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Balance must be found between automation and subject matter expertise. All too often when automation fails people don't simply 'just manage it by hand' because they lack the knowledge required to do so. This is the trap in your proposed system and the threat of greater adoption of the new AI systems.

My imagination is failing to produce a scenario where we have electricity to run all of these gadgets yet have a wandering horde who is only using them to scout the country side. Help me out here?

I will watch the 1st documentary suggested. Thanks.

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As you find with nearly all the systems in retreats and shelters, any given requirement can take up an entire day to do properly just for a single concern. The danger of high automation is that if it breaks down, have the people involved gotten so dependent on the automation they can't do it themselves? Some things are better done by machines particularly when it comes to summary views including things like scouting for coming nutrient deficiencies.

The thing about electricity is that long after packaged food is a severe scarcity, there will be no end of drones, boxes of drones and batteries to last years. Most survivalists and preppers blend their resources into a combination of solar, wind and hydro ... but old timers swear by a couple years worth of diesel for generators. I plan to have both. In Australia I had it very spread out. As for main power grids, I would not expect them to be around for more than a few weeks after TSHTF.

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Thanks for the great post.

I'm a complete novice, but I've been thinking about how something like this could be implemented in a setting with way less space, like an apartment. My (very tentative) plan right now is to buy a 3d printer and print these sigmoid-shaped tubes at 2-3 layers of thickness that could be very space-efficient and could be "stacked" or staggered at levels, with individual beds running at the bases. I have large windows but I can't set it up near them, so I was thinking that maybe I'd be able to get away with using a fiber optic cable connected to a sort of mirror sphere set in the balcony and on the other end a diffused "bulb" for the plants. I have no idea if this is a tenable solution, though, seeing how I've never seen anyone mention anything like this. Likely just the DK effect but I'd like to know if you think this is something I should spend my time on or just go with the tried-and-tested stuff.

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May 27, 2023·edited May 27, 2023Author

I think you and I are much alike in that we are always engineering solutions from scratch. As I've gotten older and come to realize that I can't actually duplicate the efforts of 10,000 men working on weekends and during my spare time, I have tried to focus on leveraging off the work of others where feasible so I don't reinvent the wheel. Otherwise like so many eccentrics I am likely to die while "just finishing off a few more issues." Hydroponics, aquaculture and general permaculture have been underway with gusto for over 70 years and brilliant people have gotten further than I ever have in developing the very cheapest, simplest tech imaginable. In recent years as components have grown ever more inexpensive the whole practice and process has now reached a new low in price. All we have to do is to be smart enough to take advantage of this work and stand on the shoulders of people who were generous enough to release their work to everybody. For example, I could borrow liberally from the open source Farmbot and skip their past twenty years of research by just incorporating their ideas into my control system. After about 25 years of continuous work, my web server tech was about 60% of where it needed to be given the requirements, so I have switched over to a new foundation in licensing the Barracuda Server from Real Time as a platform. What formerly took me from 2004-2008 for my own rest server now took me an hour to do with Real Time code in about 20% of the space and even less memory required. I can only guess how long it would have taken me to put my code onto the ESP32 without that boost.

This design of racked PVC pipes where gravity trickles the nutrients from top to bottom is so simple, so repairable and so easily constructed it is difficult to improve upon for prepper and survivalist yield farming. Whether vertical or horizontal it is nearly an ideal design for a concealed private garden enterprise - underground or indoors. If you took that and then did your own research on light pipes you would contribute enormously to the research by showing people how it would be possible to pipe sunlight passively into the garden for the plants and actually skip electricity if it came to that. (Most people would really like that as an ultimate backup redundancy.)

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Thank you, I suppose I will just go the traditional way first, and then if I have time, try to innovate. Skipping the manual and then trying to re-innovate/bikeshed might not be the best way to go about disaster prep, haha.

I am very interested in piping sunlight but even if I get it working (big if) it'd likely take a few years, at least.

Best of luck for CD-OS / vault-OS. Maybe if tech keeps progressing, you'll be able to connect a LLM to the system. Probably not for actually managing stuff but maybe for generating code / boilerplate when / if stuff breaks and otherwise a punching bag / joke repository for bored shelter inhabitants. Won't work until power draw / compute decreases, though.

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