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Stewart Brand’s Selected Books for the Manual for Civilization

Posted on Tuesday, March 4th, 02014 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
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Stewart Brand LibraryStewart Brand selects books from his library, photo by Alexander Rose

Long Now’s Founding Board Member Stewart Brand suggested more than 70 volumes for our Manual for Civilization collection. The Manual will be housed within The Interval at Long Now, our new public space which opens to the public this Spring.

The 3500 books that comprise the Manual for Civilization will serve as the library component of The Interval. A dominant feature, seen immediately upon entering and even visible from outside, on shelves stretching floor to ceiling and set amongst the large scale mechanical prototypes of our 10,000-Year Clock, the Manual will present a compelling image for visitors to our space.

Support The Interval at Long Now

As construction of The Interval at Long Now nears completion, our fundraising continues. We are in the final stretch of the capital campaign to fund renovations to our San Francisco space that not only houses The Interval but also Long Now’s offices.

If this venue, its unique library, and all its other features capture your imagination, please consider a donation at any level. You can be a part of giving long-term thinkers a beautiful place to gather, full of amazing books. Also please spread the word to others you think would appreciate this project.

Writer, futurist, environmentalist and Long Now co-founder, Stewart Brand keeps three personal libraries. In the last month he walked us through all of them and carefully selected books for the list below. It is a remarkable list of titles old and new.

From the Epic of Gilgamesh to contemporary science fiction. Homer’s epics and Beowulf, Lao Tzu and Machiavelli. But also Brian Fagan’s The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization and Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman from 02011. There are many past Long Now Seminar speakers: Ian Morris, Jared Diamond, Steven Pinker and Verner Vinge to name only a few. And no less than 6 novels by the British Science Fiction author Iain M. Banks, who passed away last year.

Keep in mind that like Brian Eno’s list and others we’ll be posting soon, this is not intended as a standalone set of books, but as part of the larger corpus of thousands of texts that we are assembling. That collection will include submissions from Long Now members and the donors to our ‘brickstarter’ campaign to help build the Long Now’s Interval (formerly referred to as Long Now Salon).

Together these books assemble knowledge essential for us to maintain, extend and (if needed) recreate what humans have achieved thus far. Here are Stewart Brand’s recommendations:

Many thanks to Stewart for taking the time and care to recommend these books for our collection.

As we approach The Interval opening this Spring, we will continue this series of lists suggested by friends and associates of Long Now for the Manual. You’ll see books recommended by Neal StephensonViolet BlueKevin KellyMegan & Rick Prelinger, and Danny Hillis.

Manual for Civilization Shelf level

To add your own recommendations of books to include in the Manual for Civilization and vote on which suggested titles should find a place on The Interval’s shelves, just make a donation to support the project. All donors, at any level, can suggest and vote on books.

We look forward to your contributions!

The Interval at Long Now

Posted on Monday, March 3rd, 02014 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
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The Interval is the name of Long Now's new salon space in San Francisco. Opening Spring 02014

Today we are proud to introduce you to The Interval. You know it already as “The Long Now Salon.” But all along we knew our new space at Fort Mason in San Francisco needed a name all its own.

The Interval will be a bar, museum, event venue, cafe, and archive. A welcoming public space and a gathering place for The Long Now Foundation’s fans, friends, and members.

An interval is a measure of time or the space between. An intervening period, a pause within time that is in a way time-less. Long Now’s mission is to foster long-term thinking and responsibility. And implicitly we want to change the way people perceive time. All times intersect at The Interval: a place for longer nows, discussing the future, enjoying the present, celebrating the past.

The Interval opens very soon, in just a matter of weeks. We need your help to complete the funding for this unique venue. Our ‘brickstarter’ campaign has raised more than two-thirds of what’s needed, but we still have about $100,000 to go as we finish construction and approach opening.

Recent progress includes installing new doors at the entrance to The Interval:

The Interval is Long Now's new bar, cafe and venue

Every donation helps bring this new space to life. And we have devised some special ways to say “thanks” for your tax-deductible gift. These include special events just for donors in the first days of The Interval, Long Now gifts, and special “bottle keep” drinks at the venue. All the details are here.

Soon we’ll have exciting announcements about Brian Eno’s sound and visual design for the space, more about the Manual for Civilization, our chalkboard robot, the opening date, pre-opening events and the amazing cocktail & cafe menus we’ll be serving.

