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6. Miscellany

6.1 What are ``fullerenes'' and ``buckyballs?''

SCIENCE magazine voted buckminsterfullerene ``Molecule of the Year'' in 1991.

[From Kenneth J. Fair.]

The exciting part of the discovery of C60 molecules is that they are only the third naturally occurring form of carbon to be found (graphite and diamond of course being the first two). C60 was first isolated from graphite (I think) in 1985.

As Paul Houle writes, C60 is formed in the shape of a geodesic sphere (like the panels of a soccer ball), hence the name ``buckminsterfullerene'' or ``buckyballs'' for short. Each carbon has three sp2 hybrid orbitals and the fourth electron of each carbon resides in a delocalized pi orbital that ranges over the entire ball (like benzene).

The physical appearance of C60 is very much similar to graphite, as are some of its physical properties. C60, unlike graphite, can be dissolved in benzene to form a translucent amber solution.

Other developments of buckyballs:

1) Radicalization - Besides just the pure C60 form, researchers at Rice have added hydrogen molecules to the carbon junctures to form molecules such as C60H36. Also, work is progressing on making C60 radical groupings (similar to benzene -> phenol).

2) Property measurement - Although many of the properties of C60 are known, most of the properties of its compounds are still hazy.

3) Higher molecules - Other stable forms with greater numbers of carbons have been isolated as well, including C70, C72, and a couple of others I can't remember. All of these have geodesic shapes as classified by Buckminster Fuller and look like lopsided versions of the normal C60 molecule.

4) Ionization - One can trap metallic ions such as Fe++ and Mg++ in the cage of the C60 to make the molecule act as a very large ion.

5) Superconductivity - As far as I know, the 18K Tc for C60 is the correct figure. This of course is much lower than high-temperature superconductors, but this fact may be used in some way at a later date.

Kenneth J. Fair

[From Blaine A. D'Amico.]

I promised a citation for the best Fullerene book to date. It is titled Fullerene C60; History, physics, Nanobiology, Nanotechnology. North Holland Press by Djuro Koruga, Stuart Hameroff, James Withers, Raoulf Loutfy, and Malur Sundareshan. The first chapter explores Fuller and Synergetics and the entire book is consistent with Fuller's Cosmography. Take a look.

[From Kevin Sahr]

This thread began in sci.math. Gets to the heart of what mathematics algorithms underlie the Dymaxion Projection.

Kirby Urner writes:
> In article <2vs64v$> sahr@thuja.FSL.ORST.EDU (Kevin
Sahr) writes:
> >From: sahr@thuja.FSL.ORST.EDU (Kevin Sahr)
> >Subject: Re: The Icosahedral Projection (& ancient cartography)
> >Date: 11 Jul 1994 19:22:07 GMT
> >In article <2vqmu9$> (Mark Hopkins)> >writes:
> >>
> >...history/motivation deleted...
> >>
> >>(2) The Icosahedral Projection
> >>   This is a projection I discovered (rediscovered?) about 8 years ago.  It
> >>consists of 20 triangular plates that can be arranged in a variety of ways.
> >>To date (to the best of my knowledge) it is the only reconfigurable
> >>projection.
> >>
> >...description deleted...
> >>
> >This projection you've discovered is extremely similar to R.  Buckminster
> >Fuller's Dymaxion Airocean World Map in both motivation and conception,
> >though subtly (to me, at least!) different in execution. Bucky's projection
> >(which also individually projects each triangle of the spherical icosahedron)
> >has the advantage that all great circle arcs parallel to any of the edges
> >of a given icosahedron triangle are straight lines on the planar triangle,
> >and distances along these arcs are preserved on the planar triangle. It
> >has the disadvantage (big, big :( here!) that it does not seem to be
> >mathematically well-defined.
> >Kevin
> I believe the Fuller projection is mathematically well defined.  The faces
> of an icosa are subdivided into similar equilateral triangles, which are
> pushed outward along radii from the sphere center to the surface (orthogonal
> projection).  The mathematics for doing this, same as for the domes, is
> mathematically expressed and computer-implemented.  And yes, more
> work needs to be done to popularize this map and its methods.
I don't believe your description of the projection method is correct; I don't think, for instance, that what you're saying (assuming I get your drift) would preserve distances along the great-circle arcs. I think what Fuller did was a bit more subtle than that; again I refer you to his ``steel-straps and straws'' illustration which appears in many of his books.

If you have any references or code for doing the Fuller projection I would be very interested in seeing it. The information I have is from an unpublished paper by Robert W. Gray of IBM, ``Fuller's Dymaxion Map.'' In it he recounts how Fuller developed what he called a ``three-way great circle grid'' to use as a reference system for manually transcribing points off of a globe onto a Dymaxion Map, and this is the system which appears in Fuller's 1946 patent of the Dymaxion Map. However, before his death Fuller realized that when this grid was projected to the plane the intersections of the arcs did not form points, but little triangles (Cosmography, pg. 236). Gray's version of the projection suggests taking the average of the location of the vertexes of these little triangles to use as the projected point location. One of the things we are exploring is how this averaging affects the properties of the projection at various scales.

I do believe that the projection could be implemented ``precisely'' to an arbitrary degree of precision by recursively sub-dividing the spherical triangle until a point of interest lies within the specified precision of one of the sub-triangle vertices and then using the corresponding vertex on the sub-divided planar triangle as the position of the planar location of the point. But I need to spend more time looking for an analytic method of accelerating this procedure before it would be sufficiently efficient for our use.

But, I am more than open to being proved wrong about the mathematical nature of Fuller's projection! If you have more information I would appreciate hearing about it.

[From Kiyoshi Kuromiya]

Icosahedral projections (non-orthogonal) of the world have been proposed since the early years of the twentieth century. Fuller's projection is orthogonal and optimizes size and shape distortions of the land areas. But most importantly, places the vertices in such a way that when the icosahedral projection is unfolded into a planar map, none of the sinuses cut into any land areas. Therefore, it is the only world projection that minimizes size and shape distortions by distributing in equal proportion any existing pin-cushion distortion to the center of each of the twenty triangular faces.

In 1980, Chris Kitrick and Rob Grip, two engineers in Bucky's office developed the first computer generated projection of the Dymaxion Map (the three-way grid was computer generated and then data transfered). The Grip-Kitrick map is available from the Buckminster Fuller Institute in Santa Barbara, CA.

The triangular ``weaving pattern'' of the three-way triangular great circle grid that you mention (on page 236 of Cosmography), reconciles two basic ideas of synergetics: 1) that two lines cannot go through one point at the same time, 2) tensegrity models the reality that nothing in Universe touches anything else.

What are some of the properties of the fullerenes?

[From Kirby Urner.]

Buckminsterfullerene (C60) is becoming ever easier to get in quantity and shows many interesting optical properties. It stops light -- the brighter the light the more effectively it stops it. Nano and pico-second laser pulses are effectively and instantly opaqued by small quantities of C60. A helmet visor treated with fullerene will instantly block an incoming laser beam -- the stronger the ray, the faster the face glass turns dark (cooler than those ``photosensitive'' sunglasses) (Patterson AFB in Ohio is studying such applications). Many other optical properties of the fullerenes are under study.

However, C60 remains forty times more expensive than gold. As Smalley put it ``it's the yield, stupid'' -- i.e. the central issue facing fullerene researchers, in Smalley's opinion, is how to get more of it. The Smalley team approach of using parabolic mirrors to sun-generate fullerenes (to produce ``sunnyballs'') appears to be a potentially promising approach. Concentrated sunlight has less of the damaging frequencies in high-powered lasers that apparently to inhibit fullerene formation from vaporized carbon).

Fullerene is quite reactive and can be used as a building block in other structures. In some crystal formations, doped with potassium for example, it conducts electricity with no resistance (is a superconductor).

[From Mitch Amiano]

[One potentially useful property is] C-60's peculiarly large capacity internal space - for instance, researching its use as a carrier for other molecules or as a molecular filter material. Something recently in the news was a test-tube finding that C-60 fits into a protein binding site on the HIV virus, thus preventing replication.

The buckyball attaches to a molecular binding site of an enzyme necessary for it's reproduction. Perhaps `fits in' is a better term, since I am not certain the buckyball attaches in the same way a protein molecule would. I think it is more or less the geometry of the thing that does the trick.

[From Kurt Przybilla. In reply to a question about boron and fullerenes]

From: Encyclopedia of Applied Physics, Vol. 6 1993 VCH Publishers

p.520 ``A second method is the substitutional doping of an impurity atom with a different valence state for a carbon atom on the surface of a fullerene ball. Since a carbon atom is so small, and since the average nearest-neighbor C-C distance ac-c on the C60 surface is only 1.44 A (angstrom) (Johnson et al., 1992), the only species that can be substituted for a carbon atom on the C60 ball surface is boron, making the charged ball p type. Smalley and co-workers have demonstrated that it is possible to replace more than one carbon atom by boron on a given ball (Smalley, 1991). Also for graphite, the only substitutional dopant is boron, and for the same reasons as for C60. However, for diamond, which has larger C-C nearest neighbor distance of ac-c+1.544 A, both boron and nitrogen can enter the lattice substitutionally (Feild, 1979). It has also been reported that it is possible to place a potassium atom endoheronally inside the C60 ball while at the same time substituting aa boron for a carbon atom on the surface of the ball (Smalley, 1991).''

The first method of doping deals with ``endohedral'' doping of rare earth, or alkali-metal ions. The third deals with similar dopants introduced between adjacent balls (intercalation)

There are over 20 pages of very good information in this source. I recommend it to all.

[From H. Jeffrey Rosen]

Those of us interested in Fullerenes will be thrilled by the publication of a letter to NATURE, the weekly international science journal, in that periodical's May 5 issue.

It seems that NASA's Long Duration Exposure experiment, which orbited for nearly six years and was recovered for analysis four years ago, showed traces of carbonaceous matter in a cratered aluminum panel - matter which has been found to contain traces of Carbon 60 and other Fullerenes.

This news provides direct evidence that Fullerenes either exist spontaneously in Universe, or can be formed in space.

