June 6, 02022: Engineering for Long Term Solutions – The Challenge of our Times

June 6, 02022: Engineering for Long Term Solutions – The Challenge of our Times

A Joint Conversation Event by The Maintainers and Long Now Boston

Date: Monday, June 6, 7:30 p.m. ET
Zoom room opens at 7:15 p.m. for music and slides
The conversation starts at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available on Eventbrite

The accelerating pace of innovation and change has led to complex social, technological, and even existential challenges that were unimaginable a century ago.  Addressing these wicked problems requires a shift in the way we approach “engineering”, the structured processes by which we solve problems.

The Maintainers, a global network interested in the concepts of maintenance, repair, and care to sustain our human-built world, and Long Now Boston, which fosters long-term thinking, have come together to bring you a groundbreaking conversation with a wide-ranging panel of experts to explore the future of engineering and its role in an increasingly complex world.

The conversation will be led by Tona Rodriguez-Nikl, Maintainers Movement Fellow 2022, and will feature a panel of esteemed academics and practitioners involved in cutting edge research and dialogue on the applicability of engineering concepts and principles to modern problems. Panelists include:

Bill Bulleit – Structural Engineer and Philosopher
Donna Riley – Administrator, Author, and Advocate
Kai Whiting – Researcher of Stoicism and Author
Guru Madhavan – Biomedical Systems Engineer, Maintainers Advisory Committee Member

Together they will explore the ethical and philosophical ideas that guide the methods and conceptual processes for engineering (or re-engineering) our world. The goal is to maximize individual and collective human thriving, in a context which enables reduced resource consumption and the avoidance of scarcity-driven conflicts.

Among the questions this panel will address are:

  • What are the drivers of human thriving and how do we bring them to the center of the engineering process?
  • How do we define and measure the outcomes we are seeking to achieve in the far future?
  • As we extend our time horizon to embrace the interests of multiple generations or global health more broadly, how do we deal with unknowns, uncertainties and the unpredictable?
  • What are the key reforms in the practice and education of engineering that need to be made?

Join the conversation with other Maintainers and Long-Term Thinkers, and be a part of the solution. Audience participation is encouraged.

Login begins at 7:15 p.m. EDT; the conversation begins at 7:30 p.m EDT. The conversation will be held virtually using the Zoom platform. Login information and password will be provided to registrants prior to the event.

Thanks to our generous event sponsor, this event is Free.
Register at:  https://the-maintainers.eventbrite.com

About the speakers:

Tona Rodriguez-Nikl – Moderator and 2022 Maintainers Movement Fellow


Structural Engineer, Teacher, Author

As a Maintainers Fellow, Tona is interested in how technological development will adapt to the changing social conditions and physical realities produced by climate change. Tona is a structural engineer by training and is a Professor of Civil Engineering at California State University, Los Angeles. He  is the chair of the Engineering Philosophy Committee of the Structural Engineering Institute and previously served on its Sustainability Committee. He is also the co-author of a textbook on engineering ethics and teaches a class on the social aspects of disasters. Tona’s work as a Maintainers Fellow relates to two broad areas: integrating the idea of care into engineering and understanding engineering’s relation to well-being in a post-growth economy

Donna Riley – Panelist 

Celebrating Diversity Seminar Series: Dr. Donna Riley | College of  Engineering | University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Administrator, Author, and Advocate

Donna Riley is Kamyar Haghighi Head of the School of Engineering Education and Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Riley’s research focuses on the integration of ethics, communication, social analysis, lifelong learning, and other critical capacities in the formation of engineering professionals. She is the author of two books, Engineering and Social Justice and Engineering Thermodynamics and 21st Century Energy Problems. She is a founding faculty member of the Picker Engineering Program at Smith College, the first engineering program at a U.S. women’s college. Donna is a fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education.

Guru Madhavan – Panelist

Image of Guru Madhavan
Biomedical Systems Engineer and Maintainers Advisory Committee Member

Dr. Guru Madhavan is the Norman R. Augustine Senior Scholar and senior director of programs of the National Academy of Engineering where he leads and oversees activities of broad scope and complexity focused on engineering practice, education, research, communication, and policies. His books include the nonfiction Applied Minds: How Engineers Think that has been translated into many languages. For his books and lectures, he has received the American Society of Engineering Education Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering Division Meritorious Award and the IEEE-USA Award for Distinguished Literary Contributions Furthering Public Understanding and the Advancement of the Engineering Profession. He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.

Bill Bulleit – Panelist

William M. Bulleit, P.E.

