Eden Richards

People

ChatCGT Founder Has Massive Bugout Ranch

Is it a bad sign or a good sign that the boss of ChatCGT has made preparations for a serious collapse of the US economy? Sam Altman, 38, has already declared that Artificial Intelligence is likely to “break capitalism” if it becomes successful and widespread.

Chat CGT is a new search tool that is taking the internet by storm because of the way it replies to questions by combining the entire contents of the WWW and everything else out there.

Altman obviously believes in the potential for things in the US to go very badly. He has amassed a store of guns, gold, antibiotics, batteries, water and gas masks, and bought a patch of land on the California coast to which he can retreat. Preumably, this is in case OpenAI misses the mark and in the pursuit of profit, accidentally creates machines that enslave us all.

“Successfully transitioning to a world with superintelligence is perhaps the most important — and hopeful, and scary project in human history,” Altman wrote in a blog post.

At the heart of the transformation is Altman, 37, a billionaire university dropout. Before OpenAI, he ran Y Combinator, the start-up accelerator that has invested in hundreds of companies working on everything from 3D-printed rockets to reversing ageing and included Airbnb, Dropbox and Reddit.

The breadth and ambition of Y Combinator’s companies could be seen as the expression of Altman’s belief in the power of technology to dramatically alter, and improve, the human condition. Paul Graham, the Y Combinator founder who chose Altman as his successor, said in a 2016 New Yorker profile: “I think his goal is to make the whole future.”

Graham, a revered figure in Silicon Valley, in 2009 named the 24-year-old Altman as one the most interesting start-up founders alongside Apple’s Steve Jobs and Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Short and wiry, Altman is known for his intellect, deep connections among the tech elite and extreme work ethic. He once became so engrossed in a start-up he came down with scurvy. He admitted that he has, “no patience for things I’m not interested in: parties, most people”.

A month after Musk stepped down, Altman quit Y Combinator to take over as OpenAI’s chief. It had become clear to him that to make the impact he wanted, OpenAI could not remain a charity.

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Community|People

Ronnie Wood’s Ex-wife Runs Her Own Power

Jo Wood has got guts. the ex-wife of Rolling Stones rocker Ronnie Wood took on a huge project a few years ago, and now has a wonderful off-grid farmhouse in the UK.

“I’d dreamed of going off-grid,” she told The Telegraph. “I loved the idea of being self-sufficient, not only growing my own food, but having my own heat, electricity and water supply. This was it! It came with six acres, old sheds and barns ripe for conversion. The land was barren and there was no garden, but it meant I could do things my way. After my divorce from Ronnie in 2011, I’d been living in central London, so it was a huge change.”

Q: What did you have to do to get the house and garden up and running?
A:I moved into the house in November 2019, and in those first few weeks, the water ran out, the solar panels didn’t work, the electrics were dodgy, and the generator for heat and light broke down. I sat in the kitchen and said to myself: “I’ve made such a terrible mistake.” But slowly, I found the right people to help me turn things around. A modern generator was installed, new solar panels fitted and, after locating an underground water supply, an engineer drilled a hole nearly 300ft down to provide me with my own water. It was expensive, but from then on, I’d have no more bills.

Q: What were your plans for the garden?
A: One of the first things I did was to plant 70 trees, including willow, oak and apple. But my priority that first spring was to build raised beds for growing organic fruit and veg. Of course, four months after I moved in, the country went into lockdown; but with my son Tyrone and my daughter Leah and her family, we were all in the same bubble, so I got cracking and they helped me. Within no time, we’d sown everything from potatoes to pumpkins, with nasturtiums and calendula for colour. The house itself was already covered with climbing roses, so I planted lavender, rosemary and other scented herbs and flowers beneath.

