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The Toynbee Convector Edition

National Inventors Month, observed every May, celebrates human ingenuity and creativity. If it weren’t for the creativity of inventors, we’d still be traveling on horseback, writing with quills and living blissfully unaware of the universe that lies just beyond Earth’s blue skies. 

First recognized in August 1998 to celebrate creativity, ingenuity, curiosity, and the courage to experiment, National Inventors Month has continued to recognize the talented individuals who have changed history through their inventions.

When thinking of historical inventors, you might not immediately think of Ray Bradbury. However, through his numerous volumes of short stories and novels, many of his fictional inventions have come to fruition. Things like the virtual reality room from “The Veldt” eventually turned into VR headsets or the ‘seashell radio’ from Fahrenheit 451, which eventually became Bluetooth earbuds. 

So, join us as we explore Bradbury’s many magnificent inventions. You might be surprised with what you discover.

By Jordan Brinker-Saigaonkar

In "The Veldt" Bradbury describes a virtual room that seems to not only replicate life, but to bring its virtual creations to life. While we have not quite achieved this level of virtual reality, we have developed Virtual Reality headsets and set-ups that are only becoming more advanced and common.
Bradbury Center Media Corner
Upcoming Bradbury Community Events 
—The Ray Bradbury Center will be going live again on Thursday, May 26th for another Feed Your Imagination Monthly Lunchtime Story Club! 

This month’s story will be “The Man” from The Illustrated Man. Listen to it now on YouTube https://youtu.be/i6D_D9_2LNw or read it online at https://bit.ly/37ungmx

And since we’re meeting during lunch, we thought we’d offer up an idea for an exceptionally spacey snack, so check out these ‘Rocket Kabobs’! https://bit.ly/3N4ZyN4 

Feel free to use the fruit of your choice and get creative! 

Click the link to register now! https://bit.ly/3yFWdQD


— Starting in June through August, The Ray Bradbury Center will re-open for tours! We’ll be open 11-2pm every Wednesday and if you wish to come with a group or on another day, please contact us at bradbury@iu.edu. 
Golden Apple Picks
This month’s Golden Apple Picks were plucked from our incredibly witty and talented archivist, Nancy Orem. Nancy is a native Hoosier who grew up with her nose in a book and has a love of learning. Today, Nancy is passionate about architecture, libraries, travel and owls. Before retiring from a 30+ year career in IT Project Management, she earned her MLS and now volunteers at The Bradbury Center and the Indiana State Library. She delights in things that are clever and unexpected and her picks for this month reflect that. Enjoy!

READ

P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever 

P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever is a children's picture book written by Raj Haldar and Chris Carpenter and illustrated by Maria Tina Beddia. It showcases "English words with silent letters and bizarre spellings” and it’s sure to make you belly laugh and also want to pull your hair out at the same time. Highly recommended.

WATCH

The Owl on YouTube

The Owl is a French children's TV series that ran in the mid 2000s. The episodes are about a minute long and feature the Owl facing unfortunate scenarios, and often meeting his demise in a comical fashion. 

LISTEN

Victor Borge "Inflationary Language" on YouTube

Victor Borge, also known as "The Clown Prince of Denmark", was a Danish-American comedian, conductor and pianist. Two of his most well-known jokes include "Phonetic Punctuation" and "Inflationary Language" where he plays with words and makes the listener question all rules of the English language.

In "The Murderer" Bradbury describes a "wrist radio" that plays music and takes calls from family and friends. While cell phones are one modern-day equivalent, we now have Smart Watches and FitBits that can monitor things like heartrate or blood pressure and allow us to communicate more freely without our hands.
Fun Facts From the Archives
You don’t have to be a scientist to be an inventor. Ray Bradbury, with no formal science training past high school, inspired and influenced other creators, including Disney Imagineers. During the 1970s, he helped write the storyline and script for Spaceship Earth, the iconic geosphere attraction at EPCOT.

On Halloween night in 2007, Bradbury was honored for his many contributions to Disney with a living Halloween Tree in California’s Disneyland, a tribute that is renewed every year at Halloween time.  

He later consulted on the development of Euro Disney, including the design of the Orbitron ride at Disneyland Paris, inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s art of the solar system. Imagineer Tim Delaney and his team were struggling to make the ride seem faster, and Bradbury suggested orbiting the passenger cars and planetary bodies in opposite directions to double the relative speed. This suggestion, made with little technical understanding, solved the Imagineers’ dilemma.
Orbitron Drawing and Thank You Note (c.1964) Mixed media From the collection of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at Indiana University School of Liberal Arts
By Sarah Whaley (informed by Jonathan R. Eller’s trilogy of Bradbury biographies)
Did You Know?

First published in paperback by Ballantine in 1953 and as a hardcover by Simon & Schuster in the 1960s, Fahrenheit 451 has sold more than 10 million copies and has been translated into 33 languages.
Bradburyisms

Bradbury’s outlook on inventiveness offered a unique connection with my personal life history. On January 28, 1986, he was invited to speak to viewers of ABC News Nightline program. The event he was asked to speak about was the same event that my ship, the USS W. S. Sims, was assigned to perform a salvage mission for: the space shuttle Challenger disaster. 

Ray offered the following insights about this tragedy, “I was out at JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) Saturday for the Uranus encounter and on that day it was an exhilaration that reminded us that we were alive in a very strange and beautiful universe. Now, a day like today teaches us the reverse, that we are also capable of dying, and then we ask the reason for this. Why are we exhilarated one day and destroyed the next?  

The wars of the past have been futile and ridiculous to most of us. Now, all of a sudden, we discover we have a war worth fighting. In other words, in the long night of time we humans on this earth in the middle of this universe have a challenge. What is the challenge? Gravity, space, time, death, and darkness; therefore, space travel has always meant to me our endeavor to fight the good fight, the best war, the one that’s really worth winning, the positive war against time and death.” 

Given the number of accurate predictions made in his writing throughout his life, let us all hope that his challenge of the Challenger comes to fruition. 

By Max Goller

In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury references "Seashell Radios" multiple times. These devices allow people to listen to music, white noise and other media and communicate with each other. Today, we have developed Airpods and earbuds without wires that have small microphones, serving the exact same functions Bradbury predicted decades before.  
Director’s Note
The Ray Bradbury Center works hard to preserve and advance Ray Bradbury’s legacy. We do this by helping people cultivate their imaginations, foster robust reading lives, and pursue the things they love. But we cannot do this alone. We cannot do it without your support. Your gift means more to us than we can adequately express in just a few short lines. By giving to the Ray Bradbury Center, you become part of the team, part of our work, part of the legacy, and we are beyond grateful. Thank you so much!
 
- Dr. Jason Aukerman, Director
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