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Buckminster Fuller’s Map of the World: The Innovation that Revolutionized Map Design (1943)

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Last week we brought you news of a world map purportedly more accurate than any to date, designed by Japanese architect and artist Hajime Narukawa. The map, called the AuthaGraph, updates a centuries-old method of turning the globe into a flat surface by first converting it to a cylinder. Winner of Japan’s Good Design Grand Award, it serves as both a brilliant design solution and an update to our outmoded conceptions of world geography.

But as some readers have pointed out, the AuthaGraph also seems to draw quite heavily on an earlier map made by one of the most visionary of theorists and designers, Buckminster Fuller, who in 1943 applied his Dymaxion trademark to the map you see above, which will likely remind you of his most recognizable invention, the Geodesic Dome, “house of the future.”


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Whether Narukawa has acknowledged Fuller as an inspiration I cannot say. In any case, 73 years before the AuthaGraph, the Dymaxion Map achieved a similar feat, with similar motivations. As the Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) points out, “The Fuller Projection Map is [or was] the only flat map of the entire surface of the Earth which reveals our planet as one island in the ocean, without any visually obvious distortion of the relative shapes and sizes of the land areas, and without splitting any continents.”

Fuller published his map in Life magazine, as a corrective, he said, “for the layman, engrossed in belated, war-taught lessons in geography…. The Dymaxion World map is a means by which he can see the whole world fairly at once.” Fuller, notes Kelsey Campell-Dollaghan at Gizmodo, “intended the Dymaxion World map to serve as a tool for communication and collaboration between nations.”

Fuller believed, writes BFI, that “given a way to visualize the whole planet with greater accuracy, we humans will be better equipped to address challenges as we face our common future aboard Spaceship Earth.” Was he naïve or ahead of his time?

We may have had a good laugh at a recent replica of Fuller’s nearly undriveable, “scary as hell,” 1930 Dymaxion Car, one of his first inventions. Many of Fuller’s contemporaries also found his work bizarre and impractical. Elizabeth Kolbert at The New Yorker sums up the reception he often received for his “schemes,” which “had the hallucinatory quality associated with science fiction (or mental hospitals).” The commentary seems unfair.

Fuller’s influence on architecture, design, and systems theory has been broad and deep, though many of his designs only resonated long after their debut. He thought of himself as an “anticipatory design scientist,” rather than an inventor, and remarked, “if you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.” In this sense, we must agree that the Dymaxion map was an unqualified success as an inspiration for innovative map design.

In addition to its possibly indirect influence on the AuthaGraph, Fuller’s map has many prominent imitators and sparked “a revolution in mapping,” writes Campbell-Dollaghan. She points us to, among others, the Cryosphere, further up, a Fuller map “arranged based on ice, snow, glaciers, permafrost and ice sheets”; to Dubai-based Emirates airline’s map showing flight routes; and to the “Googlespiel,” an interactive Dymaxion map built by Rehabstudio for Google Developer Day, 2011.

And, just above, we see the Dymaxion Woodocean World map by Nicole Santucci, winner of 2013’s DYMAX REDUX, an “open call to create a new and inspiring interpretation of Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Map.” You’ll find a handful of other unique submissions at BFI, including the runner-up, Clouds Dymaxion Map, below, by Anne-Gaelle Amiot, an “absolutely beautiful hand-drawn depiction of a reality that is almost always edited from our maps: cloud patterns circling above Earth.”

via Gizmodo

Related Content:

Japanese Designers May Have Created the Most Accurate Map of Our World: See the AuthaGraph

Everything I Know: 42 Hours of Buckminster Fuller’s Visionary Lectures Free Online (1975)

Bertrand Russell & Buckminster Fuller on Why We Should Work Less, and Live & Learn More

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Buckminster Fuller’s Map of the World: The Innovation that Revolutionized Map Design (1943) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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Benches are Good for Everyone’s Bottom Line

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In my TEDx Talk  on the Transformative Power of Walking I noted the importance of benches in making places for people to be sociable, feel accepted on the street, and to people watch, a very important human activity. I also cited a study completed by  New York City’s Department of Transportation that showed that placing benches outside retail stores increased sales volumes by 14 per cent at the adjacent storefronts.

