Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Video Build a RanDome

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Landscape from Waste

The tessellation of cds is draped over an inflatable structure.
CDs are less and less popular lately.  Two Parisian artists from the art studio Le Centquatre decided there was no reason to let them go to waste. They sewed together over 60,000 of them. Since the CDs are flat the sheets were draped over inflatable structuresto create the dunes.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Matter and Antimatter

Photo by Rogeramjet
Everything is a polyhedron, even you and me. Just like in geometry there are duals (where each shape has a shape equal and opposing to it) in physics there is matter and antimatter. The theory holds that there is a universe equal to and opposing our own.  If you are old enough to remember when photagraphs were made in a darkroom from negatives you may understand this concept. Our universe is a mirror image in negative to our antiuniverse! Another comparison is a cookie shape cut out of dough. The cookie is the matter, the space left in the dough is the antimatter. The "Conseil EuropĂ©en pour la Recherche NuclĂ©aire" (CERN) which translated to English means European Organization for Nuclear Research has a fun and informative website all about it. See the kids corner to learn about The Mystery of Antimatter or try Antimatter Academy for older "kids". You will be taken on an investigative journey through space and time to understand the very basics of matter and antimatter and how our universe and all within it is created. A word of advice: If on your voyage you happen to come across your own antimatter stay far away! Scientists have proven that matter and it's own dual antimatter annihilate one another.
 This and more interesting and exciting information about matter and antimatter can be found on the CERN website.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Hairy Potato and other Hunger Busters

Buckminster Fuller believed that hunger and poverty could be stamped out worldwide and that it could be done within only one generation.  So did my grandmother.  She always said to me, "The world doesn't have to change - people have to change."
There is in fact enough to go around.  According to Ismail Serageldin, director of Egypt’s Library of Alexandria and the former chairman of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the key is for this goal to be motivated by collective outrage rather than by economics.  That's pretty much what my grandmother meant I think.

The independent agricultural research centers who are coordinated under CGIAR come up with neat ways to fight hunger through science.  The International Potato Center in Peru for example developed the "hairy potato" in 1993 through genetic engineering. This potato plant grows stiff hair-like protrusions on its stem and leaves which secrete a sticky liquid. Hungry bugs just can't get to it. This saves millions of dollars each year on insecticides. Another of CGIARs member centers is the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). Scientists here focus on developing and improving sturdy, resistant food sources like the cassava. There is also the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and a number of other agricultural science centers set on ending world hunger and continuing the support of sustainable agriculture.

"It is inconceivable that there should be close to a billion people going hungry in a world as productive and interconnected as ours. In the 19th century, some people looked at slavery and said that it was monstrous and unconscionable; that it must be abolished. They were known as the abolitionists, and they were motivated not by economic self-interest but by moral outrage. We must become the new abolitionists." from Issues in Science and Technology, Abolishing Hunger by Ismail Serageldin, 2009.

Monday, October 31, 2011

RanDome gets to Portland in the Nick of Time

Bucky' s daughter Allegra (Center) visits Lincoln Park after snowfall.
Photo by: Kim Waite
With the Nor'easter snowstorm approaching, RanDome inventor Dick Fischbeck knew time was short.  The snowfall predicted for Saturday night would leave dozens of Lincoln Park's occupants "out in the cold".  Only weeks earlier Dick's polyethylene RanDome shelter had made it's debut at MOFGA's Common Ground Country Fair. Early Saturday morning Dick strapped the still rolled up RanDome onto his car and drove to Portland.  The dome was rapidly unrolled onto the grounds.  It is serving as a community center for Occupy Maine.  Two more RanDomes have now been requested for that location. For more on this topic read the news article: Geodesic Emergency Shelter makes it to Lincoln Park in the Nick of Time. RanDome and Occupy Maine were honored by the visit of Allegra Fuller Snyder - Buckminster Fuller's daughter - on Sunday. Meet Dick in person at the Third Biennial Design Science Symposium (November 11 - 13, 2011) in Providence, Rhode Island.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bucky Balls on Sale

For the next 24 hours you can sign into Fab and purchase a set of Bucky Balls for only 7 dollars.  With the 10 dollar credit you will get for signing up with this amazing and inspirational site the already low 17 to 27 dollar pricetag is slashed! Don´t miss out.  These magnetic balls allow you to use the sphere packing method to create amazing shapes.  Watch the many videos on Youtube to see what you can do. Bucky Balls usually cost over 40 dollars a set! Even if you are too late for the 10 dollar credit and Bucky Ball sale, join Fab so that you don´t miss future opportunities on inspirational design. This is not a toy for small children due to the very small size of the sphere shaped magnets which are a choking hazard.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Invention of Life Forms

Jitterbugs present themselves everywhere in nature.  Theo Jansen of Edinburgh in Holland has spent years "creating life" and has learned to truly appreciate the enormous task taken on by the creator of our universe. Mr. Jansen plans for his strandbeests to continue to walk the shores of Holland long after he is gone. See these and other strange and cool inventions on BBC's Wallace and Grommit's World of Invention.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Becoming an Inventor

