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THE GLOBAL FOOD AND ENERGY SERVICE : A Scene We Would Have Liked To Have Seen...

Mike Neuss, Performance Consulting

Global Food and Energy Service Prevents Crisis in Kosovo- By Mike Gillian, Associated Press- June 7, 1998

Seattle - The Global Food and Energy Service (GFES) tethered into Puget Sound yesterday, and flawlessly snared 2,000,000 tons of essential economic resources for delivery to the UN Security Council's Kosovian Stabilization Project in Kosovo. Two Tensegrity Ships snared wheat grain and potatoes. A third Tensegrity Ship snared Plug n’Play Photovoltaic Systems to complete the capture in approximately 4 hours.

This was the largest ever snareset in a single day , according to Gill Bates, of Tethersoft.  Tethersoft is locally credited for the development of Tethersling, though several current lawsuits allege Tethersoft stole the Tethersling algorithms.  Tethersling is the automated control system that enables the gentle capture and delivery of the world's largest air cargos.

The cargo should arrive in Kosovo tomorrow, according to John Baggins, CEO of GFES and Captain of Tensegrity 3.  This will be the 15th delivery to Kosovo by Tensegrity 3, and the 37th  delivery for the project , said Baggins.

“The world community has successfully averted war in the Balkans,” said Roger Abumando of the UN Security Council, in a statement released Friday.  “Deteriorating economic conditions had led to threatening polarization around the historical ethnic and religious differences within the region, and a potential for war was anticipated.  In 1995 Kosovo was listed as a Priority One concern by the UN’s Anticipatory Design Council, and funding for economic security was approved in 1996. One hundred forty-seven multinational corporations provided the money to meet the UN’s threshold funding contingency requirements, through the Fortune 500’s Stable Markets Initiative. This is the seventh time the world community has deliberately relieved the economic pressures leading to war.” This was also the seventh project of the Fortune 500’s Stable Markets Initiative (SMI), said Sevrin Mercel, spokesperson for SMI. “The results have been very positive,” he said. “The markets in each of the seven regions we supported with essential economic resources have grown in both size and predictability. Inventory reductions alone have been nearly enough to justify SMI.”

According to the UN's Anticipatory Design Council, the five essential economic resources include food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and the annual electrical energy power equivalent of 2000 kWh per person.

“The Council has specified their preferred energy systems to utilize solar electricity produced by technologies that are small, modular, and user friendly,” said Kyle Nelson of the Washington State Department of Economic Development.  “These systems are the most stable and reliable over the long haul,” he said. “We are very fortunate in that some of the most reliable systems are produced in Washington, by several companies that provide materials, assembly, and control systems.” 

Plug n’Play Photovoltaic Systems has provided the controller hardware for all seven of the UN Security Council initiatives to provide essential economic resources. “We’re thrilled to be doing this,” said John Turner, President of Plug n’Play. “The purchases have been large and predictable. They have enabled us to reduce our prices by more than eighty percent. Our domestic markets are stronger now too, largely because of the ability to reduce prices. Henry Ford was right, the wealthier your market is, the wealthier you are. Make everyone rich.”

GFES currently has plans to build three more of the one mile diameter Tensegrity Ships, bringing the total to eight. “We are cautious, said Baggins, we don’t want to build too many. And we want to stick to the intentions of the global community as rendered clearly by popular opinion expressed via the electronic referendum. The world wants us to eliminate organized warfare by providing essential economic security -- no more no less. So far we are doing that.   But if we start building more -- for less critical purposes -- we will lose something wonderful. Now when you see them pass overhead there is a certain thrill. You can tell by the expressions people make while observing them. We think that joy depends as much on their purpose as on their beauty. If we make more -- for less critical purposes -- they will eventually be reduced to billboards cluttering the sky.”

According to Turner, the practicality of Tensegrity ships was first communicated by the American wizard, Buckminster Fuller. Fuller recognized that  the volume of air contained in a Tensegrity sphere would increase at a third power rate while the surface area of the skin only increased at a second power rate. Eventually the air would greatly outweigh the structural skin materials, so that keeping it a few degrees warmer than the air outside would allow the tensegrity sphere to float. Once above the clouds, the sphere could count on daily availability of adequate sunshine to keep it there. Fuller anticipated the sphere would have to be about a mile in diameter, approximately the size of today's Tensegrity ships.

All of the existing Tensegrity ships have remained aloft since their initial launch.  Replacement crews and supplies are tethered to the spheres every two weeks.  The lightweight tethering cable is dropped to hook the receiving cable, which is typically  suspended about 400 feet above the surface by a pair of helicopters. The Tethersoft electronic guidance system automatically adjusts the positioning of the helicopters and the Tethersling cable. Once the load is hooked Tethersling electronically adjusts the amount of pull exerted on the load and the load is gently lifted. "At first Tethersling runs backward," said Baggins, "just like a fishing reel does when a big fish is hooked. When the load begins to lift off, tethersling is actually still running backwards quite fast. At this point a passenger feels a lot like he's getting on a ski lift, only in slow motion. When we have passengers aboard, we soften the takeoff to match that of a commercial jetliner, but we can take off three times steeper than that. So we can deliver loads into almost any place on the planet."

