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Keeping The Net’s Long Memory Stocked: Jason Scott @ The Interval— February 24, 02015

Posted on Wednesday, February 18th, 02015 by Mikl Em
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Jason Scott of Archive Team and Archive.org

February 24, 02015
Jason Scott (archivist, historian, filmmaker)
The Web in an Eyeblink at The Interval

Tickets are now on sale: space is limited and we expect this talk to sell out

If you are reading this then Jason Scott has probably backed up bits that matter to you–whether you are an ex-SysOp or only use the Web to read this blog. Jason works on no less than three important online archives, each of which is invaluable in preserving our digital history. He’s also made two documentaries about pre-Web networked-computer culture The BBS Documentary and Get Lamp.

Jason Scott with Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle at ROFLCon Summit

Jason created textfiles.com in 01998 to make thousands of files once found on online bulletin board systems (BBSs) available again after they had become scarce in the era of the World Wide Web. He founded Archive Team in 02009 to rescue user data from popular sites that shut down with little notice; this loose collective has launched “Distributed Preservation of Service Attacks” to save content from Friendster, GeoCities and Google Reader amongst others. In 02011 Jason began curating the Internet Archive‘s software collection: the largest online library of vintage and historical software in the world.

Long Now welcomes Jason Scott to our Conversations at The Interval series:
“The Web in an Eye Blink” on Tuesday, February 24, 02015

The Internet is a network of networks that has the ability to bring the far reaches of the world closer, seemingly in real time. A Big Here in a short Now. But there’s a Long Now of the Internet also in that it connects us through time: a shared memory of readily accessible information. Accessible as long as the resource exists somewhere on the system. So the Internet should give worldwide access to our long memory, all the content we’ve ever put online, right? Unfortunately there are some challenges. But happily we have allies.

The network path to a specific document is a technological chain. And it can be a brittle one. The chain’s components include servers, cables, protocols, programming code, and even human decisions. If one connection in the chain fails–whether it’s the hardware, software, or just a hyperlink–the information becomes inaccessible. And perhaps it’s lost forever. This problem is an aspect of what we call the Digital Dark Age.

The Dilemma of Modern Media

The “High technology” industry is innovation/obsolescence driven by its nature; so new models and software updates often undermine that network-chain in the name of progress. But the tech industry’s competitive business environment causes another threat to our online memory. Mergers and acquisitions shift product offerings irregardless of customer sentiment, let alone the historical importance of a site or service. Users who have invested time and effort in creating content and customizing their accounts will often get little notice about a site’s impending demise. And it’s rare that companies provide tools or guidance to enable customers to preserve their own data. That’s why Jason started Archive Team: to save digital assets for users not empowered to do so themselves. Initially reactive they now keep a “Death Watch” to warn users and keep their own team alert ahead of time about sites that don’t look long for this world.

There is no FDIC for user data. Jason Scott and the Archive Team are all we’ve got.

Jason Scott at ROFLCon II -- Photo by Scott Beale photo by Scott Beale

Jason’s advice is to help ourselves. As he said about the strange case of Twitpic.com:

Assuming that your photographs, writing, email, or other data is important to you … you should always be looking for an export function or a way to save a local backup. If a company claims it’s too hard, they are lying. If they claim that they have everything under control, ignore that and demand your export and local backup again.

The broken link may be the most pernicious of the many breaks that can occur in the network chain. When a linked file is removed or renamed, even if it’s been available for years, all access is instantly cut off. The Wayback Machine, a database of 452 Billion previously downloaded web pages, is a solution to that problem and it’s the main feature of archive.org that most people use today.

But the Internet Archive is much more than a database of web pages. It is a non-profit library with an ever-growing collection of books, movies, software, music, and more is available online for free. The archive preserves and expands our collective memory. And Jason’s work with archiving vintage software is especially groundbreaking.

Thousands of computer and arcade games have been added to the Archive in the last year. Many games have been saved from complete extinction in the process. But Jason and team have done more than that. They have built a website on which this code can run, so that the games are playable again. They did it with JSMESS, Javascript code that can emulate nearly 1000 vintage computing and gaming platforms. So the fact that physical components once requisite for these programs to be accessed will never be manufactured again has ceased to be a limitation. Hardware (computers, gaming consoles, disk drives) is no longer, or much less of, a weak link in the technological chain.

