interesting people & ideas

An Example

In the way of an example, I realized recently of having been only dimly aware that Irving Adler authored some books I have that piqued my interest in math and science at an early age.

My mother would buy a 'Golden Book' for me every so often. One of them in particular was MATHEMATICS - The Story of Numbers, Symbols, and Space. I really wrestled with every page. I was 10 when the book was published. My name on the inside looks like an 11 year old!

Regular Polyhedrons, P 27, MATHEMATICS, 1959, Golden Press, Inc.

The author, Irving Adler, a former New York City teacher, became a prolific writer of books on math and science for young people after being forced from the classroom during the Red Scare of the early 1950s. Adler died on Sept 22, 2012 in Bennington, VT. He was 99.

His wife Ruth worked alongside, illustrating his books and papers, such as THINKING MACHINES — A Layman's Introduction to Logic, Boolean Algebra and Computers, 1961, in the SIGNET Science Library.

Lowell Hess (1921-2014) is credited as illustrating the MATHEMATICS book, but I would bet dollars to donuts that Ruth Adler also illustrated. One can find all the papers behind this book in the U of Minn archives! (Google for Hess and you'll recognize his style - magazine covers, etc.)

  • Irving Adler on Wikipedia [LINK]
  • Irving Adler obituary [WaPo Link]
  • Irving Adler papers at U Minn. OMG. Six Boxes! [LINK]

Martin Gardner: Mathematical Games (MG)

In 1961, my 7th grade math teacher, Ray LaLonde, shared Martin's June (1961) Brain Teasers column with the class. Or it could have been some other Mathematical Games column. Anyway, I was hooked. After checking out previous columns in the library, I subscribed to Scientific American! I first corresponded with Martin Gardner in 1968 about Langford's Problem as a freshman at Gonzaga University.

Here is a page on how Martin enriched my life [G4G].

The Gathering for Gardner is a bi-annual conference dedicated to Martin's work.

Buckminster Fuller: Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science

A bio of Fuller, with links: [R. Buckminster Fuller].

On the evening of February 5th, 1979, Fuller gave a talk, Toward a Fuller Future, at L&C. I was the faculty host for this visit. We picked up Fuller at PDX; Matt Wuerker drove his Volvo, Chuck Farnsworth rode shotgun, I was in the back seat with Fuller. We hosted a dinner for Fuller in my home before the talk. His talk concluded: Don't be afraid of Change. I joined Bucky for breakfast on Feb 6th, and drove him to the airport. (To think, here is the inventor of the Dymaxion Car riding in a 1968 Opel Rallye!)

Christopher Alexander: Notes on the Synthesis of Form

My notes on Christopher Alexander, on design and the hierarchical decomposition of systems.

Christopher Alexander, et al: A Pattern Language

This book of 253 patterns was compiled over a period of 8 years by a team of six people. The patterns range from regional down to to where you are right now.

A Pattern Language stimulated the development of pattern languages for software development, and many other areas.

G. Spencer-Brown: Laws of Form

G. Spencer Brown invented a predicate calculus for Logic. My notes on The Laws of Form.

Wikipedia article on Laws of Form.

Wikipedia article on Spencer-Brown.

Howard T. Odum

Howard T. Odum, created an energy flow diagramming language, and analyzed energy flows in ecosystems, and eventually in society.

I took an NSF chautauqua course 'W-17 Energy Systems' with Howard T & Betty Odum - probably in the summer of 1978. For my project I made a huge diagram of all the energy flows in a Dwelling and turned it in. They ask to keep it. Years later I wrote to ask if I could get it back, but got only an apology! Here is a smaller version of it on a blackboard. (No iPhone or digital cameras back then — otherwise I would have a photo of it!)

Drawing an energy flow diagram at Hoag's house, 1978.

I also took an NSF chautauqua course from Mihajlo Mesarovic, one of the authors of Mankind at the Turning Point and the Club of Rome World Model. (Not at all as good as Odum's course.)

Austrid Lindemaier: L-Systems

Austrid Lindemaier, L-System is a transformational grammar that attempts to describe the growth patterns of plants (mainly). And Leaves, vascular systems.

ABOP - Algorithmic Beauty of Plants. This book is on the web.

L-systems Software — This U of Calgary page contains a (dated) list of the available software that (its author is) aware of for performing simulations using L-systems.