BBC’s Katie Shepherd examines an encouraging trend in North America where municipalities are now encouraging the placement of benches as a welcoming gesture outside of stores. Such actions by individual shop keepers often is the first step (no pun intended) to how to create a more coherent and customer friendly commercial area.

“American cities have an excess of roadway space,” says Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, an urban planning professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. The street seats movement aims to reclaim some of that road for the pedestrian” by making public space active and vibrant.

“In Washington, DC, the annual Park(ing) Day celebration, in which businesses and community organisers build temporary parks in metered parking spots, inspired a program to allow permanent parklets to be installed in approved spots along the District’s streets. Inside these new parklets, businesses put out benches and chairs for their customers and the public to use whenever tired feet need a rest.” New York City has two established programs encouraging public seating for transit riders and pedestrians, especially the elderly. In a program called “CityBench” the Department of Transportation reimburses businesses for public bench installation. Over 1,500 benches have been added by storekeepers so far. And, as in the case of New York City, taking out a parking lane of City Street for benches improves businesses’ bottom line.

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“Portland runs a “street seat” programme that has inspired eclectic designs – from benches that look like giant lawn chairs to seats that double as planters reminiscent of grassy hillsides. “Community engagement, that’s what made them really popular and really fun,” said Leah Treat, director for the Portland Bureau of Transportation.”

Where is Vancouver’s program supportive of increased seating in commercial areas? Is this something that can be themed or provide a whimsical gesture to the street? Seniors say we don’t have enough benches for the elderly in the commercial areas.  Would this be a good place to start?

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The Friday File-Meet the Silver Surfers

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As the BBC notes it takes something pretty exceptional to turn heads on social media. And Bon and Pon, a 37 years married couple who opened their first Instagram account 90 days ago have 89,000 followers @bonpon511. How?

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By portraying their urban lifestyles in well and simply photographed images portraying aspects of their house, their style, and their clothes. Let’s mention the clothes again. These folks are 60 and 61 years of age. And the hashtags they are using? Take a look at #silverhair, #whitehair and #over60-

There is something warm and appealing about these folks that do  not match but do co-ordinate their clothes and playfully pose at their home in Japan.  You can be drawn into the remarkably normal and telling photos, an update of domesticity and home life that is usually relegated for younger folks forming families. Obviously a lot of people agree, with 1,000 new followers signing on daily.

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The Politics of Value Village – The Community Edition

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In the past two decades, second-hand clothing has — like many other cultural objects of the poor — become trendy, coveted and hip. There is now a bursting local market of vintage clothing shops, international online retailers and even commercial corporations like Urban Outfitters selling used and “revamped” items. While many second-hand stores often do contribute to charity, build community and decrease dependency on the global sweat-shop economy, when it comes to the massive retail corporation Value Village — where the reselling of donated used clothing is a corporate strategy marketed to poor people — it is critical to examine Value Village’s actual politics and their effects on low-income communities.

On the one hand, the search for cool second-hand goods has led to an increase of middle- and upper-class people shopping at Value Village. This expansion of its demographic has certainly normalized wearing second-hand clothes. This normalization has perhaps led to a decrease in the stigma that poor and working-class people may experience when their clothing is not visibly name brand, from the mall, high quality, or trendy. However, this has also led to the increasing prices of Value Village and other second-hand stores who are taking advantage of a developing market where second-hand clothes are a surplus commodity — objects that already exist, demand very little labour power to sell and maintain, and result in high profit levels for the original owners of the products, the owners and investors of Value Village.

This widening market is both responsible for and a result of a fetishization — a revaluing of an object for the purpose of consumption — of the clothing and style of poor and working-class people, particularly clothing racialized as belonging to a particular racial or ethnic group. The style of poor people is taken out of its context and sold as a commodity – appropriated – because it provides to consumers implied meanings that are both spatial (think rural or urban) and cultural (think dangerous or uneducated). One need only look at the lifestyle clothes of celebrities — and the way this is translated into mainstream, fast fashion — to see examples of poverty being fetishized.