Atari Tennis was a high-tech novelty in 1976
You are capable of inventing something that can change the world.  Don't think so?  Look at the inventors of the past. The late Steve Jobs created  the Atari Tennis game released in 1976 - hilariously simple today -  and would begin to revolutionize the way the rest of the world viewed computers.  Until that time the computer was a regarded by most people as a mega-complicated, high-tech device better left to engineers, mad scientists and science fiction writers.  "It is of no use to normal people." was the general consensus.  Earlier inventors met with similar attitudes:
  • Daniel Schectman's quasicrystals were deemed impossible until he won the Nobel Prize for his discovery.
  • Karl Gauss didn't tell anyone when he discovered non-Euclidean geometry because he was afraid they would make fun of him.
  • Alexander Graham Bell was laughed at when he thought he could convert a homemade childrens' toy  into a communication  network. The toy was two tin cans with a string connecting them.
  • Orville and Wilbur Wright were the center of jokes when they talked of their plans to test a flying machine they had invented.
  • Buckminster Fuller was often called a "crackpot".
Here are some other  "Ridiculed Science Mavericks".
Watch these shows to get some inspiration on your journey to becoming the next inventor to revolutionize the world!
Building Big:
Design Squad:
"When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign: That the dunces are all in confederacy against him." - Jonathan Swift

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Folding Circles

Each of these spheres demonstrates that
triangles form where great circles meet.
The elements used to make these sculptures began as flat circles. "Children in school should be folding circles as often as they are drawing them." says sculptor Bradford Hansen-Smith who has combined art with geometry and traveled the world conducting workshops to people of all ages. He has received three patents on transformational movement systems (See definition of transformational geometry at "Fun with Geodesics"). Visit to see many of his circle based sculptures, circle folding tutorials and a more detailed explanation about the wholemovement approach to geometry.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Home Boys fight against Homelessness

See our new link "Home Boys Episodes" to see the first two episodes of the Home Boys cartoon. These cartoons are less than a minute long, fun to watch and educate us about homelessness, community service, volunteer work, refugees, natural disasters and other issues surrounding the great need for temporary and permanent shelter. Would YOU like to write and direct an episode of "Home Boys"? Whether you are 2 or 200 years old, if we like it we will post it! The video should be no more than one minute long and it can be about anything as long as it is G-rated. Our main character "Doug" -- breakdancing in the picture -- is an upstanding citizen of his "hood" and is always interested in bettering his community. You can make your own cartoons at Then send us the link to your published cartoon.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Make a Geodesic Lampshade

How do you get from this...
to this...

You can make lots of sturdy, beautiful things with triangles. Follow the link to easy-to-follow pictorial instructions on the Yanko Design website. Don't forget to attend the Maine Organic Gardeners and Farmers Association's annual Common Ground Country Fair this year.  Meet inventor Richard Fischbeck and see his patented RanDome geodesic emergency shelter -- the solution to the need for ultra low-cost transitional and emergency housing.
to this?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bottled Sunlight

In the slums of many third world countries, homes are constructed out of cement blocks with corregated sheet aluminum roofs.  This prevents any natural light from getting in. See how they light their homes.  You will be hard pressed to find a greener solution. On another topic, don't forget to stop by the RanDome booth in Maine at the Common Ground Country Fair September 23-25, 2011, where you can speak to RanDome inventor Richard Fischbeck about geodesic shelters and take part in fun educational activities.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Freddie Mercury - People on Streets - Under Pressure

"Do children ask to be homeless?"  "Do soldiers who fought and were crippled fighting in our wars deserve to be humiliated?" In the song, "Under Pressure" Freddie sings about a few of society's ills, one of them is the "people on the streets." Those who have never had the misfortune of getting caught in the sometimes uncontrollable spiral which leads to the loss of a safe place to live may simply "turn away like a blind man" as the lyrics say.  This reaction is common - moreso in times of economic crisis where insecurity begets nonsolidarity. But to those of you who chalk homelessness off to, "They're all lazy" or "They're all nuts." or "They're all addicts." or even "They like being homeless."  Think again.  If you are a kid,  there are ways you can help.