L-Systems and Plant Modeling — A collection of web sites (1997 Page has out-dated links)

Howard Rheingold (@hrheingold)

How to characterize Howard Rheingold? He paints his own shoes.

I particularly like his essay: The Shape of the Universe, about the importance of tree structures, and the tree as a form or archetype. If we had greater awareness, we might help our species get a grip on our planet's runaway throttle.

Two links Howard would like: the Social Media Classroom and his curated site Infotention, managing attention and information.

Andrew Weil, Sound Body, Sound Mind

This is an interesting piece of musical and frequency engineering. It combines brainwave-inducing frequencies with a musical score that matches the intended mental states. Very relaxing. Here is an excerpt from the little book that comes with the CD.

Produced by Andrew Weil, Joshua Leeds, Richard Lawrence, and Anna Wise.

Andrew Weil: Spontaneous Healing

I heard an interview with Andrew Weil on NPR in about 1972. I have been reading his books ever since. I have a brief review of his book Spontaneous Healing. Also see The Natural Mind, and The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon. Search the web for references to these with Andrew Weil's name, or visit his very own Ask Dr. Weil Home Page!

Carl G. Jung

Concepts: Jungian archetypes, Collective Unconscious.

Books: Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, Man and His Symbols.

See also Joseph Campbell, Hero's Journey, etc. I served on the board of Oregon Friends of Jung for several years around 1984 +/-. Joseph Campbell was a big draw for us - he gave a talk at Catlin Gable auditorium, raising a lot of funds for OFCGJ. Campbell had dinner with the board on that weekend. [OFCGJ]

Stan Freberg

To be added, 2024. JM

Presents the United States of America

Stan Freberg, Patriot?

Charles and Ray Eames

In summer 1966, my parents took me to Seattle to visit the site of the 1961 World's Fair. We toured the Science Pavilion where there was an interactive Eames exhibit, with the very noisy "Probability Machine", dropping 'thousands' (!?) of plastic balls to form a bell curve, and also the "Minimal Surface" display, about geometry, which allowed you to dip wire frames into soap to make shaped bubbles.

Powers of Ten short film, aka, Zoom

prototyping and model building (constant experimentation).

"Never delegate understanding", Charles Eames famously said, describing one of the core tenets of the design philosophy he shared with creative and life partner Ray Eames.

Ref. [Reykjavík Chautauqua]


This is a section on ideas, that are not tied necessarily to a single person. (There are many ideas above in the People section of course!) Intro to be expounded upon at some point, I guess.


Three movements are combining to transform government at all levels, Open Source, Open Data, and Open Government. [LINK].

Tent Cities and Tiny Houses

This book! TENT CITY URBANISM — From Self-Organizing Camps to Tiny House Villages, by Andrew Heben [LINK].

Green City Program

Green City Program for the San Francisco Bay Area Towns & Cities

This is a mostly forgotten about 1989 project that issued a awesome report. Revised in 1991.

The report has 9 Chapters, listed below.

Each chapter explores one thing (X) via the following form:

The booklet is out of print of course, and there is no e-book version, or PDF?

Green City activities in the SF Bay Area are listed on [Planet Drum].

A Sustainable City or eco-city as a more recent term. [Wikipedia].

Multnomah County Citizen Involvement Committee issued a County Visions, 1990's and Beyond report using the Green Cities format. See may page on that here [LINK].

Democratic by Design

Alternative Institutions. The author references Alexander. More here ASAP. JM


Co-housing is the name of a type of collaborative housing that attempts to overcome the alienation of modern subdivisions in which no-one knows their neighbors, and there is no sense of community.

alt.housing.nontrad Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) archived? Archive-name: housing-nontrad-faq, 1994.

Intentional Community is meant to be an inclusive title for information on ecovillages, co-housing, residential land trusts, communes, student co-ops, urban housing cooperatives and other related projects and dreams... (From, now somewhat off limits to non-subscribers).

Calendar Reform

What do you think of our current calendar?

I was amazed when I saw the Barlow Calendar to think that the calendar could be done more sensibly. Every month has the same 28 days, starting with Monday on the 1st. Barlow has various extra calendar days at the end of each month — days that are not days of the week. They are 'nodays'! Here's the Barlow calendar, with notes to other alternative calendars: [LINK].