Q: Why did you become so passionate about growing organic food?
A:I met Ronnie in 1977, when I was just 22. At that point, I had my son Jamie and he had his son Jesse. We had Leah and Tyrone together and got married in 1985. Then in 1990, I got ill and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I was on steroids; I was miserable. Then someone who’d read about my illness told me to cut out processed foods and go organic – veg, fruit, meat, the lot. With nothing to lose, I did. Four months later, I felt fantastic. But I got ill again. This time, I found out I didn’t have Crohn’s, I had a perforated appendix. Doctors were amazed …

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People

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers Emerges From “Darkness Retreat”

Aaron Rodgers has emerged from his “darkness retreat.” The Green Bay Packers star quarterback ended his four-day stay in an Ashland, Oregon facility, Sky Caves Dark Retreats.

Unconventional Rodgers went dark to assess where he is in his life at age 39. It’s probable that part of Rodgers’ assessment is determining whether he will return to the Packers or play elsewhere in 2023. ESPN reported that Rodgers spent the four days in a 300-square-foot room in a partially underground structure without light. Rodgers could turn on lights through the cabin’s “self-contained off-grid system to power the ventilation fans, propane hot water heater and lights occasionally used during the integration process,” according to the facility’s website. Sky Caves Retreats is a facility that offers guests an opportunity to spend time immersed in darkness. According to the facility’s website, there are three separate rooms. One is a “cob/strawbale cottage” and the other two are “hobbit” cottages built into the hillside and are fully buried in the Earth.”

The Super Bowl-winning Green Bay Packers quarterback recently announced his next step: a four-day darkness retreat to help him decide whether giving up the pigskin is his next best step. Because nobody wants to pull a Tom Brady fooled ya retirement switcheroo that appears to have cost the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback one marriage to a fed-up wife.

Rodgers, a four-time MVP, is a man unafraid to make headlines for his interest in alternative healing modalities. You might remember he got in a wee spot of trouble during the pandemic for saying no to the COVID-19 vaccine and misleading people about his vaccination status, and yes to ayahuasca, an ancient plant medicine used for religious and medicinal purposes in South American countries that’s found a foothold in the U.S.

And now he’ll spend four days in a darkness retreat, another practice that goes back thousands of years in many spiritual traditions. Rodgers will spend 96 hours in a pitch-black environment. No phone, TV, books. A couple of meals delivered twice a day in such a way that allows in no light. And hopefully he’ll employ a support person to do daily check-ins to make sure he’s OK in all the ways: mentally, physically and spiritually.

Live Well: Colorado Springs woman died, then came back a new person

“I’ve had a number of friends who’ve done it and had some profound experiences,” he said on “The Pat McAfee Show.” “It’s something that’s been on my radar for a few years now, and I feel like it would be awesome to do regardless of where I was leaning after this season. It’s been on the calendar for months and months and months.”

Don’t worry too much about our grizzled protagonist during his time off-grid. He’ll be fine. He can always exit his living quarters if it becomes too much. And according to those with dark retreat …

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Cover of HOW WE WENT OFF GRID by Matthew Watkinson
Community|People

Off-Grid Authors Battle Neighbours

The authors of a book about how to live legally off the grid have been blocked from their home as revenge for writing the book. Charis and Matt Watkinson had used the book, HOW WE WENT OFF GRID, to blast the opponents of their planning application as selfish Nimbys.

Neighbours of the couple took control of a vital footpath leading to their Welsh smallholding, and now they fear they will be forced to sell up and move out.

“The impact could be devastating,” they said. “If we don’t have access to our home then we will have to leave and have to start from scratch.

“We will just have to start again. I don’t know what property prices are like at the moment but it will be hundreds of thousands of pounds.

“It will be emotionally and financially devastating. It would just be the worse case possible.’

“How We Went Off-Grid” is published by Vivum Media, which also publishes the off-grid.net web site. Matt and Charis, who quit jobs as vets to move to a zero-carbon eco-farm in Wales are facing financial ruin after neighbours ‘bought an unregistered right of way footpath just to cut off their access in personal vendetta’ according to their claims.

Their self-sufficient farm, described by Mr Watkinson as ‘a glorified recycling junk yard’, includes a person-powered washing machine and a gas cooker that functions on horse manure. They also have solar panel for electricity and a biodigester for gas, meaning they only have to pay for council tax.

