Synergetics Stew June 2011


The Buckminster Fuller Institute published the book Synergetic Stew: Explorations in Dymaxion Dining in 1982. Under this name, synchronofile.com publishes an irregular collection of brief notes relating to Buckminster Fuller.

You are Listening to Deep Thoughts is a simple mix of a gentle background image, a quiet ambient music track and a recording of a thoughtful public speaker. More often than not, the thoughtful public speaker is R. Buckminster Fuller.

☂ “Network Awesome is a platform for entertaining and interesting TV. We spotlight the best from the past to create something new for the future. In a sense it’s TV about TV but our wider intent is to show something about culture as a whole. This can manifest itself in a kids cartoon from 1973, an interview from 1948 or a movie from 1993 – We’re pretty open minded about what Network Awesome is and what it can be. It’s our commitment to provide you what we think is interesting and clever TV – hopefully you agree.” Video of R. Buckminster Fuller regularly appears on Network Awesome.

A Picture History of Shelter Systems is just what it says on the box. Founder Bob Gillis owns several key patents for modern camping tents that meet Fuller’s criterion of portability, tension rather than compression, curves and triangles rather than straight lines and 90-degree angles, industrial production and low cost. While there are many sculptures and models that use Kenneth Snelson’s tensegrity method, Gillis may be the only man to have created a tensegrity structure for habitation as Fuller advocated.

☂ On 3 July 1980 Fuller spoke as Visiting Consultant for Windstar in Snowmass Colorado USA. Co-founder of Windstar John Denver wrote a song for Fuller that year titled What One Man Can Do. A popular photograph from Fuller’s visit to Windstar shows him with the Dymaxion car and a Fly’s Eye dome. The Dymaxion Car was restored last year, and now the Fly’s Eye dome has also been restored. The dome will be on exhibit at Art Basel, Design Miami and Dacra, all located in Miami Beach Florida USA.

☂ As previously announced, D. W. Jacob’s play R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER: THE HISTORY (and mystery) OF THE UNIVERSE was performed 28 May – 4 July 2010 at the Arena Stage Crystal City in Washington, DC USA. Perhaps for the first time, scenes from the play are now online. See also this trailer from the Portland performance in 2008, and Jacob and Allegra Fuller-Snyder talking about the 2011 run here. I’m glad to have seen the play several times over, but I do hope it is filmed in full some day.

– Trevor Blake

Trevor Blake is the author of the Buckminster Fuller Bibliography, available at synchronofile.com





R. Buckminster Fuller’s Influence on Science Fiction Films and Television


R. Buckminster Fuller’s influence on science fiction films and television during his lifetime (12 July 1895 – 1 July 1983).

First Spaceship on Venus
[Wikipedia] [IMDB] [youtube]
1960. Film. Directed by Kurt Maetzig. Based on the novel The Astronauts by Stanisław Lem. An international rocket crew finds geodesic domes on the planet Venus.

Earth II
[IMDB]
1971. Television. Directed by Tom Gries.  A space station makes a claim for independence from the Earth it orbits.  R. Buckminster Fuller is credited as the “Technical Advisor for Earth” in Earth II. Fuller’s Dymaxion Map is used to track orbiting satellites in an Earth-bound control room.

Slaughterhouse 5
[Wikipedia] [IMDB] [youtube]
1972. Film. Directed by George Roy Hill. Based on the novel Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Billy Pilgrim is kept in a geodesic dome in a zoo on the planet Tralfamadore.

Silent Running
[Wikipedia] [IMDB] [youtube]
1972. Film. Directed by Douglas Trumbull.  The spaceship Valley Forge includes several geodesic domes.

The Starlost
[Wikipedia] [IMDB] [youtube] [The Starlost: The Word]
22 September 1973 – 5 January 1974. Television. Directed by Leo Orenstein. Created by Harlan Ellison. Executive Producer was Douglas Trumbull of Silent Running.  A geodesic dome from the spaceship Valley Forge from Silent Running is re-used on the spaceship The Ark.

