my WWW site

Science My copy of the Firefox browser has a mind of its own. Through some quirk I can only put down to installing a rogue extension, whenever I block some text to copy it, the browser performs an 'I Feel Lucky' search at Google and deposits the result under a new tab. I hessitate to call it useless because sometimes something really interesting pops up that isn't pr0n. For example:
"This of course is the heart of the matter: Is it easier to get a rational perspective or must we continue to "round off" from our irrational and transcendental XYZ perspective? I think looking at a system from the rational fuller-like perspective is very useful, but when I want to measure or build something I reach for my computer and get an answer rather quickly. Perhaps when we build our synergetic visioning systems we will see ways to calculate what hitherto had been easier to do by calculator.

The trial-by-error method does offer a rational way to calculate your height of the equilateral triangle - but it's too slow for an impatient world. And nature doesn't care about its height - she just "expands" the consequences of gravity and radiation. Also it seems possible that mathematics was developed specifically to solve arbitrary problems. Maybe synergetics is more for understanding Nature and solving anticipatory design science problems. In sum I think that mathematics may always be the better tool for arbitrary calculations (the height of some figure such as the equilateral triangle)."
That's from this archive of an online discussion from 1994 about the work of Buckminster Fuller, the man who discover a new form of carbon atom, the C60, buckminsterfullerine or 'buckyball'.

What's interesting is that it looks like a snapshot of the internet in its very early embryonic stages when the science community was first getting to grips with the medium and the technology. Some even seem to be itching to blog five years too early ...
"The other day I was wandering through Star Magic -- another one of those science toy-type stores -- when I was about to complain that I never could find anything very interesting in such a store. Just as I began to speak, however, my friend said, "Sure, you play with the useless stuff and walk right past that thing you've been looking for for months." And he pointed me at a little kit called a Vector Flexor. I don't know how many of you have run into this, but its rather neat. It's basically colored sticks and rubber tubes, and the rubber tubes can be assembled into an X shape and the sticks stuck into them to make a vector equilibrium. It's pretty cool, because it can be made to jitterbug and it comes with a pretty detailed insert explaining what it is and even refers the buyer to several of Bucky's books. I plan to put a blurb up for the company on my WWW site. I don't have the information with me now, though, but I'll post it tomorrow, I think."
'my WWW site' sounds about as far away from the user experience now as parchment. Although notice he uses the word 'post' somewhat earlier than I though that jargon was being engaged. Elsewhere, they're grappling with graphics:

Great job on the JPEG of your tensegrity image. Just a note for Mac
users: the new freeware application "UUWrench 1.21" pulls the JPEG
information right out of the e-mail and prepares the file for immediate
view with JPEGView 3.3 or whatever.

Chris, can we ask for more? ;)

Ted A. Hunt"
Further down is a survey about email use for a research project (it's too big to repost here but search for the words 'virtual friend' on the page). I wonder if they learnt anything, because looking at the questions, some things haven't changed...

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