“The Carballos do not feel particularly safe, secure, or comfortable.  Now they’ve been robbed twice and are scrambling economically and have moved around so much that they feel like they have few friends. Times are hard; they have had to move in with Marta’s aunt.  Juan Carlos pinned his hopes on a Kreonite machine that could develop large transparencies for commercial use – the only machine like it in their town of Salta.” Material World p. 125

Simple technologies put in the hands of an individual with a creative mind and a creative goal can change the world.  Give people the skills and tools to affect their environment and they will, especially if some impasse had impeded them without those skills or tools.  Restrictions and setback strengthen the foundations of a process like the tempering of a blade.  Observing the opposite group tinkering with 3d design programs throughout these weeks I have been witnessing people engaging oppositions to their success with tools previously unavailable to them: computer knowledge, 3d printers, and experts.  How frequently are one’s dreams of creating something, doing something, building something deemed impossible when the tools or the expertise are not present?  Do the tools necessitate the dreams or do the skills necessitate the dreams?  In a story I wrote last year called “Space Pirate” I explore a scenario where a man’s singular vison of spaceflight overcome his lack of tools, expertise and finance.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Day and night were spent drawing up diagrams and schematics, making lists of parts to acquire and books to steal from the library.  Fred was the first space pirate.  Students noticed a man at universities sneaking into lectures by chemical propulsion specialists, aircraft engineers, rocket scientists.  Campus guards were told to watch for a man watching through windows as students were taught welding, riveting, carpentry, woodworking and forging in community colleges, but they didn’t know that he was sure to tape the latch as they left so he could practice at night.  Wrecking yard security officers were on the lookout for an average build man who was seen in surveillance records hitting junk yards in the area nightly, tossing whatever he could over the chain link fence before the dogs got to him.  Librarians all over the city remember a man inquiring about books containing information about electrical engineering, home improvement and astrophysics and when they went to check on his progress they found whole sections of the library cleaned out.  The news of a local television station reported that a salvage boat captain allegedly had his vessel stolen out the marina near the waters where expended rocket boosters from an Apollo mission had been jettisoned before exiting the atmosphere.  The manager from a novelty food store found his entire stock of Food-in-a-Tube, all six flavors including mashed potatoes and gravy, spaghetti with meatballs, chicken noodle soup, even waffles and maple syrup had completely disappeared from the minute backroom warehouse of his small specialty grocery.  Wholesaler and local grocery stores alike would be stuck ordering twice the amount of plain sugar and potassium nitrate (stump remover) week after week without anyone putting together that these are the exact ingredients for homemade rocket fuel.”