Battlestar Galactica
[Wikipedia] [IMDB] [Battlestar Wiki: Agro Ship]
September 17, 1978 – April 29, 1979. Television. Created by Glen A. Larson.
The geodesic dome from the spaceship Valley Forge from Silent Running which had been re-used on the spaceship The Ark in The Starlost is re-used once more on an Argo Ship. This dome is on exhibit at the EMP Science Fiction Museum between 23 October 2010 – 4 March 2012.

See also LOST Domes.

– Trevor Blake

Trevor Blake is the author of the Buckminster Fuller Bibliography, available at synchronofile.com





R. Buckminster Fuller: A Verb on Two Legs


In celebration of R. Buckminster Fuller and the 12 of July, the background images from my lecture “The Approximately Omnidirectional Ephemeralization of Richard Buckminster Fuller” as an 11 minute silent b/w video.

Also: for the month of July 2010 my two books on Fuller are deeply discounted.  This is the month to buy them!

The Buckminster Fuller Bibliography – buy now for $35.00 $25.00 $1.99.

A Study of Shelter Logistics for Marine Corps Aviation – buy now for $25.00 [TEMPORARILY OUT OF PRINT]

– Trevor Blake

Trevor Blake is the author of the Buckminster Fuller Bibliography, available at synchronofile.com





R. Buckminster Fuller and Technocracy Incorporated


The history and goals of Technocracy Incorporated should be known by those interested in the life and works of R. Buckminster Fuller. Sometimes Technocracy and Fuller influenced each other, sometimes they were at odds, but knowledge of the former is necessary for understanding the latter.

Beginning in 1919, Howard Scott (1 April 1890 – 1 January 1970) led a survey of production and consumption of energy in North America. Scott and his team determined that a great deal of waste was occurring, and that this waste was the cause of economic disparity. Were the production and consumption of energy in North America organized toward efficiency and the prosperity of the continent, all would prosper with less work. Fuller conducted similar surveys. The first was on the production and consumption of copper as an employee of the Phelps-Dodge Corporation in 1936. As an employee of Fortune Magazine in 1938, Fuller compiled more inclusive lists of production and consumption of the “One Town World” (an idea presented again in Earth Inc. and Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth). In 1970 Fuller presented a hands-on method of studying global resources, the World Game.

Technocracy Incorporated was the organization Scott founded to promote and implement the creation of a North American Technate. The Technate is a corporation located in what is now the North American continent. Nearly all the resources required for self-perpetuation are to be found on or around this land mass, thus no further territory is required. While all are welcome to study and promote Technocracy, Technocracy Incorporated has been explicit from its founding that they have no theory of an assumption to power, nor will they accept any political means of advancement. The Technate will occur, but in its own time and through mass support. Fuller often spoke of the means for global utopia being at hand, were the resources of the world re-directed from weaponry to ‘livingry.’ Technocracy is dead-set against the price system, Fuller was dead-set against capitalism. Fuller was explicit from the late 1920s onward that he had no interest in holding political office, being imitated or starting a cult. His life experiment was a one-man show.

Technocracy Incorporated holds that the true value of any good or service is to be found in the amount of electricity required to produce and distribute it. Any other valuation is a means of social control, keeping a few wealthy and most poor. By the implementation of the Technate, goods and services could be produced and distributed according to need rather than money. Fuller spoke of the wealth of a body of people in terms of ‘energy slaves,’ or how much electricity that body of people produced and consumed. By the creation of a global energy grid, the horsepower of those energy slaves could be distributed as needed rather than as purchased.

Technocracy Incorporated published the Technocracy Study Course in 1934. The book sold through several editions in rapid order and remains in print today on the internet. Several sections of the Technocracy Study Course will sound familiar to students of Fuller. For example, Technocracy Inc. has a plan for the re-invention of the automobile that shares common ground with Fuller’s Dymaxion Car:

It goes without saying that, in accordance with our criterion of least energy cost, the cars would be really streamlined, which would require that the engine be placed in the rear rather than in the front; they would be powered with the most efficient power unit that could be devised.