Living on a zero carbon farm protected the family from soaring energy prices and the cost of living crisis, while its remoteness also provided a shield from the Covid pandemic.

A previously unregistered right of way, the access lane to their dwelling, has been purchased by a retired couple who are threatening to sue for trespassing and harassment.

The couple, who have two young children Elsa and Billy, were able to begin living their green dream thanks to the Welsh Government’s One Planet Development Policy.

The scheme allows families to build houses on green-belt land as long as they operate on zero carbon – a target they must hit within five years. HOW WE WENT OFF GRID provides the template that others can use to do the eact same thing.

Mr Watkinson said: ‘We have been here six years now. We are now living a very sustainable and low impact lifestyle. We have been shielded from energy price hikes, Covid, and the cost of living crisis.

‘We have been very glad to be up here. The house is a glorified recycling junk yard. We have a horse lorry, a camper van, but it is all perfectly functionable.’

‘There was opposition when we first moved, but once we received planning permission, we thought we would be left alone.

‘We were not being questioned just on …

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Community

New Yorker Finds A Guy Living Off-Grid In Manhattan

Last May Josh Spodek disconnected the circuit breaker in his West Village studio, and now “his carbon footprint is about that of three average-sized house cats,” reports New Yorker magazine, following up on a story first publicised by Time magazine

Spodek is a fifty-one-year-old executive-leadership coach and environmentalist. He specializes in winning converts—C.E.O.s, oil executives, Trumpers—to sustainable life styles. Check out his blog and his podcast, where he conducts interviews and enumerates personal facts, including number of burpees performed since 2011 (two hundred and three thousand five hundred and seventy-eight) and times mugged (many).

What does it mean to live off the grid in a city? No wall outlets, no gas hookup, no taxis. Elevators are out. Running water is in, though Spodek is stingy with the faucet. You’ll need some essentials, including a handheld battery, a portable solar charger, and roof access; in the winter, it only takes six or so hours of direct sunlight to power your days.

 Spodek has coaching clients. For hedge funds and corporations, he charges fifteen thousand dollars for six months of executive training. “For other people, I say pay what you can,” he says. He has calls back to back today to discuss sustainability: a former ExxonMobil manager, a German oil executive, then Alan Iny, a partner at Boston Consulting Group. Iny reports that he’s reconsidering the wisdom of constant business travel. “Progress can be slow in the non-Josh world,” he concedes. Make sure to monitor your phone battery. “It’s at seven per cent,” Spodek says. “I think I’ll be O.K.”

Up to the roof for more charging. It’s a good spot to reflect on your new life’s rewards. “I know the patterns of the shadows,” Spodek says. “Due south is right in the middle, between the World Trade Center and the Woolworth Building.” He likes to orient the panels in that direction for more light. “The weather and the sun drive a lot of my decisions,” Spodek says. “Rain means I have to cut way back on computer use. It’s being humble to nature.”

 His fridge is no more, so Spodek keeps it simple. Every day is solar-powered-no-packaging-vegan-stew day—legumes, nuts, veggies in a pressure cooker. (Unless it rains, in which case: salad.) “Also, it turns out banana peels are edible,” Spodek says.

You might be wondering: is all the fridge-disconnecting and fermenting and composting going to make your apartment stink? Only mildly.

Joshua Spodek hosts the This Sustainable Life podcast, is the author of Initiative and Leadership Step by Step, and is an adjunct professor of leadership at New York University.

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People

Robin Wright on directing her new film: Land

 

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Stone built C19th shed
People

Anthony Russo’s off-grid cabin- Architectural Digest

Movie maker Anthony Russo’s off-the-grid cabin in the Angeles National Forest is high style – on the inside.  On the outside it still looks like the funky C19th. building, recently rediscovered by Architectural Digest.