But the key to how appropriation and fetishization work are that, for those with economic or racial privilege, they are choices, temporary, and ultimately stylistic; one can “choose” to take on the signifiers of poor and racialized groups of people without the social, material and legal consequences that really being poor and racialized mean.

This leads me back to Value Village, and what is by now a kind of love-hate relationship with the company. Since my first shopping trip there two decades ago as a poor teenager, I have witnessed Value Village becoming increasingly expensive and — indeed — unaffordable. I currently have relative economic privilege to choose whether or not to shop at Value Village or at select other retail stores, within reason. So my bone to pick isn’t about Value Village’s accessibility to me, per se, but to the community of low-income people it purports to be providing “used quality goods to,” and the ethical issue of framing itself as a charity, when it is in fact a multi-national corporation.

Value Village is actually owned by a large American company called Savers, who are one of many corporations owned by the conglomerate TPG Capital. One of the impacts of Value Village being one of many companies owned by this multi-layered corporation is that the profits from Value Village need to travel all the way up to TPG Capital. Meaning Value Village needs to make a huge profit. By selling at a high price its surplus commodity, Value Village can maintain its workers at minimum wage, pay administrators, donate something to charity (exactly which charity and how much is being donated is unclear), and finally — most importantly — pay out its wealthy investors.

My local Value Village, like so many Value Villages, is located in a neighborhood that is on the busy city-bus line, and is annexed between low-income rental units and small private property. This particular Value Village is therefore situated within a low-income community and, through its marketing strategy “Buy More, Spend Less” has advertised itself as economically accessible to poor and working-class people. However, the actual products inside Value Village are marked very differently from the store’s claims. Value Village is not fulfilling its claim to help communities when in reality the pricing of the used goods is often economically inaccessible, all the while requiring customers to do the physical work of rooting through often worn-out, stained, and broken merchandise to find something affordable. Over the past 10 years, the prices at Value Village have become inconsistently and drastically high, sometimes more expensive even than those very same clothing items purchased new from discount retailers like Ardene, Sirens, Wal-Mart and Joe Fresh.

I have complained in person and in writing to the manager of this particular store, only to be given the corporate line that, “As a store we place over 10,000 items to the floor daily and 95 per cent of the items sold are under $10.00.” Anyone who’s shopped at Value Village knows this is clearly not true, with regular products priced upwards to $25.00. And these are not exceptional or “high quality” products. In fact, the idea that a “high quality” item should be priced higher is dubious; wasn’t that product donated in order for a low-income person to have access to it?

In any case, I believe that $10.00 is too much to pay for used, donated clothes when the minimum wage of an Ontario worker is $11.40/hr. The employees of Value Village would be hard-pressed to clothe themselves and their families at the prices Value Village now demands.

It is time that Value Village changes its everyday business practices to reflect its mission statement and the needs of low-income community members. But we can’t expect Value Village to do this on its own, as it is invested most of all in profit.

Locally, we can support the $15 and Fairness campaign or learn more about the growing living wage movement in Southern Ontario. Or, we can choose to donate our used goods to actual non-profits like the Working Centre or MCC’s Thrift on Kent, where profits are used to support social programs.

Emma is a PhD student in English & Cultural Studies at McMaster University. 

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How an ancient pope helped make chickens fat | Science

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OXFORD, U.K.—Chicken is the most ubiquitous meat on menus around the world, from chicken Kiev to chicken McNuggets. But the bird wasn’t a common food in Europe until about 1000 years ago. That’s when the Catholic Church got tough and banned meat from four-legged animals on fasts—which numbered 130 days out of the year. Suddenly, demand for meat from two-legged chickens surged, according to a talk here yesterday at the seventh International Symposium on Biomolecular Archaeology. The edict also appears to have influenced the evolution of a gene that made the birds lay eggs year-round and set in motion changes that helped make them plumper.