And these games which ran on Apple II’s, TRS-80s, Atari 2600′s, etc, from the historically important and nostalgia-rich era of the 01980s and 01990s will now run in many 21st Century web browsers.

Which browsers? Maybe your browser. Can you see a black box below? If so click the button and you’ll have a chance to play Apple’s 01979 “Apple ][” game Lemonade Stand. Have fun. And be patient. Things were slower then.

You can thank Jason Scott for uploading this and thousands of other fun, useful, or just old pieces of software.

In fact, you can thank him in person when he speaks at The Interval at Long Now this Tuesday, February 24, 02015: “The Web in an Eye Blink”. Jason will talk about his work in the frame of the Long Now.

Get your tickets soon, we expect this talk to sell out.

See Andy Baio’s piece on Medium for more thoughts on Jason’s work and the implications of the Archive’s software collection.

Photos by Jason Scott unless otherwise noted

Pace Layer Thinkers: Stewart Brand and Paul Saffo’s Conversation at The Interval, Recap and Full Audio

Posted on Sunday, February 8th, 02015 by Mikl Em
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Stewart Brand talks Pace Layers Thinking at The Interval
Photo by Julie Momméja


Stewart Brand: Pace Layers Thinking at The Interval January 02015Paul Saffo: Pace Layers Thinking at The Interval, January 02015

On January 27, 02015 Long Now Foundation founding Board members Stewart Brand and Paul Saffo spoke at Long Now’s San Francisco venue The Interval about Pace Layers Thinking to a sold out crowd.

This was the 17th event in our Conversations at The Interval series since it began in May 02014. We informally call these “salon talks” due to their small size (relative to our SALT series) which allows our speakers and audience to meet and continue the discussion after the microphones are turned off.

It’s only the second time we’ve posted audio from an Interval talk. We’re proud to share this talk by two of our founding Board members.

Stewart Brand and Paul Saffo — photos by Ian Kennedy

Paul Saffo and Stewart Brand at The Interval, January 02015
Photo by Mikl Em

Stewart introduced pace layers in The Clock of Long Now (01999). In the book he credits Freeman Dyson and Brian Eno, amongst others, for influencing his thinking on intra-societal tiers that move at differing speeds. At The Interval he went deeper into the origins of the idea, citing the concept of “Shearing Layers” by architect Frank Duffy as a precursor to pace layers. Stewart featured Duffy’s idea in his 01994 book How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built.

Frank Duffy - Shearing Layers; Pace Layers at The Interval Jan 02015

The beginnings of the concept can be found in this excerpt from How Buildings Learn:

To change is to lose identity; yet to change is to be alive. Buildings partially resolve the paradox by offering the hierarchy of pace – you can fiddle with the Stuff and Space Plan all you want, while the Structure and Site remain solid and reliable.

How Buildings Learn was influential in surprising ways. It was embraced for its applicability to systems thinking and software design amongst other things. And pace layers continues to be utilized as a framework for understanding many different kinds of complex, overlapping systems. Here’s a recent example:

Pace Layers applied to software; Pace Layers at The Interval Jan 02015

Stewart shared an amazing artifact: a preliminary sketch of the pace layers diagram dating to December 01996. He drew it after discussions with Brian Eno. It includes a couple of the final edits which he mentions in his talk: the top layer was changed to Fashion from “Art”, at Eno’s insistence. And  “Government” is here annotated with “Governance” which it would become in the final version.

How to represent the Pace Layers - Stewart Brand and Brian Eno

In The Clock of the Long Now Stewart presents the diagram and lays out the pace layers concept in a 6-page chapter. He draws parallels to natural systems. He cites numerous sources that have informed his thinking. It’s remarkably efficient in presenting this idea, managing to be dense and readable at the same time.

While this Interval talk is a great introduction, if you are intrigued by pace layers then you should read the book. It is 200 pages long and includes many more great ideas. It’s also a great history of The Long Now Foundation. And it features probably the most entertaining correspondence with the Interval Revenue Service that you will ever read. Just saying.

