Bruce Sterling on Tue, 9 Mar 1999 02:43:35 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Viridian Note 00051: Viridian Commentary

     [orig to Viridian List <>]

Key concepts:  pedal-powered buses, hurricane names, wind-
up browsers, table-of-contents Viridian Notes 00025-00050, 
party invitation to Bruce Sterling's house

Attention Conservation Notice:  It rambles a lot, but you 
get invited to a nice party with free beer.

Entries in the Viridian Teakettle Design Contest:
This contest ends March 20, 01999.

Subject:  Pedal-powered bus

Date:   Tuesday, January 26, 1999 10:26:49 AM

Bagelhole1 (, under 
construction, calls for collaborators, globally, to share 
ideas as to the best ways (design, mediums, etc) we can 
think of to build a bus for about 50 people, that is a 
hybrid, run both by pedal power and electrical (generated 
by the pedal power and the turbine on top), equipped with 
sail.  There would be a driver who steers, changes gears, 
and brakes.  Music, perhaps, to inspire the 
pedal/passengers, maybe made from bamboo partially. All 
passengers ride/pedal for free, of course. Electric kicks 
in, when there are not enough pedal/riders.

Every city could have such a bus to bring attention to 
people to aid in soliciting low-tech, homemade style ideas 
for self-sustainability, thinking in terms of small 
neighborhoods, in mutual co-operation with each other, as 
a way to really kick off community contingency 
preparation, globally.  This needs to be done very 
quickly. So please heed, if you hear the call.

(((bruces remarks:  I rather like this nutty, innocent 
scheme, as long as we can make sure that these giant urban 
rickshaws are restricted to highly-developed countries, 
and powered exclusively by rich, well-educated, overweight 

From:^^  (Jamais Cascio)
Subject:  Weather Violence Terminology

>From the Rachel ( newsletter #634:

"We favor the idea, floated early last year, to stop 
naming hurricanes after individual humans and start naming 
them after oil companies. In place of Hurricane Alice or 
Hurricane Hugo, we would have Hurricane Mobil and 
Hurricane Exxon. A headline like 'Exxon Kills 10,000, 
Leaves 50,000 Homeless' would have a certain salutary ring 
of truth to it."

(((bruces remarks:  Yes, of course, but....  "Shell" would 
get off lightly due to the alphabetical listings, while 
the new "Amoco/British Petroleum" hybrid would catch more 
than its fair share of abuse.)))

>From^^^^^^^^^** (Dr. Alan Wexelblat)
Subject:  Wind-Up Browsers for Ten Dollars

These people don't know it, but they are Viridian...

From: Joe Jacobson <>
Subject: Windup Browsers Seminar

Seminar - MAS 968 (H level)
Fridays 10-12, E15-468H

Design of Information Appliances for the Third World:
Windup Browsers

        The WIND-UP Browser seminar will be geared towards 
designing and building an information appliance for 
developing nations.  The sole constraints are that 1] It 
must change the world 2] It must have a manufacturing cost 
of $10.

Week 1: Introduction to the Problem
Assignment: Map of literacy and access to information 
around the globe

Week 2: Introduction to low cost information technologies  
Full survey of everything in existence from displays to 
radio receivers to hand-crank generators that could be 
cobbled together to make a $10 device.

Week 3: In class design session of self contained reader

Week 4: presentation of self contained reader.

Week 5: Economic models - how can third world peoples 
supplement their income:  Contract programming, inventing 
etc. over the web.

Week 6: In class design and presentation of an economic 
model for supplemental income.  Brainstorm on how to build 
1 Billion wind-up browsers.

Week 7: In class design of linked information device

Week 8: Presentation of linked information device

Week 9: Final project.

(((bruces remarks:  Here's another  stirring step-forward 
for the philosophy that wants every Saharan Tuareg to 
carry his own solar-powered satdish and boombox.  A ten-
dollar browser will change the world, all right == it'll 
change the world to a place that will gladly pay ten 
*million* dollars for any device that will *eliminate* web 
browsers, in say, a five-mile radius.)))

From:^* (Paul D. Ouderkirk)
Subject: Re: Correction to Viridian Note 00045

Bruce Sterling wrote:  " The US Armed Forces can no longer 
fully command their own dedicated industrial base == 
they're forced to use common off-the-shelf stuff now,  the 
poor wretches even have to run battleships on Windows 

If you're referring to that Navy ship that "crashed" 
during testing several months ago, it was running a mix of 
Unix and NT systems.  NT at least pretends (and pretends 
is the operative word here) to be a mission-critical OS, 
where Windows 95 certainly has no place anywhere that 
lives are on the line.  Later,  Paul.

(((bruces remarks:  I should cure myself of this 
freewheeling poetic license when I know that there are 
programmers reading this list.  Okay, I formally retract 
that sad blunder:  "the poor wretches even have to run 
their various weapons platforms on a mission-critical OS 
mix of UNIX and Windows NT"....)))

Table of Contents 25-50

Viridian Notes
00026:  Viridian Aphorisms
00027:  Viridian Graphics
00028:  Viridian Gardening
00029:  The Interfund
00030:  The View From Ecotopia
00031:  Self-destructive Jungles
00032:  The Viridian Refueling Project
00033:  Viridian Aesthetics: Andy Goldsworthy
00034:  Researching Andy Goldsworthy
00035:  Viridian Aesthetics:  Landscape Transformation
00036:  Offshore Wind Power
00037:  Viridian Commentary
00038:  Viridian Aphorisms
00039:  Starck's New Catalog
00040:  German Politics
00041:  The Viridian Product Catalog
00042:  the Viridian Alcohol Cellphone
00043:  the Viridian Electrical Meter
00044:  The Viridian Service Station
00045:  Twentieth-century Thinking
00046:  German Bankers Love German Greens
00047:  Viridian Imaginary Products Exhibition
00048:  Viridian Aphorisms
00049:  Submerging Carbon
00050:  Wired Urban Forests


In totally informal conjunction with  the annual South By 
SouthWest Multimedia Festival, my wife  Nancy and I are 
throwing another Open House Party on the  evening of March 
16th, Tuesday, starting, say, 7:30 pm or  so.  If you're 
on the Viridian List, please consider this  your formal 
invitation to attend.  Bring anybody you  trust.  There 
will be cold beer.   And  (even more  astonishing and 
provocative) there will be cigarettes.

If you've never been to my house before  (once memorably 
described by TIME magazine as "the leafy tranquillity of 
Sterling's well-appointed Austin, Texas home"), send email 
and I'll ship you the directions and a phone number.

Mind you, the SXSW Multimedia Party we threw last time was 
not half shabby.  These digital-arts people are   
definitely a self-starting crowd.  No Charades or Twister 
was required to break the ice, and a good time was had 
by all.

Bruce Sterling (
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