Technocracy Incorporated views housing as a basic human need with objective solutions – the objective solution of efficiency and production for function rather than profit. The following could have come from Fuller’s own pen:

So great is the edict of habit on the human animal that it becomes almost impossible for one to detach himself sufficiently to take an objective view of the subject of housing. Our houses, and our buildings and structures generally, resemble our clothing in that they attain a certain convention and thereafter we tend to accept them without further question. It never occurs to us to ask whether the prevailing convention is better or worse than other possible styles. The training of our architects is such as to tend to perpetuate this state of affairs. Aside from draftsmanship and a small amount of elementary training in strength of materials and other structural detail, our students of architecture spend most of their time studying the architectural details of the ceremonial buildings of the past-temples, cathedrals, palaces and the like. This accounts for the fact that power plants are seen with Corinthian columns, banks with Gothic windows, and libraries resembling Greek temples. The problem of designing buildings in accordance with the functions they are to perform seems rarely to have occurred to architects.

The successful architect of today is either one who has developed an architectural firm that receives commissions for designing large and expensive buildings, such as skyscrapers, hospitals, courthouses, and the like, or else an individual practitioner who knows sufficiently well the pecuniary canon of good taste to receive commissions for the design of residence in the expensive residential sections of our cities and their suburbs.

Technocracy Incorporated has consistently refrained from supporting or attacking any other thinker or school of thought. At least by name…

If an architect wishes to be really “modern,” he then proceeds to do something “different.” He designs houses made completely of glass or metal, and hung from a post. The two basic questions that seem never to occur in connection with these endeavors are: ‘What is the building for?’ and ‘Would it be practicable to house the inhabitants of an entire continent in such structures?’

Here Technocracy Inc. gives a clear elbow to the ribs of Fuller, whose 4D House of 1927 was to be made of metal and suspended from a pole.

Membership in Technocracy Inc. has waxed and waned but in no way is the organization a thing of the past. Interest in Technocracy was greatest during a time of profound economic crisis in North America. As North America experiences a new low point in its fortunes, people are searching for new solutions to the old problems of economic disparity, waste of resources and political corruption. Only one man – R. Buckminster Fuller – could be Bucky. Technocracy Inc. is approaching its first century of activity, and membership is open.

– Trevor Blake

Trevor Blake is the author of the Buckminster Fuller Bibliography, available at synchronofile.com.





Geodesic Domes and Earthquakes


Trevor Blake has not been compensated by any manufacturer found in this article. Always consult with a professional before the construction or purchase of any building.

U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III airdrops humanitarian aid into the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 18 January 2010. Photograph by U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James L. Harper Jr. Source: wikipedia.

R. Buckminster Fuller made claims about how geodesic domes would weather an earthquake. In Perspecta Vol. 1 (Yale School of Architecture, Summer 1952) Fuller claims geodesic domes will arrive at “predictably stable conditions under extreme stress of earthquakes.” In Inventions (St. Martin’s Press, 1983) Fuller wrote:

When I invented and developed my first clear-span, all-weather geodesic dome, the two largest domes in the world were both in Rome and were each 150 feet in diameter. They are St. Peter’s, built around A.D. 1500, and the Pantheon built around A.D. 1. Each weighs approximately thirty thousand tons. In contrast, my first 150-foot-diameter geodesic all-weather dome installed in Hawaii weighs only thirty tons – one-thousandth the weight of its masonry counterpart. An earthquake will tumble both the Roman 150-footers, but would leave the geodesic unharmed.

On 12 January 2010 the island nation of Haiti experienced a 7.0 M earthquake. Thousands were killed, thousands more are now without shelter. If Haiti had more geodesic domes, would fewer have died and would fewer now be without shelter? Some testing of domes and their integrity during earthquakes has occurred since Fuller’s time.

