Soylent CEO Could Face Criminal Charges for LA Hilltop 'Experiment'


I think the experiment was more about trying to live without using much resources (I think there’s no electricity or mains water up there), as opposed to specifically in a shipping container.

As discussed, unrelated to the shipping container (as far as I know) on his blog:


I haven’t seen any indications that he actually lives there.


Tried to find it on Google Earth. The closest I can come it finding the radio station at the top of the hill
34°05’02.97" N 118°12’12.29" W

Haven’t been able to find a red container yet.


Check the public auction records for the address. Are you sure the top is red? Seemed painted. Check dates in satellite images.


The article says it’s at the hill above Lincoln Heights and Montecito Heights. Those hints should help in finding it.

After looking at it again it seems stretching it that he’s living there. I mean, all the windows knocked out (or were not existing to begin with) and most of it being open air, except that chunk in the back that we can’t see what’s inside of. Can that be his sole residence? That seems farfetched.


I just thought I should point out: One of the big draws for shipping container homes (you can make decent multi-level homes from the things) is Earthquake resistance. They are way better than concrete or wood, and the only downside is that wiring, insulation, and plumbing are slightly more complicated. Of course, permanent shipping container homes are generally secured to a foundation, but a single shipping container is less likely to roll down a hill in an Earthquake than a typical wood home on a concrete foundation. Shipping containers are very heavy!


Lunch with the FT: Rob Rhinehart

In this article dated July 21st, 2016 Rob says he is living in the shipping container. Not sure when the interview really took place.

One foot in the future and one foot in the past seems to sum up Rhinehart. His latest project is building a home in Los Angeles, off the grid. This is surprisingly possible in one of the world’s most urban environments. He found disused land in an unfashionable part of town and plonked a shipping container in it, which he now lives in.
This might be eccentric but it’s not a millionaire’s whimsy. The land was cheap because it is not served by electricity or water; the shipping container was $1,500. Rhinehart proudly says he is not wealthy — whatever his paper worth, he draws a fairly modest salary.
“Do you wanna see a picture?” he says, passing me his phone. “The only drawback is the area’s still a little rough, so it got graffitied.”
The container’s power is solar-generated. Of course there is no need for a kitchen. Rhinehart is currently relying on a “Porta Potty” but has hopes for advances in new toilets that vaporise waste. He once tried to save water by taking an antibiotic to minimise trips to the toilet. “I massacred my gut bacteria,” he wrote in his blog.
I ask if we all need to take such radical steps on water conservation. “I don’t think that’s necessary. But I was being the guinea pig just to see what’s possible. Think about all the infrastructure that goes into sewage. I think it has a lot to do with the cost of the city in general.”


Maybe he moved his solar setup to the container?


If graffiti were really a problem for him, he should have set-up a motion sensitive sprinkler-system & maybe use it to take some pictures. That’s what I would have done.

The comments of that article were written by douche-bags.


Someone sent me an update to this story:


I wish Rob would avoid Quixote-like conficts with the establishment and focus on the main project. A lot of us have staked substantial parts of our lifestyles on Soylent, and I can’t see that investors or believers in Soylent will be pleased by this development. It’s better than murdering your wife (a popular errant behavior of geniuses or megalomaniacs), but at a minimum it seems to be a hopeless, useless, and fruitless distraction.


RL is introducing us to the other founders, and toning down the cult of personality around the RR character.


I can understand the fine, but if he gets any jail time (article says he can get up to 2 years), then society is much worse off than I thought.


Right. I suspect that some high-and-mighty rich folks might insist that it was their right to do with their property whatever they want, and on being presented with the fine they would just willingly pay the fine and continue doing whatever they want. So you have to find a punishment no one will put up with to get compliance. Most people are not going to say “great, I’ll serve the two years” so it is like you now have found a big enough board to hit them with to get their attention. I doubt that many people actually serve the two years.


Once it hits $0, poof! it disappears!


Looks like the container has been removed, not sure if it was Rob or the city that did it though…


Too bad. But I’m not surprised, a lot of cities aren’t very friendly to tiny houses. And guessing by all the tagging, it was probably running afoul of some “attractive nuisance” laws.

(Personally, I don’t think I’d want to try to live in a place that so obviously was getting a lot of trespassers. Ew.)


Too bad RR removed his blog post on this subject. Hopefully it’s back soon.


I always enjoy reading the “feel good” stories about someone building tiny houses for the homeless. And then locating them on public land, on the side of roads, etc. I think the main problem with the tiny house movement is the land problem.


If anyone will build me a tiny house, I will accept it. Put it on land near the desert community of Borrego Springs, CA, or at Lake Isabella, CA. Better yet, build two and I’ll have winter and summer homes.:smiley: