Saturday, 27 January 2007
It’s 2002, I’m working on a project to create a portable skylight, called the SunCatcher, and that’s a long story I’ll not get into now. But it’s relevant because it’s where my state of mind was at, inventing.
My wife (now X and one of my heros still) Yvette, buys us tickets to a play for my birthday,
OF THE UNIVERSE
It’s a play about some guy named R. Buckminster Fuller.
I haven’t a clue what I’m in for.
The show was put on by Foghouse Productions run by Jeff Rowlings, Brett Metzger, and Rich Baker, who are three great guys, and took place in San Francisco, which is where I was living at the time.
So we get to the play, and please don’t think I’m that cosmopolitan cause I’m not. In fact in my 20 years in the city, I think this was the third play I had gone to.
I won’t tell you about the man the play was about, yet. Two amazing things happened though when we went to this play. One was that within the first ten minutes of this play, a one man show, the one man playing it, I realized I knew from back home in Santa Monica. It was driving me crazy to figure out who he was because he was deep in character, until it hit me that he was a fellow actor in the Actors Gang, a group my brother Cam helped found with Ron during his 20’s. His name is Ron Campbell, and if you ever get a chance to see a play with Ron, be prepared to be blown off your feet. Dedicated entirely to theater acting, Ron is a master of his craft able to morph in to any character whatsoever, and in the case of playing Bucky Fuller, I know Bucky if alive would only comment how he might wish he could have had such good stage presence (sadly, a shortcoming of Bucky’s). Here’s a link to his site soar feat (get it) and the acting workshops he’s doing. He doesn't know it, but besides a good friend, he's another hero of mine.
Seeing Ron was great and made the play special. But in the next 2 hours, I was a spectator to learning that humanity was designed to be successful, and that here was a real person in history who had decided to walk out on earning a living, and spend his life to help humanity.
That’s special, but there are millions of people in history that have made the same decision and lived interesting lives doing so. What made Bucky (what he preferred to be called) different was HOW he acted once making the decision.
He started with a blank slate, to mean, he would not accept what definitions had been defined before as fact. He felt, if he was going to help humanity, he needed to first understand what he called Universe, and not what men before him had defined as Universe. With over 24 books written by him, Not including many articles, and countless other books about him, it’s difficult at best to summarize the results of just what he discovered during what he called a 50 year experiment to see what one human being could do for humanity if he devoted his life to it. But as an example I’ll give you just a taste.
“There’s no such thing as up and down.”
Think that’s nuts? Doesn’t that just pluck your very stings of what you would deem loony? But you know what, if you take the time to think it through, giving up all preconceptions, you will find he is 100% scientifically correct. And there were thousands of these. Thousands, and they were just the beginning of what he said throughout his life, which was to always question reality. To stay vigilant against all the forces of history and others, that continue to declare that humanity is made to fight and squabble to get ahead.
And more importantly, when you question everything, and see what lies underneath, it’s nothing short of a dramatic spiritual awakening. Not a religious one based in faith, or following another’s viewpoint. Not one to make one feel superior over others, and in fact, if anything, it sends you in the other direction there, showing you just how interdependent on each other and our world we all are. It’s an awakening that gives you a new pair of glasses to see the world through. Its seeing the world behind the world our eyes deceive us with every moment of every day. And like the curtain being pulled back to Dorthy in the Wizard of Oz exposing the wizard, it’s an amazing transformation of sorts, which can leave you both exhausted, elated, and impossible to return to your life from before where things were clear cut and understood.
Yet with his quest to help humanity, he had such a large message, going so very deep to our core beliefs, involving science every step of the way, that it was quite common that after hearing a lecture by him which many times went on for over 14 hours, people would come out dazed and confused but changed stating things like “I’m not sure what he was talking about, but It moved me.” And for so many, that is where the questioning ended. Very few in fact have studied his work to a degree that they not only understood but chose to continue the dialog of what he was really talking about. And make no mistake, it was and still is an ongoing dialog needing our input, not simply understanding what his message was. Most who have done so, have tried in their own way to write books about him so as to make more palatable his ideas.
If you would like to start to learn about a man the United Nations called A Global Emissary of Peace, I’ve always recommended the book-
Buckminster Fuller's Universe: His Life and Work
An excellent introductory book to his life, his work, and I feel really touches on the core of his message, which was this questioning, and how to go about doing it.
If you wish to find information online, the wiki on him (he would have loved wikis and what they’re about) go here-
It’s a little dry compared to the book, but at least you’ll get some idea of the man.
Me, I was quite lucky. With live thearter I walked in to a play I knew nothing about, played by a family friend, about a man that changed the idea of what it could mean to be human. Nothing short of a serious electric shock could have hit me harder than this combination.
I left the play shaking. Shortly after, I gave up my career in graphic design, and went back to school. My own school, which Bucky would have approved. I read every book ever written by or about Bucky, and trust me that is no small task. I studied and continue to study all the sciences, which are the tools to clear understanding.
I was a also lucky because so much of my design work (inventing) was similar in thought to what he promoted though far less complex. I choose to call it Base Thinking, because you start by solving any problem with zero preconceptions, enabling you to design more free and clearly. I’ll explain Base Thinking later…This gave me an advantage in that his sometimes bizarre language made perfect sense to me.
So what’s my point to all this? Just what the title says, that it’s our heroes that can at times transform us to be better people, and we in turn may do it for others, often without ever knowing it. You are without a doubt a hero to someone, and more than likely don’t even know it.
