Monday, March 2, 2009

Not a Ski-resort

Jeff Vail is an attorney at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP in Denver, Colorado specializing in litigation and energy issues. He is a former intelligence officer with the US Air Force and energy infrastructure counterterrorism specialist with the US Department of the Interior.
Hardly the profile I would have expected from a like mind, but life is full of surprises!

Jeff's latest post on scale-free design has me really excited. In a nutshell (does using that cliché make me a nutcase?):
Scale-free design describes a process that operates similarly at any scale, at any level of organization, that is fractal in structure. It is neither grass-roots nor top-down, but rather consciously, simultaneously “all of the above.” More than that, rather than merely a collection of separate national, local, and individual programs, it strives to develop programs and practices that operate simultaneously at all these levels. A simple example would be the achievement of 25% energy self-sufficiency—that is, for individuals to produce 25% of their energy needs domestically, for communities to produce a further 25% of their energy needs locally, etc.

Not only that, but Jeff takes as his model for organization the rhizome, a metaphor I am coming across more and more often as I delve into the wondrous spheres of the internet. The rhizome, as Jeff explains it:
takes it name from plants such as bamboo, aspen, or ginger that spread via a connected underground root system. As metaphor, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari used rhizome to refer to a non-hierarchal form of organization. I have extended this metaphor, referring to rhizome as an alternative mode of human organization consisting of a network of minimally self-sufficient nodes that leverage non-hierarchal coordination of economic activity.

And what's more, the man is brilliant in areas I know nothing about. (When I called us like minds I was not, alas, implying a shared brilliance, only a shared outlook on life.) He blogs on topics such as fractional reserve banking and oil price volatility as it relates to the cobweb model and explains them in ways even I can understand!

And for those who may not understand the title, the reference was to Vail, Colorado, a ski-resort. Lame, I know, but there it is!

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