In Pace Layers the relationship between layers is key to the health of the system. More specifically, as both Stewart and Paul point out, the conflicts caused by layers moving at different speeds actually keeps thing balanced and resilient. Paul calls this “constructive turbulence.” Stewart’s slide details how fast (upper) and slow (descending) layers interact.

Fast and Slow Layers contrasted; Pace Layers at The Interval Jan 02015

Paul Saffo teaches pace layers in his forecasting classes at Stanford, and he compared the speed of change in Silicon Valley to the slow shifting of the San Andreas Fault below. In fact he sees The Valley as having its own particular ecosystem of pace layers forming a standing vortex (akin to the eye of Jupiter). For those of us here in the Bay Area: “We all live on von Kármán vortex street.”

Paul Saffo talks Pace Layers Thinking at The Interval

Paul called on a couple people in the audience to speak about how they use pace layers. Customer feedback, as it were. First up was Andrea Saveri who uses pace layers in futures education. For the 14 to 21 year-old students she works with, it provides a concrete way to think about time horizons, abstract thinking and the long-term future.

Peter Leyden was a colleague of Stewart’s at Global Business Network (GBN) around the time pace layers was published. Today, he noted, Culture and Nature are accelerating (driven by technology and climate change, respectively) but Governance isn’t responding. Even as the layers move below it, it’s not innovating.

Stewart had an answer for that. Look to cities and city-states (Singapore) which are less ideological and may be the change agents in Governance that are needed.

Stewart Brand and Paul Saffo talk Pace Layers Thinking at The Interval
Paul Saffo closed his presentation with another take on Earth’s pace layers: Anthros ( Bios ( Lithos ( Cosmos

“This is a data free document” Stewart replied to a data-specific audience question. And maybe that lack of hard data has aided its longevity and versatility. It’s a framework, a way to look at issues in a society; or it can be projected on other systems. The lines are not hard lines; borders between layers are turbulent zones “where the action is”. But it’s not tied to “facts” which may turn out to have expiration dates.

Pace layering from "The Clock of the Long Now" by Stewart Brand

Here’s how Stewart introduced pace layers back in 01999:

I propose six significant levels of pace and size in the working structure of a robust and adaptable civilization. [...] In a healthy society each level is allowed to operate at its own pace, safely sustained by the slower levels below and kept invigorated by the livelier levels above.

He put forward pace layers as an ideal model, knowing that no society made of humans will operate perfectly to plan. After a decade and a half of continued use, the model seems to have garnered overwhelmingly positive feedback. It continues to be a useful bridge to long-term thinking. Its conceptual outline has been applied successfully to many areas of human activity. Maybe we should no longer call it “an idea.” And call it wisdom instead.

Paul Saffo and Stewart Brand at The Interval, January 02015
Photo by Mikl Em

We hope you’ll listen to this talk in full and tell us what you think of the Conversations series. We’d like to make more audio and video of these events available in the future. Long Now is looking for grants and sponsorships to underwrite the production and distribution of these talks on a wider scale. Please let us know if you have ideas on that.

Conversations after Stewart Brand and Paul Saffo's Pace Layers Thinking at The IntervalPhotos by Julie Momméja unless otherwise noted
Thanks to Rhonda Evans (Monitor Institute) for her notes

Jeffrey McGrew: Talking with Robots about Architecture at The Interval — February 10, 02015

Posted on Tuesday, February 3rd, 02015 by Mikl Em
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Jeffrey McGrew at The Interval: Talking with Robots about Architecture

February 10, 02015
Jeffrey McGrew (architect of The Interval)
Talking with Robots about Architecture at The Interval

Tickets are still available: space is limited and these talks tend to sell out.

Our next event in the Conversations at The Interval series features architect Jeffrey McGrew, a co-designer of The Interval, talking about technological innovations that are changing the future of architecture. Jeffey’s career has tracked the rapid evolution of software and automation in the building industry and in many ways his own robot-enabled firm exemplifies the tech-driven changes going on in the field today.

