Inviting Edgeryders to the Hack4Nepal hackathon

Geeklist is currently organizing a global, virtual hackathon to work on multiple tools and ideas that will help out the people in Nepal affected by the earthquake.

For more details, see the Hack4Nepal web page. It seems that the date given there is off by one month, so the hackathon is about to start today (2015-05-02). If you find out something else, please put it into a comment below.

So far, the projects and ideas for the Hack4Nepal hackathon are not too many, but you may add your own. Personally, I find the “Is your home safe? app” idea interesting. @Natalia_Skoczylas and I discussed something similar with a Sunoj from the Karkhana hackerspace in Kathmandu; we wanted to allow civil engineers to inspect houses remotely after an earthquake, via photos made by teams on the ground or the inhabitants. It is unclear if this is safe to do though – engineers’ reactions were mixed.

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Also on housing…

Didn’t know where to post these, but as I’m keeping an eye on the twitter feed, a lot of stuff around housing needs (in case you will wanna get in touch) & lack of coordination of relief efforts: - looking for wiki homes, re: hexayurts. - “We need TENTS, TENTS & TENTS. We can’t buy it. Because of gov. inability, TENTS are piled up in AIRPORT since Monday”  these guys are gathering volunteers to assess seismic damage and deploy engineers on the ground for basic fixes

Too late too little - but perhaps better than nothing…

Disclaimer: I am not the expert here - so I appreciate critical comments before some stupid ideas of mine get acted on.

Regarding tents: If you need to ship them in I would tend to use something else than regular tents. I believe what you really need is something to keep you dry that can be easily transported. BOPET fits this bill, but it won’t have all the comfort of real tent material. Still if you can get e.g. a few rolls of this for popualtion centers - and the rest packaged to be transported on foot it would probably help. Once the situation normalizes (or enough real tents arrive) the material can re-purposed in various ways. Just make sure you get decent quality (tensile strength). Not the stuff for making glitter! There is also a version with EVA (hot-glue) on one side - a small quantity (1-5%) of that could be useful for repairing damages which will definitely happen. On the other hand some kind of locally available (Kathmandu paper factory?) resin or wax may do a repair job as well. Contact the garment industry for fiber material (ropes) that you can use as strain relief to protect the film. Ideally I’d have the supplier include a little leaflet with the packaging on how you can re-purpose these things as solar concentrators for example. If my idea does not sound too crazy I’d be happy to lend a hand in fleshing out the leaflet for example. It is probably best to have a local guy who can speak Chinese contact a number of possible suppliers for starters.

Apart from that, if someone can give me a list of the pre/post-quake industry/manufacturing capabilities - I can try to infer what other tools there are in the “greater toolbox”. From small scale experience I would also suggest to try and get your hands on some largish quantity of 2-component epoxy (resin+hardener), and some means of measuring volume (e.g. used syringes or larger). You can locally turn it into the kind of adhesive you need by dumping in fine fibers (cotton, paper, glass, etc.) and perhaps reinforcing it with strong larger fibers (dry natural fibers are an option for the short term, does not have to be glass or kevlar). Make sure you keep the ratios of the components (resin/hardener) right and mix the stuff well. You’ll probably have to experiment a little before you get the hang of it.

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Can you really do that?

Hello @trythis, and welcome. I have been reading you on Edgeryders, and I have to say I am quite impressed.

if someone can give me a list of the pre/post-quake industry/manufacturing capabilities - I can try to infer what other tools there are in the “greater toolbox”. 

Can you really do that? You are one hell of a guy (or woman, or whatever). Where are you based? How can we work together?

We’ll only know if we try :slight_smile:

Try “How it’s made” or “Sendung mit der Maus” on youtube. I love those. But seriously, I worked as “bleeding edge troubleshooter” (if you want to glorify a bit) with a lot of different manufacturing sectors while in academia. A lot of stuff is actually pretty similar in various fields. Ideal would be info on feedstock, semi-finished goods, and equipment model/manuals if available. Although in that corner of the world I’m afraid we won’t get the latter very often, though you never know. They do import machinery from Europe.

Based in Mars

I’m in Marseille at the moment. If I understand correctly you’d prefer if we use the Edgerider interface, right? We can do that. Otherwise I could skype you now - or we wait till tomorrow at 11 for the community call.

Yeah, but also

Edgeryders, but also keeping an eye out for opportunities to meet IRL (me: in Brussels).

I will have a slow Internet for some time (just moved office and house!), so no Skype for me. For the same reason I will miss this week’s community call, which by the way I think is Thursday, not tomorrow!


Eh, yeah that community call is on Thursday… had that alarm set already.

I hope the new location works out fine! I am not really sure how much moving around I will do in the short term, probably not much. Perhaps I can make it up to Paris, but any further and I usually get diverted east. If some more stars align on Brussels though, it would be a good opportunity to finally visit that place.

I could dump a bunch of draft presentations, and some audio recs as a sort of discussion primer on you if you like. On the other hand I don’t want you to waste the good opportunity for a “media fast” you have right now. :slight_smile:

We can also do a regular call (though my cell phone sucks, perhaps I can do it from the local fablab and get them to listen with one ear). I have another call with Milllie B lined up when she becomes available. It is probably similar in nature - perhaps you’d like to pool? Your call, though it could become a little longish then. I assume you two are in touch…

For mid-long term (low tech sanitation) get in touch with Ralf

I think you’ll quickly find that you are on one wavelength if you reach out to him:

His telephone number is here:

This is interesting.  I’ve built a biochar stove and have used some of the charcoal/biochar in the tree bog at the farm where the stove spent the winter.  The stove has a cooking attachment added now that provides a huge cooking surface and a hot and a warm oven.  It was used for all the cooking for 20-30 people.

I need to get some good pictures with more detail and so you can see the whole thing together - heres the best I’ve seen so far (on flikr), which is a nice photo, artistically, but you cant really see much detail

The biochar was added to the treebog when we had a lot of visitors and the tree bog can start to smell a bit.  It stops any odours.

Tree bogs are a nice simple way to get a toilet that is relatively safe(UK health and safety regulation compliant) as you leave the excreta in situ so there is no health risk in handling.  Very easy to build but you need some wire mesh to stop children and animals getting into the poop chamber.

Its easy to make biochar using the pit method.  Just need tools to dig a pit, a source of water, a few stones and some wood.

To make the char a good size for reacting with stuff/adding to soil a good/simple method is to put it in between sheets of cardboard and then drive over it with a vehicle.

Char can be very useful in water purification and pollution remediation also.

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