How can the non-triangulated buckyball be stable? <[Christopher Rywalt]

[From Steve Mather]

The Buckyball is triangulated by the electron's ``want'' to be as far away from each other as possible. The triangulation is along force lines between the three electron clouds (they are center bodied ``planar'' triangles) with the tensile parts as the force lines and the clouds as the compression members.

A                            |   \
                             |     \
                         >   |      \
                             |       | Force line (on all
                             |       | three sides)
                             |       |         |
                            / \      |         |
                          /     \    /         |
                         /        \ /          |
                       /           \           |
                        -----------            |
\                           / ^\               |
                             |\                |

[From Christopher Rywalt]

According to Richard Smalley -- this is one thing he told us at Science Kick -- C60 has been found in the layer of earth that marks the boundary between the Cretaceous and the Triassic periods. This layer is very dark and is rich in carbon and is what leads current science to believe the last of the dinosaurs were wiped out in massive fires. This is not really a rare kind of rock formation; it's just not that easy to stumble on.

Also, Smalley told us that C60 -- as well as other fullerenes -- are formed from something as simple as a candle. The explanation was that what's glowing in a candle is actually soot -- carbon -- which, as it reaches the ``edge'' of the candle's ``flame,'' cools so that it no longer glows. If you wave your hand at the air over a candle flame, you're waving away airborne carbon atoms, and among them, fullerenes.

[From Steve Mather]

C60 and C70 sublime considerably between 750 and 850C. They oxidize at 550 to 650C.

The larger fullerenes are more graphitic in that they have larger areas (20 of them) that are graphitic in properties (i.e. hexagon sheets.) They are harder (sometimes impossible) to dissolve in aromatic solvents and their CRYSTAL structure is more difficult to to break apart. The individual molecules, however are less stable the larger they get.

As such, they sublime (whole molecules) at a higher temperature, but oxidize at lower temperatures than smaller fullerenes (such as C60 and C70.

By sublime, I don't mean that the molecules break apart into their component atoms, those atoms forming a gas, but rather the molecules break away from the crystal and form a gas.

In fact, one way to purify fullerenes, to get just the fullerenes one needs, is heating them up to 700 C, which breaks up the crystal, and collecting the cooled soot from particular spots where it cools. Different fullerenes travel different distances.

Further reading on fullerenes (although not the most recent) can be found in Fullerenes, ed. George S. Hammond and Valerie J. Kuck, pub. American Chemical Society, 1992 and Buckminsterfullerenes, ed. W. Edward Billups and Marco A. Cuifolini.

What are ``buckytubes?''

Richard Smalley of Rice University believes these may hold promise in building an elevator to space as first proposed by Arthur C. Clarke in ``Fountains of Paradise.'' Bucky tubes may be tensionally stronger than diamond.

[From Kirby Urner.]

Buckytubes are super fine fillaments made of hexagonal ``chickenwire'' carbon mesh.

[From ``Buckymania'' in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction - typed in by Bruce Sterling.]

``Carbon-fiber is a high-tech construction material which has been seeing a lot of use lately in tennis rackets, bicycles, and high-performance aircraft. It's already the strongest fiber known. This makes the discovery of ``buckytubes'' even more striking. A buckytube is carbon-fiber with a difference: it's a buckyball extruded into a long continuous cylinder comprised of one single superstrong molecule.''

What are ``endohedral fullerenes?''

[From Kirby Urner.]

Fullerenes with atoms or clusters of atoms inside, the so-called ``endohedral fullerenes,'' are presently extremely difficult to isolate in quantity and their properties are as yet poorly understood (no one yet knows, for example, if crystals of same will superconduct, as does K3C60 -- potassium atoms in all the interstices in a C60 crystal packing). The suggested notation for endohedrals, by the way, is X@Cn, e.g. K@C60 (potassium atom inside C60).

How can I make my own bucky balls?

The question of how to make your own ``bucky balls'' is completely answered in the Jan. '94 issue of the American Journal of Physics p85-8. The title of the article is ``Production and separation of C60 and C70 as and undergraduate experiment.'' Though I haven't attempted myself, the authors give a detailed account of the steps and apparatus necessary to produce your own ``bucky balls.''

6.2 What is Biosphere II?

[Note this is not really Fuller related, but keeps coming up on the list. From Carl Dichter.]

``Biosphere I'' is the earth. Basically, a whole ecology that is encapsulated by the atmosphere and needs nothing except solar power to continue living ``forever.''

``Biosphere II'' is an attempt by some scientists/entrepreneurs to model its behavior with (either 4 or 6, can't remember) people, plants, and animals in a metal and glass enclosure.

The enclosure looks something like this from the side:

                                                       /     \

                                                     _/       \_

                                                    /           \

                                                   /             \

         ______            _______________________/               \_

        /      ^          /                                         \

     _ /        \________/                                           \

    /                                                                 \

  _/                                                                   \

 /                                                                      \

/                                                                        \

\                                                                        /

 |                                                                      |
It's made out of a triangular latticework of aluminum, with glass panels, not in a dome configuration: more like four-sided pyramids. Supposedly, each of these panels costs $20,000 to install, seal, and test.

Inside of the ``sphere'' are little climate/life zones. These each have mini geological features, like an ``ocean,'' ``mountain,'' ``desert.'' These zone vary as much as possible considering they share the same air. They've planned the amount of each type of life form they can support.

6.3 What were Fuller's early years like?

[From Leo Elliot]

Bucky was raised in Maine, and according to his own story, squandered the money his family had staked him to for his Harvard education by going down to NYC to take out the entire chorus line of the Ziegfield Follies (the original wild and crazy guy?). After getting kicked out, reinstated, and kicked out again, Bucky ended up at the Naval academy, where, so he says, he was amongst the last of the classes to be trained in such things as full command authority, meaning that he was given the type of education that trained him in all phases of naval operations, on the premise that should he be on a boat that was attacked, all the superior officers lost, etc., then he would have to take over the ship.

Among his accomplishments was the design of a type of crane for the retrieval of airplanes that overshot the runways of aircraft carriers.

Prior to his epiphany in Lake Michigan in 1927, he also worked in a family business designing some type of construction brick. He tried several other types of work, but basically felt as though he was a failure at all/most of them, and in addition lost an infant daughter to spinal meningitis which he blamed on himself, attributing the disease to the poor living conditions he afforded his young family in some gangster-infested tenement in Chicago, all leading up to his being ready to throw himself into Lake Michigan in 1927.

6.4 Was Fuller formally educated?

Regarding his honorary doctorates the ``Basic Biography'' (available from the Buckminster Fuller Institute) lists 40 such degrees in a comprehensive list ranging from Doctor of Design, Laws, fine arts, Engineering, humane letters, literature, humanities, and science. He was granted Professional licenses as an architect in New York (1974) and Ohio (1979). - Blaine A. D'Amico

I remember reading in a biography (can't remember which) that Bucky made two false starts at college and didn't finish either time. - Bill Long

6.5 Bibliography: Culled from many postings

[Culled from postings by Blaine D'Amico, Gary Lawrence Murphy, Jim Lutz, and this editor's research]


4D time lock [by] Buckminster Fuller.  Albuquerque, N.M., Lama
        Foundation  [c1972] x, 148 p. illus. 27 cm.  Published in 1930
        under title: 4D.

And It Came to Pass, Not to Stay -- New York :  Macmillan, c1976.  157
        p. ; 22 cm.

Approaching the Benign Environment.  / [by] R. Buckminster Fuller, Eric
        A. Walker [and] James R. Killian, Jr. Pref. by Taylor Littleton.
        [New York], Collier Books, [1970].  160 p. 20 cm.  Contents:
        Education for comprehensivity, by R. B.  Fuller.--Engineers and
        the nation's future, by E. A. Walker.-- Toward a working
        partnership of the sciences and humanities, by J. R. Killian,
        Jr. (The Franklin lectures in the sciences and humanities, 1st

The artifacts of R. Buckminster Fuller : a comprehensive collection of
        his designs and drawings / edited with descriptions by James
        Ward. -- New York:  Garland, 1984.  4 v. : ill. ; 31 cm.
        Includes bibliographies.  Contents: v. 1. The Dymaxion
        experiment, 1926-1943 -- v. 2. Dymaxion deployment, 1927-1946 --
        v. 3. The geodesic revolution, part 1, 1947-1959 -- v. 4. The
        geodesic revolution, part 2, 1960-1983.
        [This is a huge collection of Fuller's technical papers, blueprints,
        etc.  Its a tremendous resource.  --- Alex Soojung-Kim Pang]

Buckminster Fuller: An Autobiographical Monologue Scenario
        (St. Martin's Press, c1981.)
        Must reading for any Fuller student.  Contains numerous stills
        from movies of Fuller.

The Buckminster Fuller reader / edited and introduced by James Meller.
        London, Cape, 1970.  383 p., 16 plates. illus., facsim., map. 23
        cm.  Bibliography: p. 371-373.

Critical Path. adjuvant Kiyoshi Kuromiya. -- New York : St. Martin's
        Press, c1981.  xxxviii, 471 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.  Includes index.
        A complete scientific and sociological examination of human
        history, solutions to current problems of humanity and future
        trends for ``cosmic evolution.''

Cosmography:  A Posthumous Scenario for the Future of Humanity.
        adjuvant:  Kiyoshi Kuromiya.  Macmillan Publishing Company,
        c1992.  viii, 271 p.  Includes index.  (ISBN 0-02-541850-5).

Design for the real world; human ecology and social change [by] Victor
        Papanek. With an introd. by R. Buckminster Fuller.  [1st
        American ed.] New York, Pantheon Books [1972, c1971] xxviii, 339
        p. illus. 21 cm.  Bibliography: p. [311]-339.

The Dymaxion World of Buckminster Fuller [by] Robert Marks and R.
        Buckminster Fuller.  Garden City, N.Y., Anchor Books, 1973
        [c1960] 246 p. illus. 26 cm.  ``Slightly revised Anchor Press
        A pictorial and written retrospective of Fuller's work and thought.

Earth, inc. [by] R. Buckminster Fuller.  Garden City, N.Y., Anchor
        Press, 1973.  180 p. illus. 21 cm.

