Enthusiasm = Energy, and endless resourcefulness ~

I recently attended the TEDx event in Traverse City. Say it fast:  tedxTC.  It was…ecstasy.  Great new ideas, great new people….  Here’s my ‘talk of the day’:

Steve Ritz of the Green Bronx Machine Project, NYC, NY.

Green Bronx Machine People

Watch this video and you will pick up the vibe…Steve Ritz talks about his Green-Bronx-Machine…his efforts to green up the Bronx:  feeding kids great healthy green food, training a work-force to build vertical green walls and green roofs.  His efforts are awesome and everyone should know about him.  Take a few and see him here…. It is SO worth it.


Steve’s enthusiasm is contagious.  It makes everyone feel more empowered and capable.  You start looking around yourself to see ‘what can I do’ to make it a better place.  To make children shine, to make the world more sustainable.

One example from Wikipedia

I really want to see his green growing vertical walls — everywhere!

This goes back to an earlier post I had about innovation.  The point is always – how do we innovate around us to create the world we want to inhabit?  How creative are we?  How much MORE can we create?  Lots more —

My favorite point, Steve Ritz asks:

“Is the glass half empty, or half full?”

(Well, I am proud to say, I knew the answer….)

ENTIRELY FULL.   (Count the air.)



For more info on the TC TEDx events and plans for next year – http://tedxtraversecity.com/    See you there!


Always new ideas to bubble up….Graphene*

A cloth of woven carbon fiber filaments is com...
A cloth of woven carbon fiber filaments is commonly used for reinforcement in composite materials. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I came across this post about a new use for carbon fiber— really awesome use of a common material.  I love that it starts as simply as carbon from a pencil collected on scotch tape, and leads to a very simple manufacturing process of coating plastic with carbon, setting it up with a laser, and using it as a capacitor to distribute energy.  Just amazing!

In 2004, physicists at theUniversity of Manchester and the Institute for Microelectronics Technology, Chernogolovka, Russia, first isolated individual graphene planes by using adhesive tape.[14] They also measured electronic properties of the obtained flakes and showed their unique properties.[15] In 2005 the same Manchester Geim group together with the Philip Kim group from Columbia University (see the History section) demonstrated that quasiparticles in graphene were massless Dirac fermions. These discoveries led to an explosion of interest in graphene.  [Wikipedia]


Watch this little film…I promise you will be amazed too!


Once on a CD presentation, I heard some futurists talking about — the future.  One in particular impressed me with his comment, that as creative beings, we will always invent and aspire our way out of problems.  It’s just in our nature!  This seems to be true of these guys working with carbon fiber.  They won the Nobel Prize for it too.  Whooo-hoo!

Turning a corner???

This phrase: “Turning a Corner” keeps coming to me.

It’s a new year.  2013. It’s a time of fresh starts.  We didn’t go over the fiscal cliff (or did we, really).  Maybe had they called it a fiscal corner we wouldn’t have rolled our eyes, and stock portfolio?

Cover of "A Family Place: A Man Returns t...
Cover via Amazon

Personally, I am turning a corner also.  I have been unemployed since March 2011.  Gad- that’s a long time.  That’s regular work, paycheck work.  It doesn’t mean that every day hasn’t been full and productive. I’ve been reading,… a lot.  The usual suspects: Joel Goldsmith (of course), newspapers, Facebook, LinkedIn, Monster + other job-site search engines.  I just finished a great little book that popped off the shelf at Powells Books. It’s called A Family Place by Charles Gaines.

the little book

Gaines writes about the little cottage he, Mrs. Gaines, and their grown twenty something kids build in Nova Scotia.  I should say, the wilds of Nova Scotia.  He, in fact, turns a corner.  He realizes the money, the fame, and the social life he earned as a semi-famous author and screenplay writer have taken from him, the family world he had before all that fame.  His marriage in shambles, his kids off in the wide-world.  He turns a corner, wakes-up, and finds his life restored by the land, the act of building a small house together, and the spirit of renewal.  I loved this book.  I think you will too.

So, enjoy the next leg of the 90-degree turn.  You can always turn again, and again….to get back where you started.

Turn the corner!

Peace on Earth?

Peace on Earth, goodwill to man…

portland trip Dec 2012 093

It’s hard to imagine a harder week than one filled with the violence of mass shootings in a shopping mall and an elementary school, as just happened here in the United States, leading up to the Christian Holidays of Christmas.