Both professional and amateur dome builders have made claims about how geodesic domes can weather an earthquake. Timberline Domes writes: “Geodesic structures have shown themselves to endure through severe storms and earthquakes, due to the strength of their design.” Michael W. Johnson was introduced to the geodesic dome at the Design School at North Carolina State University. Fuller and some NCSU students had built domes as early as 1949. Mr. Johnson moved to El Salvadore in the 1970s, where in 1977 he experienced an earthquake. Since that time Mr. Johnson has penned an essay titled Geo Dome Homes for the Third World on building geodesic domes using local materials as a means of weathering earthquakes. These domes were scheduled to be built after July 2008. The Loma Prieta earthquake of 17 October 1989 was measured at a magnitude of 6.9. According to Oregon Dome Information Series #11, Disaster Fitness, this earthquake left the family of Joan Fevaros homeless. A few doors from the remains of their home was a still-standing geodesic dome home that offered them temporary shelter. “When [the Favaros family] went to the county building department to get a permit to demolish their old home to make way for a new one, they were told that the county would not allow any two-story homes to be built. Joan told them that they wanted to build a new two-story dome home on the site of their old home. The county official replied, ‘Oh, if it’s a dome home, then that will be OK.'” Disaster Fitness makes similar claims for a 6.2 M earthquake on 28 June 1992 near Yucca Valley, California.

Some professional dome manufacturers are willing to put their claims to the test, including direct aid to Haiti. American Ingenuity warranties their domes against structural damage due to hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes. From the A.I. Warranty:

Your dome home is designed to withstand the powerful forces of nature. American Ingenuity’s warranty or guarantee assures against any structural storm damage as a result of the ravages of tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes regardless of the force. Such a warranty has been unheard of in the construction industry until now. […] The founder of American Ingenuity, Michael Busick, manufactured and built his first concrete dome in 1976. Since then no American Ingenuity Dome has suffered any structural damage due to hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes.

Pacific Domes has made a one-time offer of up to 50% off list prices to send shelters to Haiti and will match donations made to World Shelters, World Shelters has its own international earthquake disaster relief effort involving geodesic structures and is supported by Humbolt State University class Engineering 305 Appropriate Technology. Monolithic Domes does not manufacture geodesic domes. Monolithic domes are manufactured by inflating a hemispherical shape then covering that shape with steel-reinforced concrete and insulation. What a Monolithic dome might lack in being mobile, it compensates for in being durable. Monolithic Domes were inspired by a 1950s lecture by Fuller. Monolithic Domes and musician Won-G had planned to build Monolithic domes in Haiti several weeks before the earthquake. This dome will house five hundred and is part of the One Dome at a Time project.

While before-the-fact claims about geodesic domes and earthquakes are easy to find, after-the-fact accounts of geodesic domes and earthquakes are difficult to find. The Materials Park Building of ASM International is housed under a geodesic dome raised in 1959. This dome was designed by William Hunt Eisenman, John Terence Kelly, and Fuller. It was manufactured by the North American Aviation Company. The ASM dome weathered a 5.0 M earthquake on 31 January 1986. The extent of the damage was the sheering of a few bolts. In this case, it appears Fuller’s claims about geodesic domes and earthquakes are accurate.

Geodesic domes may or may not have more integrity in an earthquake than other structures. They have not been tested enough to make further claims. But geodesic domes as emergency shelters are well tested and could be part of relief efforts in Haiti and elsewhere.

– Trevor Blake

Trevor Blake is the author of the Buckminster Fuller Bibliography, available at synchronofile.com.





LOST Domes


The television program LOST (first broadcast on the United States channel ABC between 2004-2010) includes geodesic domes. This essay will discuss the geodesic domes appearing in LOST without giving away the story.

The LOST dome has been seen in three forms. The first version of the dome is the dome itself, seen in the episode “Man of Science, Man of Faith” on 21 September 2005. This dome is a full-sized set, while the other two are models. It is implied that this dome is a 5/8th-sphere made up of panels an entryways. The second version of the dome is a model of the completed dome, seen in the episode “Orientation” on 5 October 2005. This dome is a cutaway model made of panels of a 5/8th-sphere. The second version of the dome is a model of the dome under construction, seen in the episode “Namaste” on 18 March 2009. This dome is an in-progress 5/8th-sphere made of struts. The “Man of Science” dome and another dome appear in the computer game LOST: Via Domus. All of the geodesic domes appearing in LOST are class one, four-frequency, 5/8ths truncated spheres.