Structural Engineer and Philosopher

William M. Bulleit is an emeritus professor of structural engineering in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering at Michigan Tech in Houghton, MI located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  Prior to going to Michigan Tech, he designed submersibles in Florida and bridges in Washington. His major research area for many years was structural reliability. This research led him to consider the more philosophical aspects of making decisions under uncertainty. He was one of the original members of the ASCE/SEI Engineering Philosophy Committee and is its most recent past chair. He has written about how different levels of uncertainty affect the way decisions need to be made in order to be effective, safe, and ethical. Within these writings is the concept of the Engineering Way of Thinking, a way of making decisions that is applicable beyond engineered technological systems.

Kai Whiting – Panelist


Researcher of Stoicism and Author

Kai Whiting is a co-author of Being Better: Stoicism for a World Worth Living In. He is a researcher and lecturer in sustainability and Stoicism based at UCLouvain, Belgium. He Tweets @kaiwhiting and is a co-founder of theWalledGarden.com, a place for Stoic community, discussions, and mentorship! He is also the co-founder of Wisdom Unlocked, a non-profit organization that uses Stoic principles to help people cultivate good character in difficult circumstances. 

We’re proud and excited to welcome Tona, Bill, Donna, Kai and Guru to the Long Now Boston community.


Our event sponsor this month salutes Mike and Pete of www.2269.co for their leadership in imagining a thriving future worthy of a global celebration of imagination, exploration and progress — on June 6, 02269.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/67J-1McSgccEYZSbuXsEQ7e82OwKczBq5XTUJMHYq5_0HOwO_s7jtTVEqcfNJVXOnxUBx-3plFam7yla-rLDUlhWuw6D9C5BBiwmN_QiScyTwmloCO4SWI3Ux9L0mUtEuCLPPZqT

Cambridge Innovation Center is an in-kind sponsor of this Long Now Boston conversation. We are very grateful for their support.

For information about event or corporate sponsorships, please contact info@longnowboston.org.

May 2, 02022: Chasing Oumuamua – Project Lyra

May 2, 02022: Chasing Oumuamua – Project Lyra

A Long Now Boston Conversation with Dr Martin Elvis of Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian Institution

Date: Monday, May 2, 7:30 p.m. ET
Zoom room opens at 7:15 p.m. for music and slides
The conversation starts at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available on Eventbrite

In October 2017, a mysterious object from interstellar space was discovered as it made a close pass through our solar system.  Named Oumuamua and later designated as “1I/2017 U1”, this object captured global attention.  Due to its small size, high speed, and unusual physical features, Oumuamua resisted easy classification.  In the past five years, speculations on the origins and nature of Oumuamua have become controversial, with some experts, including Professor Abraham “Avi” Loeb of Harvard, arguing that it could be a manufactured artifact rather than an unusual but natural object sourced in some ancient star system potentially billions of years in the past.  Avi raised this possibility in his Long Now Boston Talk “Life Among the Stars ” in December 2019.

In January of this year a serious proposal called Project Lyra was floated to launch an exploratory mission from Earth, intended to intercept Oumuamua in 26 years.  While the technical challenges are significant, the initial findings are that this would be feasible, and the scientific opportunity would be attractive.

Dr Martin Elvis, Senior Astrophysicist at the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, has been studying extraterrestrial objects for his entire career, and last June published the book Asteroids: How Love, Fear, and Greed Will Determine Our Future in Space, which expanded on his Long Now Boston talk in 2018: Asteroid Futures: Decade, Century, Millennium.  In his extensive research for his book, Martin was in a uniquely privileged position to learn about the controversies relating to Oumuamua and the early speculations on Project Lyra.  He will share his observations with Long Now Boston on May 2.

Among the questions  this conversation will explore:

  • What additional observations of Oumuamua would be most useful in clarifying its origins?
  • What are the big technical challenges and institutional roadblocks to Project Lyra?
  • What would happen if Avi were proved right, and Oumuamua were determined to be of unnatural origin?
  • Is this proposed project worth the cost, given the other priorities in space and here on Earth?

Join the conversation and be part of the solution.

The conversation will be held virtually using the Zoom platform. Login information and password will be provided to registrants prior to the event.

Thanks to our generous event sponsor, this event is Free.
Register at:  https://chasingoumuamua.eventbrite.com
Login begins at 7:15 p.m.; the conversation begins at 7:30 p.m.
Audience participation is encouraged.

About the speaker:

Dr. Martin Elvis is Senior Astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. In addition to his significant contributions to the science of deep space objects, Dr. Elvis has a passion for near earth objects and the opportunities they offer for future space exploration and development. Dr. Elvis has published over 400 journal papers and is one of the 250 most highly cited researchers in astronomy and space physics, with more than 28,000 citations.  In June 2021, published the book Asteroids: How Love, Fear, and Greed Will Determine Our Future in Space, which expanded on his Long Now Boston talk in 2018: Asteroid Futures: Decade, Century, Millennium. 

