Tensegrity (1961) (rwgrayprojects.com)

50 points by codetrotter 242 days ago


utexaspunk 241 days ago

I love Buckminster Fuller, but doesn't a lot of this sound like pseudointellectual bullshit? I mean

"The entire regenerative hierarchy of major, intermediate, and minor constellations of component patterns-within-component-patterns of universe are continual processes of synchronous, yet independent and unique, transformative patternings. That is, all components of universe are in continually accommodative, associative-disassociative motion reciprocity, and all the moving components of universe continuously affect all the other moving components--in varying degrees, ranging between high and low tide reciprocities of critically intense to critically negligible. All of these inter-effects of all the motional components upon one another are precessional, and precession always produces transformative resultants in vectorial patterns which always articulate angular accelerations in directions other than the 'straight' lines of directions between the inter-effective components"


    nmg 241 days ago

    Consider that Fuller intentionally obfuscates text, inventing words and constructing labyrinthine sentence structures, to underscore his philosophy that an entirely new way if thinking is required. The act of deciphering meaning from his words forces you to read critically and deliberately, which places you in the frame if mind he wants. In Synergetics, for instance, he constructs an elaborate argument about the construction of a tetrahedron, leading up to a page containing the equation, printed in 128 pt. font, "1 + 1 = 4."

    It's a cognitive leap for the reader in which some fundamental preconceptions are made mutable. I dig it.

      nmg 241 days ago

      Edit: sorry for typos, should have read more critically

    fallingfrog 241 days ago

    It's like if aliens tried to communicate "take me to your leader" in English but the only example of English they had to work from was the technical documentation for an xml parser

    pavlov 241 days ago

    It's like a paragraph from a "Continental Philosophy" type of writer, except that all the words that would describe people or society have been replaced by "component", "universe" or "vector" instead.

    wl 241 days ago

    That's my impression of everything I've seen from Buckminster Fuller. As someone who loves his work, what would you suggest I read that isn't?

      utexaspunk 241 days ago

      To be honest I'm not all that familiar with his writing, actually- I just liked seeing the Dymaxion house at the Ford museum, and geodesic domes. Mostly I like that he had an hopeful vision of a global, sustainable, prosperous, futuristic future, where efficient use of technology and materials could provide prosperity for all. I just like that optimism that seems to have died in the mid-20th century.

      dantheman 241 days ago

      Crtical path is a great easy read.

    stcredzero 241 days ago

    I love Buckminster Fuller, but doesn't a lot of this sound like pseudointellectual bullshit?

    "Architect, engineer and cosmologist R. Buckminster Fuller"

    I don't think any of his cosmological contributions are taken at all seriously.


    "Synergetics" is in some ways a library of potential "science cartoons" (scenarios) described in prose and not heavily dependent upon mathematical notations.

    Jtsummers 241 days ago

    That section needs a diagram. It's longwinded, but not pseudointellectual. He's describing the interaction between components of a system and how their individual motions impact each other.

      Isamu 241 days ago

      Agreed, I don't think he was trying for pseudo-intellectual writing. But the fact that he was largely self-taught tends to shine through. He didn't have a mentor to teach him that writing simply doesn't diminish the importance of the subject.

      That said, plenty of his ideas could stand an honest critique.

    fallingfrog 241 days ago

    It's like a game of scrabble played by alphazero against alphazero.

    241 days ago

    platz 241 days ago

    If you read the surrounding context, it's just his architectural insights lifted into a general, universal abstract principle

    The precession of simulacra, indeed

    kidsnow 241 days ago

    12 Galaxies guiltied to a Zegnatronic rocket society

      ribs 241 days ago

      Give my regards to Frank

chrisbennet 241 days ago

Buckminster Fuller stole the idea from his student. When the student asked why he never game him credit...

"Bucky's warm and uplifting letter arrived about six months after I first showed him my small sculpture. In that it was dated three days before Christmas, I suppose he was in a festive, generous, mood. A year later, January 1951 he published a picture of the structure in Architectural Forum magazine and, surprisingly, I was not mentioned. When I posed the question some years later why he accredited me, as he said, in his public lectures and never in print, he replied, "Ken, old man, you can afford to remain anonymous for a while."

carapace 241 days ago

I've been building and playing with Tensegrity models for years. One interesting thing about Tensegrity is that it is unnecessary at human scales. For example, do an image search for "bamboo scaffold". At human scale, bamboo and rope are enough to build pretty amazing structures.

When you want to make large structures then you can use this Tensegrity design principle to full effect. By making self-similar cellular systems you can build larger structures out of fractal arrangements of smaller units (cf. Alexander G. Bell's cellular kites.)

ribs 241 days ago

These folks make Tensegrity structures. I bought one of their dome kits years ago, used it at several events.


    jfk13 241 days ago

    When my eldest was much younger (10-ish, maybe?) he ran across the concept of tensegrity structures somewhere, and after a few small-scale trials with chopsticks, we ended up building a tensegrity tower out of garden canes and twine. For being quite rough-and-ready, it seemed surprisingly stable. Fun times!

EamonnMR 241 days ago

Does anyone have a decent markov chain setup that would emit text like this?

ironchief 241 days ago

Does anyone have a printable version of this with the figures?

    eesmith 241 days ago

    I do not. While looking for it on archive.org I found a lecture series by him. Quoting from the description:

    > During the last two weeks of January 1975 Buckminster Fuller gave an extraordinary series of lectures concerning his entire life's work. These thinking out loud lectures span 42 hours and examine in depth all of Fuller's major inventions and discoveries from the 1927 Dymaxion house, car and bathroom, through the Wichita House, geodesic domes, and tensegrity structures, as well as the contents of Synergetics.