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We invite you to join the list of hundreds of supporters including Long Now’s Board, past speakers, eminent authors, artists, scientists, and people around the world. Every gift helps us toward our goal.

 

Brian Eno’s Selected Books for the Manual for Civilization

Posted on Friday, February 28th, 02014 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
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Brian Eno - Manual For Civilization
Brian Eno visited San Francisco to see the site where the Manual for Civilization shelves will be
Photo by Alexander Rose

 
Twenty books suggested by Long Now’s Founding Board Member Brian Eno form the first in a series of reports on additions to our Manual for Civilization collection. This library will eventually include 3,500 books you would most want to sustain or rebuild civilization. The Manual needs your help to get built!  Please make a donation so we can purchase these books and the shelves they go on.  The Manual will be a central feature of our new space that opens later this year. Here are Brian Eno’s recommendations:

We need your help to finish this library. There are only weeks left to finish our fund raising and we need to raise at least another $100,000. Please make a donation to support this project and get direct access to the book recommendation and voting engine for the Manual for Civilization.

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Some of the other contributor lists we will be sharing soon include selections from Stewart Brand, Neal Stephenson, Violet Blue, Kevin Kelly, Danny Hillis, Megan and Rick Prelinger and many more.

Once the Salon is open we hope to have events where people can argue a new book in OR out of the collection.  It will be a living collection that evolves over time.  The Internet Archive has generously agreed to serve as the digital backup repository of the collection so that anyone with internet access can “check out” the books, or use the list to help create their version of the archive.

You can see more about this project on the original Manual for Civilization blog post.  Soon we will need to begin collecting the actual books for our shelves, and will be asking for book donations from our edited list.  We hope that we can get many of these books from our community so that we don’t have to purchase too many new books.

ManualForCivilizationLogoSource
 

 

The Manual for Civilization Begins

Posted on Thursday, February 6th, 02014 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
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ManualForCivilizationLogoSource
 

As we near completion of The Interval at Long Now, our new venue in San Francisco, we are also building a collection of books that will reside here.  We have named this collection the Manual for Civilization, and it will include the roughly 3500 books most essential to sustain or rebuild civilization. Using this as an curatorial principle is helping us assemble a very interesting collection of books.

So… If you were stranded on an island (or small hostile planetoid), what books would YOU want to have with you?  We began asking this question to the Long Now Board and staff, as well as our Interval donors and the Long Now membership.

We have also asked a number of others with great book collections and specific expertise.

Author Neal Stephenson selecting books for the Manual For Civilization

This process has just begun, and we will detail these submissions and trips to amazing libraries more in the future, but some of the guest contributors now include:

Kevin Kelly selecting books for the Manual For Civilization

What are these books?  In order to make sure we don’t just get a bunch of books on how to make fire, we spread the collection across four basic categories to help guide the collection process:

  • Cultural Canon (Great Books, Shakespeare, Plato, etc.)
  • Mechanics of Civilization (Technical knowledge, how to build and understand things)
  • Rigorous Science Fiction (Science fiction that tells a useful story about a potential future)
  • Long-term Thinking, Futurism, and relevant history (Books on how to think about the future that may include surveys of the past)

We will be publishing the list in the coming months once we have the suggestions narrowed down by our members and supporters.  We have reached about 1400 nominations but will need four to five thousand to have enough to winnow it down to the very best 3000 books.  We are not limiting the nominations to western civilization, or even the English language, as one piece of the collection will be the Rosetta Disk itself.

But now that we have a good start on the collection, we need to begin editing the list down.  We are using an open source voting system suggested by Heath Rezabek called “All Our Ideas” which has turned out to be a great way to sort lists like this.  The system allows our supporters to choose between just two books in a given category, or suggest a new book.  This way you don’t have to rank a huge list of books, rather just make decisions between book A or book B and these decisions are aggregated.  We are just now sending this system out to our staff and supporters and it is yielding great results.  You can see an example of what a voting page looks like below.

Once The Interval is open we hope to have events where people can argue a new book in OR out of the collection.  It will be a living collection.  The Internet Archive has generously agreed to serve as the digital backup repository of the collection so that anyone with internet access can “check out” the books, or use the list to help create their version of the archive.