The word geodesic is made up of the root words geo (Earth) and desic (divide). A geodesic sphere is a sphere divided by lines. The equator around the Earth is a geodesic line, dividing the Earth into a Northern and Southern hemisphere (partial sphere). The equator and the Prime Meridian line divide the Earth into four sections. A longitude line 90-degrees from the Equator and from the Prime Meridian would divide the Earth into eight sections. Were the points where these lines cross connected within the Earth, the connections would form an octahedron. If the triangular faces of that octagon are subdivided into smaller triangles each, and if these triangles are projected out from a central point onto the surface of the earth, it will form the coordinates for a geodesic sphere. Geodesic spheres can also be projected out from an imagined icosahedron inside a sphere. If the triangular faces of an icosahedron are subdivided into smaller triangles and these smaller triangles are projected out from a central point onto the surface of a sphere, the familiar pattern of a geodesic sphere is seen. Fuller initially referred to alternative and regularâ domes, but the terms class one and class two have become standardized terms.

Class one and class two domes are differentiated by how the faces of a polyhedron (in this case, the triangular faces of an icosahedron) are subdivided before being projected out from a central point onto the surface of a sphere . A class one dome divides the faces of a polygon more or less parallel to the edges of the polygon. A class two dome divides the faces of a polygon more or less perpendicular to the edges of the polygon. To see the difference, draw two triangles. Place a mark in the center of each edge of each triangle. On the first triangle, draw a line connecting the marks. On the second triangle, draw a line connecting the mark to the opposite angle. The first triangle will be subdivided into four smaller triangles, one in the center and one in each corner. The second triangle will be subdivided into six smaller right-angle triangles, each one touching a center point. The first triangle is how the face of an icosahedron is subdivided in a class one geodesic sphere. The second triangle is how the face of an icosahedron is subdivided in a class two geodesic sphere. The LOST domes are class one domes.

The frequency of a geodesic sphere is how many times a projected polygon face is subdivided. An icosahedron has a frequency of one (or 1v), as its faces are not subdivided. The first triangle mentioned in the previous paragraph, the subdivided triangular faces found in a class one geodesic sphere, are two frequency (or 2v). Triangular faces on an icosahedron can be divided into any number of frequencies. Low frequency geodesic spheres have the advantage of a uniformity of components. High frequency geodesic spheres have the advantage of a closer approximation to a sphere. Most of the triangles on a geodesic sphere can be seen as part of a hexagon. Some triangles, however, are also part of pentagons. The edges of the triangles making up pentagons on geodesic spheres radiate from a central point to another pentagon on the sphere. Counting the number of edges from pentagon to pentagon (including edges in a pentagon) reveals the frequency of a geodesic sphere. The LOST domes have a pentagon at the highest point.

The LOST domes are not geodesic spheres, but are instead geodesic domes. A single pentagon of five triangles on a 4 frequency geodesic sphere is a 1/8th truncated sphere. Adding the band of triangles around that pentagon makes a 1/4th truncated sphere. The LOST domes are 5/8ths truncated spheres. Geodesic spheres truncated into domes are a collision point between mathematical purity and architectural integrity. The truncation lines of a geodesic sphere are nearly flush with a surface to sit on, but not exactly flush. Readers are encouraged to join many generation of amateur geometric dome model builders. Desert Domes offers an online calculator for finding component measurements of a 4 frequency geodesic sphere and 1/2 truncated sphere.

The narrative of LOST places the construction of these geodesic domes in the mid-1970s. In the mid-1970s Buckminster Fuller was at the height of his popularity and influence. The use of domes in LOST helps establish when the story is taking place and the sympathies of the characters that constructed them.

