Zero Mines, cheap-low-tech land mine clearing tool

June 6, 2012 · Posted in innovation, sharing ·  

Zero Mines is a group of people worldwide working on Open Source solutions for clearing land mines so people can grow food, travel, and live safely. Here is my suggestion.
Cheap-low-tech landmine clearing tool
Over 100 million land mines have been deployed around the world. Most of the places where these land mine are located are impoverished. The area that needs to be cleared is vast. The ideal solution would use cheap, easily available materials, that can be put together by anyone so that local people can quickly clear their own land.

The standard military approach to clearing a mine field is to use a heavily armored vehicle with a motorized flail to trigger the landmines. Armor is one way of staying safe while detonating a mine but not the only way. Distance is another.

A strong rope is cheap and can pull a heavy object across a mine field from a distance to detonate any mines. But you typically must go forward into a mine field. So how can you pull something towards you without first putting it in front of you? There is a very simple way.

The device I described fits those requirements. It is just a big rake rotating on a pivot pulled by a rope or cable from a safe distance to trigger mines.
1. place the pivot
2. pull the rope or cable from a safe distance or behind sand bags
3. sweep the rake over area to be cleared
4. move pivot / rake to cover more area
5. repeat

Dragging an object a distance from the arm would reduce the damage to the arm but even if the arm is damaged it is cheap and easy to replace. This might not be enough for all uses of the land or all types of land but can quickly clear an area for human travel and light use. If you need to go deeper use a heavier object and tines to dig up the ground.

Force, Charity and Logic

April 6, 2011 · Posted in abundance ·  

Forced Charity Flow ChartSome people claim wealthy people must be forced to provide for the needy. Logic and evidence show that is false. Charity is always freely given, and that is often.

This flow chart shows both freely given charity and forced redistribution of wealth. Before we begin what is “needy”. A person is needy if they do not have the items to maintain their natural life. So far human technology is not capable of eternal life, regardless of the amount of physical wealth.

We are all needy at some point. When we are born we are not able to provide for ourselves what we need to continue our lives. So all of us were needy and had that need filled by someone else at some point in our lives. How did that process of being needy and someone deciding to give us what we need work?

Step 1, is the total wealth more than or equal to the total need? That means is there any extra to go around? If there isn’t any extra to go around it doesn’t matter, someone will die. It might be the needy or someone else who becomes needy by giving what they have to someone else. If there isn’t enough for everyone to live then someone dies. If possible we want to avoid that at all costs.

If there is extra there is a choice, is the wealth taken by force? If that happens there is now a new wealthy person. The person who took the wealth is now wealthy. Additionally, taking the wealth by force might reduce the wealth. Fighting to take something from someone who doesn’t want to give it requires some energy and frequently breaking things including killing someone. Just for argument sake we will assume there is also a way to forcibly take wealth from someone without spending any wealth in the process.

If taking the wealth by force reduced the wealth there is a possibility there is now not enough to go around. That is very common. Civil wars in particular leave many people in poverty and starving even if the nation was prosperous before the fighting.

Assuming taking the wealth by force does not reduce the wealth leaves us at the same point as if no force had been used. The original owner of the wealth or the new owner who took it by force decides to give the wealth to the needy or keep it. So it doesn’t matter if force was used or not. The life and death of the needy still depends on the free choice of the wealthy person.

The logic shows that charity is always freely given.

People who argue for using force says, “I’m afraid wealthy people won’t give to the needy. There is no guarantee.” That is absolutely correct. There is no guarantee. There isn’t any guarantee without force and there isn’t any guarantee with force.

As long as there is anyone who is needy, it is impossible to guarantee their needs will be provided. We’ve already shown that using force to redistribute wealth has the risk of decreasing the wealth and making the needy worse off. The solution to the problem of the needy is to create more wealth.

So the logic shows there are two ways to provide for the needy, freely given charity, and increased wealth. Does the evidence agree with the logic? Yes!

The nations with the largest number of needy people, the highest percentage of needy people, and the deepest need are those that are overall the poorest. The wealthiest nations have no truly needy people. There might be people with drastically less wealth than others but except for people willfully rejecting food or shelter there are no starving people in the industrialized nations.

The individuals of wealthy nations either have many opportunities to acquire their own wealth by trade, working the soil, or gifts. There are even people who call themselves Freegans who choose to live from things discarded by others and Freedans claim to live quite well. Freeganism is not to be confused with impoverished people struggling to subsist scrounging from dumps. It’s worth pointing out that one of the reasons there is so much for Freegans to pull out of dumpsters is because of government forced waste.

Wealthy nations also give amazing levels of charity. In the USA the amount of charitable giving $295 billion exceeds the amount of federal government tax funded welfare $254.2 billion.

Not only do people give to charities to help the needy, they also donate to fund projects they like. Contributions to make a movie about the making of the video game Minecraft raised $60,000 more than the $150,000 they requested.

Monetary giving isn’t the only form of charity. Millions of people donate food, and labor to organized charities and directly to individuals. This is over and beyond the monetary giving.

So we can see that the logic proves and the evidence confirms that charity is freely given.