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BLDGBLOG: Spacesuit: An Interview with Nicholas de Monchaux
"I was looking for a way to discuss the essential lessons of complexity and emergence—which, even in 2003, were pretty unfamiliar words in the context of design—and I hit upon this research on the spacesuit as the one thing I’d done that could encapsulate the potential lessons of those ideas, both for scientists and for designers. The book really was a melding of these two things."

"But then the actual spacesuit—this 21-layered messy assemblage made by a bra company, using hand-stitched couture techniques—is kind of an anti-hero. It’s much more embarrassing, of course—it’s made by people who make women’s underwear—but, then, it’s also much more urbane. It’s a complex, multilayered assemblage that actually recapitulates the messy logic of our own bodies, rather than present us with the singular ideal of a cyborg or the hard, one-piece, military-industrial suits against which the Playtex suit was always competing.

The spacesuit, in the end, is an object that crystallizes a lot of ideas about who we are and what the nature of the human body may be—but, then, crucially, it’s also an object in which many centuries of ideas about the relationship of our bodies to technology are reflected."

"The same individuals and organizations who were presuming to engineer the internal climate of the body and create the figure of the cyborg were the same institutions who, in the same context of the 1960s, were proposing major efforts in climate-modification.

Embedded in both of those ideas is the notion that we can reduce a complex, emergent system—whether it’s the body or the planet or something closer to the scale of the city—to a series of cybernetically inflected inputs, outputs, and controls. As Edward Teller remarked in the context of his own climate-engineering proposals, “to give the earth a thermostat.”"

"most attempts to cybernetically optimize urban systems were spectacular failures, from which very few lessons seem to have been learned"

"architecture can be informed by technology and, at the same time, avoid what I view as the dead-end of an algorithmically inflected formalism from which many of the, to my mind, less convincing examples of contemporary practice have emerged"

"connections…between the early writing of Jane Jacobs…and the early research done in the 1950s and 60s on complexity and emergence under the aegis of the Rockefeller Foundation"

"Geoffrey West and Luis Bettencourt—who have gone a long way in showing that, not only should cities be viewed through the analogical lens of complex natural systems, but, in fact, some of the mathematics—in particular, to do with scaling laws, the consumption of resources, and the production of innovation by cities—proves itself far more susceptible to analyses that have come out of biology than, say, conventional economics."
militaryindustrialcomplex  tools  cad  gis  luisbettencourt  janejacobs  meatropolis  manhattan  meat  property  fakestates  alancolquhoun  lizdiller  cyberneticurbanism  glenswanson  parametricarchitecture  parametricurbanism  interstitialspaces  urbanism  urban  bernardshriever  simonramo  neilsheehan  jayforrester  housing  hud  huberthumphrey  vitruvius  naca  smartcities  nyc  joeflood  husseinchalayan  cushicle  michaelwebb  spacerace  buildings  scuba  diving  1960s  fantasticvoyage  adromedastrain  quarantine  systemsthinking  matta-clark  edwardteller  climatecontrol  earth  exploration  spacetravel  terraforming  humanbody  bodies  cyborgs  travel  mongolfier  wileypost  management  planning  robertmoses  cybernetics  materials  fabric  2003  stewartbrand  jamescrick  apollo  complexitytheory  complexity  studioone  geoffreywest  cities  research  clothing  glvo  wearables  christiandior  playtex  interviews  technology  history  design  science  fashion  nasa  books  spacesuits  architecture  space  bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  2012  nicholasdemonchaux  wearable  elizabethdiller  interstitial  bod 
november 2012 by robertogreco
The Spirit of the Spacesuit - NYTimes.com ["The success of this “soft” approach — ad hoc, individualistic, pragmatic — should be a lesson to us."]
"Props and costumes mattered in this theater of war. That NASA’s equipment should be painted white, and feature no military shields or corporate brands but only “USA,” “NASA” and the flag, was a deliberate decision by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Yet American rockets were nevertheless cobbled together from instruments of war, their craftsmen drawn from the same network of systems engineers that was devised to manage the arms race and its doomsday scenarios. Our first astronauts went to space hunched into an improvised capsule atop ICBM’s, squatting in place of warheads. The brilliance with which the resulting achievements shone was — like a diamond’s — the result of terrible pressure. We should be glad that this era is past.

