Vinay Gupta and his influences

Vinay with the latest incarnation of the Hexayurt (the H13) at the Cloughjordan Ecovillage in Ireland.
Vinay and H13 Hexayurt

In the Appropedia community we often talk about thriving – but Vinay Gupta is a philosopher of surving. From the Hexayurt shelter to the Six ways to die‎ framework, to the upcoming book of essays The Future We Deserve, his focus is on dealing with the critical questions that vast numbers of people in the world face, and which we all might face if and when things go belly-up for us.

Like us, Vinay is a proponent of the value of open knowledge, one of the reasons he uses  Appropedia as a collaboration tool for his projects.

Vinay’s just been interviewed for Boing Boing, where he talks about his influences: Mahatma Gandhi, Buckminster Fuller and Richard Stallman.


Image credit: Vinay’s blog.

wikiHow delivers (a baby)

Two stories from recent years got me thinking. (If you know the stories, you’re allowed to skip to the last paragraph.)

1. A British father helped his wife give birth at home. He’s not the first, and won’t be the last, but there’s a lot that can go wrong. You really want to get it right, and if you don’t have a midwife or doctor handy, and you (and the woman giving birth) never happened to learn how to deliver a baby, what do you do? Leroy Smith turned to the web, via his mobile phone. He found a wikiHow article, and by following the 10 steps, he did his part well.

2. Surgeon David Nott had a more complex challenge. A hippo had bitten off a boy’s arm, and faced death within days from infection. An amputation of his shoulder blade and collar bone would save him – but the doctor didn’t have any experience of this unusual and complex procedure, and no one he knew in the Democratic Republic of Congo could help. But a colleague in the UK could help – and did so via SMS. In two very long text messages he explained the procedure, and wished Dr Nott luck. The operation – carried out in a basic operating theater, without the equipment and support the doctor would have expected back home in the UK – was a success, and the boy’s life was saved.

In the appropriate technology for solving a problem, the key component is often information. Whether we’re talking about health services or development, the right information can be the difference between a good outcome and a failure.

I’m inspired to see wikiHow used in this way – as I am with the stories I hear of Appropedia being used in the field. It’s also true that making the best use of expert knowledge, as Dr Nott was able to do, supports good outcomes. Combining these ideas – enhancing ways of accessing knowledge, and making available the best knowledge – continue to guide our mission.

What’s your Appropedia story?

What brought you to Appropedia? What did you find, and what difference did it make for you?

We’d love to hear your stories, short or long, about how you used Appropedia. Please take a moment to add a comment at the end of this post, to tell us about your experience. Whether you learned something, or were inspired, or found what you needed for your project, or contribute your knowledge about making the world better in one particular way – let us know what Appropedia means to you. Even a single line is valuable feedback, and appreciated.

You can share your story as a comment below, or add it to our Appropedia:Stories page on Appropedia itself – and you can read other stories there, as well . You can also share on this Appropedia Facebook post.

We hope to re-share these stories to inspire others, so comments left here are accepted under the same Attribution ShareAlike license used by Appropedia. Many thanks – and we look forward to hearing your story!