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Author Topic: Whole Earth online!  (Read 6100 times)

JennyB

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Whole Earth online!
« on: January 10, 2009, 05:58:50 AM »
Those of us of a certain age will remember the Whole Earth Catalog and it's subsequent sister publications. This was where my interest in computers and alternate technology started, back in my student days in the 1970's  :-*

Now they're all online!  :Thmbsup:

For those who are too young to remember, I'll let Kevin Kelly explain:

Quote
The Whole Earth Catalogs preached the hacker/designer approach to life starting in 1968, decades before this lifehacking became the norm. The Catalogs were a paper-based database offering thousands of hacks, tips, tools, suggestions, and possibilities for optimizing your life.

Like fine wine, the back issues of the Whole Earth Catalogs and its offspring, the CoEvolution Quarterly improve with age. One can read 20-year-old back issues and they will inform and astound you. They feel as if they were written yesterday. I've noted previously that much of their charm comes because they were blogs created in newsprint, written before the internet.

One could read back issues if you could find them. I had the privilege of producing many of the issues of CoEvolution Quarterly and some of the Catalogs, so I had my own personal library of them. (Therefore you should also discount my enthusiasm for them.) I can't tell you how many wonderful evenings I have spent sitting in my reading chair re-exploring the fantastic worlds captured in these back issues. It is impossible to pick one up and not be mesmerized, thrilled, amazed, and informed by at least two stories or reviews. There is a timeless nature to this work that is due to their anti-fashionable status. The Whole Earth Catalogs and CoEvolutions were idea-based journalism, rather than event-based. Instead of reporting on top of things, they liked to get to the bottom of things.  These issues zagged while the rest of the culture zigged, only to zag later.

The good news is that all this goodness is now online. Danica Remy and the last holdouts of the old Point Foundation, publishers of the Catalogs and magazine until its last issue in 2002, have given a second life to this gold mine of material by arranging them to be scanned and posted online. The entire 35-year archive of Whole Earth Catalogs, Supplements, Reviews and CoEvolutions are all up and ready to be studied. You can read them for free, or download them for a fee.  Go here.

I am not thrilled by the interface or format. The pages are clunky to navigate and worse, the proprietary format goes against the essential open system that Whole Earth both preached and practiced. The scans are analog. I could not find anyway to copy and paste text from them. The pages would have been far more useful and easier to use and share as plain old PDF docs.

But, oh! The richness!  There are some very are early Whole Earth Catalog Supplements that in all my time at Whole Earth I never saw or read. They are here online now. For those unfamiliar with the wisdom of the Catalog, this archive will serve as a wonderful start. There are more than 100 issues of CoEvolution Quarterly (later called Whole Earth Review) and dozens of Whole Earth Catalogs to keep you up for years.


If you don't see how it can fail -
you haven't understood it properly.

cranioscopical

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Re: Whole Earth online!
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2009, 09:02:24 AM »
Thanks for the link!

40hz

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Re: Whole Earth online!
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2009, 02:19:35 PM »
It's great to see WEC finally up on the web. Especially since I'm "of the generation" so to speak.

I remember reading this in their Whole Software Catalog sister publication:

Quote
One arena where personal computer users suffer from functional fixedness on a large scale involves the informational-control software commonly referred to as "database management systems." These software packages are the most underutilized tools in the computer world. They originated for such problems as inventory control in shoe stores and reservation books for airUnes. It's fine that computers have improved those record-keeping functions, but consider what mental inventory you could control. Could you use perfect retrieval of every idea you ever had and the ability to cross-index those ideas according to the project you have underway? Would musicians, poets, monks, or playwrights like a perfect catalog of every inspiration that fired their brains? Would students, teachers, or speakers like an index of every publication they might reference in the future? Would mechanics, farmers, or contractors like a perfect memory for every oddball problem they ever solved, and for how that solution might work on similar problems? These functions can presently be performed by harmonizing a human mind with a database management system.

Those who value the information in their own minds can benefit from extending their memories and retrieval abilities with a computer. First you select a worthy and affordable database package that will perform the filing, searching, updating, cross-indexing, and reporting you require. Second, the more difficult step, you must change your habits. You must discipline yourself to scribble down or tape record the ideas you want to catalog as they occur. This habit change is critical, because important details of information are lost from human memory in a very short time. Stick these slips of paper or tapes near your microcomputer. Last, once a week or month, discipline yourself to sit down with your database program and expand the files of your mind. You can name your inspiration file EUREKA and your future projects MANANA. In just a few months you will build up a catalog of inspirations, insights, and fertile references that you could never buy off any computer store's shelf.

If you use the product of your mind in any valued way, then there may be no more valuable tool in your life than a good database management system keeping an ever-expanding, never-forgetting, totally cross-indexed catalog of your mind. Your personal computer can serve this mind-extension role and still balance your books, explore your income tax options, and (ho-hum)
type another letter.

That's what first got me "into" computers - and ultimately pointed to a lifestyle and career path I've followed ever since. 8)


iphigenie

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Re: Whole Earth online!
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2009, 11:13:38 AM »
Oh, that is a great find

Rereading thinking from 30/40 years ago always puts things in perspective, we dont seem to learn and listen much as a species, since some of the issues and warnings are still the same as today.

