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

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010 books, dymaxion, maps, rbf, synchronofile