The only comfort I find is in knowing that the world rebounds with compassion, sympathy and heart.  Being in Portland right now, only a few miles from where the shopping mall attack occurred, we sit in relative peace and calm just a few days later….except for those whose lives were directly touched.  So while we unite in compassion, the impact on our daily lives is shorted lived, beyond the media storm.

With such a short-lived impact, how can we create change?  Don’t get me wrong, I rejoice that as a society we can bounce back so quickly, but I worry that we don’t take the steps to realize a more peaceful, more calm way of life; one that even our young violent men can resonate with…

Someone I know, Laurie A. Couture, an author, posted in her blog, a response from her son about the shooter at the elementary school.  Brycen R. R. Couture said to his mom, “He must have been in a lot of pain”.  Boy, what a knowing heart shows up in that comment of his.  Knowing the compassion with which this mom raised her own son, and the benefits of her ‘attachment parenting‘ style, I have to think there is hope for the future.

Author Laurie A. Couture with her son



Raising three sons with a similar commitment to attachment style parenting, which means a lot of close physical touch through kangaroo carrying packs, extended breastfeeding, eye-contact, family beds, large extended circles of adults, close community bonding, homeschooling, unschooling…there is a lot to see
in evidence.  My kids played with guns too. But the point is, they played with them.  There is no need to fixate on the real thing because their boyhood fascination with weaponry and violence was worked out as children.  They didn’t need to carry that with them into adulthood.

Heck, I played with toy guns…. I distinctly remember the Vietnam era machine gun I owned to play guns in and around the hedges of our yard with my brother.  The only girl among three brothers, I had a lot of exposure to boyness.  With lots of uncles, and three sons of my own, I get it.  But true masculinity never hurts the defenseless   Such acts are an aberration of a fully developed male child.  I hope our kids raise their kids with the closeness of breasts, eyes, arms, and a deep unconditional love.  In other words, ‘in the most natural way’.  I hope our society gets better at sensing the hurt of those raised without it, those hurting deeply for some pain of their own.  And, finds a way to heal all wounds…

Peace now upon all your houses–


http://theattachedfamily.com/?p=3400  Check out this writers’ 10 tips for a peaceful child/teen….including ‘listen more than speak’, ‘keep electronics out of the bedroom’, etc.  Practical ideas to start now for the next generation.

Innovation at the dinner table?

Julian Levy sporting his research eye scan capturing headgear-

This is a story of family and ideas…of a dad, Alan Kingstone,  who was researching how humans related to the eyes/faces of others….when his son suggested that by putting the eyes OFF the face, he could better judge if it was the face or the eyes attracting us to shift our gaze. How so? Well, the kid was an aficionado of monsters..seems monsters are not limited by our symmetry and top centered eyes. They can have eyes in their horny tails….

The boy actually continued in the research with his dad and received top billing on the paper. Now that’s a great result of a ‘working dinner’..and illustrates how thinking outside the norm, in childlike ways can facilitate creative change. I love it!


Typical multi-eyed monster.

Do you love Bucky as much as I love Bucky?

Buckminster Fuller
Buckminster Fuller (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I attended my first American Institute of Architects (AIA)  convention in 1976, the bicentennial year, set in Philadelphia.

The true highlight of the meeting was the opportunity to hear R.  Buckminster Fuller speak.

His lecture was held in the historic Furness Building of the Philadelphia Fine Arts Academy (a work of art itself), full of patterning in the same way Bucky’s Geodesic Domes repeated a sense of order greater than itself.

AND, speak he did!

It was thrilling.  Not so much for the hype, at that early point in my studies, I hardly knew the man.  But, for the ideas.

Sitting in the second row where I had eye contact with him (for that brief period where he kept his eyes open), I was fascinated by the breath and reach of his hypnotizing hypothesizing.  He lectured for at least 3 hours, maybe 4… and those sitting further back in the auditorium gradually ‘checked-out’ as his terms become broader and more conceptual and pure mathematical.  He had closed his eyes, taken his stool, and just talked with a few wild arm gestures thrown in.  I could feel it in waves as those in the rear lost interest.  Surely, the hard wooden pew-seating tested our endurance, made our butts sore.  Eventually, many sheepishly left, leaving the devotees in rapt awe listening with our eyes closed.

I had become a devotee–

There’s a new film out about Bucky, and I hope to find it soon.  Another devotee has taken a collection of images, put them to music, and taken it on the road appearing at film festivals around the country.  Read more about it here:   THE LOVE SONG OF R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER.  http://buckminsterfullerfilm.com/

http://www.wweek.com/portland/article-19659-from_stage_to_screen.html and here….



2012 – The end of the world?

