy and pollinator
 
Emily Aaston
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more flowers
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purty
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Emily Aaston
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More photos of tipi area
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the woodshed
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my crosscut saw collection
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our crosscut saw sharpening vices
 
Emily Aaston
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Location: montana
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more photos
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the bee hut
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the bees!
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tipi and berm
 
Olenka Kleban
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Hello folks!

We're well due for a tipi update! Derick and I have moved in and will be spending the winter our new (to us) dwelling. It's been about a week so far, and we're very roughly settled in.

Next week we'll be starting the brunt of our work towards tipi improvement and winterization. Tony and Emily have given us some tips about how to get winter-ready, plus we'll be looking to explore different ways to optimize our comfort in the tipi.
Generally, we have 3 things we'd like to do to start getting tipi-comfy:

1) winterize- This will involve us putting Tony and Emily's tips for staying warm in the tipi into action. We'll re-install the ozan that Emily and Tony used last winter, extend the liner to meet the ozan, and use tarp to extend the outer canvas of the tipi to the ground. We're also in the middle of re-thinking the current vestibule and tipi hood/bull boat.
2) food cellar- first we'll make a temporary one, and then, maybe if good working conditions persist, we'll work on a more extensive one.
3) maximize space- we're thinking-up various storage options inside the tipi, as well as making an outdoor vestibule (the current vestibule is inside the tipi).

In the coming days we'll be posting pictures, and more importantly, expanding upon everything that's been listed above.

Thanks for tuning in and we'll be in touch soon!
 
Julia Winter
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Thanks for posting and I look forward to more updates!
 
Miles Flansburg
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Whoo Hoo! I have been following this experiment and am glad that it will continue!

Do either of you have any experience with a tipi?
 
Derick Greenly
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14 days and 14 nights of experience, is all. That rmh gets some toasty when you want it to, let me say. A few nights back I had to throw the blankets off altogether and cool down, though it was around zero outside. This was before we did a bunch of "winterizing," tacking lengths of poly/tarp between the inside surface of the tipi canvas and the ground. As Emily put it, the canvas itself will let in more than enough air to feed us and the rmh, so we can seal gaps up as tightly as we please without worrying about draw or ventilation. Now it's about 90% draft free, and takes very little wood & time to reach a near-Hawaiian environment.

One very curious thing is the odd incidents of condensation within the kanvas kone. With the bench radiating some serious warmth (around 95-100 to the touch, I'd ballpark) and odd wisps of icy air (around -3 to 5 degrees each night) making their way in, curious damp spots develop. We'll ask one another if someone spilled a cup of tea, because it's that damp, that warm and that localized (often right above a little gap in the buckwheat tick). It dries as quickly as it'd appeared.

photos to follow as works commence!

Above all, don't worry yourselves about our comfort. Plenty cozy.
 
Olenka Kleban
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This is the tipi 3 weeks ago! Bright and sunny, days spent working in just a t-shirt, sans jacket.
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Olenka Kleban
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And then we hit a cold snap!
A light hoar frost and snow dusting covered the tipi,
but all was warm inside with our tipi's RMH barrel-top stove,
and Gus napped sweet doggie dreams.
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nancy sutton
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Ditto the thanks for the updates... love to be 'going along' :)
 
Olenka Kleban
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Here are some pictures from this morning, just post-sunrise.

Emily and Tony's sunflowers are tuckered out for winter, and the tipi catches some sun.


Coming soon: updates about tipi temperature!
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Olenka Kleban
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Temperature

This past week we've been using our new digital indoor/outdoor thermometer. Generally we've been keeping the indoor station in the centre of the tipi (about 3.5' away from the RMH barrel), and sometimes we'll tour it to different areas of interest in the space; and the outdoor probe stays behind the tipi, inside a can (protected from the elements) in the shade.

This past week we experienced a cold snap (see our frost photos in previous post). The OUTDOOR temperature by night was an average of 15 degrees F (-9C). The INDOOR temperature (in the centre of the room) by night would start at about 50-60F (10-15C), and by morning it'd cool off to about 32 (0C). Our bed, despite the temperature of the air, was always consistently warm, right through to morning. We have down sleeping bags rated 15F (-9C), and the heated mass that continues to warm us through the buckwheat tick mattress.



We have also now experienced the highs and lows of temperature control by the RMH. We find that the mass and atmosphere in the tipi is uncomfortable enough that taking a few days away from the tipi is something we try to avoid now. It's not a big nuisance to get the place warm again, but for two people who like reading and playing music (two activities that involve the extremities being exposed), it's been ideal to keep the tipi consistently warm. Regular firing of the RMH also results in a more efficiently burning system, making it easier to burn each batch, and we think we burn less wood (rather than needing to feed a good, hot fire to the system just to get the mass warm and air temperature heightened).
We also went through the inverse situation- getting the RMH too warm for comfort (again, not uncomfortable by much, but just enough to not want to over-do the warmth factor). Cooking 3 meals inside the tipi on a warm day, or feeding the RMH with many small pieces of wood for a hot burn can cause the place to exceed normal comfort levels. We've had two instances where half of the indoor tipi area was as high as 104F (40C), as the barrel was scorching hot (see photo of the purple-hot barrel top). And on both those occasions I woke up in the night from being too hot to sleep (which is so rare for me, a heavy sleeper!).

