Future Building Places

Traditional urbanism


  • Walkable — keep the whole area small enough to not need to drive — confined with a wall to limit sprawl!
  • Human scale blocks — should be quick to walk
  • Variety, visual interest, curving streets rather than immensely long straight boulevards
  • Use locally sourced, sustainable / renewable materials (wood, stone, rammed earth) that last a long time
  • Build at the front of lots, close together, fill in gaps, expand on existing buildings
  • Lay street surfaces with interesting, varied, beautiful materials like stepping stones
Cool Science

Neural Translation of Imagined Handwritten

Bookmarked Brain Implant Translates Paralyzed Man’s Thoughts Into Text With 94% Accuracy (ScienceAlert)

A man paralyzed from the neck down due to a spinal cord injury he sustained in 2007 has shown he can communicate his thoughts, thanks to a brain implant system that translates his imagined handwriting into actual text.

So cool! Seems like it could be a very empowering technology.

I could also see tech like this being beneficial to folks without injuries: note taking without actually writing. Especially with a 99% accuracy rate with autocorrect! I feel like this could fit into a sci-fi story I’m writing 🤔

The Internet

Homebrew Website Club: Self-Sufficient Hosting and the Literacy of the Future

Replied to Homebrew Website Club – The Americas (

One big HWC, for anyone in the Americas(or who is just available) who wants to dial in. Let’s talk about what we would like to do in 2021 now that it is here. What’s Homebrew Website Club?
Homebrew Website Club is a meetup for anyone interested in personal websites and a distributed web. Whether you…

Thinking about self-hosting connected with self-sufficiency — you can run a small (transportable) server (Raspberry Pi) off of a solar panel or a Prius battery and a tank of gas. I want to see some post-apocalyptic stories with people running their own servers in their little self-powered villages.

Discussing writing in a chain, from website to website, made me think about the future of the book. I read something recently talking about how ebooks substantially mimic the form of a paper book, and have been pondering what else a digital book could be, using the power of the internet. I could see online publishing making collaborative works with multiple authors easier to write (not sure exactly what that would look like though), and collaborative worlds, where authors write books set in the same universe, having an entire website be essentially a multi-volume book.

Blaise posited that knowing how to use Git is the literacy of the future. When my nieces were teenagers I was tempted to buy them their own domain names and encourage them to do something with it, on the feeling that everyone should have their own site, but never did because I felt like they needed to be driven to learn it themselves. Not sure if that was the right call or not. Maybe I should have asked them if they’d be interested in it. Or talked to them about having my own website. Do The Youth see having your own website as irrelevant in the age of social media?


Will the Ever Given Crew Be Abandoned and Stranded for Years?

Bookmarked Crew Of ‘Ever Given’ Could Be Stuck On The Big Boat For Years by Erin Marquis (Jalopnik)

It is surprisingly common for ships and their crews to be stranded and sometimes abandoned due to disappearing owners, pay disputes and management troubles

This is heinous.

What is the equivalent in science fiction? Sailors stranded in their spaceships, but also workers abandoned and stranded on planets?

Cool History

Two Clever Historical Uses of Weaving


Weaving computer memory out of wire for the moon mission!

Spying with knitting!


Living Over the City

Bookmarked The penthouse of Seattle’s historic Smith Tower is up for rent by Callie Craighead (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

The pyramid-shaped penthouse atop Seattle’s oldest skyscraper is officially on the market for the first time ever. Built in 1914, Smith Tower was originally the first skyscraper in the city and tallest building west of the Mississippi River at the time. The glass globe that sits on the very top of the structure is also accessible through a spiral staircase if you truly want to reach the highest point of the building.

I like the idea of this better than the reality of the apartment. The thought of a secret sanctuary, overlooking the whole city, is a cool worldbuilding element.

Cool History Society The Internet

Human Scale

Bookmarked Ri — The Distance Walked in an Hour by Craig Mod (

A ri is a unit of measure, it’s about how far a person can walk in an hour at a reasonable pace…Remnants of the ri system are scattered along the old roads of Japan. During the Edo period, ri were marked recurrently by hulking earthen mounds that flanked the road — ichi-ri zuka, “one-ri mounds.”

The idea of a single ri is old, simple, and human scale.

Human-scale things at a human-scale pace.

I feel like human scale is missing in so much of the world these days. Our cities are built at a bigger scale, our sprawling suburbs disconnected from a human pace and reliant on car travel. Walk? No one can fulfill their lives by walking — yet that is the most human of movement (no disrespect meant to those who cannot walk).

The internet is vast and contains multitudes, with few spaces that acknowledge our humanity — websites are designed for growth, more more more, never content to stay small. Never forming community at the scale people build community, because that’s not profitable enough, because community isn’t the real goal. Looking forward to seeing how non-profits and small groups can invent more, smaller public spaces online that operate on a more human level.

See also: Skittish, another experimental online gathering space that works to embody participants. Sounds similar to Gather.

Environment Science

Monitoring water quality with clams

Bookmarked Someone Explains How Poland Uses Clams To Control Its Water Supply And It’s Pretty Crazy by Judita K (Bored Panda)

While it seems that various technologies are completely taking over many different parts of human life, it appears that even some man-made things are better left to nature… Turns out, some places in the world trust clams and mussels to detect the cleanness of water. Despite most of us being used to seeing clams on a fancy dinner plate, some of them get a more important mission – monitoring the purity of drinking water.