Posts Tagged ‘Buckminster Fuller’
45 years ago, four eminences took the stage at the University of Toronto: Irish actor Jack MacGowran, best known for his interpretations of Samuel Beckett; English poet and dramatist W.H. Auden; American architect and theorist of humanity’s way of life Buckminster Fuller; and Canadian literary scholar turned media technology oracle Marshall McLuhan. Now only did all four men come from different countries, they came from very different points on the intellectual and cultural map. The CBC recorded them for broadcast on its long-running series Ideas, prefacing it with an announcement that “the ostensible subject of their discussion is theatre and the visual arts.”
Key word: ostensible. “That topic is soon forgotten as two modes of perception clash,” says the announcer, “that of Professor McLuhan, who is one of the most famous interpreters of contemporary 20th-century cultural trends, and that of W.H. Auden, who cheerfully admits to being ‘a 19th-century man’ and sees no reason to change.” And so, though Fuller and MacGowan do occasionally provide their perspective, the panel turns into a rollicking debate between McLuhan and Auden, more or less from the point where the former — making one of his characteristically compelling proclamations — declares that modern media brings us to a world in which “there is no audience. There are only actors.” But the latter objects: “I profoundly disapprove of audience participation.”…
The conversation is above; for more of the backstory: “Marshall McLuhan, W.H. Auden & Buckminster Fuller Debate the Virtues of Modern Technology & Media (1971).
* Aldous Huxley,
As we mind the message that is the medium, we might send tasty birthday wishes to John Montagu, Fourth Earl of Sandwich; he was born on this date in 1718. Lore suggests that the Earl, an enthusiastic gambler, instructed his servants to skip the distraction of a served meal, asking instead for “meat between two pieces of bread” to be consumed as he remained at the gaming table. While there’s no real historical support for the tale, the comestible is nonetheless still known as a “sandwich.”
Montagu also had a nautical edge, serving as First Lord of the Admiralty from 1771-1782. He was sufficiently regarded that Captain Cook named the Sandwich Islands in his honor. On the other hand, he was widely blamed for the sorry state of readiness displayed by the British Navy during the “Unpleasantness with the Colonies.” (Indeed, it may in gratitude for Montagu’s help– however inadvertent– that American’s have adopted the sandwich as our national dish…)
From The Atlantic‘s always-illuminating Alexis Madrigal, “The Year in Hot Dog Innovation.” E.g.:
More contributors to the quest for fabulous franks here…
Let it never be said that our nation stood still while others carried forth the banner of progress.
As we reach for the improved sweet onion relish, we might box a dome-shaped birthday cake for inventor, educator, author, philosopher, engineer and architect R(ichard) Buckminster Fuller; he was born on this date in 1895. “Bucky” most famously developed the geodesic dome, the only large dome that can be set directly on the ground as a complete structure, and the only practical kind of building that has no limiting dimensions (i.e., beyond which the structural strength must be insufficient). But while he never got around to frankfurters, he was sufficiently prolific to have scored over 2,000 patents.
“Fullerenes” (molecules composed entirely of carbon, in the form of a hollow spheres, ellipsoids, or tubes), key components in many nanotechnology applications, were named for Fuller, as their structure mimes that of the geodesic dome. Spherical fullerenes (resembling soccer balls) are also called “buckyballs”; cylindrical ones, carbon nanotubes or “buckytubes.”
I have to say, I think that we are in some kind of final examination as to whether human beings now, with this capability to acquire information and to communicate, whether we’re really qualified to take on the responsibility we’re designed to be entrusted with. And this is not a matter of an examination of the types of governments, nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with economic systems. It has to do with the individual. Does the individual have the courageto really go along with the truth?
God, to me, it seems
is a verb,
not a noun,
proper or improper.
From the cornucopia that is Network Awesome:
Buckminster Fuller – Everything I Know
In 1975 Buckminster Fuller gave a series of lectures concerning his entire life’s work. These lectures span 42 hours and examine all of Fuller’s major inventions and discoveries.
During the last two weeks of January 1975 Buckminster Fuller gave an extraordinary series of lectures concerning his entire life’s work. These thinking out loud lectures span 42 hours and examine in depth all of Fuller’s major inventions and discoveries from the 1927 Dymaxion house, car and bathroom, through the Wichita House, geodesic domes, and tensegrity structures, as well as the contents of Synergetics. Autobiographical in parts, Fuller recounts his own personal history in the context of the history of science and industrialization. The stories behind his Dymaxion car, geodesic domes, World Game and integration of science and humanism are lucidly communicated with continuous reference to his synergetic geometry. Permeating the entire series is his unique comprehensive design approach to solving the problems of the world. Some of the topics Fuller covered in this wide ranging discourse include: architecture, design, philosophy, education, mathematics, geometry, cartography, economics, history, structure, industry, housing and engineering…
Network Awesome is featuring one part of the series starting each Wednesday, here (and in their archive). Or readers can turn to YouTube. In either case, the pieces are bite-sized… and well worth the watching.
As we endeavor to “think outside the dome,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1974– as Fuller was agreeing to do the lectures featured above– that Paul Anka hit #1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 with “(You’re) Having My Baby.”