Education Automation : Freeing the Scholar to return to his Studies, a
        discourse before the Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
        Campus Planning Committee, April 22, 1961 / Foreword by Charles
        D. Tenney.  Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Press,
        [c1962].  88 p. 22 cm.  (Southern Illinois University occasional
        Fuller's diagnosis of and solution to the education crisis.

Energy, Earth, and everyone : a global energy strategy for spaceship
        Earth /  by Medard Gabel, with the World Game Workshop ; with a
        foreword by R. Buckminster Fuller, and an afterword by Stewart
        Brand. -- San Francisco :  Straight Arrow Books ; [New York] :
        distributed by Simon and Schuster, c1975.  160 p. : ill. ; 20 x
        29 cm.  Cover title.  Bibliography: p. 153.

Expanded cinema. Youngblood, Gene / Introd. by R. Buckminster Fuller.
        [1st ed.].  New York, Dutton, 1970.  432 p. illus. (part col.),
        ports.  21 cm.  (Dutton paperback original, D263.)
        Bibliography: p. 421-425.

Generation of Narcissus. With an introd. by R. Buckminster Fuller.  [1st
        ed.] Boston, Little, Brown [1971] xii, 266 p. 22 cm.

Grunch of Giants.  -- New York : St.  Martin's Press, 1983.  xxviii,
         98 p.  Includes index.
        Fuller's analysis of the international banking system where he
        advises the world that the current economic systems have been
        robbed by multinational corporate giants.  GRUNCH = Gross
        Universal Cash Heist.  Fascinating reading.

Humans in Universe. Buckminster Fuller, Anwar Dil. -- 1st American ed.
        -- New York : Moutin, c1983.  235 p. : ill. ; 26 cm.  Includes
        bibliographical references and index.
        Conversations between Fuller and Indian Philosopher Anwar Dil.

Ideas and Integrities : a spontaneous autobiographical disclosure edited
        by Robert W. Marks. --1st Collier Books ed.  -- New  York :
        Collier Books, a division of Macmillan Pub. Co., 1969.  318 p.,
        [32] p. of plates : ill., charts, ports. ; 20 cm.  Includes

Intuition.  foreword by Norman Cousins. -- 2nd ed. -- San Luis Obispo,
        Calif. : Impact Publishers, 1983.  223 p. ; 21 cm.
        Blank verse describing humanity, mind, Universe and Synergy.

Inventions: The Patented Works of R. Buckminster Fuller. -- 1st ed. --
        New   York : St. Martin's Press, c1983.  xxxii, 316 p. : ill.,
        plans, ports. ; 32 cm.

        Actual copies of Fuller's collected patents with historical and
        instructive notes by Fuller.  Also contains Fuller's apologia
        mia vita in which Fuller describes his life strategy and

Inventory of World Resources:  Human Trends and Needs.  [1963-1965]
   Document 1:  By R. Buckminster Fuller and John McHale [1963]
   Document 2:  The Design Initiative by R. Buckminster Fuller [1964]
   Document 3:  Comprehensive Thinking by R. Buckminster Fuller [1965]
   Document 4:  The Ten Year Program by John McHale [1965]

I Seem To Be A Verb,  by Buckminster Fuller and Quentin Fiore.

Mindstyles, lifestyles : a comprehensive overview of today's
        life-changing philosophies / by Nathaniel Lande ; introd., Hans
        Selye ; conclusion, R. Buckminster Fuller ; col. ill., Corita
        Kent. -- Los Angeles : Price/Stern/Sloan, c1976.  495 p. : ill.;
        28 cm.  Includes index.  Bibliography: p. 492-494.

Naga:  cultural origins in Siam and the West Pacific / Sumet Jumsai ;
        with contributions by R. Buckminster Fuller. -- Singapore ; New
        York : Oxford University Press, 1988.  xvi, 183 p., [16] p. of
        plates : ill.  (some col.) ; 26 cm.  Includes index.
        Bibliography: p. 179-181.

Nine Chains to the Moon Philadelphia, J. B.  Lippincott Company [c1938]
        xvi, 405 p.  illus., 2 fold. diagr. 24 cm.  Maps on
        lining-papers.  Reissued Carbondale, Ill., Southern Illinois
        University Press, [1963].  375 p. illus. 22 cm.

No more secondhand God; and other writings. Carbondale, Southern
        Illinois University Press, [1963].  163 p. illus. 22 cm.
        (Southern Illinois University occasional publication.)

Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. [New York]  Simon and Schuster
        [1970, c1969] 143 p. 21 cm.  (A Touchstone/Clarion book 20783)
        First paperback printing, 1970.  Includes index.
        Fuller's seminal work regarding the relationship of humanity to
        the environment and planetary planning.  World history takes on
        a new meaning and significance.  A primer on Synergetics.

A Question of Priorities, New Strategies for Our Urbanized World / [by]
        Edward Higbee. With an introd. by R. Buckminster Fuller.  New
        York, Morrow, 1970.  xxxiv, 214 p. 22 cm.  Bibliography: p.

R. Buckminster Fuller on Education. edited by Peter H.  Wagschal and
        Robert  D. Kahn. -- Amherst : University of Massachusetts Press,
        1979.  192 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.  [See Education Automation]

A sculptor's world. [Noguchi, Isamu] / Foreword by R. Buckminster
        Fuller.  [1st U.S. ed.].  New York, Harper and Row, [1968].  259
        p. 268 illus. (part col.). 27 cm.

Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking.  [by] R.
        Buckminster Fuller in collaboration with E. J. Applewhite. Pref.
        and contribution by Arthur L. Loeb.  New York, Macmillan [1975]
        xxxii, 876 p. illus. 24 cm.  Bibliography: p. 875-876.

Synergetics II: Further Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking
        These two books comprise the collected geometric modeling
        system developed and used by Fuller in the development of his
        explanation of the ``coordinate system of nature.'' Fuller
        claimed that Synergetics could be understood by a 5 year old.

Synergetics Dictionary : the Mind of Buckminster Fuller : with an
        introduction and appendices / compiled and edited by E.J.
        Applewhite.  -- New York :  Garland, 1986.  4 v. ; 32 cm.
        Includes bibliographies.

Synergetic Stew:  Explorations in Dymaxion Dining.  Philadelphia,
        Buckminster Fuller Institute, 1982.  118 p.  Includes index.

Tetrascroll: A Cosmic Fairy Tale:  Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  New
        York, St. Martin's Press [1975,1982] xxvii, 129 p. illus.
        Introduction by Amei Wallach.
        Wonderful tale of Goldilocks and the three bears in which Goldi
        learns General Systems Theory and Synergetic geometry through
        real world examples.

This or else ... : a master plan for India's survival / by Dinshaw J.
        Dastur. -- Bombay : Jaico Pub. House, 1974.  x [i.e. xvi], 184
        p. ; 22 cm.  Includes a foreword by R.  Buckminster Fuller.

Uncommon sense : the life and thought of Ludwig von Bertalanffy
        (1901-1972),  father of general systems theory / [by] Mark
        Davidson ; foreword by R. Buckminster Fuller ; introduction by
        Kenneth E. Boulding. -- 1st ed. -- Los Angeles : J.P.  Tarcher ;
        Boston : Distributed by Houghton Mifflin Co., c1983.  247 p. ;
        25 cm.  Bibliography: p. 229-236.  Includes index.

Untitled epic poem on the history of industrialization.  Highlands
        [N.C], J.  Williams, 1962.  227 p. 20 cm.  (Jargon, 44.)

Utopia or Oblivion: the Prospects for Humanity. With an introduction by
        Stephen Mullin.  [London] Allen Lane The Penguin Press [c1970]
        416 p.  illus. 23 cm.  Includes bibliography.


Aaseng, Nathan.  More with Less : the Future World of Buckminster Fuller
        (Minneapolis : Lerner Publications, c1986.) Ninth grade reading
        level.  Excellent introduction into Synergetics and Fuller's
        significance in general

Applewhite, E. J.  Cosmic fishing : an account of writing Synergetics
    with Buckminster Fuller. (New York : Macmillan, c1977.)  xvi,
        157 p. ; 25 cm.

Applewhite, E. J.  Paradise Mislaid : birth, death and the human
        predicament of being biological / E.J. Applewhite. -- 1st ed. --
        New York : St.  Martin's Press, 1991.  xii, 480 p. ; 25 cm.
        Includes bibliographical references (p. 439-458) and index.  ``A
        Thomas Dunne book.''

Edmondson, Amy C.  A Fuller explanation : the synergetic geometry of R.
        Buckminster Fuller / Amy C. Edmondson. -- Boston : Birkhauser,
        c1987.  xx, 302 p. : ill. ; 25 cm. -- (Design science
        collection.) ``A Pro scientia viva title.''  Includes index.
        Bibliography: p. [287].
        Fuller Superb, plain english explanation of Synergetics from a
        mathematician who worked with Fuller for the last three years of
        his life.  Part of the Design Science collection.

Gabel, Medard.  Energy, Earth, and everyone : a global energy strategy
        for spaceship Earth [See Energy, Earth, and Everyone]

Gabel, Medard.  Ho-Ping:  Food for Everyone , strategies to eliminate
        hunger on spaceship Earth / by Medard Gabel, with the World Game
        laboratory.  Anchor Books, c1979.  272 p. : ill. ; 20 x 29 cm.
        Includes bibliographic references.

Grimaldi, Roberto.  R. Buckminster Fuller : 1895-1983.  Roma : Officina,
        1990.  121 p.  (Dizionario monografico degli architetti moderni
        e contemporanei ; 2)

Hatch, Alden, (1898-), Buckminster Fuller:  at home in the universe.
        New York, Crown [1974] vii, 279 p. illus. 24 cm.

Kenner, Hugh.  Bucky; a guided tour of Buckminster Fuller.  New York,
        Morrow, 1973.  338 p. illus. 21 cm.  Bibliography: p. 327-331.

Hugh Kenner's ``Geodesic Math and How to Use It'' Berkeley : University of
        California Press, c1976.  xi, 172 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.  (ISBN
        0-520-02924-0) This is an excellent book for the hobbyist model
        builder, but also shows geometric derivations for a number of
        approaches to carving up the surface of a sphere into the
        smallest practical number of different shaped parts, which is
        the key matter in dome fabrication.  The book also discusses
        tensegrity designs, although I believe Hugh has since release a
        volume devoted to tensegrity.  For those without calculators
        :-), the appendix of the book lists the dome-vertex values for
        many practical frequencies in the basic polyhedral forms.