For more information and statistics visit:  The National Coalition for the Homeless and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Visit The official Queen website

Lyrics to "Under Pressure" 
Song by Freddie Mercury and David Bowie
Mm ba ba de
Um bum ba de
Um bu bu bum da de
Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you no man ask for
Under pressure - that burns a building down
Splits a family in two
Puts people on streets
Um ba ba be
Um ba ba be
De day da
Ee day da - that's o.k.
It's the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming 'Let me out'
Pray tomorrow - gets me higher
Pressure on people - people on streets
Day day de mm hm
Da da da ba ba
Chippin' around - kick my brains around the floor
These are the days it never rains but it pours
Ee do ba be
Ee da ba ba ba
Um bo bo
Be lap
People on streets - ee da de da de
People on streets - ee da de da de da de da
It's the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming 'Let me out'
Pray tomorrow - gets me higher high high
Pressure on people - people on streets
Turned away from it all like a blind man
Sat on a fence but it don't work
Keep coming up with love
but it's so slashed and torn
Why - why - why ?
Love love love love love
Insanity laughs under pressure we're cracking
Can't we give ourselves one more chance
Why can't we give love that one more chance
Why can't we give love give love give love give love
give love give love give love give love give love
'Cause love's such an old fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
Under pressure
Under pressure
Pressure </div>

Monday, September 5, 2011

Opportunities in Socially Responsible Design

"The future is not going to be the skyscraping cities of New York." How can a volunteer-run hot chocolate drive fund an entire school for 600 kids including class 3 classrooms and a rainwater collection system?  Even though Cameronn Sinclair gave this talk in 2006, the information is equally applicable today and in any geographical location. Creative, sustainable solutions to emergency and transitional shelter. Humanitarian efforts by architects and engineers to give local solutions to local problems by involving communities in the design process - from planning to building. With open source architecture inventors and designers are encourage to freely share their unique solutions with no fear of their ideas being stolen and profited upon by large companies.  A creative commons license allows people to implement a technology for non-commercial purposes - providing solutions during tragic and desperate emergency situations while protecting the rights of the inventor and while assisting in the testing of the idea in real life situations around the world.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

RanDome to be Exhibited at The 35th Common Ground Country Fair at MOFGA

Meet Richard the booth at MOFGA.
Click to view more of this 2004 version made out of foam core.
The annual Common Ground Country Fair of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) begins on Friday, September 23, 2011 and continues through the weekend. RanDome will be there with a version of it's patented geodesic shelter in corrugated polyethylene plastic.  Stop by the booth and learn hands on how to make a RanDome emergency shelter at our educational geodesic activities table. Polyethylene is a very lightweight yet resistant material used to make a well known type of fishing boat.   How resistant is polyethylene plastic you ask?  When RanDome conducted it's search for yet another lightweight resistant material to use instead of aluminum for the upcoming fair we stopped by Hamilton Marine in Unity, Maine to ask some questions.  The salesman told us of an incident where a small polyethylene boat was on display outside the store.  A man in a pick up truck drove in, grabbed the boat, threw it on his truck and sped away. The police were immediately contacted and a chase ensued.  During the pursuit the boat flew off the pick up truck, bounced off the front of an 18-wheeler truck and bounced along the road finally coming to rest on the shoulder.  Fortunately no one was injured and the was returned to the store it was in almost perfect condition. It was placed directly back on display for the next interested store visitor. A few minor scratches were later quickly repaired by applying heat. In 2010 the MOFGA fair drew nearly 60,000 visitors over the entire weekend.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

From a rock to a hard place: The neglected victims of the conflict in Libya

Date Published: 30/06/2011 12:40
Since war broke out in Libya, over one million people have fled fighting, violence and abuses. They include men, women, children and the elderly, and they are fleeing for their lives.
These victims of war are seeking refuge wherever they can, in the hope of finding safety. As well as Libyans, there are people from Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Bangladesh and at least 20 other countries.
Most crossed land borders, while others have risk their lives on the Mediterranean Sea to reach Malta and Italy.
This is the hidden story of the Libyan conflict. The war is having an impact not only on Libyan nationals, but also on the 2.5 million migrants working, living or passing through the country.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Children should be given marks for mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn and improve.

The freedom to fail
Amy Chua has opened a debate on learning. While we should challenge children and give them every chance to succeed, we should give them the space to get things wrong.
The U.S. is founded on wrong-thinkers: people who changed the world by challenging the conventional. Risk-taking pioneers such as the Wright brothers,Buckminster Fuller and Henry Ford shared a fearless attitude and willingness to embrace mistakes. Thomas Edisonfamously said of invention: "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Children should be given marks for mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn and improve. U.S. students need an alternative to ticking boxes in standardized tests. A failed science experiment is a lesson in itself.

We're launching a foundation in Chicago that encourages children to make things — and make mistakes — in after-school engineering clubs. There are no correct answers: new ideas come out of experimenting. The aim is to show children that science and engineering are enormously creative and can solve real world problems, from domestic chores to improving the environment.
In a competitive world, driven by new technology and ideas, we need to foster free-thinking, creative individuals. The U.S. can help inspire more to take up science and engineering by tapping into what makes these subjects so inspirational in the first place: the freedom to fail and try something new.
James Dyson, inventor; Bath, England

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sacramento cheap living

1. Certainly, not all — indeed, none of us — are "bums." Bum is a derisive word descriptive of someone who we are supposed to hate. The homeless people in Sacramento should not be hated.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I just like this picture. Sort of like the Maine coastline. In and out.