Chickens trace their ancestry back thousands of years to the red jungle fowl of Southeast Asia—and perhaps some other birds that got into the mix. Yet, little is known about when they became meaty morsels. The birds may have been domesticated more than once in Asia, and the first ones that show up reliably in the archaeological record 7000 to 3000 years ago in China, India, Egypt, and Greece, for example, were colorful but scrappy fowl. Chickens were a delicacy for Romans, medieval Europeans favored hardier birds, such as geese and pheasants, that they didn’t have to feed or protect from predators—and the size of chickens shrunk. This suggests they were bred primarily for cockfighting, egg laying, and as exotic garden ornaments.

A breakthrough on how the birds were domesticated—and a gene that played a key role—came in 2010 with a study of the genomes of eight different populations of present-day chickens from around the world. Researchers found that they all carried two copies of one version of a gene, called the thyroid stimulating hormone receptor (TSHR), which apparently set in motion changes that plumped up the birds. This dominant version of the gene, or allele, had swept through all domesticated chickens, regardless of whether they were broilers bred for size or strains bred for laying many eggs. Although the precise function of the gene is not known, it regulates metabolism and reproduction, so probably stimulated chickens to lay more eggs year-round. Once hens began laying eggs all year, they probably had to be kept indoors in more crowded conditions. This—and the new yen for chicken meat—may have indirectly set in motion selection for fatter chickens. The authors proposed that this gene variant was critical for domestication because it was in all domesticated chickens.

If this version of the TSHR gene was a trigger for the initial domestication of chickens, as that study proposed, then it should also be found in ancient domesticated fowl. But when University of Oxford evolutionary biologist Greger Larson and his colleagues gathered DNA from 80 domesticated chickens from 12 European archaeological sites dating from 280 B.C.E. to the 18th century in Greece, central Europe, and the United Kingdom, they found that few carried this now dominant variant of the TSHR gene, as he reported at the meeting.

Slender jungle fowl like this one are the ancestors of today's plump hens.

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Larson’s team reconstructed the number of chickens that had the dominant version of the TSHR gene variant over time, and found that it suddenly swept through chickens at multiple archaeological sites in the United Kingdom about 1000 years ago, turning up rapidly in 40% of the chickens they sequenced.

What happened? Larson posed the question to zooarchaeologist Naomi Sykes of the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, who had counted chicken bones at archaeological sites in Europe as part of a chicken project. She found that the number of chicken bones doubled between the mid–10th century to the year 1000, jumping from 5% to 6% of the meat bones to 12% to 14%. This change in diet included a boost in eggs and fish consumption, which also was reflected in historical records for food accounts from great houses and monasteries.

These changes came right after the Benedictine Reform in the United Kingdom in the mid–10th century, which followed earlier monastic reforms in Europe that required that fasting became a religious and legal requirement. These new laws had a big impact on diet for all people living in Christian nations, because fasting took place for about 130 days a year, Sykes says. Europeans were to abandon eating meat from “quadrupeds”—sheep, goats, and other four-legged animals on these days. But chickens, with two legs, were acceptable. And the more people ate chicken, the more they bred them, selecting birds that laid eggs year-round and were meatier—and, presumably, carried the TSHR variant.

Other researchers who heard the talk said that it demonstrated the power of ancient DNA studies to show the evolution of a trait through time. Domestication isn’t one event—it is a continual process, as humans tweak the makeup of the animals they live with. “It’s cool because it shows we’re moving beyond thinking of domestication as a single event … you can see the psychology of early farmers over time who go from just wanting to make a wild variant [of plant or animal] grow to making the damn thing tasty,” says Tom Gilbert, a geneticist at the University of Copenhagen.

It also shows the dramatic impact that humans have on the evolution of the animals and plants around them. “It speaks a lot about the effects humans’ decisions have on the environment—even a political or religious decision really can impact the biology of animals,” says Ludovic Orlando, a geneticist at the University of Copenhagen.