We’re proud and excited to welcome Martin to the Long Now Boston community.


Our event sponsor this month salutes Mike and Pete of www.2269.co for their leadership in imagining a thriving future worthy of a global celebration of imagination, exploration and progress — on June 6, 02269.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/67J-1McSgccEYZSbuXsEQ7e82OwKczBq5XTUJMHYq5_0HOwO_s7jtTVEqcfNJVXOnxUBx-3plFam7yla-rLDUlhWuw6D9C5BBiwmN_QiScyTwmloCO4SWI3Ux9L0mUtEuCLPPZqT

Cambridge Innovation Center is an in-kind sponsor of this Long Now Boston conversation. We are very grateful for their support.

For information about event or corporate sponsorships, please contact info@longnowboston.org.

April 5, 02022: Entrepreneurship – A Structured Process

April 5, 02022: Entrepreneurship – A Structured Process

A Long Now Boston Community Conversation with Danny Warshay, Author, Brown University Professor, Entrepreneur

Date: Monday, April 4, 7:30 p.m. ET
Zoom room opens at 7:15 p.m. for music and slides
The conversation starts at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available on Eventbrite

If you have imagined starting a venture or changing the way things are done, then Danny Warshay has something to offer—a structured process for turning an unsolved problem into a breakthrough success.  As he shares in his award-winning new book, SEE, SOLVE, SCALE: How Anyone Can Turn an Unsolved Problem into a Breakthrough Success, Danny demystifies entrepreneurship and offers practical, proven techniques for seeing a problem with a fresh mind, for iterating towards an optimal solution, and for bringing those solutions to scale.  The process  starts with Bottom-Up Research which this session will cover in detail, and moves through a series of stages, one of which is the Landscape Exercise—drawing the future you imagine and building a metaphorical road to get there.

Danny is excited to share his ideas with Long Now Boston, and is offering “advance credit” for those seeking an introduction to his reframing of the entrepreneurial process and a firm grounding in Bottom-Up Research.  In this flipped workshop approach, Danny is asking participants to view this video (esp min :10+ and :20-:60) in advance, and bring their insights with them.  Danny will begin the conversation with an interactive discussion of key learnings and will call on you to contribute: What surprised you?  What did you learn?  What questions were raised?

Danny also plans to share the insights of a few of his former students—many of whom have launched successful ventures after taking his course.

Danny teaches entrepreneurship as a process that anyone can learn, master and apply, not a character trait.  The tools are universally applicable to problem solving of all kinds   

Among the questions  this conversation will explore:

  • How can entrepreneurship cross boundaries from business to non-profits to social change?
  • What are the key motivations that inspire successful entrepreneurs?
  • How can we scale up the ideas of See, Solve, Scale?
  • How can we scale up the practice of Long Term thinking?

Join the conversation and be part of the solution.

The conversation will be held virtually using the Zoom platform. Login information and password will be provided to registrants prior to the event.

Thanks to our generous event sponsor, this event is Free.
Register at:  https://see-solve-scale.eventbrite.com
Login begins at 7:15 p.m.; the conversation begins at 7:30 p.m.
Audience participation is encouraged.

About the speakers:

Danny Warshay (FRSA) is a Professor and Executive Director of the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship at Brown University. He leads creative and thought-provoking workshops on entrepreneurship throughout corporate, academic, startup and governmental contexts throughout the United States, and in China, Egypt, Portugal, Bahrain, Slovenia, South Africa, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, the UK, and Jamaica.  He began his own entrepreneurial pursuits while an undergraduate at Brown as a member of the startup leadership team of Clearview Software, which was acquired by Apple. He earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business, and has co-founded and sold companies in fields ranging from software and advanced materials to consumer products and media. His course at Brown, The Entrepreneurial Process, has been recognized as the highest-rated course on campus.

On March 22nd, St. Martin’s Press (Macmillan) publishes Danny’s book entitled SEE, SOLVE, SCALE: How Anyone Can Turn an Unsolved Problem into a Breakthrough Success. It is available now for preorder. 

We’re proud and excited to welcome Danny to the Long Now Boston community.

We also thank the RSA US for promoting this event.  Bill Davison and George Gantz, members of the Long Now Boston Board of Directors, are also fellows of the RSA, in addition to Danny.


Our event sponsor this month salutes Mike and Pete of www.2269.co for their leadership in imagining a thriving future worthy of a global celebration of imagination, exploration and progress — on June 6, 02269.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/67J-1McSgccEYZSbuXsEQ7e82OwKczBq5XTUJMHYq5_0HOwO_s7jtTVEqcfNJVXOnxUBx-3plFam7yla-rLDUlhWuw6D9C5BBiwmN_QiScyTwmloCO4SWI3Ux9L0mUtEuCLPPZqT

Cambridge Innovation Center is an in-kind sponsor of this Long Now Boston conversation. We are very grateful for their support.