Jeffrey and his wife Jillian Northrup founded Because We Can eight years ago as a design-build studio with the help of their very own robot: a CNC router, named Frank. “Design-build” means they are not only design but also fabricate many elements of the work they do for commercial and residential clients.

Jeffrey McGrew of Because We Can

This ability to see the project from initial vision to production allows them to produce highly detailed work like this steampunk-themed zoo they built in Mississippi:

Jeffrey McGrew at The Interval, February 02015

When Long Now decided to convert our museum/store space at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco into a one-of-a-kind bar, cafe, museum, library, we realized that Because We Can were the perfect partner to help us build The Interval. Their nimble, technology-enabled approach allowed us to have a voice in the design. They designed and then built out many elements of our space in their Oakland workshop including parts of the ceiling bottle keep and finishing our custom stone bar top:

Jeffrey McGrew speaks at The Interval
Jeffrey McGrew at The Interval: Talking with Robots about Architecture Jeffrey McGrew at The Interval: Talking with Robots about Architecture

Jeffrey’s experience includes hands-on construction work as well as working at architecture firms large and small. He earned his Architect’s license via the old apprenticeship model. Today he speaks regularly about architecture and technology to both industry and general audiences from Autodesk University to Maker Faire.

In his talk at The Interval Jeffrey will discuss how robots, software, and other technologies are changing the way architects and builders work in powerful and surprising ways. The robots are already here and they are helping the humans to work better.

The video below gives a behind-the-scenes look at how Because We Can designs and builds a project. Tickets for Tuesday’s talk are selling fast. Make sure to get yours soon.

Video and photos by Because We Can

Pace Layers Thinking: Paul Saffo and Stewart Brand @ The Interval — January 27, 02015

Posted on Tuesday, January 27th, 02015 by Mikl Em
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Pace layering from "The Clock of the Long Now" by Stewart Brand“Pace Layers” diagram from Stewart Brand’s book “The Clock of the Long Now”

January 27, 02015:
Paul Saffo and Stewart Brand (Long Now Board members)
Pace Layer Thinking
at The Interval

This talk is sold out.
Long Now members can tune in for a live audio simulcast at 7:15 PT on January 27

In “Pace Layer Thinking” Stewart Brand and Paul Saffo will discuss Stewart’s six-layer framework for how a healthy society functions. It is an idea which, 15 years after he first suggested it, continues to be influential and inspiring.

Because interest in this event has been overwhelming (tickets sold out within hours of our announcing it), Long Now will share a live audio stream on the Long Now member site. Any member can access this stream starting at 7:15pm PT tonight. Memberships start at $8/month. We also live stream our monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking to our members.

Stewart Brand speaks at The Interval on January 27, 02015Stewart Brand photo by Pete Forsyth

Stewart will join fellow Long Now board member Paul Saffo (Stanford, Singularity University) to reflect on the past and future of one his many enduring ideas. An expert forecaster himself with decades of experience, Paul will put Pace Layers’ influence into perspective. And lead a discussion with Stewart and the audience about the many ways that Pace Layers thinking can be useful.

This talk takes place at The Interval, Long Now’s San Francisco museum/bar/cafe/venue. The Interval hosts events like this on Tuesday nights a couple times a month. The limited capacity guarantees an intimate event. Speakers at The Interval stay afterwards to continue the discussion with the audience. See our upcoming lineup here.

The Interval at Long NowPhoto by Because We Can

Stewart Brand first explained the idea of “Pace Layers” in his 01999 book The Clock of Long Now. On page 37, in a chapter that cites Brian Eno and Freeman Dyson amongst others, the diagram first appears. It shows six layers that function simultaneously at different speeds within society. We will have a limited number of signed copies of The Clock of Long Now as well as Stewart’s How Buildings Learn for sale at the talk.

Recently Stewart spoke about Pace Layers at the Evernote Conference (video below) at the request of Evernote CEO Phil Libin. Phil’s intro makes it clear how much Stewart’s work has influenced him. Especially Pace layers.

If you weren’t able to get tickets to tonight’s talk, you can still tune in online at 7:15 PT for the live audio stream if you are a member of The Long Now Foundation.