McHale, John.  R. Buckminster Fuller.  New York, Braziller, 1962.  127
        p. illus.  (Makers of contemporary architecture) Includes

Reese, K.M.
     Certain activities of R. Buckminster Fuller. (Newscripts)
     Chemical and Engineering News v71, n4 (Jan 25, 1993):60.

Abstract: R. Buckminster Fuller, for whom the fullerene was named,
    invented the geodesic dome in 1933. He also designed the Dymaxion
    car with a body made of duralumin. The car had three wheels, a
    teardrop shape and a maximum speed of 120 miles per hour with 40
    miles to the gallon. It can be parked in a space only a foot longer
    than itself. The Dymaxion car can also be rotated 360 degrees within
    its own length.

Robertson, Donald W.  Mind's eye of Richard Buckminster Fuller / by
        Donald W.  Robertson. -- New York : St. Martin's Press, [1983?],
        c1974. 109 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.  Reprint. Originally published:
        1st ed.  New York : Vantage Press, c1974.  Includes
        bibliographical references.

Sieden, Lloyd Steven.  Buckminster Fuller's universe : an appreciation /
        Lloyd Steven Sieden;  foreword by Norman Cousins. -- New York :
        Plenum Press, c1989.  xvii, 511 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.  Includes
        index.  Bibliography: p. 449-498.

Snyder, Robert.  R. Buckminster Fuller: an autobiographical
        monologue/scenario / documented and edited by Robert Synder.  --
        New York : St. Martin's Press, c1980.  218 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.

Fuller's earth : a day with Bucky and the kids / [edited] by Richard J.
        Brenneman. -- 1st ed. -- New York : St. Martin's Press, c1984.
        x, 180 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.  Includes index.  Bibliography: p.

Bucky for Beginners
        Workbook style lesson plans for Synergetic activities.  A must
        for teachers.

Shaping space : a polyhedral approach / Marjorie Senechal and George
        Fleck, editors. -- Boston : Birkh:auser, 1988.  xx, 284 p. :
        ill. ; 28 cm. -- (Design science collection.) ``A Pro scientia
        viva title.'' Includes material from the Shaping Space Conference
        held at Smith College, Apr. 6-8, 1984.  Includes index.
        Bibliography: p. 266-271.
        Also from the Design Science collection.  The proceedings of a
        conference on polyhedral theory.  A wealth of information
        including a useful article entitled ``Polyhedral in the

[From Alex Soojung-Kim Pang.]

Wendell Barry in ``Speaking for Words'' has an excellent critique of Fuller's writing style.

There are also a number of magazine articles, published mainly in the 1950s to 1970s, that profile Fuller and give ``day in the life'' views of him. These have been indexed in a bio-bibliography published by Vance (which does a lot of these for public figures) available at your university library.

6.6 Organizations and Corporations mentioned on GEODESIC (incomplete and dated)

BFI: The Buckminster Fuller Institute (latest address)

Buckminster Fuller Institute
111 N. Main Street
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Phone: 707-824-2242

1994: [From Kurt Przybilla.]

The best polyhedronal modeling kit I've seen is available from Edmund Scientific. It is called a ``Star Structure Construction Set.'' Although it is a little pricey at $25, the vector joints are the best I've found. They resemble stars with 12 points. The struts are hollow tubes that fit on the stars. Though the book it comes with is a little lame, it explains how to make some of the more basic shapes. The main disadvantage is that the struts are all the same length which makes domes difficult. Edmund Scientific has a wonderful catalog that everyone should should have their own copy of. The number listed in it to request a catalog is (609) 573-6858. To order directly (609) 573-6250. The set is catalog number G52,060. Probably the most widely available kit on the market are made by a company out of Oregon called Ikosa Kits. Though they are inexpensive and come in various sizes, they are really nothing more than shishkebab sticks with sections of plastic tubing which you must pierce yourself to make joints. They are available in new age toys stores like Star Magic.

[From Anton Bakker]

The Zome-Tool by Biocrystals in Bolder Colorado is a good tool. The large kit cost ~ $600 A contact person is Marc Pellitier.

[From Carey W. Mason, Oct '92]

I have recently completed owner-builder construction of 2 geodesic domes. After some research, I selected the dome-shell kits from Robert Kirkpatrick in Ft. McCoy, Fla. These kits are ``Pease''-type domes as opposed to ``Hub-and- Strut'' construction.

Kirkpatrick's kits (I have a 39' and a 45') are each constructed of two sizes of triangles, pre-assembled, reinforced, braced, with plywood attached for the outer surface, and the outer surface coated with elastomeric polymer. We assembled the triangles into pentagons (small tri's) and half hexagons (larger tri's) and then lifted by crane to assemble the shells. The first taking two days, the second in one day (thanks to setting the angle of the section with a magnetic protractor before craning it into position). This $10 Kirkpatrick trick saved several hundred dollars in crane time, etc.

Here's Bob Kirkpatrick's info:

                        Rt 2, Box 2862
                        Ft McCoy, Fl 32134
                        (904) 6853235

[From Kurt Przybilla]

The best polyhedronal modeling kit I've seen is available from Edmund Scientific. It is called a ``Star Structure Construction Set.'' Although it is a little pricey at $25, the vector joints are the best I've found. They resemble stars with 12 points. The struts are hollow tubes that fit on the stars. Though the book it comes with is a little lame, it explains how to make some of the more basic shapes. The main disadvantage is that the struts are all the same length which makes domes difficult. Edmund Scientific has a wonderful catalog that everyone should should have their own copy of. The number listed to request a catalog is (609) 573-6858. To order directly (609) 573-6250. Probably the most widely available kit on the market is made by a company out of Oregon called Ikosa Kits. Though they are inexpensive and come in various sizes, they are really nothing more than shishkab sticks with sections of plastic tubing which you must pierce yourself to make joints. They are available in new age toys stores like Star Magic.

[From David Roach]

ORB Factory Ltd., 5 Umlah's Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3P 2G6 Phone: (902) 477-9570. This is a small company and the owner's name is Steven Kay. The company makes what Steve calls ``Transformational geometry toys,'' which are primarily wire, tube and coil based products, based on geometric principles.

[From Pat Salsbury]

My Synergy Ball is being produced by Design Science Toys, of Tivoli, NY. They're the people who make the Tensegritoys, Octabug, Hoberman Sphere, and a slew of other geodesic and geometry based toys. They've got a nifty catalog which you can get by phoning 1-800-227-2316.

In case you weren't here 4-5 years ago when I first designed the Synergy Ball and discussed it here, it's a paper model of a 30-strut tensegrity, and makes a sphere ~9" across which exhibits quite amazing strength when fully assembled. It comes in either red or blue and is priced to retail at under $5. I think you can get 'em from the factory for less.

Oh, and if you build one, be sure to hang it up with a bit of thread. It looks MUCH better when it can turn in the air currents and casts really nifty shadows on the walls. Especially when you have multiple candles burning! ;^)

6.7 Computer tools (may or may not be useful to dome design or synergetics' modeling).

There are several quality tools for doing mathematics and geometry. Yacas is a general purpose computer algebra system. Graphs can be made with gnuplot. Pari-GP is a very good high-precision calculator tool for Unix, DOS, MS-Windows, Macs, Atari, Amiga, and even VAXen. POV-Ray is good for generating photo-realistic (or simply perspective) images. Rick Bono wrote a program dome for generating geodesic domes and spheres. SpringDance is popular for exploring geometry and tensegrity structures. Many people like Mathematica and its competitor Maple. Geomview is a program for looking at and interactively manipulating 3D objects. One of the reasons I use Debian GNU/Linux for my computing environment is because of all the quality tools for mathematical work that work out of the ``box'' (including calc, gnuplot, POV-Ray, felt, dome, scilab, yacas, etc).

[From Ben Discoe]

Anyone interested in the geometry mentioned in _Synergetics_ (and has access to a computer running 3D Studio R3) could check out a free program (on the net as HEDRA.ZIP) which purports to create a very wide variety of polyhedral forms. I don't think 3D Studio will let you easily raise the forms to higher frequencies, though.

[From Kirby Urner]

I've seen some interesting Synergetics on the Mac: Yasushi Kajikawa did a new module system for assembling icosahedra and other shapes in that 5-fold symmetric family -- 5-fold stuff is IN these days. He used HyperCard with XMD calls to MacroMind Director I think it was -- the individual movie frames were developed in Mathematica. Lots of polyhedra exploding into parts -- looked like car repair manuals for abstract geometric shapes. Music too. The text was all in Japanese. Robert Orenstein tried to get an English edition together -- he also got a jitterbug transformation to run entirely from within Mathematica. Looked cool!

[From Robert L. Read]

`FElt' is a structural analysis program that is freely available under the GNU Public License (GPL). It is written and maintained by Jason Gobat ( and Darren Atkinson (

It allows you to input a geometry of a structure, assign material types to various components, add on continuous forces like roof loads and specific forces like a 10,000 pound weight at a certain point, and then compute the forces in each member.

[Editor: The FElt website is located at Debian GNU/Linux users can check out]

6.8 Fuller's ``failures.''

[From Alex Soojung-Kim Pang - See Old Man's River City Project (circular cities)? for background.]

It is also interesting to note that this [Old Man River City] was the most modest of a series of urban renewal projects that Fuller was involved in at the time: his proposals for floating cities, renovation of Harlem (which involved tearing down all the buildings and erecting a series of apartment blocks that looked like nuclear plant cooling towers), and floating spherical cities all date from this period. Ironically, they represent a kind of technocratic vision that many of Fuller's followers in the counterculture rejected, though the tension between the ``Whole Earth Catalog'' and ``Domebook'' interpretation of Bucky and the Bucky that was proposing to build cooling towers on Harlem never became strong.