For information about event or corporate sponsorships, please contact info@longnowboston.org.

March 7, 02022: Consciousness, Memory and Language

Feb 7, 02022: Consciousness, Memory and Language

A Long Now Boston Community Conversation with artist Kerry Tribe and neuroscientist Mark Cohen

Date: Monday, March 7, 7:30 p.m. ET
Zoom room opens at 7:15 p.m. for music and slides
The conversation starts at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available on Eventbrite

As scientists and artists have contemplated the stars and probed the fine structures of the physical world, some have also explored the most remarkable and mysterious phenomena that occur inside our own skulls. The human brain is both immensely complicated and extraordinarily beautiful in its complexity.  We imagine that we have access to our thoughts and emotions, yet live in a world that is largely an invention of our brains: we are metaphysically separated from our ability to see ourselves.  The brain does not yield its mysteries easily. We have much to learn from the perspectives of both art and science.

Kerry brings her visionary perspective into focus in her latest exhibition Kerry Tribe: Onomatopoeia, on view through March at Emerson College. She was born and raised in the Boston area, but this is her first major exhibition in her hometown.  

Mark has made pioneering contributions to the investigation of human cognition, playing a leadership role in the invention of functional MRI, and other methods of studying the human brain. Mark says that he was, “moved deeply by Kerry’s work and its focus on the inner and outer self, and on the complexities of consciousness. She is a visionary whose art challenges us to question our confidence in our own identity. In this work, I consider her a research colleague.”

We are delighted to welcome Kerry and Mark to Long Now Boston for an awe-inspiring and mind-expanding conversation on our most human of capacities – cognition. 

Among the questions the speakers will address:

  • How is our understanding of consciousness evolving and what are the limits to what can be known?
  • We have discovered that our minds evolve in response to a changing world, so how might we prepare for an uncertain future?  
  • How do we know, and communicate with, other minds beyond our own?  

Audience participation is encouraged for this event. Bring your enthusiasm and your questions for a thought-provoking evening from a Long Now perspective. 

Join the conversation and be part of the solution.

The conversation will be held virtually using the Zoom platform. Login information and password will be provided to registrants prior to the event.

Thanks to our generous event sponsor, this event is Free.
Register at:  https://onomatopoeia.eventbrite.com
Login begins at 7:15 p.m.; the conversation begins at 7:30 p.m.
Audience participation is encouraged.

About the speakers:

Kerry Tribe is a visual artist and experimental documentarian born in Boston and based in Los Angeles. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at SFMOMA; The High Line; Carpenter Center for Visual Arts; The Power Plant; Modern Art Oxford; and Camden Arts Centre. Tribe is a recipient of the Presidential Residency at Stanford University, the Herb Alpert Award, the USA Artists Award, and the Guna S. Mundheim Fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin. Her latest exhibition, Kerry Tribe: Onomatopoeia, is on view through March at Emerson College in Boston. 

Mark S. Cohen, Ph.D., is a Professor emeritus at UCLA in the departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, Radiology, Psychology, Biomedical Physics and Bioengineering. Mark is a curiosity-driven scientist with an engineer’s mindset.  He believes that the universe operates on orderly physical principles, knowledge of which will allow us to investigate and understand the most profound and difficult questions: the nature of our inner experience, the meaning of our existence, and the large-scale organization of society.


Our event sponsor this month salutes Mike and Pete of www.2269.co for their leadership in imagining a thriving future worthy of a global celebration of imagination, exploration and progress — on June 6, 02269.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/67J-1McSgccEYZSbuXsEQ7e82OwKczBq5XTUJMHYq5_0HOwO_s7jtTVEqcfNJVXOnxUBx-3plFam7yla-rLDUlhWuw6D9C5BBiwmN_QiScyTwmloCO4SWI3Ux9L0mUtEuCLPPZqT

Cambridge Innovation Center is an in-kind sponsor of this Long Now Boston conversation. We are very grateful for their support.

For information about event or corporate sponsorships, please contact info@longnowboston.org.

Feb 7, 02022: Flash Talks: A New Lens on the Future

Feb 7, 02022: Flash Talks: A New Lens on the Future

A flash-talk style conversation showcasing future leaders who represent the leading edge in their respective fields.

Date: Monday, Feb 7, 7:30 p.m. ET
Zoom room opens at 7:15 p.m. for music and slides
The conversation starts at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available on Eventbrite: 
Zoom

Long Now Boston welcomes five remarkable individuals to the 4th Annual Flash Talks. Our 2022 invited speakers are early-career researchers, educators, and developers that are looking at problems and providing innovative solutions. Join us for a Long Now Boston conversation with fascinating talks by up and coming leaders from areas ranging from developing open learning platforms to robotics design.