Stewart Brand co-founded The Long Now Foundation in 01996 and serves as president of the Long Now board. He created and edited the Whole Earth Catalog, co-founded the Hackers Conference and The WELL. His books include The Clock of the Long Now; How Buildings Learn; and The Media Lab, and most recently Whole Earth Discipline. He curates and hosts Long Now’s monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking series in San Francisco. He also co-founded Revive & Restore, a Long Now project focused on genetic rescue for endangered and extinct species.

Paul Saffo is a Long Now Foundation board member and a forecaster with extensive experience exploring the dynamics of large-scale, long-term change. He teaches forecasting at Stanford University and chairs the Future Studies and Forecasting track at Singularity University. He is a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and a Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. Paul’s essays have appeared in The Harvard Business Review, Foreign Policy, Wired, Washington Post, and The New York Times amongst many others.

Mathieu Victor at The Interval: January 20: Artists with Lasers

Posted on Tuesday, January 13th, 02015 by Mikl Em
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Artists with Lasers: Mathieu Victor CNC

January 20, 02015: Mathieu Victor (artist, technologist)
Artists with Lasers: Art, Tech, & Craft in the 21st Century

Co-produced with Zero1

Tickets are still available: space is limited and these talks tend to sell out.

Technology enables art, and artists push technologies to their limits. That’s just part of the long-running story that Mathieu Victor will tell in his salon talk on January 20 at The Interval at Long Now in San Francisco. It’s a story that features Bell Labs and Marcel Duchamp, Computer Numerical Control (better known as “CNC“) and, yes, lasers, too.

Artist Mathieu Victor speaks on January 20 at The Interval
Artist Mathieu Victor at The Interval

Mathieu’s talk will survey centuries of fine arts practice as well as some of today’s most cutting edge work. Trained as an art and technology historian, he has hands-on experience in bringing ambitious projects into reality including his work as production manager for artist Jeff Koons.

Koons’ studio is one of the world’s largest purely fine arts enterprises, integrating a “factory” and “design studio” model and employing hundreds of artists and an international network of fabricators. In his more than a decade of work with Koons, Mathieu oversaw the technical aspects of this multidisciplinary practice, working with professionals ranging from fashion designers to aerospace manufacturers.

Artists with Lasers: Jeff Koons gorilla photo

Jeff Koons, “Gorilla”, CNC Milled Absolute black granite, 2009-11. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images

In the course of his fabrication work Mathieu has run R&D projects with GE, Delcam, AutoDesk, M.I.T, and other industry leaders in creative and manufacturing technologies. He has collaborated with many of the world’s top creative entities including BMW, Stella McCartney, Taschen Publishing, Lady Gaga, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade, and lead some of the most ambitious efforts to date in applying manufacturing technology to the fine arts.

We hope you can join us for this exciting look at the interplay of technology and fine arts, craft and design. Tickets and more information about the talk are here.

Mathieu Victor speaks at The Interval - January 20, 02015
Barry X Ball “Paired, mirrored, flayed, javelin-impaled…” Mexican Onyx 2000 – 2007

This is the first in a series of talks produced in collaboration between The Long Now Foundation and ZERO1: The Art & Technology Network on art, time, and technology

Next in the series: artist Jonathon Keats speaks at The Interval on April 7th, 02015 in conjunction with his Neanderthal Design Studio opening at ZERO1 on April 3. Stay tuned for more details on that event. Tickets will go on sale in March.

Scotty Strachan: The Great Basin in the Anthropocene @ The Interval January 6 — The Mountains Keep Teaching

Posted on Sunday, January 4th, 02015 by Mikl Em
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Scotty Strachan up and upPhoto by Scotty Strachan

January 6, 02015: Scotty Strachan (University Nevada-Reno)
Long Now’s Nevada: the Great Basin in the Anthropocene
Tickets are still available

This Tuesday a very special event begins our 02015 series of salon talks at The Interval in San Francisco. The Great Basin in the Anthropocene on January 6 will be a night full of science, natural beauty, and Long Now lore.