Also you notice how many modern day "thinkers" just recycle stuff pretending it is their own thinking, and on most topics we just don't know enough to figure it out.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2009, 11:18:32 AM by iphigenie »

40hz

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Re: Whole Earth online!
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2009, 09:21:13 PM »
Seeing WEC got me to thinking: Whatever happened to Project Xanadu?

To my surprise it's still around and can be found here:

http://www.xanadu.com/

Talk about a "blast from the past."  ;D

Edvard

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Re: Whole Earth online!
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2009, 02:56:50 PM »
I remember reading the "Last Whole Earth Catalog" when I was a teenager.
It was absolutely huge (at least 1.5 inches thick and too big to squeeze in the shelf upright) and I loved reading the book reviews, the story that threaded through every 5 or 8 pages, and the invaluable tips (meat tenderizer can calm a bad trip...)
LastWholeEarthCatalog1971.jpg
Aaaah... Memories.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2009, 03:03:28 PM by Edvard »

f0dder

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Re: Whole Earth online!
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2009, 03:33:14 PM »
and the invaluable tips (meat tenderizer can calm a bad trip...) Memories.
Meat tenderizer? :huh:
- carpe noctem

tomos

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Re: Whole Earth online!
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2009, 03:42:33 PM »
and the invaluable tips (meat tenderizer can calm a bad trip...) Memories.
Meat tenderizer? :huh:

eh, f0dder I think this will have to be dealt via PM   LOL ;D (sorry not a notion..)
Tom

f0dder

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Re: Whole Earth online!
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2009, 03:49:20 PM »
and the invaluable tips (meat tenderizer can calm a bad trip...) Memories.
Meat tenderizer? :huh:
eh, f0dder I think this will have to be dealt via PM   LOL ;D (sorry not a notion..)
Well, I was thinking of mallet-style meat tenderizers, which would be somewhat drastic imho - knocking people out? :)
- carpe noctem

tomos

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Re: Whole Earth online!
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2009, 03:54:51 PM »
and the invaluable tips (meat tenderizer can calm a bad trip...) Memories.
Meat tenderizer? :huh:
eh, f0dder I think this will have to be dealt via PM   LOL ;D (sorry not a notion..)
Well, I was thinking of mallet-style meat tenderizers, which would be somewhat drastic imho - knocking people out? :)

I wasnt even *allowing* myself to think about what this might involve but somehow I cant stop laughing about it -
- why not -
I'll knock you out if you knock me out LOL
Tom

tomos

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Re: Whole Earth online!
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2009, 04:19:42 PM »
no sign of Edvard to enlighten us :tellme: ah well  :D
Tom

f0dder

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Re: Whole Earth online!
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2009, 04:31:45 PM »
no sign of Edvard to enlighten us :tellme: ah well  :D
He's probably taken a hit of the meat tenderizer, *grin*
- carpe noctem

tomos

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Re: Whole Earth online!
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2009, 04:39:04 PM »
no sign of Edvard to enlighten us :tellme: ah well  :D
He's probably taken a hit of the meat tenderizer, *grin*

¬°¬°snort!!
Tom

cranioscopical

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Re: Whole Earth online!
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2009, 04:53:23 PM »
I suppose neither of you wise guys has heard about the gravy-browning thing either...
« Last Edit: January 12, 2009, 04:56:03 PM by cranioscopical »

Edvard

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Re: Whole Earth online!
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2009, 05:34:42 PM »
and the invaluable tips (meat tenderizer can calm a bad trip...) Memories.
Meat tenderizer? :huh:
eh, f0dder I think this will have to be dealt via PM   LOL ;D (sorry not a notion..)
Well, I was thinking of mallet-style meat tenderizers, which would be somewhat drastic imho - knocking people out? :)

ROFPMSLMAO!!

Actually I haven't done anything requiring calming runaway hallucinations since I was 19, but that's a whole 'nother story...

What I remember reading in the catalog is that Accent brand meat tenderizer was good to give someone who was on a bad trip as it would calm them down a bit. It's not referenced at the Whole Earth website, so I can't cite it correctly, but it may have been part of the story that was scattered throughout the book, "Divine Right's Trip", so it may be more literary device than sound advice, so add a grain of salt to taste.
 ;D

(if only someone could find a pdf scan of the LWEC, we could put this to rest...)
« Last Edit: January 12, 2009, 05:36:58 PM by Edvard »

40hz

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Re: Whole Earth online!
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2009, 05:55:19 PM »
Ah yes, the Accent Meat Tenderizer Cure  ;D

The formula called for half a teaspoon of MSG mixed with 8 ounces of orange juice. It accelerated the breakdown of certain...shall we say 'crazy molecules'... in the bloodstream, thereby shortening the ass-end of a bad trip. Or so it was claimed. I can't really comment since I only got through high school chemistry with a B. But to borrow from the immortal words of Country Joe McDonald: "Sounds like buuuuuuulls***t to me!"

Never got into the whole Dupont (i.e. Better Living Through Chemistry) thing.

I vastly preferred a good rock concert, ideally enjoyed with some devilish red wine, and an equally devilish redhead of my acquaintance. ;)



« Last Edit: January 13, 2009, 09:42:59 AM by 40hz »

40hz

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Re: Whole Earth online!
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2009, 06:02:51 PM »
I suppose neither of you wise guys has heard about the gravy-browning thing either...

No. But I have heard about Wavy Gravy and Hog Farm.

http://www.wavygravy.net/

wavyblue.jpg

A true American Original if there ever was one, not to mention being one terrific guy! :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: