mfioretti: dotcommons*

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  1. The goal is to modify and adapt one of the Magic Candy Factory’s existing 3D printers so it can produce personalized medicines, mainly geared toward children, but with the ability to print precise doses, a combination of multiple drugs, and different formulations, like capsules and chewables.

    “A major limitation of medicines today is that they are only manufactured in a limited number of strengths,” the campaign page reads. “But, what if we need a dose that is not available on the market? This is of special importance to children and the elderly. The tablets and capsules we take every day are not designed with children in mind, often making administration difficult.”

    Incorrect doses, terrible taste, and being difficult to swallow are only a few of the issues doctors, and parents, face when trying to give children safe and effective medicine. The campaign quotes UNICEF when it says that 10 million kids under the age of five will die this year, and that 67% of that massive number could be saved by specific pediatric products, like better medicine.
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  2. Another fear they may have is that of an unfinished model. Sometimes vendors decide to display publicly a demonstrator, prototype or beta version of some equipment. The idea is that they may somehow change the appearance or features of the actual production version later, and don’t want to mislead anyone. However, responsible publications - and readers - would publish and recognize that unofficial equipment is just that: subject to change.

    I don’t feel these reasons are legitimate. If a company decides to publicly exhibit a device, it should be fair game for photography. If people viewing in person can see it, then it is known by the public. If a device is exhibited, isn’t the point that it is to be seen? And publications such as this one can vastly amplify the number of people “seeing” a device.

    If there are legitimate concerns about a key portion of a device, perhaps it should not be shown, or even covered up or obscured in some way. But often this is not the case in such situations.
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  3. From 1900 to 2010, the amount of materials accumulated in buildings and infrastructure across the world increased 23-fold. We are depleting our resources at unprecedented rates. Instead of extracting dwindling raw materials from nature at ever-increasing cost, the time has come to start re-using materials from buildings and infrastructure in our cities.

    We have been working on identifying the material resources in cities that could be “mined” for re-use. In a case study, we modelled more than 13,000 buildings in central Melbourne, Australia. We estimated the quantities of construction materials as well as the embodied energy, water and greenhouse gas emissions associated with constructing these buildings (if they were built today). We also modelled the replacement of materials over time and into the future.

    Further reading: The 20th century saw a 23-fold increase in natural resources used for building

    The extraction and transformation of resources have broad environmental effects. These include resource depletion, loss of biodiversity, soil and water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions, which drive climate change.

    Adding to these challenges is the amount of waste generated, especially by the construction sector due to construction, renovation and demolition activities. Every time a construction material is discarded, all the embodied energy, water and emissions that went into producing it also go to waste.

    In our two recent studies, we propose a model that can help us “mine” our cities and quantify the environmental benefits of this urban mining.

    These maps allow us to start thinking of cities as urban mines and places of material production (supply), rather than just consumption (demand).

    We can imagine how a new construction project could survey what materials would be available at its start and how it can best re-use these and incorporate them into the design. This would save large amounts of energy and water, while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions and further ecosystem degradation from raw material extraction (usually far from the city).
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  4. How much longer can we sustain the high-consumption lifestyle we are used to?
    Who’s consuming? And what happens to the waste?

    To get the full picture on consumerism we need to understand inter-connected global systems of production and consumption.

    Globally, consumption patterns are unequal and wasteful. It has just 5% of the world’s population, but the US consumes 30% of the world’s resources and creates 30% of the world’s waste. It is not alone in wastefulness: a small slice of the world’s population consumes most of the resources and produces most of the greenhouse gas emissions.

    Material resources are depleting at such a rate that we are likely to soon face shortages in materials we currently dump in landfill - lead, copper, cadmium, wolfram (tungsten) and zinc, to name a few.

    In this context, plastic waste and toxic e-waste are another ticking time bomb. Why are electronics breaking so fast and why are they cheaper to replace than repair?

    In 1960, cultural critic and consumerism theorist, Vance Packard, published in his pioneering book The Waste Makers, a critique of planned obsolescence.

