Frequently Asked Questions

Did you originate “Information wants to be free” ?

    I did, at the first Hackers Conference in 1984.  Here’s the whole story.

What’s the story behind the whole-Earth button?

    It involved LSD and Buckminster Fuller, Spring 1966.  Click here for the account.

How’s the Clock coming?

    Blooming, thanks.  Danny Hillis and Alexander Rose are now working on the third working prototype, mountain scale.  The first prototype was finished in 01999 and is on display at the Science Museum, London.  The second prototype was completed in 02006 and was beautifully reported in Discover magazine.  Some pix.

Do you really live on a tugboat?

    Since 1982 my wife Ryan Phelan (that link goes to her company, DNA Direct) and I have lived in Sausalito, California, on a 62-foot tugboat called Mirene.  That’s been her name since she was built as a gasoline schooner in Coos Bay, Oregon, in 1912.
We bought her as a hulk for $8,000 and gradually brought her back to working life.  We cruise San Francisco Bay on her about once a month.  Tugboats are the largest thing in the world described as “cute.”

What’s your notion about “applied history”?

    Full sermon here.