Performance Consulting PEOPLE SEEKING TO MAKE THE WORLD WORK BETTER Phone: (509) 534 8350, Spokane WA USA E-mail:


Elizabeth Ratcliff

You've been to Washington so you know that it has more parks, public buildings and wide avenues than most cities we've seen. Millions of people visit there and feel proud that our capital city is so beautiful. In the spring, in addition to the cherry trees and dogwoods that bloom along the Potomac, the National Park Service plants tulips and daffodils around the museums and monuments to make the city even lovelier.

In spring 1986 I flew to Washington to visit an old friend who was living in Georgetown, a village still, with brick streets and sidewalks and gas-lighted street lamps. The brick houses are narrow and tall and fronted with tidy gardens guarded by spiky black iron fences. One small garden at 31st and P glories in a two hundred year old cherry tree that cascades with blossoms the color of strawberry ice cream every year.

My friend wanted to show me all the sights, so we began with Dumbarton Oaks, one of Washington's most beautiful private gardens. We paid the entrance fee, walked through the iron gates and admired the ancient oaks and firs that border the entrance meadow. We puzzled which path to follow and decided to explore them all. We started down a steep path lined with golden forsythia into woods sprinkled with daffodils and narcissus. At the end of the path we found wooden gates turned green with moss. We rested and gossiped on a secluded bench under a bower of wisteria, then settled down for a while on a wall overlooking a classic pool to discuss our passion for gardens, the myth of the lost Eden and the human inability to live harmoniously with nature. It was philosophy. We were playing. I realized later that the magic of our morning in that beautiful garden had laid the foundation of my Big Idea.

In the afternoon we visited most of the famous monuments and memorials that fill the core of Washington. I was particularly interested in the war monuments and how the sculptors balanced their portrayal of heroism with the agony of war. My oldest brother was killed at the beginning of America's entry into WW II, shot down in a two-man fighter plane trying to stop the Japanese fleet as it steamed through the China Sea heading for the Philippines. He was nineteen. Our family was extraordinarily reserved. My mother and father left us children to come to terms with our brother's death in our own ways. I was eleven and couldn't understand it at all. Years later, after my father died, I was helping my mother clear out his study when I found a brown package wrapped around three flaking sheets of mica which included a note from my father telling where in the Sierra Nevada mountains he had found them and a promise that he would take my brother up there as soon as he got home. The War Department had returned the package unopened after my brother's death. At that discovery my mother and I were able to weep together. I grew up wondering if the sacrifice of his life had been in vain.

The memorial to U.S. Grant is one of the least known memorials in Washington but one of the most affecting. The heroic figure of the general sits astride his horse looking beyond the soldiers and horses struggling to pull their caissons through the thick mud of a Civil War battlefield. The skill of the artist/sculptor makes their agony come alive.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial calls forth powerful emotion too. The reflection of my own face in the black marble wall aroused my memory of the Vietnam War and the sacrifice of the soldiers whose names are engraved there. I remembered that the newspapers announced the "body count" of the enemy to mark the victories of our forces. The Vietnam Memorial was created by a young architect. The emotion her work evokes succeeds both as a work of art and as a tribute to sacrifice for one's country. The last memorial we visited, the Marines Memorial, made me angry and sent me home to my friend's house. The sculptor copied in realistic detail the famous news photograph of soldiers struggling to raise our flag in the middle of the battle of Iwo Jima. The figures are hugely larger than life, war is portrayed on a noble scale and there is nothing to hint that people suffer in war. I reacted to the memorial with fierce revulsion because the monumental supporting pedestal lists every battle the Marine Corps has fought, with generous space left to list further victories. The memorial, built in noble proportions out of white marble, invites us to celebrate the valor of our soldiers in war without a hint of their suffering or their family's. My unexpected emotional response to this memorial sent me home with more fuel for my as yet to be made conscious Big Idea.

On the third day we walked down to the White House. Across from the White House grounds, a small group of war protesters had set up camp. Out of their nest of sleeping bags rose a straggle of home made signs. The protesters had been sleeping and holding vigil in that place for months. They looked disheveled and hungry. I sympathized with their conviction and stamina. They told me that they had been there for three months, trying to attract the attention of The President, the national press and the thousands of tourists who passed by. I thought, "You are wasting your time. You are not convincing anybody with your angry words."

At that instant an idea smashed into my mind with the force of lightning. Art not words is the way to reach the people. This insight was followed by another: Washington has enough war memorials. We are in a new, dangerous era that can destroy the earth, its people, its animals. We need symbols of where we want to go with our society. We will build a monument to peace in this city and it will be in the form of a great public garden. It will become part of the people's pilgrimage to Washington. It will remind us of our efforts to build a good society, harmonious and compassionate, seeking ways to peace. The garden and its furnishings, designed by an artist, will delight, encourage, challenge, educate and inspire its visitors to think about peace, to define it for themselves and then to play a part in bringing it to life in their own communities.

That was my Big Idea.

A National Peace Garden.

I've been working on it for more than ten years. Now a distinguished board of directors composed of experienced and dedicated people are contributing their talent and resources to build it. They are practical people. I believe they will succeed.


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