References
‘Man of Science, Man of Faith’
lostpedia.com | hulu.com
‘Orientation’
lostpedia.com | hulu.com
‘Namaste’
lostpedia.com | hulu.com
Lost: Via Domus
lostpedia.com | ubisoft.com

– Trevor Blake

Trevor Blake is the author of the Buckminster Fuller Bibliography, available at synchronofile.com





Synergetics Stew January 2009


The Buckminster Fuller Institute published the book Synergetic Stew: Explorations in Dymaxion Dining in 1982.  Under this name, synchronofile.com publishes an irregular collection of brief notes relating to Buckminster Fuller.

BLDGBLOG writes about the myriahedral projection map of computer scientist Jack van Wijk (Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands).  “Making truly accurate maps of the world is difficult because it is mathematically impossible to flatten a sphere’s surface without distorting or cracking it. The new technique […] uses algorithms to ‘unfold’ and cut into the Earth’s surface in a way that minimizes distortion, and keeps the distracting effect of cutting into the map to a minimum.”  Compare van Wijk’s work with Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Map and with Butteryfly Map of Bernard Joseph Stanislaus Cahill.

☂ Speaking of Cahill, Gene Keyes has published a comparison of Cahill’s Butterfly Map and Fuller’s Dymaxion Map.  Gene was a student of Fuller’s at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. Nearly 40 years ago Gene wrote Bucky and Pick: Two Grand Designers of a World Without War. An Essay-Review of Robert Pickus (To End War) and R. Buckminster Fuller (Utopia or Oblivion).  Fuller sent a handwritten letter to Norman Cousins (editor of Saturday Review) urging Cousins publish the essay.  The essay has never been published – until now.

The Imaginary Foundation is selling an “All-Star Pattern Seeker Trading Cards pay tribute to 23 giants of pattern recognition – pathfinders and ideanauts whose shadows loom large across three millennia of discovery. This set of 23 cards comes in a collectible embossed box.” Buckminster Fuller is one of the all-star pattern seekers so honored.

Playboy Magazine mentions Fuller in the profile of Susan Miller (Miss September 1972) and an interview with Allen Ginsberg but some other Fuller information hasn’t made it online yet.  This includes the Playboy article “Cities of the Future” from January 1968 and an interview from February 1972.  Buckminster Fuller: Anthology for a New Millennium edited by Thomas Zung incorrectly cites Fuller’s Playboy interview in the year 1970.  Fuller makes some remarkable claims in his Playboy interview… “I’m not surprised to see women getting naked, because the more naked they are, the more they tend to discourage the sex urge.  If a woman is covered up with skirts, man is driven by curiosity.  Take away the skirts and he says to hell with it.  And I find us getting an enormous amount of homosexuality, which I see as nature supplying us a negative urge that diminishes our capacity to make babies.”  “Man probably came to this planet as whole man, a creature very much like what we see today.  He might have been sent by electromagnetic waves.”  “You could take human beings and inbreed them until you came up with a monkey.  You can see that happening every day.  Lots of people are halfway to monkey.”  See also Buckminster Fuller, Creationist.

Science Daily writes that Salvatore Torquato (Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials) and Yang Jiao (Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering) have bested the world record set last year by Elizabeth Chen (University of Michigan) for tetrahedra packing.  “Torquato and Jiao were able to fill a volume to 78.2 percent of capacity with tetrahedra.”  Buckminster Fuller made no specific claims about the closest packing of tetrahedra but would likely have found this discovery of interest.

synchronofile.com had the honor of announcing the restoration of the Dymaxion Car in September 2009.  This resulted in a spike of interest in the car both on and off the Internet (see below).  Crosthwaite and Gardiner, the company trusted with the restoration, have published some remarkable photographs of their work in progress here and hereYour help is still needed in identifying the source components used in the original Dymaxion Car.

☂ Noel Murphy is filming a documentary titled The Last Dymaxion. “One of the greatest minds of our time designed the very first green car. Certain corporations destroyed the possibility of that car ever being produced, but now, in the 21st century, the last Dymaxion is being restored, and along with it Buckminster Fuller’s Dream.”  Noel is also the author/lead in the play Buckminster Fuller LiveThe Last Dymaxion is scheduled for release Christmas 2010.

