Mnemonic: SING - How to remember what you read


Remembering read information takes an effort, especially when reading information/data in text books that will probably only be read once

  • Note taking (in any form) is a good way of recording the information for learning, but how do I remember both the background information and the data to make it useful information in the future
Stop - at end of text/passage for a second to focus on the read text
Identify - the main point/s of the text. Stories are hierarchical. Focus on retaining the points
Never - mind the details. Focus on the point/s
Gist; get the - of the story. Overall - all point/s together 

Other techniques I use to remember read information include: 

    • Reading the contents pages of a book prior to reading the book, a primer to understanding the gist of a book (see I and G above)
      • If I'm bored I will also skim the index pages in the same manner
    • Reading the first few paragraphs/pages of a chapter and then skipping to the last paragraphs/page
      • Text book chapters will begin with an introduction to the contents of the chapter (the first few paragraphs/pages) and end with a conclusion (the last few paragraphs/pages)
        • The information in between/the bulk of the chapter is simply discussion and only of further interest if required to understand the conclusion (see N above)


Design Notes: Community gardens public work day site managment

Below are a few notes triggered by a working bee to stimulate some design thinking. The notes apply for general working bee/site/hui/project management/implementation tasks, not specifically to the working bee itself
  • Delegate a site/bee/project manger/coordinator
    • Front of house/greet/introduce
    • Identifiable (safety vest)
    • Link between groups/people on site (OST butterfly)
    • Knows where people/facilities are: water/first aid kit/toilet/tools/membership forms etc... and what is going on during the bee
    • Ensures everybody finishes on schedule and site is tidy for shared food/time
    • Be aware of constraints time/hands/manpower etc...
  • Send arrivals to site/bee manger/coordinator for briefing/direction/safety drill/muster point etc
  • Visitors/contact record sheet
  • Name badges      
  • Prepare a noticeboard of tasks prior to people arriving
    • Provides visibility of the big picture of the bee to both the workers and the manger
    • Break large tasks down into small achievable tasks; Break large areas into small areas
    • Allow people to chose what type of task they participate in on the basis of the task list (rather than seeking and being told)
  • Get people to mark off their completed tasks, add the task to the board if it was not on the original list
    • Facilitates/feeds back a visual sense of collective achievement
    • Provides a record of the work
    • Shows uncompleted tasks that form the basis for the next bee
    • Helps show tasks that require further planning to fulfil
  • Show start and end times for the bee. Allow people to schedule
  • Ensure you can complete the task you are starting
    • Work within the constraints time/hands/manpower etc...
    • Assist someone to finish their task before requesting they stop and assist you
    • Finish your current task before leaving to start another
      • What is important is the number of tasks completed not how many are started
  • Work to time
    • Aim to have 3/4 of your task completed by half way through the period and completed well before the finish time
    • lots of small completed tasks are preferable to large tasks which go over time
    • Leave plenty of time for tidying up
    • Have everything tidy and the site clean before serving food/beverage
      • Everybody gets to celebrate the work done/completed together, cementing a sense of group/community achievement
  • Designate a location for hand tools\site tools
    • Borrow, use and return. Part of the task/job completion process
  • Signs that answer common infrastructure questions: water/first aid kit/toilet etc...
  • Site map indicating areas/sheds/names etc...
  • Dont allow people to dump materials at the site
    • The site should develop/evolve by design and strategy - Unless required as part of the design implementation or for repair, materials should not be accepted/stored
    • Advertise what materials are required and which are not. Advise where alternative materials can be disposed of/donated
  • An abundance of ad hoc materials leads to an abundance of equally ad hoc projects, with all the associated post project fallout and diversion of effort

  • Devolop good housekeeping (5S



Design: Dynamic Processes


  • Designing for dynamic processes is defined here as the assessment/evaluation/development and implementation of sustainable strategies/processes/procedures/structures and activities designed to reduce and/or eliminate losses and danger resulting from the surge and pulse of the natural and/or manmade environment
  • Dynamic processes/systems are understandable at a systems level but not controllable or fully predictable due to their natural/chaotic nature
  • When working with dynamic processes consider Reinhold Niebuhr Serenity Prayer: 
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference
Or if you prefer Mother Goose :o) 
For every ailment under the sun; There is a remedy, or there is none; If there be one, try to find it; If there be none, never mind it
  • The mind map below shows my designing for dynamic processes notes

Click on the mindmap for a larger view



Households (Zone: 0) as part of the hydrological cycle ideal and reality


Below is some observational/analysis/design work I did in 2009-11

I've been fixing a standard flush toilet today, continuing my mental observation/study of water in my household and pondering how a consciously designed household might function

Fig 1. Shows my designed household water cycle. The household/community collect/consume/use fresh water within the hydrological cycle of their environment, cycling water through human functions/processes and returning it to the local area for treatment. Treatment being black water composting, grey water recycling, reed beds etc... local, decentralised, reticulated and free

Fig. 2 shows the reality of the household water cycle. The outputs of the hydrological cycle have been sequestered/intercepted/stolen by corporations masquerading as municipal entities who collect or mine fresh water to produce a product called drinking water

The community consume this product [drinking water] and relies on the same municipal entity to deal with the waste by convenient removal. Household waste is processed along with industrial and agricultural effluent and pumped into the environment/bioregion at above loading capacity rates - and we pay for it all!

Me -$, them +$ and a polluted environment! My input/participation and therefore support into/of this system needs to be reduced and if possible move to the ideal state (Fig1.)

A permaculture design will remove all reliance on the municipal entity and tend towards the idealised household water cycle style participation in the hydrological system

Blue lines = fresh water
Brown lines = grey/black water
Yellow lines = drinking water
Black lines = contaminated (heavy biological or toxic loading)

Fig 1. Designed household water cycle

Fig 2. Reality of the household water cycle


Random notes

Paraphrases, short form stories and original thoughts

"As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The person who grasps principles can successfully select their own methods. The person who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble." Adapted from Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Above all else learn to communicate and collaborate"
"Seek to understand and provide not to pursuade"
"A permaculturalist lives by the ethics, a permaculture designer is a permaculturalist who consciously implements the principles"
"An idea is not a design"
"An idea is a response to a perceived need; an interface between subconscious and conscious "
"Design first, plan second"
"State the obvious, so everybody knows the obvious"
"Permawash - Taking anything from history, religion, culture, thoughts in your phking head and saying this is permaculture (design)" Pippi 201005
"Design is part of an implementation feedback loop; Design can be thought of as the problem resolution phase/stage/pattern/process/system"
"She'll be right" a euphemism for "we won't be around when this becomes a problem!"
"She will not be right unless shes done right"