Boris Smus

interaction engineering

Book: Tools for Conviviality by Ivan Illich

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Book: Frank Herbert by Tim O’Reilly

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Book: Story of Us by Tim Urban

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Book: Rewiring America

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Book: Братья Карамазовы, читает Ульянов

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Book: Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson

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ESUP Builders

Since May, I’ve been tinkering with brushless electrical motors, trying to make floating objects move more quickly. The proximate result is this electric motorized paddleboard:

Riding my DIY eSUP

This project is by no means finished. Traveling at 5 mph is fun, but not nearly fast enough. As we speak, a motor ten times the power of this one is sitting in a shipping container, en route to my basement. While I wait, let me pause and reflect on the project so far.

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Book: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

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Book: Red Plenty by Francis Spufford

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DIY Community Library

When my sailing class was canceled back in early March, I realized it was time for a more individualistic hobby. And so, I furled the sails and tied up the boat and picked up a circular saw from the hardware store. After I got over my fears of loud, terrifyingly quickly spinning metal blades, a whole bunch of cutting and screwing, then digging and painting, I have a Little Free Library standing outside my house, and a little bit more confidence for the next woodworking project!

Little free library photo

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Book: Selected Short Stories of Philip K. Dick

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Book: Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson

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Book: Lost Enlightenment by Frederick Starr

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Book: Debt: The First 5000 Years

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Visual Chronology of Science & Discovery

As Newton wrote, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. But whose giant shoulders did Newton stand on? And did those giants stand on the shoulders of other giants? And how about Newton’s successors, or people working in other fields? As far as I can tell, it’s giants all the way down.

Last year, I got my hands on a remarkable book, Asimov’s Chronology of Science and Discovery. It inspired me to produce a visual summary of human ingenuity, to see what one giant saw from the shoulders of another. After some experimentation, I turned it into an interactive visualization. You can play with it here:

Screenshot of the visual chronology centered at Steel.

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