Scotty Strachan will talk about the natural history of the Great Basin Region. Scotty’s scientific research includes study of the climate and hydrology of the area as well as tree-ring analysis of bristlecone pines. This work has been conducted throughout the region including on Long Now’s property on Mount Washington in Nevada. Alexander Rose, Long Now’s Executive Director, will give a special introduction about Long Now’s history and connection with the area. You can purchase tickets here while they last.

In Stewart Brand’s 02004 TED talk (full video below), he tells some of the story of Long Now’s Mount Washington. It’s a talk Stewart called “How Mountains Teach”.

In 02004 we were considering the mountain as the initial site for the 10,000 Year Clock. And while we are currently building in Texas, we remain committed to this fascinating, important area. Long Now’s property features the largest group of bristlecone pines on private land. Bristlecones are amongst the oldest living things on the planet and are a symbol of The Long Now.

As Stewart says in the talk:

If you go up on top of those cliffs, that’s some of the Long Now land in those trees. And if you go up there and look back, then you’ll get a sense of what the view starts to be like from the top of the mountain. That’s the long view. That’s 80 miles to the horizon. And that’s also timberline and those bristlecones really are shrubs. That’s a different place to be. It’s 11,400 feet and it’s exquisite.

This talk is a great introduction not only to Mt. Washington, but also to the entire Great Basin region. Alexander’s introduction before Scotty’s talk will revisit the story of Long Now’s purchase of the land, and talk about why it means so much to our organization.

Scotty is also a talented photographer. While conducting field research in the mountains and valleys of eastern Nevada, he also takes the time to document the natural beauty of the area. We are thrilled to share dozens of Scotty’s photographs not only during his talk but on video screens at The Interval leading up to and following his talk. Below are just a few examples of Scotty’s work. Tickets and more information about the talk are here.

Mt Washington bristlecone -- Scotty Strachan at The Interval Scotty Strachan at The Interval Mt Washington Great Basin
Great Basin horses - Scotty Strachan
Great Basin golden sky - Scotty Strachan Great Basin red sky - Scotty Strachan
Scotty Strachan long walk Nevada
All photos by Scotty Strachan

Rick Prelinger: Lost Landscapes of San Francisco (02013) — Seminar Flashback

Posted on Monday, December 29th, 02014 by Mikl Em
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Rick Prelinger photo by Cory DoctorowRick Prelinger photo by Cory Doctorow

In December 02013 film archivist Rick Prelinger presented Lost Landscapes of San Francisco 8 for our Seminars About Long-term Thinking series. It’s been an annual tradition in our series since 02008. Click here to watch the full video. We do not publish audio podcasts for Lost Landscapes events because of their reliance on visuals.

Rick, the founder of the Prelinger Archives, curates a vintage filmic view of San Francisco to show our audience each December at the historic Castro Theater. He includes some industrial films and Hollywood “B roll”, but primarily Rick showcases home movies by amateur San Francisco filmmakers of decades past. As most footage is silent, Rick always begins the night by reminding the sold-out audience that “You are the soundtrack!”

Rick Prelinger Lost Landscapes of San Francisco

From Stewart Brand’s summary of the event (in full here):

Rick’s film this time featured the China Clipper taking off from the water next to the World’s Fair on Treasure Island; another float plane hopping along the water from Oakland to San Francisco as a ferry; the now outlawed traditional downtown blizzard of calendar pages drifting down from highrise offices celebrating the last day of work every December; the dirt roads of Telegraph Hill leading to Julius’ Castle; one of the 80,000 Victory Gardens in the city during World War 2; the bay filled with war ships (no one was supposed to photograph them); a tourist promotion film lauding San Francisco’s “invigorating sea mists”; a drive down historic middle Market Street, with the audience crying out a landmark: There’s the Twitter Building!

Rick Prelinger Lost Landscapes of San Francisco

Video of the twelve most recent Long Now Seminars is free for all to view. Lost Landscapes of San Francisco 8 is a recent SALT talk, free for public viewing until February 02014. The most recent 12 currently also includes Lost Landscapes of San Francisco 9 (from December 4, 02014). Long Now members can see all Seminar videos in HD including the five previous years of Rick’s “Lost Landscapes”.