☂ The 1929 automobile of Engelbert Zaschka exhibited features that were important to Fuller.  It was a three-wheeled car, like his Dymaxion.  But it could also easily be folded, disassembled and re-assembled as could Fuller’s Dymaxion House and many geodesic domes.  Zaschka was an advocate and pioneer inventor for the personal helicopter, achieving Fuller’s goal of a personal omnidirectional transportation vehicle.  More information at Wikipedia (English, German) German-language excerpt from a television documentary on Zaschka here and a short film of the Zaschka being disassembled here.

☂ Hillary Louise Johnson wrote Super Vixens’ Dymaxion Lounge in 1997. Chapters one through six of Super Vixens’ Dymaxion Lounge are now online.  Salon described the book as “a slim but wickedly brutal take on existential life in modern L.A., and one woman’s quest for depth amidst the neon-drenched chaos and urban (not to mention urbane) sprawl. With a toddler in tow all the while. […] Much of the book focuses on Johnson’s search for a way past such hackneyed responses, but she’s also aware of how difficult that is in a town where, a friend tells her, ‘style is substance.’ L.A. is a ‘dymaxion’ town, a term used by Buckminster Fuller to describe a world unto itself, where everything intermeshes and everything is available. So she’s wise enough to know that the idea of breaking through clichés is a cliché itself. Is she really going to be gratified by seducing the Little Caesar’s delivery boy, dating a couple, hanging out with drag queens? Nothing’s ironic in a town built on irony; a teacher at a Montessori school placidly tells Johnson that ‘the playground’s in the backyard, very safe from drive-by shootings.'”

☂ D. W. Jacob’s play R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER: THE HISTORY (and mystery) OF THE UNIVERSE will be performed May 28 – July 4, 2010 at the Arena Stage Crystal City in Washington, DC.  Doug tells me: “Crystal City has put out an international call for artists to create outdoor works of art around Bucky themes and concepts, etc.”  More information available from the Arena Stage.

☂ Kirby Urner was the first webmaster for the Buckminster Fuller Institute (bfi.org circa 1996 via archive.org).  His sites 4D Solutions and grunch.net were some of the first and best online for Fuller mathematics.  He was a consultant for textbook publisher McGraw Hill and continues to serve as an educator.  Kirby is involved in the Thunderbird Early College Charter School, IEEE, Leadership & Entrepreneurial Public Charter High School,  python and linux development and much more.  Sometimes Kirby openly promotes Fuller in his educational work, sometimes he works in stealth mode.  See a little of both in action at the Oregon Curriculum Network.  Kirby’s style is that of a river: as deep as it flows, it also flows swift.  He’s on to the next problem before you dry off from the first.  Try to catch up with Kirby via Grain of Sand, Control Room , Coffee Shops Network, and the BizMo Diaries.  Each of these is generously illustrated with his flickr photo stream.

– Trevor Blake

Trevor Blake is the author of the Buckminster Fuller Bibliography, available at synchronofile.com





4D Syndicate, The First Google Wave for Buckminster Fuller


R. Buckminster Fuller, Education Automation (1961):

I am quite certain that we are soon going to begin to do the following: At our universities we will take the men who are the faculty leaders in research or in teaching.  We are not going to ask them to give the same lectures over and over each year from their curriculum cards, finding themselves confronted with another roomful of people and asking themselves, “What was it I said last year?”  This is a routine which deadens the faculty member. We are going to select, instead, the people who are authorities on various subjects – the men who are most respected by other men within their respective departments and fields. They will give their basic lecture course just once to a group of human beings, including both the experts in their own subject and bright children and adults without special training in their field. This lecture will be recorded as Southern Illinois University did my last lecture series of fifty-two hours in October 1960. They will make moving picutre footage of the lecture as well as hi-fi tape recording. Then the professor and his faculty associate will listen to this recording time and again.  “What you say is very good,” his associates may comment, “but we have heard you say it a little better at other times.” The professor then clubs in a better statement. Thus begins complete reworking of the tape, cleaned up, and cleaned up some more, as in the moving picture cutting, and new illustrative “footage” will be added on. The whole of a university department will work on improving the message and conceptioning of a picture for many months, sometimes for years. The graduate students who want to be present in the university and who also qualify to be with the men who have great powers and intellectual capability together with the faculty may spend a year getting a documentary ready. They will not depend upon diction of the original lecturer because the diction of that person may be inadequate his really fundamental conceptioning and information, which should be superb. His knowledge may be very great, but he may be a poor lecturer because of poor speaking habits or false teeth. Another voice will take over the task of getting his words across. Others will gradually process the tape and moving picture footage, using communications specialists, psychologists, etc. […]