I sit observing a mother and child scene at the coffee shop…

She is fully engaged with her ‘smart’-phone with an occasional nod to her daughter’s lego fabrications. Years ago, that would have been me.  Except coffee houses didn’t really exist in the 1980’s (isn’t that hard to imagine?) and I would have had a newspaper in my lap. My children scrambled up to look at the comics and learned current events at my knee.

It occurs to me that this may be the year that the printed word ENDS for all intents and purposes. Centuries from now when killer solar storms have fried our electronic devises (which by then will be implanted in our skin), civilization will be lost…. and looking for a date to hold responsible, historians may log it as December 2012.  The Mayans may have stopped writing calendars up to this date, and we may stop reading printed paper from this date very, very soon.

Is that my inner-Luddite showing? Sorry. I just saw the film Cloud Atlas in which modern civilization falls to a dark time of barbarism. We see a picture of life a few centuries hence.  Some of the technology seems pretty far-out.  But looking at the advances in our electronic life just in the last decade, such tech-advances seems pretty feasible—eventually:

Human cloning, and new human rights issues related to the clone’s place in the world.

Technical Augmentation – (Think

Startrek’s Hollo-deck).

Implanted com-devices.  See Hallie’s implants below:

Galactic rescue flares.

Trans-planet transport (with or without bodies).

Anti-gravity cycles and transport vans.

Self-generating emergency rescue walkways…and a lot of future visioning.

Alongside these advances depicted, we also see true regression towards brutality and cannibalism when society falls.  From a time when sea-going schooners were fast and fleet, to seeing out from the stars, humanity always balances between good and evil.  The choices remain.

Societies DO fall.  So, getting back to my first point:  My stash of books may be the most meaningful gift to the far future….Should we be burying books as well as seeds?


Watch the extended trailer here:  http://synergytvnetwork.com/cloud-atlas-extended/

See also:  http://www.examiner.com/article/cloud-atlas-movie-and-augmented-reality 

(ps.  Having recently lost access to Facebook via some screwy password issues, I know how much I’ve lost in human contact due to that one measly failure.  Imagine a dependency on technology to the point of true isolation? Heaven forbid!)

Getting stuck?

I came across this post by Katherine Sharpe of WIRED about a group of d-school students from Stanford that took their laser-cutters and 3-d printers on the road to visit elementary and middle schools.

Initially their goals were to introduce the kids to these whiz-bang new technologies….


Only one of the SparkTruck team had training in education. But when the group planned its workshops, Korsunskiy explained, they knew they wanted to emphasize the same skills and processes they’d learned in design school. “Somewhere in each activity, we wanted the kids to get stuck, physically or mentally,” he said.

But they found that the students were not used to design resourcefulness in general, and in particular, didn’t know what to do when they’d get ‘stuck’ with a problem.

Instead of answering their clamoring for ‘the answer’, (the one and only answer in their minds), the team leaders made them work it out on their own.  For example, how to keep the robot from tipping over?  Obviously there are many ways to approach that problem, but the kids wanted the team leaders just to tell ’em. No way.  They had to learn to be resourceful.

I remember this same attitude from some in architecture school.  There was always a small group of students who wanted to know exactly what it took to get an A.  How many drawings?  What sort of sections?  How much of a model?  It would drive me crazy…”just let me do what it took to tell the story of my building”.

American kids, in general, it turns out (no surprise) are not that good at creative solutions.  Maybe the best bet for our future is to buy shop tools, home economics labs, and let the kids CREATE!

In my 20’s I wanted to create a program to encourage drawing skill among educators.  Knowing that visual solutions speak volumes to math, science, history, literature, the ability to draw a great diagram, or to think creatively would inspire the students to do the same.  YET, very few Ed programs require teachers to have THIS skill for sure!  I’d begin there…

All photos credited to Sparktruck.org

*It says Sparktruck, not ‘Stucktruck’….the answers do come if you keep looking for them.

Instructions? Or, winging-it….

Image representing Prezi as depicted in CrunchBase


The point is, that although like most good website features there are tutorials…but I go straight for it. Full steam ahead. I figure if I can’t figure it out, if it isn’t user friendly enough to work WITHOUT instructions, I am not interested.

I have created a fun, story-telling about my impending trip to Portland. It taught me to face my worries, touch the milestones, and move on… very, very helpful. And, fun.


This initial connection with media is called ‘onboarding’…. basically how DO you get your feet wet? Methodically following tutorials or diving in head-first? I guess you know my answer.

Here’s an interesting bloger describing user interface today…I’d follow her if I were you– Whitney Hess.


So, do let me know the answer to my question…. what do you think?

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