Award of the2006 Peace Wheel
Saturday April 08, 2006 01:20 by Peter Ravenscroft - Peace Wheel Awards Committee psraven at bigpond dot net dot au PO Box 108, Samford, 4520, Queensland 617 3289 4470
Jeff Fisher of Montreal has won the Peace Wheel for his successful solar powered vehicles, and for gifting his plans and designs to one and all.
The Peace Wheel
Award of the 2006 Peace Wheel
The Peace Wheel for 2006 is hereby awarded to Jeff (Dekzsty) Fisher of Montreal, Quebec.
He has been awarded it for an extraordinary effort towards making light-powered vehicles real for all the world. Jeff has linked the three technologies of doped magnets, solid-state energy storage units and transparent nano-solar sensors into a point and time-of-use harmony for moving people and goods fuel-lessly over the earth’s surface.
The wheel is a small piece of a fossil crinoid (a sea-lilly) stem, 250 million years old today. It is mounted on a copper plate salvaged from a high-voltage electrical system. It has an axle that's held in place by two bicycle spoke nuts. It's awarded to one human each year for advancing the cause of ecological sanity and planetary peace, through outstanding innovative effort in human transportation. Not success, necessarily. Just well-intentioned, huge effort. In Jeff’s case. we have both.
Humans are mostly deeply dissatisfied with their legs and so now use wheels to get about faster. The wheels do not seem to mind, but some other life forms do. The idea is to encourage those working to help humans move themselves and their junk, without annoying the meerkats and the polar bears and the bunya trees quite so much. There is some chance that the crinoid who donated part of herself or himself as the wheel, keeled over in the great Permian mass extinction. But though we have asked, the wheel keeps its own counsel. Happy birthday, dear crinoid stem, anyway.
Jeff is the driving force behind the Solar Vee series vehicles. Vee simply stands for the triangular shape of the chasses, as they are mostly three-wheelers. These amazing contraptions have taken the transport world right back to its lightweight roots of the nineteenth century. Ford's later Tin Lizzie, the Model T, looks highly advanced and very stylish in comparison, but there is no room for pretence in the Solar Vees. They are ultra-light vehicles because, being light-powered, they have to be. They are very high-tech, using the best Chinese magnetic hub-drives, the best nano-solar panels in the world, and the best lithium batteries on the market. In case you are tempted to smile quietly at notion of hi-tech Chinese magnetic hub drives (Dekzsty will not have them called motors, they are drives. Motors are what oilies use.) this reporter can personally assist you. I have helped Brett White, Google's pick for an expert on these things and last year's winner of the Peace Wheel, to dismantle one. The quality of both the engineering and the metals is superb and the magnets, if you are not familiar with neodymium ones, are a real eye-opener. Watch your fingers.
Remember the old legend about the man who invented an engine that ran on pure water, only to have his patents bought up by Esso or Mobil or some other evil oil company and shelved forever? Well first, this antique reporter once worked for Mobil, in a year when we were losing millions. The wry company joke, when harassed managers passed each other in the corridors, was. "Where the hell is that bloody patent?"
But now, even if you don't wish to part with a cherished myth and would prefer to regard that joke as blasphemy, you can now relax, with your faith in human generosity fully restored.
Dekzsty and his friends, after years of brilliant invention, innovation and very hard work, simply put the detailed plans for all their vehicles, including the full wiring diagrams, everything they had, to be exact, on the Internet for free. They are there for one and all to download.
And over a hundred thousand people have done just that.
A practical interlude. If you want yours, just ask Google for "Dekzsty" and follow the trail. Jeff reckons you can build a solar Vee, batteries and all, for $1500 Canadian. OK, so the Canadian dollar is a fuzzy target, but at least, not so many of them are used for blowing kids apart in the Middle East, as with American or Australian ones or those funny things the British use. So, learn to think in frozen greenbacks, or better still, in Euros or Yuan. They are mildly less obscene. That ends this commercial break.
First came the plans for solar-powered trikes, the Solar Vees. On a recent Dekzsty and crew expedition, one covered 170 miles in a day, doing 20 mph a lot of the way and stopping only for a sunlight lunch hour. That, in Canada's low-angle sunshine, is impressive.