  • The Future of Open Learning: Using digital technology to provide access to education. Presented by Katherine Ouellette, Communications Specialist at MIT Open Learning.
  • Space Enabled: Laying the foundation for the future of space exploration.  Presented by David Colby Reed, PhD candidate in the Space Enabled Lab at MIT Media lab. 
  • The MEER Framework: Solving the climate crisis necessitates decoupling the overheating and the greenhouse gas problems. We summarize preliminary data consistent with the efficacy of sky-facing glass mirrors for enabling local adaptation while globally rebalancing Earth’s energy fluxes. Presented by Ye Tao, The MEER Framework.
  • Biology as Technology: Recoding the Future: Living things have been harnessed as a technology by humans for millennia. Synthetic biology is revolutionizing the way we think about the living world around us. Presented by Sudeep Agarwala, synthetic biologist and Program Director at Gingko Bioworks.
  • Developing Equitable Robot Design Processes: Technologies, including robots, can embed new inequalities and entrench existing ones, so we need to promote more equitable ways of designing robots. I focus on equitable design approaches that can be leveraged to incorporate more voices and values in the robot design process. Presented by Anastasia Ostrowski, PhD student and design researcher in the Personal Robots Group at MIT Media Lab.

Audience participation is encouraged for this event. Bring your enthusiasm and your questions for a thought-provoking evening from a Long Now perspective. 

Join the conversation and be part of the solution.

The conversation will be held virtually using the Zoom platform. Login information and password will be provided to registrants prior to the event. Login begins at 7:15PM; the conversation begins at 7:30PM

Free Admission: Tickets are available on Eventbrite:  https://flashtalks2022.eventbrite.com

About the speakers:

Katherine Ouellete is a writer, communications specialist, and open learning advocate at MIT Open Learning. She is interested in transforming teaching and learning through the innovative use of digital technologies. Katherine creates content on several cutting edge technologies for the MIT Open Learning newsletter and is also a freelance contributor for WBUR.

David Colby Reed is a PhD student at the MIT Media Lab, where he is a member of the Space Enabled research group and cofounder of the Space Governance Collaborative. His research focuses on designing participation, voice, and equity into the architectures of complex systems like law, economies, and technologies.

Dr. Sudeep Agarwala is a synthetic biologist at Ginkgo Bioworks. He is fascinated by how microbes can be engineered to produce different compounds to address issues around resource limitation and climate change. Sudeep is passionate about science communication and public engagement around genetic engineering and biotechnology. His writings have appeared in the Washington Post and Grow Magazine. He is currently under contract with Harvard University Press.

Dr. Ye Tao developed the MEER Framework (Mirrors for Earth’s Energy Rebalance) while serving as a Principal Investigator at the Rowland Institute at Harvard between 2016 and 2021.   Dr. Tao is currently on a European lecture tour, after presenting at COP26, to widely disseminate information foundational to the survival and future prosperity of the human animal.

Anastasia Ostrowski is a PhD student and design researcher at the MIT Media Lab. Her work focuses on equitable design of robots, including co-design and participatory design approaches.

We’re proud and excited to welcome Katherine, David, Ye, Sudeep, and Anastasia  to the Long Now Boston community.


https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/67J-1McSgccEYZSbuXsEQ7e82OwKczBq5XTUJMHYq5_0HOwO_s7jtTVEqcfNJVXOnxUBx-3plFam7yla-rLDUlhWuw6D9C5BBiwmN_QiScyTwmloCO4SWI3Ux9L0mUtEuCLPPZqT

Cambridge Innovation Center is an in-kind sponsor of this Long Now Boston conversation. We are very grateful for their support.

Dec 6, 02021: Architecture: A Deep Time Perspective

Dec 6, 02021: Architecture:  A Deep Time Perspective

PLEASE NOTE: In response to the increasing level of COVID cases in Massachusetts recently, we have decided to move the Long Now Boston Architecture Event on Monday Dec 6 to an all-virtual format. In-person tickets will be refunded, and you are invited to please join us online.

A Long Now Boston Community Conversation with Cristina Parreño Alonso, architect, educator, artist.

Date: Monday, Dec 6, 7:30 p.m. ET
Zoom room opens at 7:15 p.m. for music and slides
The conversation starts at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available on Eventbrite: 
Zoom

We think of architecture as the buildings where we live and work.  We rarely think about those buildings from a deep time perspective, considering their complete life cycles and the roles they play in shaping human lives and human cultures.  Yet buildings define our physical spaces and shepherd us through our entire lives.  These ubiquitous, often dominating structures and spaces are largely taken for granted.

