Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A Dream Deferred

Go to the profile of Kirby Urner 

However, I’m thinking of a delay you may not be: the postponement of “smart” houses (I’m putting off a definition). Instead, the Big Promise has been “driverless cars” (aka “people movers” if you lived through the 1970s).

The autonomous vehicle fantasies have eclipsed the next generation of Florida mobile home.
If a hurricane hits, Uncle Sam might have a FEMA trailer for you, but R&D halted on better shelter technologies, except in the area of high end camping (an outdoor sport).

You may be wondering when “smart houses” were ever a dominant fantasy, in which case I’ll point you first to the DDU (Dymaxion Deployment Unit), admittedly obscure, and then to the first true Dymaxion House, which hung from a utility mast but didn’t sway in the wind.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Copy Pasted from Facebook

I'm sometimes called "expat" but that's when I was living outside the country (exterior to the homeland, where the "pats" or patriots live). I've been "back home" (but not in Chicago) since the 1970s which is a long time ago, so nowadays I blend in as perfectly normal, except for the token Bob Dobbs face here and there (a symbol of my lingering abnormalcy, actually a badge as I'm still proud of not being a "pure" homelander -- many in Congress have never seen much of the world, and it shows).

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

People Movers

Remember "people movers"?

These were a staple at World's Fair type expos, wherein the public would be treated to preview what could be the norm but a decade hence.  The five and ten year horizons were conventionally bright, in those days, before science fiction got darker and more "blade runny".

The "cars" typically ran on tracks, like at theme parks, but were small and intimate enough for single parties or a family traveling together, the same anthro units as with private vehicles.  Some units were wheel chair accessible, at least on the drawing boards.

However the reality was miles of asphalt and precious few train tracks to switch.  Everything family carriage like was parked in a garage and fed gas from a family budget.  How would we get to People Movers from there?

Answer:  make each car semi-autonomous enough to navigate its own way through the system, distributing the problem to its many nodes.  No central "brain" had to prevent collisions.  It's every car for itself but not without cooperative features.

What's needed are not phony farms where the cars get trained, after which they're injected into Las Vegas as taxis.  The better deal would be an experimental prototype community where people agreed to live, as prototypers.  None of the cars have drivers.  There is more of a central brain.

You might think I'm talking about building from scratch, and I am, to an extent, but then I'm thinking of the movie industry and its "sets".  We're not building "forever cities" so much as stocking "prop inventory" with more intelligent components we might use to "throw together" a city "overnight" as they say, or at least quickly. 

Yes, we'll build New Rome in a day, as a publicity stunt.

Consider Old Man River City for example.  We could have done some cartoons there at least, sparking young imaginations.  But we're afraid to screen positive futurism lest the whip fall across our backs, as management reminds us that "rising expectations" is a "national security threat" (no kidding).

The engineers in China have been showing off their ability to do cities from scratch.  What would it take to retrofit a few of these as Prototyping Zones? 

We're not running every experiment everywhere, and the participants are not kept clueless.  Interesting TV comes out of these places. 

You're paid to live there, not out of pity for the poor or anything, but because prototyping is real work / study.  There's risk.

So am I just talking about Global U campus development per business as usual then? 

Yes and no. 
I'm reminding readers that conscious planning is required for these cities, and lots of training, meaning jobs. 

Saying the money has just now run out on building cities after some 20K years and more is not going to make sense, so if there's a good reason for not moving forward with prototyping, make sure it's not that.  We see they've been trying some stuff in various cities already.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Making Math at the Library

Phi Scaled S Module

Unaffected, at least superficially, by the partial government shutdown, is the Multnomah County Library system.  Portlanders prize their public library infrastructure and it does offer some gems, such as this maker space in the Rockwood neighborhood.  I drove out there on Sunday for some free assistance with my 3D printing project:  to create three sizes of S module (S, S phi up, and S phi down).

Starting with a professionally developed CAD file donated by a Flextegrity developer, we printed a left-handed S-module shell + lid, at 50% scale, as the first 3D printer we tried would not have been able to accommodate the 100% scale version.

Then, even after switching to a Lulzbot Taz with a bigger bed, we stuck with 50% as the home position.  From there, phi down is about 30.9% (50% times 0.618) while phi up is about 80.9% (50% times 1.618) of the original size.

Lulzbot Taz

As the Youtubes explained, I'd be going from STL files to slicer software such as Cura, which would create the route for the nozzle to squirt its goo.

The smaller Lulzbot was loaded with glow-in-the-dark filament, which might've been cool, however I was happy to go with the silver metallic look and the bigger bed.

Slicer Software

In case you're hazy about the so-called "S module", that's a tetrahedron defined in Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking by R. Buckminster Fuller, which occupies a corner in American Literature.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Bizmo Relatives

The recreational vehicle (RV) was the original inspiration for the Business Mobile (BizMo), which latter is less about enjoying retirement and more about getting work done.