Whole Earth Catalog

30 Oct 2021 02:15 - 16 Dec 2022 12:22
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    • See Stewart Brand. The Catalog was a major early influence on me, particularly in its stance that one could be interested in anything and pursue anything. There was a Whole Earth Bookstore in Evanston, IL where I grew up, which is where I found both the catalog and Ted Nelson's Computer Lib/Dream Machines. When I went off to MIT I managed to fall in with a bunch of Whole Earth-friendly fellow students who were into alternative energy and other alternatives; later I got to actually share an office with SB himself in the early days of the Media Lab.
    • It's hard to remember what the world was like before the Internet, but back then you didn't have access to all the world's information and resources at your fingertips. There were daily papers and network news and that was it. The public library had plenty of stuff but it tended to be somewhat out of date. The Catalogs opened up a whole world of alternatives and underground scenes and innovations.
    • One distinctive voice I remember from the Whole Earth publications was Anne Herbert, an editor and writer who added a warm, female, humanist note with her little side observations. She seemed to have faded out of the scene; I found this web page about her and her work at archive.org
    • Here's the one time that I got a mention in Whole Earth Review for some of my Vivarium Project work, in 1989.
    • Kevin Kelly's Recomendo newsletter and especially the collected book closely replicates the Catalog format and the focus on tools.