Then came the Uprights, where you stand on a platform and the sunlight wafts you away. At ground level, we do admit. Then the Solar Pram. By the time Dekzsty and Co. got to the pram, the speed of response was amazing. Within a few weeks, Solar Prams were appearing in the shops in Montreal and the folk in China, who are part of this wild movement, were building them. What use is a solar-powered pram? In the Third World, it may surprise many, lots of people are still capable of walking. so now they can walk their produce from farm to village, or from village to village, or to market, and then walk their purchases back home again. Prams can move kids, but they can move a lot else besides, and you can ride on the back or walk behind steering. They can carry more than baskets on heads or in hands,. particularly as they can move themselves up slopes and over long distances, entirely without fuel bills.
For decades, solar vehicles have been sleek racing machines carrying only a driver and chasing high speeds or long distances, across vast flat plains like the centre of Australia. Those racers pioneered the technology, and hats in the air for all their builders and designers, but they never really moved towards road reality, till Dekzsty’s Solar Vees got going. The trick was to wave goodbye to dreams of speeds to match those Jaguar XK-120's and all their less beautiful but oily cousins. What exactly is wrong with travelling slowly? If you like the real outdoor world, rather than the inside of some cave, you get time to see it as you trundle happily from one concrete hole to the next. Have an extraordinary day. See a tree.
We will now need a whole new road system, as the bike tracks of the world now require two extra lanes. That is so the faster pedal bikes and the Vees do not knock down the pedestrians and elderly folk in the slower electric wheelchairs, or each other when going in opposite directions. All cars and trucks are wheelchairs, consider and they have a tendency to fall over if they collide. We will always have to have big trucks, because they are so very efficient. They also have to move at a fair clip. They can be electric but not stand-alone solar, as the solar wattage is not there per square metre for that. They also simply cannot share the roads with Solar Vees trundling along at 20 mph, so we need a new road system. You cannot disperse goods through a city fully filled-in in two-dimensions with trains, and if you want to go back to a purely buggy world, we can support only buggy-world human numbers. Will three-quarters of readers please volunteer now, for euthanasia? Put it another way, with only aboriginal technology, complex and almost stable as that was, it was standing-room only in Australia. The country was very over-populated in the dry times, hence all the tribal warfare, which got pretty serious, as aboriginal legends show in detail. So, we have to have a complex transport system. All the good flint was used for spearheads and all the five percent copper ore, ditto, or for awards. There is no going back.
Jeff Fisher and friends have given a huge nudge forwards to the move build the missing layer of the transport system that we have to have if we are to make it.
"This more fun than the sixties," said Jeff in an email. "I know that, because I was there , in New York." On the side, Jeff campaigns passionately and fiercely against war and in particular, against Canada's creeping involvement in the current slaughter festival in Iraq. He has also got a whole new art wave, Functional Art, a-rolling, where the Vees and whatever else is useful, are seen as art. That makes sense. If the XK-120 Jaguar was not the all-time finest sculpture in steel, what was? Jeff has also pushed the concepts of nano-solar money and clothing as part of that new wave. Your clothing and your money, stuck on it as solar patches, will be power sources. Down the track, your jumper or your jeans may show movies. The mind boggles. The Chinese, not quite as obsessed with conventional money as the west (coins hundreds of years old lie unloved on the ground all over the place) are getting into nano-money with delight.
The award was made over three continents, It was announced and applauded in an open kitchen shed in Queensland, (picture) Oz, Brett White, in Katmandu, Nepal, clapped, and Jeff, in Montreal, Canada, accepted it. If folk on other continents would care to applaud, please let us know. Particularly if you are in Antarctica (or Atlantis).
A genuine admirer, who signs himself simply as "Roc" described Jeff as a genius and a maniac. He said he knew, because he himself was merely a maniac. We could not have put it better. Bloody well done, Jeff and crew.
Closeburn, Queensland, Oz.
(On behalf of the Peace Wheel Awards committee, comprising Geoff Bramley (for art), John Dique (for science - waffle), Burke Furry-ears and Wills Free-donkey (for transport animals), Fish Dingo-dog (chairperson, for the rest of the biosphere) Brett White (2005 Peace Wheeler) and Peter Ravenscroft. (for waffle).
Oz end of the award ceremony