Rick Prelinger is an archivist and filmmaker based in San Francisco. In 01983 Rick founded the Prelinger Archives which focus on home movies and industrial films. With his wife Megan Prelinger he runs The Prelinger Library in San Francisco: an independent research library with regular public hours. His film project No More Road Trips? is assembled from hundreds of home movies dating back to the 1920s. It has screened at the New York Film Festival and SXSW. Rick serves on the Board of The Internet Archive.

Rick Prelinger film shelves

The Seminars About Long-term Thinking series began in 02003 and is presented each month live in San Francisco. It is curated and hosted by Long Now’s President Stewart Brand. Seminar audio is available to all via podcast.

Everyone can watch full video of the last 12 Long Now Seminars (including this video until February 02015). Long Now members can watch the full ten years of Seminars in HD. Membership levels start at $8/month and include lots of benefits.

You can join Long Now here.

Long Now’s Nevada and Artists with Lasers: January 02015 at The Interval

Posted on Thursday, December 18th, 02014 by Mikl Em
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Scotty Strachan speaks at The Interval - January 6, 02015

We have just announced our lineup of upcoming events at The Interval for 02015. The first four months of the year will feature talks on art, science, history, technology and long-term thinking. Tickets are on sale now for the first two:

January 6, 02015
Scotty Strachan: The Great Basin in the Anthropocene
environmental researcher at University Nevada-Reno
Scotty will talk about his scientific research in the Great Basin region including the Long Now owned site on Mount Washington in Nevada

January 20, 02015
Mathieu Victor: Artists with Lasers
artist, technology consultant (formerly of Jeff Koons studio)
first in a series on art, time, and technology talks produced with ZERO1

Space is limited at these events and tickets will sell out. So get yours early. If you make a tax-deductible donation to The Interval you’ll be added to our list for early notice about Interval event tickets. More information on these events below.

When we opened The Interval in June 02014 one of our goals was to host great events in our cafe/bar/museum space at Fort Mason in San Francisco. It was important that these talks complement our larger format Seminars About Long-term Thinking series which we produce for audiences of several hundred in San Francisco each month and are enjoyed around the world via podcast.

So The Interval’s “salon talk” series events are more frequent (2 or 3 times a month) and intimate: fewer than 100 people attend and have the chance to meet and converse with our speaker afterward. So far we’ve produced 14 events in this series and all of them have sold out. They are being recorded and will eventually become a podcast of their own. But we don’t yet have a timeline for that, so your best bet is to attend in person.

Scotty Strachan speaks at The Interval on January 6, 02015
Scotty Strachan speaks at The Interval - January 6, 02015

Tuesday January 6, 02015:
Scotty Strachan: Long Now’s Nevada: the Great Basin in the Anthropocene

Our first Interval salon talk of 02015 features geographer Scotty Strachan discussing the Great Basin region of eastern Nevada. Amonst his other work Scotty conducts research on Long Now’s Mount Washington property. Scotty has done extensive work with bristlecone pine trees which are amongst the oldest organisms on the planet often living for several thousand years. He will discuss his work in eastern Nevada and put it in perspective with climate science efforts worldwide.

Mathieu Victor speaks at The Interval on January 20, 02015
Mathieu Victor speaks at The Interval - January 20, 02015

Tuesday January 20, 02015:
Mathieu Victor: Artists with Lasers. Art, Tech, & Craft in the 21st Century

A creator, art historian and technologist, Mathieu Victor has worked for artists, galleries, and leading design studios. Mathieu’s study of past practice matched with his experience in executing extraordinary contemporary projects give him a unique perspective on how art in the physical world benefits from the digital age.

Other highlights of the 02015 salon talk schedule that we’ve announced: The Interval’s architect/design team Because We Can and Jason Scott of the Internet Archive will speak in February; and Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Rhodes will talk about his new book on the Spanish Civil War in March. More talks will be announced soon. We hope you’ll join us at The Interval soon.