So how can you contribute and share your opinion?  The first contributors are Long Now members and Interval supporters. If you have a particular expertise or suggested resource, we welcome you to make book recommendations in the comments of this post.  There will be a lengthy process of collecting the actual books for our shelves. We had a fair number of titles in the Long Now library to begin with, but we have fewer than 15% of the books suggested to date.  We are working with in partnership with  Borderlands Books and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library to help fill in the collection. But donations of books and funds will also be essential as some titles on the list are quite rare.  Please do leave a comment on this post if you are interested in helping to supply books.

This project was originally conceived in a meeting hosted at the Internet Archive by Brewster Kahle with Kevin Kelly, Rick and Megan Prelinger and Alexander Rose.  Past references and writing on this can be found in this Manual for Civilization blog article by Alexander Rose as well in the Library of Utility article by Kevin Kelly.  Data wrangling is being ably handled by Kurt Bollacker and Catherine Borgeson with web help by Ben Keating, and the process has also been helped along by Intern Heath Rezabek.

In addition had several volunteers helping with the project that include:

Alison Hunter
Ashley Hennefer
Bryan Campen
Casey Cripe
Danielle Engelman
David Kelley
Elizabeth DeRieux
Nick Gottuso
James Alexander
Jennifer Woodfield
John Kausch
Kurt Bollacker
Ned McFarland
Michael McElligott
Michael Pujals
Alastair Mcpherson
Tim Reynolds
Whitney Deatherage
Mike Johnson

 

Hugh Howey’s Dystopian Silo Saga Joins the Manual for Civilization

Posted on Wednesday, January 22nd, 02014 by Catherine Borgeson
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Science fiction author Hugh Howey donated to the Manual for Civilization a one-off hard cover set of his Silo Saga with a special title page for The Long Now Foundation.

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The dystopian science fiction series developed out of a single novella Hugh Howey self-published on the Web in 02011.  He continued the story with four more installments, which now comprise the Omnibus edition of Wool.  Shift (books 6-8) are a prequel to Wool (books 1-5), Dust is the conclusion.

Without giving away any spoilers, each story has its own resolution, adds clarity and answers questions from the last, but then creates some larger questions:

What would human beings be like if for several hundred years they had been forced to live in a giant container, a refuge from the destruction of the planet? Would we recognize them? Would they have changed? Would we understand their concerns and desires? Our ubiquitous human nature and some of its seemingly unchanging characteristics are major themes in Howey’s Wool. Tens of thousands of people are packed into a silo buried in the Earth, protected from the toxic atmosphere which surrounds it. Yet despite hundreds of years, the occupants still long to explore, to expand their horizons. Howey explores the traditions, mores and laws necessary to protect this remnant of humanity from the creative urges and deep desires which always seek to push beyond the safe confines of the silo into the unknown. –GeekDad, Wired Magazine

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Long Now Salon Construction & Fundraising Update – January 02014

Posted on Monday, January 20th, 02014 by Mikl Em
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Long Now Salon construction

Fourteen months ago we announced:

We have begun a campaign to transform our space in Fort Mason into a salon, museum, cafe and bar. We invite you to check out the video and if you can, please support

As we begin 02014, construction of the Long Now Salon project continues. We’ve also surpassed 2/3 of the needed funding thanks to the generosity of our amazing donors.

While we haven’t finalized the opening date, this is the home stretch of a project that’s been years in the making. That’s not long in terms of the Long Now, a fraction of a century, but this project is very close to home.

The Salon location is also Long Now’s headquarters, and the renovation work required us to move to temporary offices within Fort Mason Center. If you’ve ever worked or lived through a time when your belongings were largely packed away in storage, you can imagine what it has been like for our team for the better part of a year.

We don’t talk about it much, but this project also improves our office setup, redesigned to serve a staff that has roughly doubled since we moved in (though our full-time staff is still only in single digits). That spiral staircase leads up to the office, and, yes, there is a secret door in the bookshelf.

Long Now Salon - January 02014

From a construction standpoint, all the work in the concrete floor is done, as well as various drains, plumbing and framing. There was an important electrical upgrade which is complete and now lots of wiring (electrical, heating, and audio visual) is going in.