Cristina Parreño Alonso studies and teaches architecture from a deep time perspective, and she explores these ideas in her teaching, her design and in exhibited works in public spaces.  Her goal is to help our society understand and appreciate the deep time significance of the architectural landscape, in order to help us transform our relationships with the past and the future, with each other, and with the natural world.

Among the questions Cristina will explore include:

  • Materiality – where do all the materials in our buildings come from?  And where are they going?
  • Humanity – how does architectural design promote or undermine human relationships?  Can we do better?
  • Connectivity – why has architecture so often excluded and rejected nature?  Is there a better way to integrate humans and nature and reinforce their intimate and vital interconnectedness?

Please join Cristina and other long-term thinkers at this Long Now Boston Community Conversation on Monday December 6, to be held virtually via Zoom.

About the speaker:

Cristina Parreño Alonso is an architect, designer, and educator at the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT where her research Transtectonics explores cultural and environmental implications of expanded temporal sensibilities in architectural material practice. Her tectonic translations—material transfers across mediums and temporal scales, human and more-than-human—embody narratives that are told in the form of essays, exhibitions, and through architectural projects and installations that activate public spaces.

Her firm, Cristina Parreño Architecture, has won several awards and architectural competitions. In 2014 she obtained the European award “40 under 40”. In 2015 she was selected emerging firm at the “Design Boston Biennial” where she exhibited her piece “Tectonics of Transparency: The Tower”. In 2017 she was selected by the City of Boston to install the permanent art installation “Deep Time Stories of JP” in the Hyde Square of Jamaica Plain in Boston. Her work was on view at the Schusev State Museum of Architecture in Moscow, in 2020, and she is one of the architects exhibiting in La Biennale di Venezia, 2021. As well as MIT Cristina has taught design studios at the State University of NY at Buffalo and Harvard GSD.

We’re proud and excited to welcome Cristina to the Long Now Boston community.

Zoom login begins at 7:15 p.m.; the conversation begins at 7:30 p.m.

Join the conversation and be part of the solution.
$5 virtual. Members and students with ID admitted free.
Audience participation is encouraged.
If Eventbrite tickets sell out, seating for walk-ups will be unlikely to be available due to room size.


https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/67J-1McSgccEYZSbuXsEQ7e82OwKczBq5XTUJMHYq5_0HOwO_s7jtTVEqcfNJVXOnxUBx-3plFam7yla-rLDUlhWuw6D9C5BBiwmN_QiScyTwmloCO4SWI3Ux9L0mUtEuCLPPZqT

Cambridge Innovation Center is an in-kind sponsor of this Long Now Boston conversation. We are very grateful for their support.

Nov 1, 02021: Timescales and Contours of Extinctions: Past and Future

Nov 1, 02021: Timescales and Contours of Extinctions: Past and Future

A Long Now Boston Community Conversation with Andrew Knoll, the Fisher Research Professor of Natural History at Harvard University and author of ‘A Brief History of Earth’ (02021).

Date: Monday, Nov 1, 7:30 p.m. ET
CIC doors open at 7 p.m., Zoom room opens at 7:15 p.m. for music and slides
The conversation starts at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available on Eventbrite: 
In Person and Zoom

The geologic record documents five periods when Earth’s biodiversity fell rapidly and dramatically.  These mass extinction events highlight the interconnectedness between the geological and biological Earth.  Most of us are familiar with the dramatic end to the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, when a 10 km meteorite hit the Earth, creating the Chicxulub crater. But few of us realize that the biggest mass extinction in Earth’s history actually occurred more than 250 million years ago. In a timeframe of roughly 1 million years (an instant in geologic timescales), enormous quantities of lava poured out of the Earth, creating the basalt formation known as the Siberian Traps and releasing massive volumes of CO2.  Could the rapid, continuing increases in atmospheric carbon in the current era, and the resulting sixth mass extinction, have a similar trajectory?

Andy Knoll is an expert on the intertwined histories of Earth’s geology and the evolution of life, and he has been directly involved in research on the extinction event that accompanied the Siberian Traps.  In his view, the contours of the deep time geologic record of that event provides a useful mirror for understanding the global disruptions to expect in the coming age.  Large quantities of CO2 are again entering the atmosphere at incredible rates and their impact will cascade through the biological and geological record for millennia to come.  Among the questions to be considered:

  • What features might be observed in the future geological record as a result of the current 6th extinction event?
  • What timescale might we expect for major disruptions in the biosphere to occur, and what is the realistic timescale of recovery, if carbonization were to be reversed?
  • Given the rapid rise of atmospheric carbon, what are the most significant challenges for maintaining biological diversity? 
  • In addition to reducing the rate at which fossil fuels are being burned, what interventions might be helpful in mitigating the disruptions?