Russo’s getaway is one of a cluster of cabins in the San Gabriel Mountains built in the early 1900s as part of a program instituted by the U.S. Forest Service to encourage responsible land use. Accessing the site requires a 40-minute hike on unpaved foot paths that lead from a pack station down through the canyon. Anything that needs to be brought in, from groceries to building materials, must be transported by hand or pack mule. There are no sewage, water, or power lines, and no cell-phone or internet service. An antediluvian crank phone, straight out of a Hollywood period piece, connects the cabin only to neighboring lodges and the pack station.

“We had to make the most of every square foot, so the details became all-important,” designer Steven Johanknecht explains.

“This place is truly remote, away from everything, but that’s the appeal. Even with the amenities and artisanal flourishes we installed, you’re still basically out there on your own in nature,” says Johanknecht of the AD100 firm Commune Design. “The movers had to create handcarts to get all the material to the site. It took eight men hiking back and forth for days. It felt like a scene from The Ten Commandments,” he recalls, describing the extraordinary logistical challenges of executing the full-scale reconstruction project.

“The place is less than an hour from my office downtown, but you feel like you’ve traveled far, far away from Los Angeles. It’s a radically different reality,” says Russo, who, along with his brother Joe, has directed four installments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Avengers: Endgame and Captain America: Civil War. “The cabin gives me the opportunity to kidnap my kids for the weekend, bring friends up, or simply do some writing and other creative work in blissful solitude,” he explains.

Russo tapped Commune Design for the assignment after admiring the firm’s work for the Ace Hotel group as well as the late, lamented L.A. restaurant Ammo. “I felt like they had the right sensibility to respect how special this place is but also the imagination to make it of today,” the director explains. “I’ve always been obsessed with Adirondack style, and that was definitely one of our touchstones, but I wanted to see where Commune would go with that idea. I didn’t want something totally old-fashioned and nostalgic,” he adds.

Johanknecht and his team responded with a scheme that balances pragmatic necessity with subtle nods to Shaker and Japanese design, Swedish and French chalets, and historic American mountain retreats. They replaced rotted redwood timbers with knotty cedar on the ceilings and reclaimed oak on the floors, and liberated the original stone fireplace from a straitjacket of paint …

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Land

Covid boosts price of private islands

There are dozens of islands for sale in Scotland, Wales and Ireland.  The pandemic has seen inquiries  triple.  If you are a buyer, don’t wait around.

And you don’t need to be a billionaire, or even a millionaire. Islands in Scotland can be snapped up for a fraction of the price of a one-bed apartment in LA, New York or London.

Readers who know of any islands for rent, anywhere in the world,  please contact info@landbuddy.com

Even in the Atlantic, island buying is an international game. Dominic Daly, an Irish island broker, said inquiries for islands in the last three months are 200pc up on 2019 levels, with extra interest from Ireland, Germany, Russia and the United States. Though for now, many viewings are constrained by travel restrictions. “The first thing with buying an island, you have to pay for the boat to go out to facilitate the viewing,” said Mr Daly. Buyers can have to fork out €100 (£90) per visit.

I want to be alone

At first it was celebrities who dreamed of island life – a place where  they would not be asked for selfies. In 2009, the magician Uri Geller bought Lamb Island in the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh for £30,000. It is one of three volcanic outcrops said to mirror the layout of the Pyramids of Giza.

He was preceded in the Nineties by the British actor Jeremy Irons (voice of Scar in The Lion King), who bought an island in Roaringwater Bay in Ireland ( near the island pictured), and restored an abandoned 15th century castle built by a clan chieftain.

Survivalist Bear Grylls owns St Tudwal West, Gwynedd, Wales, where in 2013 he caused controversy with local planning authorities after installing a giant slide down the cliff side into the sea.

But private island agents view the recent uptick in interest with a heavy dose of scepticism. There is a bigger gulf between interest and sales in the island market.

Some prospectors are simply dreamers, said Mr Vladi. “People always say ‘dear Mr Vladi, do you have an island where I can be king and it is independent of government?’”

Cameron Ewer, of Savills estate agents, said: “Quite often the question is ‘if I buy this island, does it come with a title?’”

Tom Stewart-Moore of Knight Frank estate agents, said past requests from island buyers have included grounds for keeping llamas, and planning permission to build 25 houses to move a buyer’s entire extended family to an island.