So where would we be without our heroes? I believe we wouldn’t.
This chapter I’m going to add more and more people to, just some of my other heroes, some come back again. Tell me about yours.
Wednesday, 24 January 2007
Years ago when Netscape and Explorer were in heated battle, and Yahoo and AOL were vying for my money, time, just wanting me to “identify” as a Yahoo, AOL blah blah user, a little search engine came on the scene.
I loved Google from the first time I saw it. Containing only a quirky logo (that I knew loaded quickly), and a search box, finally someone out there figured out what I really wanted. Power. I didn’t want to give any corporation my power through buying whatever they were selling, who wants that? I wanted power. Power to seek, to find, to explore, and most of all I wanted the power to do all this in peace. In a space free of all the branding clutter everyone else wanted to shove down my throat.
Since then I’ve been a witness to in my opinion the most innovative, reaching effort to continue on it’s quest to give me even more power, on the internet, again somehow doing so without shoving ads down my throat.
I couldn’t even begin to say I know about all that Google’s become, but what I do know most about which is, Google the search engine, Google Earth which is beyond words in just how cool it is, and now Blogging with Google, like an Ausi friend of mine says, “It’s the bees knees”. I’m actually afraid of taking a day and reaching in to see just how deep Google goes, mostly just because my hands are full already and that’s only three of countless parts to the dearly loved Google.
By the way, I was one of those who when I heard of Google going public said, “Oh that’ll kill em for sure. They’ll just wind up like AOL.” Well, I can proudly say that among the so many things I’ve gotten wrong in my short life, that was one of them. Another was about not buying Google stock because the only direction possible after going public was in the toilet…Yeah, I’d be a millionaire by now. But hey, at least I’m not so quick to harshly judge things anymore LOL!
On the 18th of last month, I got a long awaited email, that two dear friends of mine Sasha, and his lovely wife Kiara had finally brought to the rest of us hanging on to this spinning ball, their new Daughter Anya. And of course my friend Sasha who is by far the most hip and slick living in the cutting edge of technology guy (lead information architect at Yahoo, owns Eno Wines, and will soon be joining the ranks of Google) sends us her web site with her blog. I was amazed and the design that must have gone in to his web site, only to find later that it’s all that way on blogs. Sorry am I dating myself?
I'm about to take a leap of faith in my effort to get my Garden of Eden design built. In doing so, I will rely on the help of others a great deal. But I will also rely on using the most cutting edge technology online availible to make it come about. This blog is just one. Like a Wiki, if you hear about this project and have something to say, I hope you'll say it.
Tuesday, 23 January 2007
(Image courtesy of spatial-effects.com)
Example, there are companies that offer you a geodesic home made out of concrete, or plywood, offering hundreds of designs and sizes, and various lengths of time it takes to build or assemble.
There's another class of geodesic dome manufacturers that produce domes for primarily commercial interests like covering large tanks or sports stadiums.
What I'm attempting is a little of both. As a home design, it's a clear departure from all dome companies out there due to the size of the dome and how it's used in relationship to the house inside. It's much larger dome (33 meters across), and a detached home is assembled inside the outer shell dome (that isn't a dome).
It could be said that it’s closer to the commercial type dome in that the dome part is primarily sheltering the house and gardens inside.
My idea isn't new, and was first conceptualized in the 60's. Any such design was termed Garden of Eden because the house and garden both lived within the shell or dome. What has made the Garden of Eden concept a dream instead of a reality is the cost. Material costs money, and when you want to cover a space that's 33 meters or 100 feet wide and 20 meters or 60 feet high, that's a lot of material exposed to the elements. Wood, Aluminum, Fiberglass, and any number of other materials simply make the idea cost prohibitive...Until hopefully now.
I believe I’ve found a fantastic combination of materials, some ancient, some cutting edge, which will finally bridge the gap of cost to strength enabling a home owner to finally live in a Garden of Eden.
Join our team on the quest over the next three years in pursuit of creating a shelter that if successful will be the lightest, most affordable, strength to weight to cost effective structure ever built. Utilizing the most effective base structure (base to imply shape) ever invented, we will marry that shape with the most cutting edge materials to reach our goal.
If realized, this could change dramatically how much it costs to-
Build emergency shelters.
Get emergency shelters to people in need, and the amount of shelters a plane or helicopter can carry.
Build any structure.
If you wish to participate in this project, you can do so by-
Sending your comments, which I really appreciate.
Sending your prayers (any prayers from any faith are gratfully appreciated), which we'll really need.
Donating to the cause through a PayPal account (firstname.lastname@example.org).
we'll let you know where the money goes to the penny.
Donating materials directly. Please let us send you the list of what we need through email.
Donating use of housing or land towards the project.
We will use every tool available online to achieve this goal. This blog is just one.
Sunday, 21 January 2007
Wouldn’t we rather have a home that harvests energy quietly instead of using it?
A 10,000 sq. ft. enclosed space three average people with no special skills can assemble noise free, and with no special building tools in three weeks from start to finish.
A home with over 10,000 variations for layout. A home we can alter in a day, free. A home that’s over 90% recyclable and stronger against the elements.
A home we can affordably rent or own anywhere in the world. And when we move, this home can be packed up and shipped for us wherever we want leaving only improved soil behind.
A home that works with and for the environment while providing an enhanced living standard for us at the same time. Couldn’t we all use a home like that for us and our neighbors?