[From Leo Elliott]

Ross Keatinge raises some interesting speculations about Bucky's self-promotions and possible over-estimations of his projects' current or future feasibilities. The oldest one I can specifically recall, that seemed the most ordinary, was his ``dymaxion bath'' (part of the dymaxion house?), illustrated in Marks' ``The Dymaxion World of Buckminster Fuller'' -- supposedly this two-piece, user-assemblable bath-utility would provide all the normal bath amenities (shower, tub, toilet, sink) with the additional economy of being able to take a very cleansing shower on only about a pint of water, an idea which Bucky says he got from watching how clean the engine-room sailors would get once they came up on deck and stood in the spray of a strong sea mist for a while -- ? Not sure of any data/research ever done by the soap or the plumbing-fixture companies on this particular claim, but according to Bucky, the dymaxion bath (which would also be serviceable in a recto-house, one presumes?) got nixed once the plumbers unions found out how little labor-time it would take to install, possibly even circumventing any requirements for their professional services at all.

So how much of Bucky's self-promotion was hot air, and how much has been demonstrated? As I recall, some of the materials prescribed for both the dymaxion house and bath were of the order of plastics, which hadn't come into existence yet. Bucky used to say he decided, after studying the various timelags that he saw existing in various industries between the inception of an idea and its practical application (the most egregious of which, 50 years, he saw existing in the housing/construction industries), that he wanted to live his lifeplan 50 years out from the rest of humanity, thereby avoiding the carping of the critics: ``I do not care that I am not understood, but I do not like to be misunderstood.'' (rough paraphrase.)

It would seem, from the posthumous discovery of the Fullerenes, that at least some of Bucky's visions were spot on.

6.9 Where would you encourage your best friend to start in the Fuller literature? (For maximum ease of mastery) [Jeff Perth]

[See Bibliography for full citations. Cosmography is a great introduction. Critical Path is also very good. Synergetics (both volumes) can be started immediately, but be prepared to build lots of models to clarify the text (and/or set it aside for awhile when the going gets tough :) Several fun but less complete works are Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, Tetrascroll: Goldilocks and the Three Bears: A Cosmic Fairy Tale, No More Secondhand God: And Other Writings, and Grunch of Giants.]

[From Leo Elliott]

I would highly recommend, for those who may wish to see the genesis of some of Bucky's ideas, a review of his 1938 ``Nine Chains to the Moon.''

6.10 Quotes and Coinages.

``Dare to be Naive'' -RBF in ``Moral of the Work'' in Synergetics. ``Ownership is onerous'' -RBF [From Kirby Urner]

Greetings ``buckyophiles!'' <-- term coined by Gene Fowler,
                              the armed-robber poet-founder
                              of the Regeniusing Project.

[From Chris Fearnley]

I have my favorite Fuller quotes on the web at

6.11 Bucky: humanitarian or cold-hearted technocrat --- The value of a man?

[Admittedly to call the below thread distilled wisdom is pushing it. Maybe I will think up some way to edit it down into some pithy conclusion, but not today, sorry. Perhaps you like this lengthly discussion? E-mail me with commentary.]

[From Gerry Segal]

Some of R.B.Fuller's actions especially regarding the invention of tensegrity structures and his involvement with Werner Erhardt, EST and World Hunger project do not say much about the man.

It's his ideas, and through his ideas his hope for people that become important. I.B. Singer, the Nobel Laureate writer once asked if he would like to meet and talk with Leo Tolstoy said That while he read every word of Tolstoy he wouldn't cross the street to talk with him. His human failings might destroy the ideas he placed in his mind.

[From Alex Soojung-Kim Pang]

Gerry Segal points to what I think is an important question in evaluating Fuller's life and the value of his work. Having concentrated much of my attention on Fuller's inventive activity, I tend to evaluate him in terms of his work with and for the Marines, Strategic Air Command, Department of Commerce, etc.; and a study of this side of his life reveals a Fuller who was a vigorous Cold War technocrat, relatively unconcerned with the things for which he is now remembered-- his philosophical work, his geometry, etc..

I think there is value in trying to evaluate him on the basis of his ideas, since in the last 20+ years of his life he was essentially a public philosopher, not so much an inventor. But this raises another thorny problem, that of trying to measure the impact of those ideas, particularly from about the mid-1960s on. The fact that Fuller could both have the Whole Earth Catalog dedicated to him, AND at the same time be condemned by Theodore Roszak (author of Making of the Counterculture) as the Ultimate Technocrat (and therefore an intellectual conspirator in a system that has produced the evils of materialism, ecological despoilation, exploitative labor systems, etc.) points to a fundamental problem of reading and interpretation: what do Fuller's ideas ``really'' mean? What should we make of, and how should we evaluate, interpretations of his ideas?

For example, in collecting accounts of Fuller's speeches in the late 1960s and 1970s (published in underground newspapers, mainstream magazines, and professional and trade journals), I've found that there developed a set of tropes describing Fuller's impact on his audience. It went something like this: ``Fuller gave a four-hour marathon lecture that left his audience exhausted but exhilarated, dazzled by his vision and enthusiasm. Few members of the audience could follow exactly what he said, but it was the tone and Fuller's presentation that really mattered.'' Statements like these, it seems to me, make problematic claims about the value of his ideas, even as they stand as a testimony to his powers of self-presentation and ability to inspire audiences. Many people obviously came away from these talks feeling that they had seen something profound; but few, I am coming to believe, actually came away with any kind of grounding in Fuller's intellectual system. There was a huge difference between the read Fuller and the performed Fuller; that difference is the key to understanding how he could be honored by Stewart Brand and vilified by Theodore Roszak; and it raises deep questions about the value of his ideas and the importance of his life and work in the long run. These are questions I'm puzzling through, and which I intend to address in my book on Fuller and the dome; I'm not yet sure if he ultimately deserves a larger place in history, a smaller one, or the place he has now.

[From Kirby Urner]

The charge that Fuller is a ``cold warrior'' stems from his work with/for the US government. Geodesic domes had a strategic value from the beginning. On the other hand, more than most academics, and certainly most architects and engineers, Fuller has done much to vilify capitalism, or LAWCAP as he called it (``lawyer capitalism''). The dust jacket of his book Grunch of Giants proclaims it as ``more subversive of the property and profit values of the capitalist system than anything dreamed of since Karl Marx.'' Yes, Ronald Reagan awarded him the Medal of Freedom. Yes, around the same time Fuller declared the ``USA we have known is now bankrupt and extinct.'' A curious mixture of pro-entrepeneurialism and individual initiative, and anti-corporatism. Too curious for some. I think Fuller's critics are often in the business of gathering second hand sources and citing other critics (e.g. Roszak) vs. tackling the subject material directly. Second hand criticisms are often cursory and do not reflect serious scholarship. On the other hand, indictments of this or that aspect of Fuller's work by people who really know their stuff are worth airing and I look forward to any such debates online. I have some criticisms of my own to share, if and when these seem relevant.

Gordon C. Muth III writes:
> fuller was naive to believe that because he had come
> up with a better way to live that the world at large
> would one day accept it.
Well, if he thought his vision was exactly what would bear out, yes. But I think his longing for a world without so much deprivation at the basic survival level was just the broad brush strokes. His little blurbs on the back of other futurists' books (e.g. Gerard O'Neill's -- a maglev guy) show that he was open-minded enough to endorse other visions. Of course he thought his inventions would have a role to play. But many inventors have thought this, and were not naive to think it -- was Edison naive to think the light bulb would catch on?

BTW, I think there is a basic shortage of adequate housing even now. I like Fuller's idea of converting a lot of downtown office space to dorm/workspace units, while wiring the suburbs for ``learning a living'' in a tele-democracy. That would cut back on the mad ebb and flow of millions of tons of steel (i.e. cars) to and from ``the office'' (hi honey, I'm home). -Kirby Urner

6.12 What was the nature of Fuller's involvement with Werner Erhardt, EST and the World Hunger Project? [Lance Fletcher]

[From Kirby Urner]

Around 1980, Werner Erhard rediscovered Fuller and found Fuller's lifelong commitments (to serve ``omnihumanity'') were illustrative of his own ``making the world work for everyone'' motto. Fuller appeared jointly with Erhard in Madison Square Gardens, where Erhard delivered emotional praise and Fuller spoke for several hours about the need to promote tetrahedra over cubes as a way of saving humanity (I was not present -- as an est graduate, I was getting the newsletter and read about it, and this sparked my renewed interest in Fuller and sent me off to read Critical Path)... Fuller's grandson, Jaime, did the est Training and for some time there was overlap in interest and volunteers. Asked what Fuller thought of Erhard on the Larry King show, Fuller said he thought he was ``a good boy'' or something to that effect (contrary to Erhard's own assertions that he was ``bad'' -- in the Michael Jackson sense perhaps).

EST was supposed to be in lower case, meaning ``to be'' in latin. But for legal reasons (you can't name a corporation using italicized, lower case latin), it was also an acronym for Erhard Seminars Training. The Training took place over 2 weekends. 250 or so trainees would commit to sticking it through to the end after being briefed on what was to take place and after being given opportunities to leave. They were also not to chew gum, snack or leave for the bathroom except at scheduled breaks (``bathroom at will'' people sat in the back row, for anyone with medical conditions requiring exceptions to the norm). The first weekend especially was a hard-hitting oral delivery that many labeled a ``tearing down'' and which earned est trainers the title of ``verbal marines.'' Trainings were not advertised but graduates were strongly encouraged to ``share their experience'' of the training. At its peak, EST was active in many cities both statewide and overseas. Many books came out on the subject, and a biography. Erhard later got into racing cars (Formula One) to discover ``what works'' in organizations. Although many were strongly critical of Erhard's work, I think knee-jerk responses, either pro or con, are inappropriate vis-a-vis a complex and of course not unflawed enterprise. Walter Kaufmann, a well-known Princeton philosophy prof, was one of my teachers at the time, and he spoke highly of the est Training, which he had done the previous summer. He made it sound quite interesting so I enrolled.