The documentaries will be distributed by various means. One of the ways by which I am sure they will be distributed eventually has very much to do with an important evolution in communications history which will take a little describing. […] With two-way TV we will develop selecting dials for the children which will not be primarily an alphabetical but a visual species and chronological category selecting device with secondary alphabetical subdivisions.  The child will be able to call up any kind of information he wants about any subject and get his latest authoritative TV documentary, the production of which I have already described to you.

You are invited to use your two-way TV to dial-in your superb fundamental conceptioning and information.  Join 4D Syndicate, the first Google Wave for Buckminster Fuller.  Real-time communication occurs at various times on the second day of each month.  Synchronofile has a limited number of invitations to Google Wave available for the first few who request them.

[Update March 2011: Google has discontinued Google Wave.]

– Trevor Blake

Trevor Blake is the author of the Buckminster Fuller Bibliography, available at synchronofile.com





4d House Paper Model


4D House Model

Paper model of the 4D House. Work in progress. Trevor Blake, October 2009.

See models of the 4D House in our gallery and in a 3D video.

– Trevor Blake

Trevor Blake is the author of the Buckminster Fuller Bibliography, available at synchronofile.com





Dymaxion Car Restored


Addendum, 2016: this article was the first public announcement of the restoration of the Dymaxion Car. Since that time, the Dymaxion Car has been restored. For more information on the Dymaxion Car, see synchronofile.com.

The Dymaxion Car of R. Buckminster Fuller is being restored by the company Crosthwaite and Gardiner.

Dymaxion Car #1 was involved in a fatal accident, restored, and later accidentally destroyed in a fire.  Dymaxion Car #3 was was bought and sold many times (including being bought and sold by Fuller) and disappeared in the 1950s.  It may have been sold as scrap during the US-Korean war.  Two of the three Dymaxion Cars are lost forever.

Dymaxion Car #2 was produced by Fuller, Starling Burgess and the 4D Dymaxion Car factory in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1933.  The company that produced the car collapsed in 1934 and Fuller relinquished the vehicle to his employees in lieu of wages.  It was discovered in California in the 1960s, having been abandoned.  Dymaxion Car #2 was later purchased for the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada USA.  The Museum superficially restored the exterior of Dymaxion Car #2.  In addition to being displayed at the National Automobile Museum, it was displayed at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago in 1973 and the Whitney Museum in New York in 2008. Crosthwaite and Gardiner is now conducting a detailed restoration of the exterior and partial restoration of the interior of Dymaxion Car #2.

Trevor Blake of synchronofile.com has been providing essential research material on the Dymaxion Car to Crosthwaite and Gardiner since February 2009. C&G researcher Phil King wrote: “More and more details are slowly coming out from the archives and from people like yourself, but I must say your information has been the most informative and the most prolific so far. […] I know I keep saying it but your help has been fantastic and you have made a difference.”

synchronofile.com has been granted the great honor of announcing the restoration of the Dymaxion Car – because our readers are now invited to help in the project.  Can you identify the manufacturer for this component?



These three photographs depict a component of Dymaxion Car #2.  In the US they are called ‘turn signals.’  In the UK they are called ‘indicators.’  It may have been manufactured for a trolley (UK: tram) or a bus.  If you can identify the manufacturer for this component please send your answer to Phil King of Crosthwaite and Gardiner at the address below.  Say synchronofile.com sent you – and watch this space for further announcements…

– Trevor Blake

Trevor Blake is the author of the Buckminster Fuller Bibliography, available at synchronofile.com

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