You are a “trim tab!”

You are a “trim tab!”

One of the stories from R. Buckminster Fuller: THE HISTORY (and Mystery) OF THE UNIVERSE I liked was Bucky talking about being a “trim tab,” the trailing edge of a control surface (e.g. on a boat or plane rudder), used to “trim” the controls, and how this small surface on the end of a plane or a boat can change the direction of the entire craft. Bucky likened this to how a single individual can have a disproportional effect on society by “doing dynamic things mentally.” I came home to do some more research on him and found out that “Call Me Trimtab” is on his headstone. The Buckminster Fuller Institute newsletter is also called Trimtab.

R. Buckminster Fuller: THE HISTORY (and Mystery) OF THE UNIVERSE

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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