Mega price range

Owning an island sounds glitzy but the scale of glamour is a big one. In January, Savills sold the 14-acre Creinch Island in Loch Lomond – namesake of the 5th hole at Loch Lomond Golf Club – for £90,000, said Mr Ewer.

It sounds like a steal, but owning Creinch is not plain sailing. There is no residence, no running …

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People

Celebrities Quarantining In The Countryside

Celebrities are fleeing urban coronavirus hotspots for quarantining in Wyoming, Montana, and other Western rural regions. Experts are criticizing this move as dangerous to those who live in those areas year-round. Fearing their relocation may cause added stress to an already severely limited healthcare infrastructure.

These include celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, and Kelly Clarkson to name a few.

“These moves have been a huge concern for us,” Alan Morgan, chief executive officer of  NRHA, told NBC News. “It’s such a bad idea for upper-income urban people to hunker down in these areas. It potentially places added pressure on a health care system that was for primary care and general surgery, not for pandemic surge response.”

Morgan said that as of Friday afternoon, there are more than 16,000 cases of coronavirus scattered across rural counties nationally. Hospitals in these areas have one to two ventilators on site on average, he said. More than half of the rural counties in the United States have no intensive care beds at all.

Celebs moving to the countryside

Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel were the most recent celebrities to come under fire for the phenomenon. Some have branded “disaster gentrification” after Timberlake recently revealed that the couple has settled into their home in the Yellowstone Club. It’s a 15,200-acre private community west of Gallatin County, to wait out the coronavirus outbreak. Kelly Clarkson has also decamped to her Montana ranch during the pandemic.

“To be honest, we thought the best way to kind of do our part was. We have a place in Montana and so, we came up here,” Timberlake said in an interview with SiriusXM Hits1 on Wednesday.

Travel from urban centers spreading coronavirus to rural areas

Gallatin County is among the top 10 rural counties with the highest reported COVID-19 cases, according to data obtained by NBC News from NRHA. In comparison to the surge of cases, there are currently eight ICU beds available in the country. There’s just one for every 2,141 residents aged 60+, according to Kaiser Health News.

“In Utah, in Colorado, all around the country, we’re hearing the same stories,” Morgan said. “People are moving into these understaffed, underfunded areas that are tinderboxes for the outbreak. Many of the populations in these communities are exactly those who are least equipped to get the virus. Basically older, sicker people with preexisting conditions who can’t afford to be exposed to it.”

Coronavirus Data

Jessica Carson, a research assistant public policy professor at the University of New Hampshire, recently conducted a rapid response project that appears to corroborate Morgan and the NRHA’s assessment that continued travel from those who do not live in rural communities is causing the spread of COVID-19.

After analyzing data from the New York Times, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service and the U.S. Census Bureau, Carson determined that the nation …

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640px-mount_stuart_house_2018-08-25-9068561
Community

Lady Lola’s Off-Grid Lockdown

Lady Lola Crichton-Stuart, 20-year-old daughter of the Marquess of Bute, is having a very laid back lockdown.

She is in isolation on a remote island, near her family’s ancestral home with a gaggle of friends, including her half-sister Jazzy de Lisser, an actress, and model Adwoa Aboah. The group have shared snaps of their wholesome Scottish lockdown on Instagram.

Lady Lola has shared snaps of herself taking dips in the sea, strolling through the countryside, and baking up a storm with friends including Vogue cover girl Adwoa Aboah, 27, and Ruby Boglione, the youngest daughter of Petersham Nurseries founders Gael and Francesco, who works as a buyer for the family business.

It is thought the group is staying at a holiday cottage, rather than the family’s ancestral seat, Mount Stuart Manor House, which is home to Lady Lola’s father and fashion designer mother, Serena, 57. Her father, former F1 racing driver John Crichton-Stuart, 7th Marquess of Bute, takes his title.

