technology (49)

Whatever Happened to Geodesic Domes?

Kyle Thiermann interviewed me a month or so ago about geodesic domes. Kyle and I met each other through our mutual good friend Chris Ryan. (Both Kyle and Chris write on Substack, which I intend to do when I finish the book I’m working on now, Live from California.

I drive my old RV down Kahn’s dirt road and park outside his house. He purchased the lot in 1971 for six grand. He built his home with materials from a salvaged lumber from torn down Navy barracks at Treasure Island. Abalone shells decorate his yard and shimmer in the gray winter light. He greets me with a matter of fact “Hello,” then offers a calloused paw. Kahn has a white mustache, long white hair, and knife holstered at his hip. He looks a bit like an outdoorsy version of Albert Einstein. When I comment on the knife he leads into his toolshed, showing me how I can fashion a blade myself.

‘Do you want a skateboard?’ He offers, pointing to three that lay on the corner…

thiermann.substack.com/p/whatever-happened-to-geodesic-domes

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Insulated Rammed Earth Construction in Colombia

The buildings in La Guajira, especially housing, present structural and thermal comfort problems due to the current construction materials and the underutilization of available resources in the area. Insu-ram is a system of assemblable clay blocks inspired by the cells in the elytra, or hardened wing covers, of certain beetles that allow internal air flow to circulate. Insu-ram cools and insulates a space from external heat without the use of machines and incorporates local biodegradable materials, such as rammed earth, clay, and manure to eliminate the concept of waste. The external pattern of the block generates a micro-shading effect and reduces the solar contact surface. It can be produced locally, at a low cost, is easy to replicate, and helps to solve the housing deficit in the area, while offering a way to build thermally comfortable houses in a fast, cheap, and efficient way.

Bogotá, Colombia

biomimicry.org/solution/Insu-Ram

From Rouanna Garden

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Reflections on the State of This Blog

I’ve been doing this blog since 2005 — 15 years. Over 5½ million page views. Over 4 million unique visits. I was most active in 2012-13, when I was getting about 3,500 page views a day.

But as the years went by, I posted less and less. I started putting up photos on Instagram a few years ago; it’s a photographer’s dream, except for the Facebook factor (like the increasing ads). I put in a lot less time blogging world these days, partly due to Instagramming, partly due to the fact that I have to concentrate on books to keep us afloat.

The best way for you to keep up with what’s going on around here these days, and with me, is to get on my GIMME SHELTER newsletter list. At this stage, with the social media blizzard, email is a form of communication out of the past that suddenly seems to have a new relevance.* I’m writing for a select group of people (latest count about 2,000), not winging it out into the socialnetworkosphere.

If you want to get on the list, subscribe with your email address here. I send one out maybe every 4-6 weeks these days.

*It’s not that “The old is new again.” It’s rather that the old is being looked at in a new light in this digital age, and being rediscovered for its relevance, its soulfulness, its imperfections.

Música del Día: Iko Iko, Dr. John: (Listen to his piano notes at very end of song.)

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The 40th Anniversary Edition of Stretching

I discovered a homemade book called Stretching in 1979. It was aimed at athletes, with stretching routines for some 20 sports.

I wrote the author, Bob Anderson, and suggested he add stretches for builders, waitresses, truck drivers, kids, and older people. We started talking. I found out that he and his wife Jean (who did the drawings) had sold 35,000 copies from a garage in Southern California. End result: Bob and Jean rented a house on the beach here in Spring, 1980, and in three months, we did a complete revision of the book.

We did a first run of 50,000 copies, and the book took off, with Random House as distributor, and has been selling ever since; it’s now sold over 3¾ million copies worldwide, and is in 23 languages. As far as I can tell, it’s the best-selling fitness book in the world.

Tech Neck  An important (and timely) addition to this new edition will be stretches to combat the bad posture caused by (1) cell phone usage and (2) working on computers.

Take a look at how bent-over people are when talking on their phones. It’s called “tech neck.”

The point is, we all spend too much time at screens of various sizes, and it’s not healthy. Not good for the body.

Seeking Editorial Advice: What should we call this section? Stretches (or Stretching) for the Digital World? Technological Era? Digital Era? Tech World? Information Age? Computer Age? Technological Age? Digital Age?

How do we describe our world which is now filled with hours spent on screens?

Want to stretch right now? shltr.net/stretch

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Whole Earth Catalog’s 50th Anniversary

Here’s a video made for the occasion. I was the shelter editor for several incarnations of the Catalog, including The Whole Earth Epilog.

“Meet the creators of the Whole Earth Catalog and the community they inspired. This video history of the Whole Earth culture covers 50 years of collective innovation in just 38 minutes.

“Whole Earth Flashbacks” takes you on a dazzling journey through time, from the first Whole Earth Catalogs to the Co-Evolution Quarterly, the Whole Earth Review, the Hackers Conference, the Well, Cyberthon, Wired, Burning Man and the 10,000 Year Clock, to name but a few.

These projects have one thing in common: they gave access to tools and ideas to help people bring their dreams to life — and change the world together.

This video retrospective features many creative minds and thought leaders: Stewart Brand, Jay Baldwin, Stephanie Mills, Lloyd Kahn, Ted Nelson, Doug Adams, Steven Levy, Andy Hertzfeld, Howard Rheingold, Jaron Lanier, Wavy Gravy, Kevin Kelly, Larry Harvey, Danny Hillis and Steve Jobs, in order of appearance.

Whole Earth Flashbacks was created by Fabrice Florin, with the help of over 60 community members…. Our video premiered at the 50th Anniversary of the Whole Earth Catalog on October 13, 2018, at Fort Mason in San Francisco.…”

https://vimeo.com/album/5479545/video/294878432

(In the 2nd row of the above collage, 2nd from left, is a fisheye shot of me in my dome at Pacific High School in 1968.)

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Stewart Brand and the 50th-year Anniversary of the Whole Earth Catalog

Last night I went to an event at Capgemini Applied Innovation Exchange in San Francisco, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Whole Earth Catalog. It was a 3-hour tribute to and lovefest for Stewart Brand, and the role he has played in shaping so many trends and affecting and inspiring so many people’s lives. I got invited because I was the shelter editor of the WEC back in the day. About a dozen people gave 3-minute speeches, including Kevin Kelly, Orville Schell, Peter Calthorpe, Tim O’Reilly and astronaut Rusty Schweikart on Stewart’s impact on their lives. Not to mention that Steve Jobs (now famously) said that in high school he was reading the WEC and it had a lot to do with inspiring him to get into building computers Wow!

This was a private event, but a prequel to a big celebration, open to the public, coming up on October 13th, 2018, at the Cowell Theater in San Francisco: https://www.wholeearth50th.com/

I’m going to write a bit about my experiences with Stewart next week.

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