So, we now practice some pretty simple, maybe obvious, but important intuitive habits in order to balance the temperature in the tipi. We fire it at regular intervals based on convenience (when we're about to cook a meal) and outdoor temperature situation (if it's a cold day, we fire it more). It's an intuitive, rewarding process to be so in-touch with our home's heat source. And aside from that, now that we live in a canvas home we are more aware (especially me, a city gal) of how our daily life activities effect our warmth. For example, I had a little llifestyle habit reminder over the weekend. I was doing some desk work in the tipi, when my fingers were getting cold and I was losing my dexterity, and yet I knew that stoking the RMH with tiny pieces of wood to get the place hot was not the answer. Movement. I can solve my heat issues by simply taking a break from a sedentary task and move around a bit, take a walk, chop some wood, get the life back in me.

And that is it for this temperature post. More later!
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An average day
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An average morning (before firing the RMH)
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A very warm seat beside the barrel!
 
Olenka Kleban
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That's hot!
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A hot barrel!
 
Julia Winter
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wow!

Purple and gold - it looks like a disco!

That's an excellent observation, about getting up and moving if your fingers are getting chilled. "Sitting is the new smoking" after all. We should all get up off our bums and get the blood flowing on a regular basis. . .
 
Olenka Kleban
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Living in a canvas home means that the morning light enters from all around, and the evening glow of our lamp exits from all around.

Here's the nightly view of the tipi.

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Olenka Kleban
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It snowed!
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Miles Flansburg
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Are you using an Ozan ? Does it seem to make a difference?
 
Olenka Kleban
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Dear Miles,

Thank you for following the thread and for your question. And thank you for posting those links early in this thread.

As for an ozan: We have one. The night picture of the tipi shows the light from inside only emitting from a band rather than throughout the whole cone. The bottom of the tipi is shaded due to the RMH bench that lines the inside, plus the liner that extends slightly higher than that. The upper part of the tipi is shaded from light due to our ozan.

Last year Tony and Emily clipped a thick piece of canvas up overhead, we guessing about 9' from the ground. We wanted a lower ozan, so we used a larger, but thinner piece of fabric for this. I am not sure how effective the ozan is for several reasons. The first is that our ozan is a life hack. We pinned our ozan fabric to a rope attached to the poles via binder clips. I think this method, although not entirely neat and tidy looking, is taught enough and holds well. Where it could use improvement is probably in the fabric type (something thicker, or just of well-known insulative qualities), as well as an extension to the liner. We currently have a 6' liner, and an ozan that sits a few feet higher than it, so we need to extend the liner up to meet the ozan. Last year Emily and Tony did this by using several blankets to bridge the gap, but Emily had suggested that we get a 9' liner in order to avoid using this hack-alternative. I imagine that a solid 9' liner would also be less drafty than a spread of several blankets.

Now, having mentioned all that, I will state my doubts about the effectiveness of an ozan in a tipi with an RMH. When fired, the RMH's barrel radiates a lot of heat, and yes, an ozan would be effective in trapping that heat, slowing its journey up and out of the tipi. However, besides the barrel, the bench also retains a lot of heat, and emits it very slowly. When it comes to heat retention, I would say that I rely not on the ozan to keep the heat during and long after the RMH has been fired, but the mass, the bench. The bench delivers heat conductively. You have to touch it to feel its heat. You have to sit on the bench, lie on the bed. The ozan, on the other hand, helps retain heat by keeping the atmospheric heat from rising, which is a process that will happen eventually anyways, and rather quickly compared to the rate that the bench loses its heat. When it comes to sleeping, we haven't fired the RMH at all through the night, so there's no radiant barrel heat, just conductive mass heat. And so, although the mass's heat does eventually radiate as it slowly cools, its not enough of a heat loss to want to trap that heat by ozan.

However, I state this "ozan heat trapping effectiveness vs mass heat retention" doubt only after having lived in the tipi for a month, with outside temperatures only reaching as low as about 5. Maybe as it gets colder we'll look to trap every morsel of heat that we can.


Thanks for sending your question. I'll keep a close eye on changes and observations in regards to the role of the ozan.
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bunder clip to rope
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temporary ozan hack
 
Olenka Kleban
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Derick and I have been back home for the holidays, but we left the tipi with Jesse having full reign of the place during our absence. Jesse, any word? What is it like for a single person to stay there in the winter?

Sometime in the next few days Derick and I will compile our thoughts on the tipi experience thus far, and post our thoughts about the RMH tipi's future.

 
jesse markowitz
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Its been great! Its lovely to get experience working an rmh. After living in here, I feel that a tipi and rmh is a great option for someone to do if they just bought some raw land and wanted to get some quick reliable shelter made.