Please join Andy and other Long Term thinkers for this conversation on Monday November 1,  02021, to be held at the CIC Havana Room, 1 Broadway, Kendall Square, Cambridge MA.

About the speaker:

Andrew H. Knoll is the Fisher Research Professor of Natural History at Harvard University.  He attended Lehigh and Harvard and has served on the faculty of Oberlin and Harvard, where he has served as chair of the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.  An award-winning educator and author,  Andy’s research focuses on the early evolution of life and Earth’s Precambrian environmental history.  He has served on a number of Boards and Commissions, including the Board of the National Museum of Natural History and the subcommittee of the International Commission of Stratigraphy that established the Ediacaran Period.  His latest book is A Brief History of Earth: Four Billion Years in Eight Chapters (02021), a copy of which will be awarded as a door prize at the Long Now Boston event.

We’re proud and excited to welcome Andy to the Long Now Boston community.

CIC opens at 7 p.m; Zoom login begins at 7:15 p.m.; the conversation begins at 7:30 p.m.

Join the conversation and be part of the solution.
$15 in person, $5 virtual. Members and students with ID admitted free.
Audience participation is encouraged.
If Eventbrite tickets sell out, seating for walk-ups will be unlikely to be available due to room size.


Please note:  The health of our community is of the utmost concern. Our event partner, the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), is following CDC guidelines for public gatherings. To attend this event in person, we require you to be fully vaccinated (honor system), wear a mask, and provide an email in case contact tracing needs to be implemented. Limited seating of 20 is available for this event and walk-ins will not be allowed. When securing your spot via Eventbrite, please keep in mind that only one ticket per person is allowed (your email address will be collected then). The number of spaces opened for this event will allow for physical distancing as needed. Hand sanitizer will be available for use throughout the space. For more detail about the on-site safety protocol for the CIC, please visit https://cic.com/covid19.

If the situation changes, we are prepared to continue holding strictly online events. In this case, your in-person ticket will be converted to online access. We thank you in advance for your understanding and flexibility as we navigate the shifts we are experiencing with the Covid-19 pandemic. 

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/67J-1McSgccEYZSbuXsEQ7e82OwKczBq5XTUJMHYq5_0HOwO_s7jtTVEqcfNJVXOnxUBx-3plFam7yla-rLDUlhWuw6D9C5BBiwmN_QiScyTwmloCO4SWI3Ux9L0mUtEuCLPPZqT

Cambridge Innovation Center is an in-kind sponsor of this Long Now Boston conversation. We are very grateful for their support.

Sept 13, 02021: Make Time for the Future

Sept 13, 02021: Make Time for the Future

Date: Monday, Sept. 13, 7:30 p.m. ET
CIC doors open at 7 p.m., Zoom room opens at 7:15 p.m. for music and slides
The conversation starts at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available on Eventbrite: 
In Person and Zoom

Long Now Boston has been meeting for five years. Now, as we in the Boston region (hopefully) begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we would like to look back at our progress and look forward to our challenges. We invite you to join us for that conversation at a hybrid live/virtual Conversation Series event hosted by the Cambridge Innovation Center, on Monday September 13, 02021, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

In addition to the founders of Long Now Boston, we will be joined by a panel of esteemed former speakers:

Preston Estep, genome scientist, vaccine rationalist, entrepreneur, author
Andrew L. Russell, educator, author, maintainer
Cristina Parreño Alonso, architect, educator, deep time thinker
James Hughes, bioethicist, sociologist, change-maker
Paul Kirshen, professor, engineer, climate adaptation
Lee Vinsel, professor, author, maintainer

Please sign up now on Eventbrite, as we take stock of our past and envision our future.  

  • What have we learned from our 40 Conversation Events and the remarkable speakers that led those conversations?
  • What are the best ideas we’ve heard to help make long-term thinking a short-term priority?
  • What other organizations and thinkers might we look to as collaborators to further our collective goals?
  • What “long now” insights need to be shared more broadly, and what are the best methods for sharing these?
  • What do you think we should aspire to as an organization, as a region, as a civilization?

We hope you can make it!

– Bill, Grant, George, Kim, Mary, Leonie, Gary, Jennifer, Jon, Anuraag, and the team

Postscript:  Five years may seem a long time, but in the context of human technology and civilization it is a mere speck.  From the geological lens, it is invisible.  Yet human activities, for good and bad, are now changing the world at geologic scales in timeframes measured in years.  We are commercializing space travel, engineering gene lines and building human networks across the globe.  Yet we are also poisoning the biosphere, stockpiling weapons that threaten our survival, and failing to institute rational governance systems.  To quote Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities, 1859):

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.

