Monthly Archives: June 2011

Cricket Trailer

Exterior shot of the Cricket Trailer. (Photo by David Bates)

The Cricket Trailer at work, looking space-age and efficient while inventor Garrett Finney plays the Ukulele. (Photo by David Bates)

I’d been chattering for a week about spending the summer in a trailer dropped on the smallest patch of grass  and wildflower somewhere Upstate when I came across the Cricket Trailer over at Men and Women of Industry. (If you’re not fantasizing about camping now, you will be once you’ve seen their childhood snaps.) The lightweight, angular trailers were designed by Garrett Finney, an architect who came to camper design by way of NASA, where he worked on the International Space Station’s “Habitation Module” (astronaut-speak for “home”).

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Clock of the Long Now

The Clock of the Long Now showing the year 02,000.

The year 02,000. Only 1/5 of the way to the year 10,000.

In this ever-advancing modern era, where the mantra of the zeitgeist is “better, faster, cheaper,” Danny Hillis — inventor of the supercomputer that instigated our current fast-paced society — beseeches us to slow down, twiddle our thumbs and smell the roses. Hillis has been working since 1996 on a monument-sized clock to be sited on a limestone cliff in eastern Nevada, dubbed the Clock of the Long Now. This clock is nothing like your average wristwatch. The Clock of the Long Now will be large enough for visitors to walk around in and is designed to last 10,000 years — roughly the period in which humans enjoy a relatively constant climate and advancements in culture and technology. It will tick only once a year, bong once a century and cuckoo at the millennium, a pace Hillis hopes will inspire society to think in terms of decades, centuries and millennia, as opposed to the prevailing harried New York minute.

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Summer Books

Frank Lloyd Wright: The Natural House: Table of Contents

A list of the profuse illustrations in “The Natural House.”

Erik Heywood keeps the outstanding blog Books and Bookshelves, where we found a lot of books we wish we’d known about sooner. Erik was nice enough to compile a list for Kaufmann Mercantile. There are peeks into the fascinating mundane of a tragic artist, a chronicle of the realities beyond romantic notions, and a page-turner on what happens when you do your homework with a notebook and a ship. His picks and a few words about reading:

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Natural Dyes

There was a time when color was worth crossing the Sahara for. It drove men to risk life or scurvy to bring back logwood bark from across the Atlantic, or swim under the surface of the sea to harvest unearthly colors. Far-flung villages became famous for the luck of having a plant or beetle that could produce a dye like no other. Travel the world over, and the color souvenirs were truly things of wonder: a black of a somberness never before seen in Europe, or a purple so deep it was too rich for even the Empress of Rome.

Red dye vats in the Fez tanneries, Morocco

Red dyes in vats in Fez, Morocco, that have been around since the 1400s.

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