    He pointed out that consumers who learn that the manufacturer invested money to make the product obsolete faster might turn to a producer (if any exists) that offers a more durable alternative. We need to support a move towards more single-material, recyclable components in all industry sectors.
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  5. Who decides what the city really needs and will operate going forward? With a smart city comes a significant amount of decision making on what to do, who will do it, why and when to do it. The answers to the questions are not easy and can have massive repercussions. Take, for instance, the challenge of gentrification and urban displacement, which has long been framed simply as a symptom of wealthier people moving in to communities and effectively nudging out lower-income individuals. However, public investment can play a critical role in this process too. Perhaps the most shining, unfortunate example of this is what San Francisco Federal Reserve researchers refer to as “transit-induced gentrification” in which public investment in transit—light rail, buses, subway—attracts affluent individuals. So much so that several studies have found that transit investments can alter the demographic composition of the surrounding neighborhood, resulting in pushing out lower-income individuals and creating new problems within the city. Potential outcomes like these should prompt questions about who should be making these decisions about public investments associated with smart cities. Finding pathways to figure out what the public wants from its city (and perhaps more importantly, what it does not) is critical. This requires citizen participation early in the process and throughout. The New Delhi-based Housing and Land Rights Network released a report, “India’s Smart Cities Mission: Smart for Whom? Cities for Whom?” The report highlights the massive problems with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge to build 100 smart cities by 2020. Among the problems is the focus on technology of the future instead of issues of the present such as an agrarian crisis, insufficient civil rights for women, forced evictions to make room for the implementation of smart city projects, and so on.
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  6. As we examine our success, we must also examine our failures. A for-profit network of wholly owned makerspaces is impossible to sustain without outside subsidy from cities, companies, and foundations, often in the form of memberships, training grants, and sponsored programs. This kind of funding is readily available to non-profits, and very rarely an option for for-profit enterprises. This is why we announced a pivot — to leverage our know-how, experience, systems, and processes. The goal of TechShop 2.0 was to help non-profits, corporations, and universities launch and operate their own makerspaces. We would get out of the business of owning makerspaces and instead focus on enabling other entities to build and operate makerspaces.

    In hindsight, we invested too many years and too many dollars trying to prop up the wrong business model. What we accomplished over the past ten years, however, has been nothing less than monumental. I encourage our members, employees, partners, and the entire maker community to take something constructive from TechShop’s experience: the world needs makerspaces.

    Jim Newton, TechShop employees, members, and investors will go forward with their experience. Many will find a way to collaborate and work together again. The world will be a far better place for TechShop’s experience.

    I do not mean to trivialize the impact our closure will have on employees, members, or our faithful investors and lenders. If I can ever find a way to reward your loyalty, hard work and commitment to TechShop, I will.
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-11-20)
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  7. 3D Hubs seems to have developed a new strategy for distributed 3D printing.

    3D Hubs, if you are not familiar with them, maintain a worldwide network of participating 3D printers, each independently run by separate companies or individuals. Their network is extensive, now offering local 3D print services in more than 150 countries.

    But 3D Hubs faces steep competition from a number of other 3D print services, each attempting to innovate beneficial features for their clients, who could also be 3D Hubs clients.

    That innovation push has 3D Hubs experimenting with a new concept for them: hybrid distributed products. The first venture in this concept involves a pair of headphones.

    3D Hubs partnered with Eindhoven-based Print+, a Dutch startup focused on eco-friendly consumer designs - and specifically headphones.
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  8. Designing a business model for a commercial service offer is fairly simple. One has to have a business plan that produces profit. There are tools like the business model canvas that help with designing a product-market fit as well as thousands existing businesses that can act as inspiration when pricing the value offer. In comparison, when designing a commons-oriented project, things can get muddy. What is the use value of the project and why would one participate in the production? Peer participation is a crucial element in a commons-oriented project, since many of the projects are run by non-commercial organisations and therefore donations, charity and voluntary work are essential to enable production. These altruistic inputs are great, but they do not create a self-sustainable ecosystem for individuals to participate in. As Michel Bauwens has noted already a decade ago, many commons-oriented projects are sustainable as projects, but not for the individuals participating in the projects. Basing organisations on charity is creating an environment with no autonomy. While commons projects are unlike commercial businesses they are still economic spaces with values, missions, goals, inputs, outputs, interaction models and so on. These organisational mechanics are present in commons organisations as well as in their commercial counterparts, even if they might not be equally well mapped.
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2017-04-27)
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  9. Abstract: This article explores how autonomous workers/contributors, involved in peer-to-peer relations, can organise their productive efforts so that they have sustainable livelihoods. The discussion is guided by the concept of ‘open cooperativism’, which argues for a synergy between the commons-based peer production movement and elements of the cooperative and solidarity economy movements. To this end, we review the case of Enspiral, a network of professionals and companies that empowers and supports social entrepreneurship. We explore its values, operation and governance as well as the chosen strategies for autonomy and sustainability. Finally, some lessons are summarised for the cooperative and union movement, which point to open cooperativism as an integrated vision.
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  10. Through the geographical focus of the platform, users are encouraged to find other conscious, awakened individuals in their local area and, via the messaging tools provided, connect and form empowering, offline connections which in turn will enable collaboration and positive community action.
    An online space for discussion and collaboration

    Coeō is a unique platform for topic focused, global collaboration. Cross referencing online discussion between many networked sites enables a unique, topic based and grassroots collaboration between movements.
    Bringing movements together

    Coeō has brought together a unique and growing network of movements, creating much-needed unity. Thanks to Coeō, members from a growing number of groups such as Ubuntu Planet, The Full Circle Project, Prepare for Change, The Freedom Cell Network and The Conscious Media Coalition are coming together, connecting and collaborating. The local connections made between members of these varied groups is enabling greater collaborative action at a grassroots level.
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