Others noted that they hope Larson’s team will get ancient DNA from chickens outside of Europe, as well. “There are a lot of people who paid no attention to Benedictine monks,” says archaeologist David Meltzer of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Larson says his team already is gathering ancient fowl from the Middle East and beyond.

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Women Have Always Worked: A New Online Course Premieres Today

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It’s been said that the greatest achievement in American history in the 20th century is the progress that was made – although the journey continues – toward woman’s equality, what with women’s right to vote codified in the 19th amendment (1920), women’s reproductive rights affirmed by the Supreme Court over a half century later (1973), and every advance in between and since. Our national government has done what it can to recognize that progress, and to remind us whence we came. The National Park Service, for example, tells us that when our country started:

The religious doctrine, written laws, and social customs that colonists brought with them from Europe asserted women’s subordinate position. Women were to marry, tend the house, and raise a family. Education beyond basic reading and writing was unusual. When a woman took a husband she lost what limited freedom she might have had as a single adult. Those few married women who worked for pay could not control their own earnings. Most could neither buy nor sell property or sign contracts; none could vote, sue when wronged, defend themselves in court, or serve on juries. In the rare case of divorce, women lost custody of their children and any family possessions. . . .

And that . . . “Women actually lost legal ground as a result of the new United States Constitution.”

What if there were an opportunity to study this struggle and the progress we have made in great depth – in an online course from Columbia University and the New-York Historical Society featuring its star women’s historian, Alice Kessler-Harris, now emerita, and a lineup of guest voices from all around the country interviewed under her leadership to provide their expertise on matters of progress and equality? And what if there were a new Center for the Study of Women’s History launching at the same time, even on the same day – March 8, 2017 – to provide a more permanent place for examining and understanding how to make this progress even more expansive?

Women Have Always Worked, a 20-week online class, premieres its first 10 weeks today – free on the edX platform. The offering (enroll here) is unique in the history of education. The course introduces the first collaboration between a university and a historical society to present knowledge to the world – with extended video-recorded conversations and artifact and document discussions with renowned scholars and authors including Baruch’s Carol Berkin; Deborah Gray White from Rutgers; Iowa’s Linda Kerber; Carroll Smith Rosenberg from Michigan; Thavolia Glymph from Duke; St. John’s Lara Vapnek; Blanche Wiesen Cook from CUNY; Louise Bernikow; Harvard’s Nancy Cott; Elaine Tyler May at the University of Minnesota; NYU’s Linda Gordon; the great New York writer Vivian Gornick; and more.

The course page lists some of the questions covered:

• How women’s participation in, exclusion from, and impact on American economic, political, and social life have altered American history.
• How key figures and events have challenged the role of women in the home and workplace.
• How ideas, such as democracy, citizenship, liberty, patriotism, and equality have differently shaped the lives of women and men.
• How women of different races and classes have experienced work, both inside and outside the home.
• How historians of women and gender study America’s past, including hands-on opportunities to practice analyzing primary sources from the present and the past.
• How women’s history has developed and changed over time.
And did we say it’s free?

The second part of the course will launch in June, in association with the annual meeting of the Berkshire Women’s History Conference at Hofstra University – the largest meeting of women’s historians anywhere. The MOOC is inspired by Kessler-Harris’s book, Women Have Always Worked: A Historical Overview, first published by the Feminist Press in 1981 and coming out in a newly updated edition also in 2017 from the University of Illinois, publisher of Kessler-Harris’s landmark Gendering Labor History (2007). The original book brings forth a million gems of knowledge and analysis in text and images; the online course brings forward video and audio and documents and artifacts such as few media can accomplish. Intelligent Television had the opportunity to produce many of the video interviews, conversations, and testimonials.

The struggle of women at work is the struggle of all who seek a better and more just world. The course is a little miracle alight within it.

Peter B. Kaufman runs Intelligent Television (www.intelligenttelevision.com) and twice served as Associate Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Columbia.

 

Related Content:

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Women Have Always Worked: A New Online Course Premieres Today is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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