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Unnatural Inventions

The inventor and early aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont (1873-1932) wrote about the unnatural invention of the wheel. In his book My Air Ships he imagines how people who had grown up surrounded by nature would understand how they could carry things, and how animals could carry burdens. Both people and animals have legs and backs so that makes sense. They would understand how things could float, like a fish or a duck, so boats would make sense to them. But there is nothing in nature for us to copy that would give us the wheel, and yet the wheel was invented and is used the world over. Santos- Dumont went on to create other methods of transportation that were not natural, powered balloons and even some of the earliest fixed wing airplanes.

A century later his inventiveness is a good example for modern times. Many of us understand that when you go to school its natural to read books and  write papers. Today, we’ve added electronic resources and search engines to our list of research tools, and rather than write or even type papers we enter them on keyboards and submit them via e-mail. Here at the library we invite you to go one step father, we offer you the tools to create more than research papers. With the applications and equipment available to students in the Media Lab on level 4 you can make digital presentations and even your own movies. It may not feel like the natural thing to do for a class, and you should certainly check with your professors and instructors to see if they are open to such things, but school is a time to try new things. You should also prepare way in advance just in case things go wrong, because, well, things always go wrong (really, have you notes ready to write a paper if your loose your video files). If you don’t know how to make a movie then stop in and sign up for a few classes. We have people who can teach you some basics.

Its all free for students, naturally.