CIC opens at 7 p.m; Zoom login begins at 7:15 p.m.; the conversation begins at 7:30 p.m.

Join the conversation and be part of the solution.
$15 in person, $5 virtual. Members and students with ID admitted free.
Audience participation is encouraged.
If Eventbrite tickets sell out, seating for walk-ups will be unlikely to be available due to room size.


Please note:  The health of our community is of the utmost concern. Our event partner, the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), is following CDC guidelines for public gatherings. To attend this event in person, we require you to be fully vaccinated (honor system), wear a mask, and provide an email in case contact tracing needs to be implemented. Limited seating of 20 is available for this event and walk-ins will not be allowed. When securing your spot via Eventbrite, please keep in mind that only one ticket per person is allowed (your email address will be collected then). The number of spaces opened for this event will allow for physical distancing as needed. Hand sanitizer will be available for use throughout the space. For more detail about the on-site safety protocol for the CIC, please visit https://cic.com/covid19.

If the situation changes, we are prepared to continue holding strictly online events. In this case, your in-person ticket will be converted to online access. We thank you in advance for your understanding and flexibility as we navigate the shifts we are experiencing with the Covid-19 pandemic. 

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/67J-1McSgccEYZSbuXsEQ7e82OwKczBq5XTUJMHYq5_0HOwO_s7jtTVEqcfNJVXOnxUBx-3plFam7yla-rLDUlhWuw6D9C5BBiwmN_QiScyTwmloCO4SWI3Ux9L0mUtEuCLPPZqT

Cambridge Innovation Center is an in-kind sponsor of this Long Now Boston conversation. We are very grateful for their support.

June 7, 02021: Unsung Heroes of Technological Societies – The Maintainers

Old worn gears showing the importance of maintenance

June 7, 02021: Unsung Heroes of Technological Societies – The Maintainers

Zoom doors open @ 7:15PM — Come early and meet other Long Now thinkers.
Tickets are available on Eventbrite.
Presentation starts at 7:30PM

A Long Now Boston Community Conversation with Lee Vinsel and Andrew Russell, authors of The Innovation Delusion – How Our Obsession with the New has Disrupted the Work That Matters Most (2020), and founders of The Maintainers.  A copy of the book will be offered as a door prize during the conversation!

The real heroes of the digital age, and all the technological revolutions that have come before, are not just the inventors and entrepreneurs that get all the glory.  It’s the hard-working men and women that build and maintain the infrastructure and perform the nitty-gritty engineering, manufacturing and maintenance that allows it all to work. In fact, the mythology of high-tech innovation and the short-termism it promotes is hiding two unsettling truths.  (1) Productivity growth has been slowing.  (2) Infrastructure has been ignored and underfunded.  Reforming the business practices and cultural attitudes that led us here is a critical priority in the efforts to build a thriving future for us all.

A maintenance mindset, and the long-term thinking it requires, is more important now than ever.  Lee and Andy will explain why, and provide concrete examples of how the growing Maintainers movement is leading the way.  From software to health care to education, Maintainers are keeping us safe, developing innovative and practical solutions to local and global problems and leading the way toward a more sustainable and equitable economy.

Among the questions the speakers will address:

What are the origins of the Innovation Delusion that is so prevalent in our high-tech economy?

How does the philosophy of maintenance demand long term thinking?

Why is a maintenance mindset critical to our future thriving?

What kind of long-term future do the Maintainers envision?

Join the conversation and be part of the solution.

The conversation will be held virtually using the Zoom platform. Login information and password will be provided to registrants prior to event.

$5 General Admission

Students and Long Now Boston Charter Members free [must register at https://unsung-heroes-the-maintainers.eventbrite.com]

Login begins at 7:15 p.m.; the conversation begins at 7:30 p.m.

Audience participation is encouraged.

About the speakers:

Lee Vinsel is a professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech.

Andrew L. Russell is a professor of history and the dean of the College of Arts and Science at SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

Together they are the founders of the Maintainers research network and conferences, and authors of The Innovation Delusion.  Their work and writing on the topic of maintenance have appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post and WIRED magazine.

We’re proud and excited to welcome Andy and Lee to the Long Now Boston community.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/67J-1McSgccEYZSbuXsEQ7e82OwKczBq5XTUJMHYq5_0HOwO_s7jtTVEqcfNJVXOnxUBx-3plFam7yla-rLDUlhWuw6D9C5BBiwmN_QiScyTwmloCO4SWI3Ux9L0mUtEuCLPPZqT

Cambridge Innovation Center is an in-kind sponsor of this Long Now Boston conversation. We are very grateful for their support.