The World Hunger Project was developed to promote the idea that World Hunger was a problem that could be solved, that only the political will to solve the problem was absent (i.e. food shortages were not the root problem). Erhard helped found the organization and Fuller was on the Board (of Advisors or Directors I'm not sure). The WHP was controversial because it was primarily a marketing and public relations enterprise aimed at changing attitudes i.e. awakening peoples desire to truly end death by starvation as a significant problem on the planet (``an idea whose time has come'``). Because the money went to propagandize this cause, vs to actual relief workers or food shipments, it was branded by many as a sham and as further proof that Erhard was a con artist. Many have never forgiven Fuller for getting mixed up with Erhard's work, but as a ``do your own thinking'' type, Fuller was never one to let others' opinions be the determining factor.

[From Leo Elliott]

This business of self-promotion would certainly make him a fit with Werner Erhard, from what I have been able to make of the man and his movement. (btw, I am a more recent graduate of the kinder, gentler est, now the Forum, run by Landmark Ed. out of Alexandria, VA; last I heard Werner was off in Russia, drumming up new business, and letting his reputation get settled here in the states). I have an old Crawdaddy magazine account of the great encounter between the two magnates of consciousness, and the somewhat skeptical writer definitely presents Erhard as one who is trying to cop a hit off Fuller's prestige; hard to imagine, but if the account is correct, Erhard backs down from Fuller when Fuller disagrees with the est-imation that brain=mind.

I find it also interesting that, even now, the Forum-est, like Scientology, is billed as a ``technology'' (vs. what?, a psychotherapy?, a pyramid-marketing scheme?).

6.13 What were relations like between Fuller and his Students?

[From Alex Soojung-Kim Pang]

Kirby writes:
>Die-hard Fuller apologists may suspect the master was playing hard ball
>with his former student -- learn to self-promote, kid, like I did, cuz
>no one else will do it for you.
This seems like a bit of a stretch, even for the best apologists-- ``I'm stealing from you for your own good, it will make you stronger.'' I would like to propose an alternative, that Fuller's relationship with Snelson [Ed: See section Who was Kenneth Snelson and what was his role in the invention of tensegrities for some context] can be seen as an example of the problematic relations Fuller had with students in this period, problematic because of claims Fuller made as sponsor and inspiration of their work, and disputes over the ownership of ideas and artifacts.

It comes as no surprise to readers of this list that Fuller was always concerned to maintain control over his intellectual property rights. Aside from the financial strain losing control of inventions brings to inventors, there are deeper worries about losing other links between you and your creation-- how it is used, who it is associated with, etc.. Fuller required students to sign statements in which they swore to ``protect my proprietary rights,'' as he told an architecture professor. ``In return for their pledges,'' he continued,

``I agree to provide them with unrestrained, unguarded disclosures of my evolving thoughts concerning unique experiences and emerging inventions.''

So far not a bad bargain. But Fuller made very large claims about the relative contributions he made to a student's work, and who ultimately owned the fruits of a student's labor. At Washington University in 1955, for example, after students complained that they had not been given sufficient credit for their work in developing a prototype dome, Fuller fired back to the Architecture School Dean:

``It must be remembered that the Dome was manufactured... ONLY because I had an experience-fertilized teleological design backlog.... It is true that every student was responsible for some phase of ORIGINAL design conceptioning, but none of them must make the mistake of thinking... that they have been responsible for teleologic processes as yet beyond the limits of their experience and capacity.... The thesis students only designed the sub-complex forwarding requirements of my preconceived comprehensive solution.''

Now, once this is decoded, it contains a truly remarkable claim. What I think Fuller is saying-- and this is the interpretation drawn by several Architecture School professors-- is that because he developed the mathematics by which domes were designed, and he IMAGINED the work that students would do under him, that students had no claim whatsoever to authorship or anything they did under Fuller's direction. The message was not ``learn to self-promote, kid,'' but rather ``because I imagined all this before I came here-- and because you're not old enough to have done any of this on your own-- I own this work, and you don't. The fact that YOU actually did the work is of not the slightest consequence.''

This is hardly the only example of arguments Fuller had with students and colleagues over the division of spoils and attribution of authorship in collaborative projects; throughout, Fuller maintained that HIS participation was necessary for work to be done, and that this was sufficient to establish exclusive ownership of prototypes and ideas. He ultimately broke with the NC State School of Design, which had been a generous provider of support and apparently gracious host to him, over precisely such issues.

In E.M. Forster's Maurice, (Lord Risley) declares, ``Words ARE deeds.'' For Fuller, if my take on him is right, imagining was doing, and moreover, it was ownership.

[From Kirby Urner]

My feeling is that Fuller wanted to be the Father of Great Gifts to Humanity (and I personally acknowledge him for being precisely that) but in no way an anonymous benefactor. In Fuller's vision, intellectual property conventions might well dissipate over the long haul (a lot of what he meant by ``creating artificial scarcity'' in the chapter ``Legally Piggily'' of Critical Path I read as an implicit indictment of modern-day intellectual property conventions), but he wanted his ``ownership'' of his contribution to be writ large in the pages of history.

Most of us came to know Fuller when he was already famous (``best known American genius'' or however the cliche goes), but for years he struggled in relative obscurity, developing that Ralph Nader mentality that says ``how can I sleep when the Corporations are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all around the globe?'' Given the way Disney, Inc. effaces Fuller's contribution to Epcot, the way that Philadelphia museum [above postings] uses his map without attribution, the way Synergetics is ignored, the way individuals in general are removed from the picture to make them feel appropriately helpless in the face of Corporate all-powerfulness, I can understand where Fuller's conditioned reflexes come from. He is downright furious in some dimension. Students, guiltless and innocent, felt the onslaught of this guy's life's mission to buck the tide of history, which is about (felt Fuller) making ownership of critical assets the sole privilege of literally soulless legal fictions called Corporations.

That Fuller's jealous guarding and hoarding of credit-to-himself for what he felt was proof of the glory of God makes him even more the caricature -- at bottom was not a selfish drivenness to make money, but an ethical principle. To my way of thinking, none of this makes him more pathetic or ugly, but only shows how starved we as individuals are for acknowledgment, how imprisoned we feel as cogs in the machine. Without getting too maudlin, I think Werner Erhard felt precisely this in Fuller, his deep hunger for acknowledgment, and I am grateful to Erhard for offering wholehearted gratitude to Fuller at Madison Square Gardens.

[From Gerry Segal]

Bob Stubenrauch of Canton Ohio wrote a letter in today's (18 Oct 1993) ``New York Times:''

``The awesome earthquake in India with its tremendous loss of life brought back memories of two weeks with Buckminster Fuller, the engineer and inventor, 40 years ago.

``I was working for a custom photo lab in New York. Mr. Fuller brought in a notebook, every page filled with his crabbed notes and wonderful sketches of his ideas. For two weeks I printed photo reproductions of that notebook, while Mr. Fuller chatted at my side in the darkroom.

``One of his dazzling concepts was for housing the poor people of India. He had planned a huge factory and airport complex for that purpose. In the factory were assembly lines producing lightweight geodesic domes, the walls covered in a heavy transparent plastic.

``Each dome had a ring mount at the peak, and as it came off the line a waiting helicopter would hook up and fly off with the dome swinging below. The sketches showed a sky full of these choppers in formation, flying off to a prepared site to set down an instant town.

``Fuller's estimated cost per unit (this was very low-wage India of the early 50s) was $40.

``It is a sad irony that ancient traditions, like the dangerous use of unsupported clay or stone blocks, continue, when visionary concepts like Fuller's could have saved thousands of lives if implemented for housing. It was accepted, and hundreds of domes built, for our early-warning radar outpost in Alaska, the DEW line of cold-war days.

``New technology is always first embraced by the military, a sad commentary on the priorities of governments.''

Mr. Stubenrauch was right. The structural tension-compression equilibrium of the domes would have saved massive amounts of life. We communicate in this electronic environment on an electronic highway that also grew from the loins of the Defense Department ARPANET. Maybe we can use this and other lists to help create the development of innovative ideas without using the ``rearview mirror'' approach of the military. We have to do it to get through what Bucky called Humankind's ``Final Exam.''

[From Alex Soojung-Kim Pang]

I read the ``New York Times'' letter with interest, since it was the first citation I'd seen of Fuller's thinking on using domes as emergency shelters. And certainly Mr. Stubenrauch is right to raise the question of whether military ``first use'' of high technology speaks well of the values of the society supporting that military. However, while Fuller may have had sketches in his notebook showing domes airlifted to the Third World, and in the early 1960s did a couple short courses in architecture schools on the use of indigenous materials (especially bamboo) in dome-building, it is important to remember that the dome's use by the military happened not in spite of Fuller, but because of him.

In fact, in reviewing Fuller's research in the 1950s, I find that he never presented students with the challenge of using the dome to solve Third World housing problems. He had a carefully-managed network of small consulting firms, architecture schools in which he held visiting lectureships, and a good-sized group of student volunteers (he was, in fact, an able if unusual manager who was deeply concerned with questions of securing patrons, exerting control over intellectual property rights, etc.) in this period, and they spent most of their time working on military and civilian defense applications of the dome. The initial studies for the DEW line domes, for example, were done by Fuller and students (mainly students) at MIT; studies for the Marine Corps were conducted at MIT, Tulane, NC State, and Virginia Tech. Other students designed automated cotton mills in geodesic domes, and worked under Fuller on designing private and public structures that could withstand atomic bomb blasts. Studies of how the dome could be put to more humanitarian uses, in contrast, seem to have received almost no formal attention from Fuller or his students.

This is not to say that Fuller was not interested in the dome being used in the Third World; but his vision, at least as described to his military patrons, was rather more complex and perhaps more sinister than Mr. Stubenrauch reports. Fuller articulated this vision in letters now held in the Marine Corps Historical Center archives; in them, he complimented the Corps for their interest in using domes in forward logistics plans (in which domes, filled with aircraft repair equipment, would be rushed to contested areas in the Third World at the first sign of Communist mischief, shortening logistics lines and allowing stronger support for air wings), and that they had discovered the key to winning to the Cold War. To quote:

``The Marine Corps [has created] an unexpectedly double-barrelled gun: one barrel for the hot war, one barrel for the cool war. The hot war barrel of the Geodesic structures weapon will function in the manner we have outlined above [e.g. in providing logistics and repair facilities for aircraft].... The cool barrel of the Geodesic structures weapon-inadvertently adopted by the Marine Corps -- is the barrel which can now hit directly, instantly, and effectively at the heart of every peace-time economic pattern the world around....