Brian Eno and Danny Hillis: The Long Now, now — a Seminar Flashback

Posted on Tuesday, December 9th, 02014 by Mikl Em
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Brian Eno, Danny Hillis: The Long Now, now, Seminar About Long-term Thinking 1/02014

Brian Eno, Danny Hillis: The Long Now, now, Seminar About Long-term Thinking 1/02014 photos by Kelly Ida Scope

In January 02014 Brian Eno and Danny Hillis, co-founders of The Long Now Foundation, spoke about The Long Now, now in our Seminars About Long-term Thinking series. Long Now’s third co-founder, Stewart Brand, joined them onstage for the second part of the talk.

Leaving the planet, singing, religion, drugs, sex, and parenting are all touched on in their wide-ranging and humor-filled discussion. There’s much about the 10,000 Year Clock project, of course, including details about how The Clock’s chime generator will work. And, fittingly, they discuss the notion of art as conversation.

Video of the 12 most recent Seminars is free for all to view. The Long Now, now is a recent SALT talk, free for public viewing until Februray 02015. Listen to SALT audio free on our Seminar pages and via podcastLong Now members can see all Seminar videos in HD.

From Stewart Brand’s summary of the talk (in full here):

Hillis talked about the long-term stories we live by and how our expectations of the future shape the future, such as our hopes about space travel. Eno said that Mars is too difficult to live on, so what’s the point, and Hillis said, “That’s short-term thinking. There are three big game-changers going on: globalization, computers, and synthetic biology. (If I were a grad student now, I wouldn’t study computer science, I’d study synthetic biology.) I probably wouldn’t want to live on Mars in this body, but I could imagine adapting myself so I would want to live on Mars. To me it’s pretty inevitable that Earth is just our starting point.”

Danny Hillis is an inventor, scientist, author, and engineer. He pioneered the concept of parallel computers that is now the basis for most supercomputers, as well as the RAID disk array technology used to store large databases. He holds over 100 U.S. patents, covering parallel computers, disk arrays, forgery prevention methods, and various electronic and mechanical devices. Danny Hillis is also the designer of Long Now’s 10,000-year Clock.

Brian Eno is a composer, producer and visual artist. He was a founding member of Roxy Music and has produced albums for such groundbreaking artists as David Bowie, The Talking Heads and U2. He is credited with coining the term “Ambient Music” and making some of the definitive recordings in that genre. In recent years he has focused on generative art including numerous gallery installations and his Ambient Painting at The Interval at Long Now. His music is available for purchase at Enoshop.

EnoandHillisClockShop photo by Alexander Rose

The Seminars About Long-term Thinking series began in 02003 and is presented each month live in San Francisco. It is curated and hosted by Long Now’s President Stewart Brand. Seminar audio is available to all via podcast.

Everyone can watch full video of the last 12 Long Now Seminars (including this Seminar video until February 02015). Long Now members can watch the full ten years of Seminars in HD. Membership levels start at $8/month and include lots of benefits.

You can join Long Now here.

Brian Eno, Danny Hillis: The Long Now, now, Seminar About Long-term Thinking 1/02014

Brian Eno, Danny Hillis: The Long Now, now, Seminar About Long-term Thinking 1/02014
photos by Kelly Ida Scope


The Interval’s Chalk-Drawing Robot Makes Its Debut: December 8, 02014

Posted on Monday, November 24th, 02014 by Mikl Em
link   Categories: Announcements, Events, Technology, The Interval   chat 0 Comments

Chalk Drawing Machine by Jürg Lehni at The Interval at Long Now

On the evening of Monday December 8, 02014 from 8pm to midnight, come see the first demonstrations of Jürg Lehni’s Chalk-Drawing Machine at The Interval.

Jürg will be in attendance and will give live demonstrations throughout the evening.

The Long Now Foundation commissioned Jürg and his team in Switzerland to build a custom version of his Viktor chalk-drawing machine and create software to interface with it for our San Francisco bar/cafe/museum venue The Interval. We are working with Jürg to develop content for the machine and eventually make it a platform for use by visiting speakers and artists.

The design of the chalk-drawing machine is extremely elegant, using an unconventional system of pulleys that is driven by high-quality Maxon Swiss servo motors to triangulate the drawing tool. The motors are coordinated by an open-source controller developed by Jürg himself.

Thanks to swissnex San Francisco who brought Jürg Lehni and his work to San Francisco in 02013; we met Jürg through his participation in several shows that year.