Building a full scale cardboard prototype of the space in one night last year gave us important insights that lead to design adjustments in seating, sight lines, and the bar area flow. That night staff, donors and Long Now members worked together in what was really the inaugural Salon event. It was inspiring for all involved to get the first inkling of the venue moving from design models into reality.


photo by Catherine Borgeson

All that is to say that it won’t be long now. In just a few months the construction will be complete. We will have news about the opening date before you know it. So please stay tuned here on the blog, on Twitter and Facebook for all the news on this and other Salon progress.

Meanwhile there’s lots of preparation. We are working on programming events for the Salon, and Jennifer is planning our bar menu and details like tea service and glassware. We’ve also received 1200 submissions from Salon donors and Long Now members of books for the Salon’s 3500-volume library, our Manual for Civilization.


photo by Catherine Borgeson

And we’ve had major progress in raising the funds to complete the renovation. A rush of gifts at the end of 02013 took us past $330K, the two-thirds mark of our goal. The list of Salon donors who got us there includes not only many from San Francisco and the greater Bay Area, but people from around the country and more than a dozen countries around the world.

The list includes celebrated authors, eminent scientists, entrepreneurs, technologists, musicians and artists. Our own Long Now Board members have been generous as a group and individually, including our co-founder Brian Eno who has designed light and sound installations for the Salon.

Our donors hail from New Hampshire to Hawaii; from cities in Finland to small towns in Australia, Croatia, and France. From Albuquerque, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Paul, Salt Lake City, and Cape Town, Glastonbury, Hong Kong, Madrid, Rome, Stockholm, and Zurich. We are blown away by the response.

That support has come in gifts ranging from $10 to $25,000, all of which help us reach our goal. Donors at $100 or above receive a Long Now “Carpe Millenium” Challenge Coin, which has been the most popular level for donations. But there are numerous special gifts we have as thanks, which you’ll find on our ‘brickstarter’ page.

Long Now Challenge Coin

Our fundraising continues as we complete the renovation. We appreciate any way you choose to support the effort. Whether with a tax-deductible gift or by spreading the word about us to your friends online or off. It all helps us on the way.

Salon donors will hear first about all the opening festivities we have planned. Including donor-only events, the debut of our cocktail menu, and dates of the first public events in our new venue. Donors also have the chance to suggest as many books as they’d like for our Manual for Civilization library.

Thanks again for getting us this far, and we can’t wait to see you here:

3,700-Year Old Palatial Wine

Posted on Wednesday, December 11th, 02013 by Charlotte Hajer
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The history of wine spans millennia: the ancient Romans considered the beverage a daily necessity, Phoenicians wrote the first textbooks on viticulture, and Egyptian pharaohs had wine cellars built into their burial tombs.

Now, recent archaeological findings from Israel promise to add new insights to our knowledge of wine drinking practices throughout the ages.

A team of researchers from George Washington University and Tel Aviv University have discovered what they believe to be an ancient wine cellar in the Northern Israeli city of Tel Kabri. Part of a buried Canaanite palace, the site is estimated to be about 3,700 years old.

Excavations of the space revealed forty large jugs – enough to hold about 2,000 liters (or more than 528 gallons) of liquid. Of course, their contents are long gone. But chemical analysis of the jugs’ inside lining revealed traces of tartaric and syringic acids: telltale signs of wine made from grapes. The analysis also revealed the use of several flavor additives such as honey, mint, cinnamon, and tree resin.

“Some of it was red and some of it was white, and with these additives, I imagine it would have a bit of a cough syrup taste,” said Assaf Yassur-Landau, of the University of Haifa, who helped discover the cellar. (LA Times)

The wine may not have appealed to a modern palate – but still, the research team suggests that it must have been the product of a sophisticated recipe: the composition appears to be uniform across all 40 jugs.

“This wasn’t moonshine that someone was brewing in their basement, eyeballing the measurements,” said Andrew Koh, a professor at Brandeis University, who did the organic residue analysis, in a statement. “The wine’s recipe was strictly followed in each and every jar.” (LA Times)

In fact, scholars believe that the Canaanite winemaking industry was already well-established by the time this cellar was put to use: they estimate that wine was made here as early as 05,000 BC. But while this cellar might therefore not be the oldest one around, the site still has plenty to tell us about the culture of wine drinking in this ancient town. For example, both the use of herbal infusions and the relatively limited quantity of jugs suggests that this was a special wine, intended for use at the palace. Further chemical analysis may tell us more about the wine’s composition, allowing us to learn something about the flavor preferences and wine-making techniques of 01,700 BC.