``The logic governing the possibility of our winning the cool war runs as follows: controlled environment is the comprehensive package which contains and permits the uniquely high vantage functionings of industrialization. And it is towards industrialization that peoples of the world now direct the war-detouring hopes of swift emancipation from all the fundamental physical disadvantages and lethal deficiencies.... And, every function of further world-around industrialization is dependent upon the accelerated realization of comprehensively deployable environment controls....

``The swift delivery half-way around the world ... of all manner of controlled environment structures ... is a first requirement of all integrated agricultural and industrial economics - from farm buildings to factories, to governments, to homes.... If world man can witness the economically realized production of controlled environments capable of converting to man's unprecedented advantage the most hostile environment events of converting to man's unprecedented advantage the most hostile environmental events ... then world man's intuitive response will be to focus his hopes of swiftest emancipation from 'what ails him' toward the heart of the American economy and the democratic processes which provide the synergetic strength of the U.S.A.''

Fuller's other writings and speeches from this period deliver (broadly) the same message: that domes, filled with power stations, hospitals, factories, etc., preassembled in the United States and airlifted to underdeveloped countries, would yield overnight industrialization and the reconstitution of these nations into American-style societies and economies. This vision is a far cry from the emergency shelters; it is also the one Fuller invested more in, and in which he was more interested. The domes weren't empty, either in a literal or political sense.

[From Kirby Urner]

Alex --

I cannot initially agree with your thesis, although I might see your points better with further elaboration.

True, Fuller was well-nigh incomprehensible to a large percentage of his listeners, partly because he threw out words like ``tetrahedron'' with high frequency (a glaze-over word), but mostly because he used what people called his ``boardroom drawl'' -- he slurred his words together pretty seriously.

Nevertheless, what came out of his mouth, transcribed, does not appear so divergent from what he wrote (I have 40 hours of transcribed audiotape in my collection to compare with his books). I really don't think differences in the spoken vs. printed Fuller accounts for the Whole Earth vs. Roszak dichotomy.

Like any lifelong writer, Fuller recapitulates and recontextualizes his earlier writings in later texts, trying to give his readers a sense of what he thinks is relevant. His early work for the Dept of Commerce & Forbes Magazine, he later tells us, was important because it got people to measure wealth in terms of energy use per capita, vs tonnage of raw materials per capita. His emphasis back then, as later, was on ``doing more with less'' -- the Dymaxion House being the paradigm example. Time to get away from the idea that higher living standards involves consuming more ``stuff'' per capita -- or even more energy, ultimately.

My personal feeling is that Roszak is fundamentally suspicious of Fuller's assertion that ``artifacts'' make a bigger difference than political movements. To Roszak's ears, Fuller is promoting a ``quick fix'' through technology, offering as a solution what appears to have gotten us into such deep waters in the first place. The Whole Earth folks, on the other hand, are not technophobic but trend more towards the Cyberpunkish end of the spectrum, these days embracing VR and the Internet as part of their preferred future. Both are reading/hearing the same text and reacting according to their predelictions. Both currents were part of the counter-culture, so it is not surprising that the counter-culture was schizophrenic about Fuller.

Fuller himself was a New England Transcendentalist, in the mold of Emerson and his great aunt, Margaret Fuller. He was a mystic. In Fuller's universe, technology is synonymous with the physical. Nature is the supreme architect and technophile, her creatures being far and away more sophisticated than anything humans have themselves consciously invented. For Fuller, the technology vs nature dichotomy did not exist and he was dismayed that the counter-culture might throw out the technology baby with the evil-uses-of-same bath water.

In sum, I think, as you do, that Fuller was controversial, but not because his listeners and his readers were getting (or not getting) seriously different pictures of the man.

[And more from Kirby]

The fact remains, that in presenting US Marine readers with visions of made-in-the-USA living standards, to be spread around the globe to ``make the world safe for democracy,'' Fuller is (1) replacing fantasies of ultimate killingry with visions of livingry as the primary means to the desired end (victory for the USA) and (2) casting the problem as one of ``detouring war'' -- a goal shared by all sides in the 'cool war' (thus common ground with the enemy is established).

I think it is Fuller's ultimate faith in the power of artifacts and visions focusing on same, that allows him to work in ways that, from a political point of view, are ideologically inconsistent. How can he sound like such a cold warrior and still be the ``gentle genius'' of 1960s pop culture? I think we need to take Fuller at his word here: he was radically apolitical and willing to propagandize livingry artifacts in whatever ways would speak to his primary audience, in the this case the defense establishment.

I don't have a problem with these ideological positions once I see the common thread throughout: only by raising living standards globally can we detour war. Obviously a Third World (both inside and outside USA national boundaries) in constant need of emergency shelters cannot be the end for which we are striving. The goal was to raise living standards -- and since the USA is not living at the standard Fuller envisioned either, it is not the case that his futurism was merely a projection of contemporary USA living standards on the rest of the world. USA people are living in squalor, in pathetic housing, under onerous and fearful conditions compared to where Fuller hoped we would be by this time.

[From Leo Elliott]

To take Fuller at his word, that he wanted to live, by design, fifty years ahead of his time (that being the longest time-lag, existing in the housing industry, between the inception of an idea and its practical application), one might hypothesize that Fuller was simply good at self-promoting his novel technologies, which often appeared as self-promotion of his intellect, especially since some of his technologies were being designed for materials, or social systems, which had yet to come to pass....

However I would take issue with Alex's statement that ``There was a huge difference between the read Fuller and the performed Fuller.'' While I only saw Fuller live one time in my life, which conforms to Alex's trope of ``exhausted but exhilarated, dazzled by his vision and enthusiasm,'' I have several days of tapes, which, perhaps because they are more controllable than a stage presentation, permit a closer look at the visionary language and how he constructed these scenarios, and also permit of less exhaustion, coming as the tape cassette does, in controllable dosage.

However, my point is that serious concentration on some of Fuller's texts has at times led to exhaustion as well; I am reminded of a picture in Applewhite's Cosmic Fishing supposedly depicting a galley proof of a page from one of Fuller's books, supposedly ready for typesetting, in which Fuller practically rewrote the entire text in the margins. His seemingly off-the-wall (``precessional'') spinoffs in his oral deliveries are similar, imo, to the tangential approach Fuller used in many of his texts, to illustrate some common theme or idea. Whilst it may appear, to the casual observer, as stream-of-consciousness writing OR speaking (and mind you, I'm not saying it wasn't -- in fact, I've often wondered, in my more mystical moments, if RBF wasn't channelling some Ancient of Days up there on stage! ;)) -- despite the appearance of stream-of-consciousness, I've found a great sense of awe, at times, at being brought back, completely from left field, to the starting point of the argument. The great Ah-haaa ...

6.14 What is GENESIS II?

[From Kirby Urner]

Was chatting with Russ Chu the other night -- he's a long time BFI affiliate and good with hands-on artifact-making. Worked with Terry Gwilliam on tensegrity furniture and stuff ...

Anyway, I was asking him about the GENESIS II in the LA area. A dozen domes (looks like 1 doz. eggs?) sits by the freeway, sheltering the homeless.

NPR (Natl Public Radio) did a spot the other evening. Russ says American Temporary Shelter, Inc. is behind those fiberglass domes, which appear to be about 5/8ths of an icosasphere -- I don't know what frequency.

The cost, as I hear from NPR (Natl Public Radio) is about $6500 per unit.

[From Brady Thompson]

There was a short article on the project GENESIS II reprinted in the Toronto Star from a LA Times article. As I recall, the cost of the units was about $8,000 U.S. and the interior lining was ferro-concrete.

[From Kirby Urner]

Just got my most recent TrimTab from the Buckminster Fuller Institute today. It has some of the information I was looking for about that community for the homeless in LA. Here are some excerpts:

``The domes are made of fiberglass and are similar in structure to plywood domes. They are 20' in diameter and have many windows. Each dome takes only two to three hours to assemble allowing for speedy construction for the whole community ... The whole community can be put up in only five weeks ...

Craig Chamberlain, who worked with Buckminster Fuller in the 1970s, has helped Ted Hayes [head of Justicville/Homeless USA] with the specifics of the dome construction ... A sample of each type of domes was on display in the Los Angeles location. These structures included a kitchen with two of everything, a laundry room with multiple washers and dryers, a dome with four individual bathrooms and showers, and the shelter dome split into two private bedrooms.

On November 5th Genesis 1, a one-acre community of 18 Omnisphere domes in downtown Los Angeles celebrated its grand opening as the first pilot dome village. Funded by ARCO, the domes were erected by homeless workers and the American Temporary Housing Corporation. If the first year is successful, Justiceville/Homeless USA hopes to erect such villages in other cities. Hopefully, Hayes and his volunteers have started a continuing trend of solving our shelter needs by doing more with less.''

Article by Melinda McDonald, BFI TrimTab Bulletin, Fall/Winter 1993 contact: JHUSA 1316 Wilshire Blvd, LA, CA 90017 (213) 483-8783 for more info.

6.15 Could Fuller's proposed Very Large Structures work?

[From Martin Roller]

Buckminster Fuller claims in several of his books, that using dome constructions one could build arbitrarily large structures, the only constraint would be the available material (see e.g. the sketches of floating spheres of diameter one mile or a bubble enclosing Manhattan in The Dymaxion World). Frei Otto, a German architect, argues that this is still impossible, nobody could build a structure (arc, roof etc.) spanning one mile, say.

Does anybody know Fuller's precise calculations for the structural stability of domes or more details of Otto's case against it? Who is right?

[Chris Fearnley]

Since no one has ever built such Very Large Structures, we can't know for certain. But in dome theory the key variable is radius and no restrictions are placed on its value. So there is no reason to suspect that they wouldn't work. In fact geometrically the only way they could break were if a joint poped or strut broke. This is why Fuller suggests using very high frequency geodesics for large structures.

6.16 Why did Fuller apply for patents?

In Critical Path p. 149 Fuller writes:

``I did not take out the patents to make money but only to document and demonstrate what the inventive little individual can accomplish, and to prove documentably the socioeconomic existence of such unique industrialization lags. ...