There have been some cold nights since I took over, not too many, but some in the teens at night, and the tipi is still REALLY warm when the fire is going.

I also built a table for some more storage space in the vestibule, so there's that.
 
Mary James
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Just have to say this seems like a lot of work to stay in a tipi over the winter. We used to make tipis and sell them in Montana..As a native American family business.We have stayed in Montana winters in tipis before and have had friends who lived in Whitefish in their 20 footer for over 8 years with out adding what has been done utilizing the tipi as a total living area.Proper usage of the flaps, liner,a winter liner made for insulation and ozan.Along with understanding how to use the fire area and we know from experience they can be very comfortable through out the winter...Reading this was a giggle to us..Guess different stroke for different folks..
 
Miles Flansburg
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Hi Mary, so did you use two liners? or a special sort of liner for the winter?

Do you move the lodge covering downward to touch the ground and remove some of the draft?
 
Mary James
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Hi Miles,
What we do with traditional tipis is first with set up never let the lodge cover touch the ground. The elders always looked at the fact a liner is easier to repair or remake then the outside lodge covering.The canvas choice makes a big difference as well.Heavier and properly sealed for our area is a must.. In the winter we always ran a double liner, the lightweight one went to the ground.Since we burned a fire in our tipis we always had this and the lodge covering set properly to not only insulate but along with smoke flaps being open correctly for our drafting. Which if done correctly can be used to also move heat down to ground level..Our fires were used for cooking, heating stones and and water.In the winter we added a second heavy liner that went higher up and did go to the ground but could be rolled up.In the traditional tipis we used buffalo hides for this in the others we used a double wool blanket stitched together with a waterproof canvas on the outer side against the standard liner.These we ran about a foot higher then the liner in the inside. The heavier canvas ozan also worked to keep the heat down over the living area.Ours were always made to detail to custom fit the tipi and owners pending on their usage...
The tipi siting and around the outside we also used to groom for proper drainage away from the tipi..as well as placement according to the area and normal wind patterns for the season..
Mary
 
Miles Flansburg
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Thanks Mary !
I have never used an ozan as I have never set up our lodge in the winter. I was wondering how the smoke from the fire escapes from under the ozan? Does it seal up against the liner or are there spaces or a smokehole somewhere?
Having wool attached to a canvas would seem to do a pretty good job of insulating.
Were the heated stones used for warmth or just for cooking?
 
Mary James
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Miles,
there are several different styles of Ozans we used to make a full cover which when up had a center hole that was open to allow for the ventilation aspect when burning fires. Partial ozans can be made to cover the sleeping areas.Different tribes had different ways of using the ozans based on the needs..
If an ozan is put in properly your smoke still goes up through the smoke flap area.Hence needing the drafting area formed by the outside of the lodge and the liner.
When we used the fire pit in the winter in our tipi's we always dug them in lined them with stone.Preferable one that will hold and retain heat.The flat ones are great to heat up and use similar to a hot water bottle and to pre-warm beds.We used to also cook in ours over the fire and in the coals.A decent firewood that sets coals and you can cook a decent meal in the cast iron pots and utilize the heat for warmth very productively through the night.
 
Olenka Kleban
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Mary James, thanks for sharing your experience. It's nice to get some first-hand feedback about the use and design of an ozan.

Also, to Miles, I'd like to add to my previous response about the ozan. I had mentioned that I am skeptical about the significance of capitalizing on trapping heat by ozan in the instance of there being a bench/mass that is storing heat and releasing that heat slower than the ozan. The rate at which the warm air can escape the ozan (or least least our particular ozan) is quicker than the mass is releasing warm air, so my thought was that the ozan might not have much meaning compared to the warm mass. I do, though, think that when temperatures are damn cold, that it is damn worth installing all that one can in order to retain heat, so an ozan would be a shame to pass-up. But furthermore, I think the ozan has more than just a heat-trapping role. The liner and the ozan effectively calm draft, and draft is the biggest heat-suck in any home. And no matter how warm a mass (as a bench or stones) is kept, if there's a significant draft, then, well, that kinda ruins comfort. During the winter months when the winds are freezing and life-sucking, the liner and ozan ease the need to stoke the fire because they keep the draft out.

So, from my thus-far experience of being in the tipi, this is how I sympathize with the necessary and/or beneficial things that make this tipi a livable home in a cold climate:
-the RMH is there to make heat
-the barrel is for direct, radiant heat (and cooking!);
-the mass is for heat retention and a slow emittance of heat;
-the outside canvas provides shelter from most elements; and allows for gentle air exchange to feed the RMH;
-the liner and ozan is for protection from draft;
-and the vestibule is to ease the draft upon entering the tipi.

I know those are some pretty rudimentary points, but I don't think they've been outlined in this thread yet. If you have some feedback, or a different view please share.
 
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