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October 27, 2011


ann greenberg

Great story and well told, Reuben!

I've been thinking about the 1939 World's Fair. Most people don't know that it was the marketing plan for a world dependent upon gasoline - urban planning on a massive scale. Frank Lloyd Wright, father of the organic architects, had a competing vision - called Broadacre City that was the antithesis of the Urbane vision of a city on the hill with urban sprawl. Broadacre City was more dispersed and in harmony with the landscape - where every family would be given an acre of land by the US government.

I wonder what our world would have been like if Broadacre City, wasn't relegated to a quarter-page entry in Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadacre_City -- but had been fully embraced by those in power in the last century (it was presented to Roosevelt, I believe,) instead of following seductive Bill Geddes & Shell Oil into a streamlined but austere future. The difference, indeed, dreamers make - the difference indeed!


OK Ann Greenberg. You just won the prestigious "COMMENT of the DAY" Award!!!!! on VTF.

Today's prize is an intro to Douglas Gayeton (trust me, this may seem like a silly thing, but it's not.)

I'm making the introduction in the public sphere because you both deserve recognition. Everyone, please check out Douglas' Project, "The Lexicon of Sustainability". www.lexiconofsustainability.com

Words really do have the ability to change our lives and Douglas is doing something about it, something passionate, heartfelt, profound, selfless and significant. Here's a gorgeous piece he sent last night about Modern Foraging http://vimeo.com/31169974

He can be reached at douglas AT gayeton dot com - please drop emails to offer help with the Lexicon Project.

Ann, I'll send email intro under separate cover, but consider yourself introduced. He's a real fellow traveler and story teller.

Jane Ancel

Reuben, major flashback. I have to second your story. I agree with you, but having been caught up in the excitement of that particular moment in time, I think we failed (or at least I failed) to see that Joe had crossed a tipping point into some kind of narcissistic dream world. Jobs had a vision and was crazy and driven enough to see it through. Joe was maybe too far ahead of his time and not focused enough to drive the ship. Let's chatter offline. JA


Jane - I agree and disagree. Without him, the work, which was amazing despite never having been released, would never have been done. His vision inspired belief from the VC's, excitement of his team and all around him. In many ways, he was a lot like the market in a bubble. The whole things is amazing and works until it people stop believing. Then it bursts. At the same time, innovation occurs that never would in the ordinary course of events.

It reminds me of a story (it's a joke, but I can't remember well enough to make it funny).

A scruffy guy is standing on the sidewalk, holding a cup. Someone puts change in it. He's a bum. Suddenly he starts to sing. Another person puts change in the cup. Now he's an artist.

Context is everything.


Joe's project is feasible now, and very much attractive, i think. idk if other companies or websites have made something similar like it, but i think it'll really be a hit if you can make a working website like what you just described right now. it would be an amazing web site, especially if that was integrated into the new technology of touchable holograms.

imagining it is mind blowing.

just something to think about.


Jao - I agree that it would be amazing. Whether or not it's feasible I'm not sure, though with sufficient time and money, anything can be done.

But you're right, all the component pieces already exist to make this work very nicely. The trick now, as it was then, would be to do it in a broadly available way. Back then, the issue was both the limits of the browser and the lack of broadband. Now, both are largely solved (NOTE, Second Life, which was started roughly the same time OneCosmos ended, did what they did by creating a custom viewer which limits the audience size). Now, you'd probably use a plugin like www.unity3d.com - still would be a large development project, but what could be more fun.

Final and most important question would be how to allow users to create their own content. Some sort of system would need to exist that allowed for Google Earth/Sketchup style layering - if for no other reason that to delineate between scientifically accurate data and conjecture.

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Garret Moore

It was a noble attempt well worth the effort, but ahead of it's time. No fertile cultural soil to germinate such an intelligent viable concept. You had to be there. I was. Worth trying twice.

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