``Now that I have proven that an individual can be world-effective while eschewing either money or political advantage-making, I do my best to discourage others from taking patents, which almost never `pay-off' to the inventor. My patent taking was to effect a `bridgehead' accreditation to more effective employment of humanity's potentials.''

[From Kirby Urner.]

Highly recommended:

``The Economy of Ideas: A framework for rethinking patents and copyrights in the Digital Age (Everything you know about intellectual property is wrong).'' By John Perry Barlow in the March 94 issue of WIRED. Barlow is co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and lyricist for the Grateful Dead.

``Perhaps those who are part of the problem will simply quarantine themselves in court, while those who are part of the solution will create a new society based, at first, on piracy and freebooting. It may well be that when the current system of intellectual property law has collapsed, as seems inevitable, that no new legal structure will arise in its place.''

6.17 Is there a Bucky CD-ROM available?

There is periodic talk of people working on this. Here are some relevant postings.

[From Blaine A. D'Amico.]

Ed Applewhite has succeeded in interesting the Voyager company in publishing an ``Expanded Book'' (multimedia) on Fuller and Synergetics. The challenge now is producing the product.

This would obviously be different from the clips that you are suggesting. However such a CD-ROM would certainly ease the development of this expanded book and other projects.

I'm slowly collecting the equipment to capture some of my video and sound footage into digital format.

[From Kirby Urner]

A thumbnail history of the scanning project: Russell Chu, Robert Orenstein, and Hal Hildebrand donated a lot of resources and time, to get a prototype IBM clone set up at the institute. Bonnie Goldstein (BFI staff) had earlier sketched out the scanning project in a document, with input from these folks.

Hal's first donated motherboard wasn't powerful enough, so Russ helped out and got a 386DX with 8MB RAM. Hal is/was a super high powered SmallTalk programmer then with a document scanning defense contractor and the idea was to scan ``Everything I Know'' as the basic text -- that's a transcribed version of spoken cassette tapes. This would form a core to which other materials could later be linked, hypertext fashion.

Hal's SmallTalk program was to be the receptacle and retrieval system. Robert Orenstein was sort of lining up to apprentice under Hal to learn enough SmallTalk to help out (Hal lived in the Bay Area, far enough from BFI to make tech support tough).

But all these folks are/were busy busy earning livings. And SmallTalk is a pretty steep learning curve (I tried, got as far as the 4D turtle I described earlier -- my hardware was inadequate too back then, although later Russ gave me his 386DX motherboard, and now I have a 486...never understood Hal's document handling system).

Hal drifted off to form his own small business to market a multi-user SmallTalk operating system called Tensegrity. Russ (in construction) moved to Seattle and got married. Robert is still in LA and continues doing trainings for Ingres. The Institute itself got caught up in needing to move away from LA.

So ... no progress on the scanning front. The idea of using ``Everything I Know'' as one backbone scenario through a hypertext archives seems valid, although the transcript itself has the drawback of being transcribed speech -- not as polished syntax (but a good read nevertheless).

[From H. Jeffrey Rosen]

The recent thread RE the scanning project recalls a proposal I made to the BFI over a decade ago, while I was working as a videodisc specialist in the aerospace industry. My idea was/is to marry a videodisc based image archive to Bucky's scanned written/spoken works.

The last time I saw Bucky was in Pasadena, about eight months before he passed away. I mentioned my concept to him, proudly admitting that it was his vision in Education Automation which had inspired me.

He nodded gently, staring at me with those incredibly deep eyes, and said with a hint of regret, ``Y'know, I've been meaning to do that.''

I spent many afternoons at the house in Pacific Palisades with the Synergetics Discussion Group reviewing flowcharts, hypertext schemes and the index of videotapes compiled by Applewhite. We were all very excited about what the new interactive technology was offering us, and how the BFI could use it to make Synergetics more widely understood.

Even in my local discussion group in Long Beach, I explored ways to popularize the ideas of RBF in the media, designing what I called ``Commercials for Sanity'' which would have run on public access cable TV.

Sadly, Allegra had to postpone consideration of the proposal indefinitely, citing high equipment costs and shortages of human resources. After all, the BFI had only just moved to LA, and most of the volunteer help was busy figuring out where to store stuff.

So now that the text-scanning discussion is taking form, I'd once again like to offer this idea to the Bucky Fans on the Internet: a holistic (spherical) curriculum model, based on fundamental (synergetic) design concepts, as the human interface/front end of an all-inclusive, ever expanding hypermedia database.

Users will subscribe to the service through the BFI on a fee-for-use basis, allowing BFI to waive fees in particular cases at first, and perhaps altogether, after the value of the tool has grown, in favor of a royalty-based agreement with the users of the info.

The design curriculum allows tailoring of the interface to all ages and cultures. The hypermedia links the written, spoken, transcribed words of Bucky, his confederates, associates, critics, biographers etc. with the vast archive of images, models, pencil sketches, movies, videotapes etc. which are detailed in the Applewhite index, and which have been growing, I'm sure, over the past decade.

This tool is an achievable goal. It requires the support of the BFI, and the determined labor of people who believe both in the value of information and the future of humanity.

6.18 Why is overspecialization dangerous?

[From Synergetics - typed in by Kurt Przybilla]

We are in an age that assumes the narrowing trends of specialization to be logical, natural, and desirable. Consequently, society expects all earnestly responsible communication to be crisply brief. Advancing science has now discovered that all the known cases of biological extinction have been caused by overspecialization, whose concentration of only selected genes sacrifices general adaptability. Thus the specialist's brief for pinpointing brevity is dubious. In the meantime, humanity has been deprived of comprehensive understanding.

6.19 Letters from Bucky to Mark A. Burginger.

[From Mark A. Burginger]

The following letters and more are available at Mark's website

Letter #1

R. BUCKMINISTER FULLER · 3501 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19104 · USA · (215) 387-5400 · CABLE: ``BUCKY''

· University Professor Emeritus Southern Illinois University University of Pennsylvania · World Fellow in Residence University City Science Center

February 11, 1980

Dear Mark Burginger:

I think very well of your drawings of the prismatic polyhedral system and other systems. You are an excellent geometrical illustrator and you're clearly doing your own thinking regarding the nature of structure. I went a long time before anyone looked at my work. I'm particularly interested in your photon package drawing as inspired by SYNERGETICS. Your complete system should not be up-and-down but in-and-out. Your interlocking of shell groups, represents good thinking and good drawing.

I wish you well.

Faithfully, Signed: Buckminister Fuller

Buckminister Fuller

Mr. Mark Burginger 2288 Lucretia Ave. #3 San Jose, CA 95122


· Architectural Societies Royal Institute of British Architects, Honorary Fellow Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Honorary Fellow American Architectural Institute of Architects, Fellow Mexican College and Institute of Architects, Member Society of Venezuelan Architects, Honorary Member Israel Institute of Engineers and Architects, Honorary Member Zentralvereiningug Der Architekten Asterreichs (Austria), Honorary Member Association of Siamese Architects Under Royal Patronage, Honorary Member

Letter #2

R. BUCKMINISTER FULLER · 3501 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19104 · USA · (215) 387-5400 · CABLE: ``BUCKY''

· University Professor Emeritus Southern Illinois University University of Pennsylvania · World Fellow in Residence University City Science Center

June 25, 1981

Dear Mark Burginger:

Far from taking offense at the beautiful drawing that you sent me in which you did incorporate ideas of my own, it is so well done I'm having your framed copy mounted in my office.

Congratulations on your drawings for your stainless steel sculpture to be installed in the Lompoc City Hall.

Faithfully, Signed: Buckminister Fuller

Buckminister Fuller Mr. Mark Burginger 1341 Branham Lane San Jose, CA 95118


· Architectural Societies Royal Institute of British Architects, Honorary Fellow Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Honorary Fellow American Architectural Institute of Architects, Fellow Mexican College and Institute of Architects, Member Society of Venezuelan Architects, Honorary Member Israel Institute of Engineers and Architects, Honorary Member Zentralvereiningug Der Architekten Asterreichs (Austria), Honorary Member Association of Siamese Architects Under Royal Patronage, Honorary Member

Letter #3

R. BUCKMINISTER FULLER · 3501 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19104 · USA · (215) 387-5400 · CABLE: ``BUCKY''

· University Professor Emeritus Southern Illinois University University of Pennsylvania · World Fellow in Residence University City Science Center

February 11, 1980

Dear Mark,

What a beautiful picture of lightning. Thank you so much.

Faithfully, Signed: Bucky

Buckminister Fuller

Mr. Mark Burginger 1341 Branham Lane San Jose, CA 95118


· Architectural Societies Royal Institute of British Architects, Honorary Fellow Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Honorary Fellow American Architectural Institute of Architects, Fellow Mexican College and Institute of Architects, Member Society of Venezuelan Architects, Honorary Member Israel Institute of Engineers and Architects, Honorary Member Zentralvereiningug Der Architekten Asterreichs (Austria), Honorary Member Association of Siamese Architects Under Royal Patronage, Honorary Member

Letter #4

R. BUCKMINISTER FULLER · 3501 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19104 · USA · (215) 387-5400 · CABLE: ``BUCKY''

· University Professor Emeritus Southern Illinois University University of Pennsylvania · World Fellow in Residence University City Science Center

November 14, 1981

Dear Mark Burginger,

Thank you for yours of October 27, and its photographs of the truncated icosahedron with modular form attachments. It may be a good idea; it may accelerate development of the mass production units.

Warmly, Faithfully, Signed: Buckminister Fuller

Buckminister Fuller Mr. Mark Burginger 1341 Branham Lane San Jose, CA 95118


· Architectural Societies Royal Institute of British Architects, Honorary Fellow Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Honorary Fellow American Architectural Institute of Architects, Fellow Mexican College and Institute of Architects, Member Society of Venezuelan Architects, Honorary Member Israel Institute of Engineers and Architects, Honorary Member Zentralvereiningug Der Architekten Asterreichs (Austria), Honorary Member Association of Siamese Architects Under Royal Patronage, Honorary Member

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