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Community

Attenborough flick aims to “end waste”

One of the most potent reasons for living off-grid is the amount of energy that is wasted by the grid. According to academic studies 32% of energy is lost in the transmission system between where it is generated and reaching the end user.

Sir David Attenborough appeared on BBC TV this morning to promote a film he made for Netflix, telling us we have one last chance to save our species. In the interview he urged people to “stop waste of any kind”, saying the world is precious and should be “celebrated and cherished”.

He added that Covid-19 was spread most quickly in the planet’s most densely populated areas – another reason to live in the areas of Exurbia most popular with off-gridders.

The broadcaster and naturalist warns humans have a “last chance” to change their behaviour and save the planet, as he urged politicians to address “the biggest problem humanity has ever faced”.

In an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Attenborough, 93, said it will be the younger generation who will have to make changes because “they will be able to see the consequences of what they do”.

He added: “My lot are dying off and we are the ones that caused the problem.”

He suggested people should see the world and their time in it as precious, saying “that’s the fundamental attitude”.

He warned: “The world is not a bowl of fruit in which we can just take what we wish. We are part of it and if we destroy it we destroy ourselves.”

Asked what people can do to help protect the planet, Attenborough said: “Stop waste. Stop waste of any kind. Stop wasting power, stop wasting food, stop wasting plastic. Don’t waste, this is a precious world. Celebrate and cherish.”

He went on to say that his message to world leaders would be: “This is the last chance.

“There are short-term problems and long-term problems.

“A politician is tempted to deal with short-term problems all the time and neglect long-term problems.

“This is not only a long-term problem it is the biggest problem humanity has faced. Ever.

“Please examine it and please respond.”

Attenborough has worked with Netflix to produce an upcoming documentary called A Life On Our Planet which looks at the challenges facing earth and what can be done to address them.

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People

Ben Fogle’s Off-Grid Experiment

Could your child fell a tree or use a blow torch? TV presenter Ben Fogle travelled to meet families in remote spots — then tried to see if his own children could shape up.

I always thought that in a moment of worldwide crisis I would flee with my family to the Outer Hebrides, where we would build a hand-to-mouth life on one of the islands. And now we are in the midst of one, the reality is rather more prosaic. I am, in fact, holed up with my family in our house in the Chilterns. Still, there is something of the wilderness to it, I suppose: I’m writing this from the children’s treehouse. My son, Ludo, is on his computer in the office while my eight-year-old daughter, Iona, is in the kitchen. Marina, my wife, has taken the front room, which leaves me the treehouse.

Twenty years ago I did spend a year living on an island in the Outer Hebrides as a social experiment for the seminal Channel 4 programme Castaway to see if a group of urban folk could start a society from scratch. We were cut off from the outside world — just the 36 of us, men, women, and children, living together. The experience changed my life and I’ve been fascinated by off-grid, simple living ever since.

As a result, for nearly a decade I have travelled the world visiting people who have abandoned conventional society for a life in the wild for my Channel 5 TV show called New Lives in the Wild. Individuals, couples, families, widows, former convicts, university professors, they have been an eclectic bunch, unified in their desire to break free from the manacles of society. They are all driven by different beliefs — some are introverts, survivalists, environmentalists and apocalyptic preppers — but each has started a simpler life in the wild, cut off from the infrastructure and services of the modern world.

Take the Longs — Robert, Catherine and their children, Robin, then aged 17, and Christan, then aged 20 — sometimes described as New Zealand’s most isolated family. Their house made of driftwood in the Gorge River in the South Island took me three days’ walking to reach when I visited them in 2013.

Or the Burkinshaws, whom I visited in 2018. Mum Rose and dad Jeff and their five daughters, Sarah, Abigail, Julia, Christina and Keziah, live in a remote cabin in the northwest Canadian wilderness, where winter temperatures plunge to minus 30C.

Or the Stone brothers, who lived in a cave in Utah in the US. The identical twins, Bill and Bob, in their eighties, had been holed up in a remote cave system in the desert outback for more than 20 years when I met them first in 2014 before revisiting in 2018.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, over the past few weeks I have found myself thinking …

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