But if the dazzling image of midcentury spaceflight obscures its dark origins, close scrutiny of the Apollo spacesuit reveals a different and more robust approach to innovation — one that should inspire us at this uncertain moment in space exploration."
space  spacerace  history  war  2011  ingenuity  nicholasdemonchaux  via:javierarbona  spaceexploration  spacesuits  spaceflight  coldwar  adhoc  innovation  nasa  us  bureaucracy  militaryindustrialcomplex  possibility  optimism  dwightdeisenhower 
july 2011 by robertogreco
YouTube - First Orbit - the movie
"A real time recreation of Yuri Gagarin's pioneering first orbit, shot entirely in space from on board the International Space Station. The film combines this new footage with Gagarin's original mission audio and a new musical score by composer Philip Sheppard. For more information visit http://www.firstorbit.org "
yurisnight  yurigagarin  space  spaceexploration  spacetravel  history  documentary  realtime  recreation  2011  firstorbit  ussr  russia  spacerace  audio 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Think Again: Education - By Ben Wildavsky | Foreign Policy [""Relax, America. Chinese math whizzes and Indian engineers aren't stealing your kids' future."]
"American students' performance is only cause for outright panic if you buy into the assumption that scholastic achievement is a zero-sum competition between nations, an intellectual arms race in which other countries' gain is necessarily the United States' loss."

"If Americans' ahistorical sense of their global decline prompts educators to come up with innovative new ideas, that's all to the good. But don't expect any of them to bring the country back to its educational golden age -- there wasn't one."

"In this coming era of globalized education, there is little place for the Sputnik alarms of the Cold War, the Shanghai panic of today, and the inevitable sequels lurking on the horizon. The international education race worth winning is the one to develop the intellectual capacity the United States and everyone else needs to meet the formidable challenges of the 21st century -- and who gets there first won't matter as much as we once feared."
us  policy  education  china  india  competiveness  spacerace  sputnik  arneduncan  rttt  nclb  shanghai  pisa  anationatrisk  learning  schools  propaganda  fear  standardizedtesting  highereducation  highered  colleges  universities 
february 2011 by robertogreco
metacool: More thoughts on the primacy of doing: Shinya Kimura, Jeep, Corvette, and the cultural zeitgeist of life in 2010
"cultural zeitgeist of life in 2010 America is clearly saying "We need to start thinking with our hands again", & that we need at least to have confidence in our decision making as we seek to create things of intrinsic value…It's not difficult to get to a strong, compelling point of view. That's what design thinking can do for you. But in each of these videos I sense our society expressing a strong yearning for something beyond process, the courage to make decisions and to act. Talking and thinking is easy, shipping is tough…<br />
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Tinkering, hacking, experimenting, they're all ways of experiencing the world which are more apt than not to lead to generative, highly creative outcomes. I firmly believe that kids & young adults who are allowed to hack, break, tear apart, & generally probe the world around them develop an innate sense of courage when it comes time to make a decision to actually do something. I see this all the time at Stanford…"
diegorodriguez  make  making  handson  hands  manufacturing  machines  tinkering  shinyakimura  detroit  gm  jeep  bigthree  spacerace  rockets  nostalgia  thinking  learning  experimenting  experience  facebook  google  apple  hacking  creativity  innovation  2010  jacobbronowski  design  engineering  machining  action  tcsnmy  glvo  lcproject  doing  motivation  do  corvette 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Gerald Bracey: The Great Big Engine That Didn't
"schools never recovered from Sputnik. Sputnik wounded their reputation & as the scab formed, something else always came along to re-open the lesion: In the 1960s schools were blamed for the urban riots (but not credited for putting a man on the moon). In the 1980s, " A Nation At Risk" blamed them for allowing the Germans, S Koreans, & Japanese to race ahead of us competitively (but not credited for the longest sustained economic expansion in the nation's history which followed). And today? Tough Choices or Tough Times warns of oncoming economic disaster. Leaders & Laggards, ditto. Eli Broad & Bill Gates have ponied up $60 million to "wake up the American people". So far, billionaire hedge fund investors are taking the heat for today's sub-prime mortgage debacle. But if by the time you read this, 2 months after it was written, the catastrophe has rippled through the economy & produced a true recession, don't be surprised to see it being laid at the feet of Horace Mann & John Dewey."

[via: http://education.change.org/blog/view/standardized_incoherence ]
sputnik  education  politics  policy  blame  recession  science  math  learning  schools  history  public  teaching  society  spacerace 
february 2009 by robertogreco

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