And who knows – we might even be able to recreate this ancient recipe and get an actual taste of what the upper classes drank all those centuries ago.

Meet Jennifer Colliau: Bar Manager of The Interval at Long Now

Posted on Friday, December 6th, 02013 by Mikl Em
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Jennifer Colliau, Long Now Salon's Founding Bar Manager
Jennifer Colliau, Long Now Salon’s Founding Bar Manager. Photo by Catherine Borgeson

Long Now welcomes Jennifer Colliau, one of the Bay Area’s finest cocktail experts, as the manager of our new bar, cafe and social space: The Interval at Long Now. The doors will open to our one-of-a-kind cafe/bar/museum/library at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center in May 02014. So Jen is hard at work helping finalize everything for the space, working closely with our architect and design team.

When I asked the best people I knew in the bar industry who they knew with the background and ability to take on this role for us, Jennifer Colliau was the top suggestion that came back from everyone. It soon became clear she was uniquely suited for this role. We are honored to have someone who understands both the history and the future of beverages for our project.
— Alexander Rose, Long Now’s Executive Director

Jennifer is a veteran bartender and bar consultant in San Francisco who is a recognized authority on classic cocktails and contemporary mixology. She has been written about or written for publications such as The New York Times, Wired, 7×7, The Washington Post, and Imbibe Magazine. She also makes sensational non-alcoholic cocktails, which have been featured in Food & Wine, often using the artisanal syrups she produces for home and bar use with her company Small Hand Foods.


The Interval under construction at Fort Mason. Photo by Catherine Borgeson

I spoke with Jennifer about the bar design, classic cocktails, booze-less drinks, tea, time, ice, furniture, and vinegar, amongst other topics. We met at the construction site at Fort Mason where The Interval is taking shape.

New infrastructure for the bar-to-be is in place: trenches for power and plumbing lines, old walls gone, new walls framed.

Jen described what will come next: where the espresso machine will go, the place a barrel of whiskey will be suspended from the ceiling (finer points still being worked out), and of course the robots. There will be two of them, one behind the bar and a ‘chalkboard robot’ writing the day’s specials (and more) on the wall above.

And then we talked about ice. And freezing water it turns out is one of the hottest things in bartending right now. Jen hinted at an experimental ice-making technique she hopes to try at the bar. She says appreciating the importance of ice is one of the major drink-making innovations in recent years. “Once you know that you can’t unlearn it, you can’t go back. You have to have good ice.”


Photo by Small Hand Foods

Quality of ingredients is vital for Jennifer. She launched Small Hand Foods for the cause of making authentic Mai Tais and Jerry Thomas’s 1862 “Japanese Cocktail” recipe. A key element to both drinks, orgeat syrup, was only available as a mass-produced product made from almond flavoring rather than actual nuts.

So Jen researched, experimented and formulated her own orgeat, at first made in small batches for her own use. Soon numerous bartender friends tried it, and they had to have it, too. Upping production and figuring out all that was needed to make a commercial bottled product was another challenge, which she mastered.

Today Small Hand Foods produces pre-Prohibition era ingredients like grenadine and gum syrup that are widely used in the Bay Area and distributed to stores and bars in 5 states. Thanks to Jen’s careful reconstruction of these century-old syrups, extinct cocktails have been revived and others reestablished to their true taste profiles. As you’d imagine, her experience in cocktail deextinction pretty much cinched her getting the job as Long Now’s bar manager.

Long Now members can look forward to a longer interview with Jennifer in the upcoming Quarterly News later this month. But here’s a little excerpt….

Q: You’ve created some wonderful non-alcoholic drinks (like the Almond-Fennel Cooler), what’s your approach to those kinds of beverages?

A: I want them to be delicious. Too often those drinks are made just sweet and fruity. I’ve tried to explore other types– things based on tea, drier things… there are syrups you can make and others on the market that are amazing, taste-wise as good or better than the equivalent liqueurs, and with no alcohol. So I want to have those on hand to use in all kinds of drinks here.

Q: I know you are still working on it, but what can you tell us about the drink menu for the bar?

