Buckminster Fuller With the NCSWA

The more I think about it, the more it seems as though this blog should be re-purposed. Perhaps “Tales of an aspiring science writer”, because it might be a good place to document the sorts of things I’ve been trying to do while dipping my toes into the science writing field. One excellent piece of advice I received lately was to try to profile or interview researchers who had already had some interesting work out. I’m not sure how I would be able to contact these writers, but perhaps the good people at NCSWA would be able to help.

Speaking of which — I met those good people this past Saturday at SF MoMA’s Buckminster Fuller special tour. The exhibit was short but fascinating, if not scientifically so (it was the MoMA, after all). The first thing that strikes the viewer is the sheer volume of his work: a 42 hour video called, aptly, Everything I Know, and 28 published books. This is not a man afraid to share his knowledge with the world.

The next thing that hits you, as you look at some of the patents that he filed, is that he was decades ahead of his time in some of his designs. Consider this teardrop shaped, three-wheeled contrivance that is meant to be a futuristic car.

The patent for this was issued in 1933. Stop and think about that for a second.

This is the Dymaxion car, aerodynamically superior because of its shape and designed to be fuel-efficient. It wasn’t just Fuller’s inventions — I think it’d be safe to say that his motto, of environmentally friendly behavior and goodwill towards all mankind — was decades ahead of the hippies.

He envisioned the world as a single, interconnected thing, and even concocted a rearranged map to illustrate the idea:

This is a man rather devoutly attached to triangles.

We need people who dream in sci-fi, who are miles ahead in their imagination. We might not get to a transdimensional portal this century, but perhaps someone will say, “Hey, maybe we can build a spaceship that travels at 10% the speed of light!” And maybe that will lead to a trickle-down effect — efforts in spaceflight, or superluminal messaging, or even just faster spaceflight.

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