[ExI] Vinge finally cracks the NYT

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Thu Aug 28 06:22:39 UTC 2008

On Thursday 28 August 2008, Daniel Grisinger wrote:
> > 'Make' is a brand by Make Magazine and O'Reilly and friends.
> > They've leeched on to these communities with an iron fist. Be
> > careful with them .. while some of the content is good and
> > interesting, it's just them being a giant filter with first mover
> > advantage.
> This is absolutely true.  And it won't be the first time that a
> trademark has been co-opted by a community with no regard for the
> commercial intentions of its coiner.  Everybody I know who is working
> on their own projects in the space calls him or herself a "maker".
>  So far as I can tell, they are using the term the same way that we
> used hacker as the open source movement started.  But what is
> important, I think, is that this is something distinct from the
> traditional open source software movement.  Bits will make a bigger
> difference over time than atoms, but atoms are the critical next
> step, imo.

'Center for Bits and Atoms' has found itself a good name.

It's actually Gershenfeld's lab. He writes stuff like:
> From this combination of passion and inventiveness I began to get a
> sense that what these students are really doing is reinventing
> literacy. Literacy in the modern sense emerged in the Renaissance as
> mastery of the liberal arts. This is liberal in the sense of
> liberation, not politically liberal. The trivium and the quadrivium
> represented the available means of expression. Since then we've
> boiled that down to just reading and writing, but the means have
> changed quite a bit since the Renaissance. In a very real sense
> post-digital literacy now includes 3D machining and microcontroller
> programming. I've even been taking my twins, now 6, in to use MIT's
> workshops; they talk about going to MIT to make things they think of
> rather than going to a toy store to buy what someone else has
> designed. The World Bank is trying to close the digital divide by
> bringing IT to the masses. The message coming back for the fab labs
> is that rather than IT for the masses the real story is IT
> development for the masses. Rather than the digital divide, the real
> story is that there's a fabrication and an instrumentation divide.
> Computing for the rest of the world only secondarily means browsing
> the Web; it demands rich means of input and output to interface
> computing to their worlds. There was an amazing moment as I was
> talking to these Army generals about how the most profound
> implication of emerging technology for them might not lie in
> designing a better weapon to win a war, but rather in giving more
> people something else to do. So we're now at a cusp where personal
> fabrication is poised to reinvent literacy in the developed world,
> and to engage the intellectual capacity of the rest of the world.

> > RepRap jumped the gun and lied to its community about universal
> > self-replication, and even lied to the NY Times. While it's an
> > awesome project, and I'm meeting an increasing number of people who
> > are aware of the project, it's at heart a rapid prototyper that
> > doesn't manufacture itself completely. Oh well. People will assume
> > it's something else .. which is good, I guess, but it kind of makes
> > them think that the real effort has already been done, i.e., to
> > actually get self-replication, when it hasn't really.
> This is also true.  But I don't think that's what's going to stick as
> the story people remember.  I think people will remember that they
> built a machine out of instructions on the internet and that it could
> make its own parts.

But it coudn't .. :-(

Not sure that it matters what stories the people remember, I'm 
interested in making it happen, although I'm sure the story will be a 
good one as well.

> > BTW, don't you find it odd the lack of schematics for printing
> > presses on the internet? I looked into this and it turns out that
> > Gutenberg immediately went into commercial businesses. Huh.
> I had never noticed until I just went to google it.  And what few
> pages are there appear to quickly mire away into dead links and bit
> rot.

Shouldn't every kid in school be building these things in their history 
class? Or literature class.

- Bryan
Engineers: http://heybryan.org/exp.html
irc.freenode.net #hplusroadmap

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