A: Well, “Time” will be a theme throughout. You have Chartreuse which has been made since the 18th Century, for instance, and then types (or families) of drinks like Shrubs (drinks based on a syrup that includes vinegar) that are at least that old and again offer a non-alcohol option. These are fantastic ingredients with loads of history.

But I’m also looking at smart ways to make punches, another venerable drink family, which can take days to prepare correctly. But there are things we can do ahead of time so that our customers can enjoy it right away (without it being laborious or wasteful on our end). They get an authentic punch without the time constraints… it’s a bit of a time hack in other words.


Tending her first Long Now reception at SFJazz. Photo by Mikl-em

Speaking about time, a conversation about cocktails with Jen is a free flowing chronological shuffle: one minute she cites a 19th Century Jerry Thomas recipe and the next a blog post on the precise science of cocktail shaking.

Her attention to detail started early. At age 9 she made every recipe in the “Candies and Confections” section of The Joy of Cooking. And tracked down obscure ingredients without the benefit of a search engine. Yes, we’ve found the right person to run the The Interval at Long Now.

Jennifer’s creativity with booze and her work with long-lost cocktail ingredients prove that she’s an ace at using the past to rethink the future. She’s the perfect choice to work at the Long Now bar.
Adam Rogers, editor at Wired magazine and author of Proof: The Science of Booze

Welcome Jennifer! Now there’s a fittingly time-based exercise in patience for us all before our first chance to taste the drinks she is designing. The Interval opens in May 02014. Special member and donor events will precede the general public opening–stay tuned for details.

Anyone who donates before opening (levels ranging from $10-$10,000) is a charter donor and receives special benefits around opening.

You can follow Long Now’s blog and Twitter feeds (@longnow, @longnowsalon) for more Interval news.

A Special Gift for December Long Now Salon Donors

Posted on Monday, December 2nd, 02013 by Mikl Em
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Long Now Shot Glass

December is the time for giving both holiday gifts and donations to good causes. With that in mind, would you like to trade gifts with Long Now?

If you donate $100 or more to the Long Now Salon we will add a special Long Now shot glass to gifts you receive.

This offer is only good for new gifts of $100 or more received in December of 02013 while our supplies of shot glasses last. Of course you get the standard donation benefits as well. So for $100 you receive both a glass and a Long Now Challenge Coin (all donation levels are shown here).

Let us know if you are giving for a second time and we’ll make sure you receive the benefits for your cumulative gift amount.

This glass has only previously been available at small on-site events at Long Now’s San Francisco headquarters. It holds 2 fluid ounces, features our Carpe Millennium logo, and makes a great gift (though we’ll understand if you want to keep it for yourself). Tis the season of shipping delays, so donate early for the best chance to receive it by Christmas.

The Long Now Salon will be a gathering space for our members and the public that incorporates Long Now artifacts, a two-story crowd-curated library, and a state-of-the-art A/V system which will play ambient sound curated by Brian Eno. Serving inspired cocktails as well as artisan coffee and tea, the Salon will also feature a Brian Eno light painting and other unique features.

Long Now Shot Glasses and Challenge Coin

Open 7-days a week for the general public and home to a wide variety of smaller Long Now events, The Long Now Salon is another step in fulfilling our mission to make long-term thinking more instinctive and common, rather than difficult and rare.

The Salon renovation is progressing on schedule. No opening date has been announced yet, but it will be in the first half of 02014. Thanks again to everyone who has donated so far.

Neil Gaiman on Libraries and the Future

Posted on Tuesday, October 29th, 02013 by Austin Brown
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Books connect our future and our past, teaching us about what came before and encouraging us to imagine what might yet be. Because of this, reading and libraries remain essential even in our technological and multimedia future, Neil Gaiman recently insisted in a lecture for London’s The Reading Agency:

Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you’ve never been. Once you’ve visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different. […]

Books are the way that we communicate with the dead. The way that we learn lessons from those who are no longer with us, that humanity has built on itself, progressed, made knowledge incremental rather than something that has to be relearned, over and over. There are tales that are older than most countries, tales that have long outlasted the cultures and the buildings in which they were first told.

His full remarks are available at The Guardian. We’re grateful to Mr. Gaiman for his enthusiasm and support of reading and libraries – he’s been a huge help to our own effort to build a library: our Manual for Civilization, which will live in the currently-under-construction Long Now Salon.