New Atlas 20th Anniversary

Unconventional wisdom: Interviews with outside-the-box thinkers

Unconventional wisdom: Intervi...
The high-flying Eddie Braun had some tales to tell and was one of a favorite interview subjects
The high-flying Eddie Braun had some tales to tell and was one of a favorite interview subjects
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The high-flying Eddie Braun had some tales to tell and was one of a favorite interview subjects
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The high-flying Eddie Braun had some tales to tell and was one of a favorite interview subjects
Szymon Klimek with a handful of his miniatures (Photo: Szymon Klimek)
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Szymon Klimek with a handful of his miniatures (Photo: Szymon Klimek)
Klimek's SPONGE - a solar powered engine with unworldly interlocking structures acting as springs (Photo: Szymon Klimek)
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Klimek's SPONGE - a solar powered engine with unworldly interlocking structures acting as springs (Photo: Szymon Klimek)
Finished Bugatti 35 miniature (Photo: Szymon Klimek)
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Finished Bugatti 35 miniature (Photo: Szymon Klimek)
Eddie Paul takes a test swim inside a hollow shark body
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Eddie Paul takes a test swim inside a hollow shark body
Alison did her job - but watching her be torn apart by other sharks was a bittersweet moment for Eddie Paul
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Alison did her job - but watching her be torn apart by other sharks was a bittersweet moment for Eddie Paul
Theo Jansen the artist and engineer behind the Strandbeests (Photo: Theo Jansen)
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Theo Jansen the artist and engineer behind the Strandbeests (Photo: Theo Jansen)
The Animaris Percipiere (Photo: Theo Jansen)
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The Animaris Percipiere (Photo: Theo Jansen)
One of the beach animals finds itself in water (Photo: Theo Jansen)
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One of the beach animals finds itself in water (Photo: Theo Jansen)
Transhumanist Rich Lee is currently involved in a legal battle with his wife over custody of their children
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Transhumanist Rich Lee is currently involved in a legal battle with his wife over custody of their children
Early concept art for the Method-1 robot: a much wider stance than the current prototype
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Early concept art for the Method-1 robot: a much wider stance than the current prototype
Method-1 could be straight off the set of Avatar or Aliens
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Method-1 could be straight off the set of Avatar or Aliens
Eddie Braun launches toward immortality in his 10,000 horsepower steam rocket, the Evel Spirit
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Eddie Braun launches toward immortality in his 10,000 horsepower steam rocket, the Evel Spirit
The Evel Spirit's rocket nozzle
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The Evel Spirit's rocket nozzle
Eddie Braun and the Evel Spirit before launch
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Eddie Braun and the Evel Spirit before launch
Final hugs for friends and family members before the jump
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Final hugs for friends and family members before the jump
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "Everybody gets excited by treehouses, it's a childhood fantasy thing." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "Everybody gets excited by treehouses, it's a childhood fantasy thing." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "I searched and searched here to find a good tree, one that's gonna last a long time, and a place with a great view. The view is just stunning from up there." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "I searched and searched here to find a good tree, one that's gonna last a long time, and a place with a great view. The view is just stunning from up there." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "I've built a lot of buildings, but I've never seen that happen before - I see it here a lot." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "I've built a lot of buildings, but I've never seen that happen before - I see it here a lot." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Wollemi treehouse hotel: balcony view (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Wollemi treehouse hotel: balcony view (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Over the past 20 years we’ve crossed paths with all manner of passionate people blazing their own trails, so we thought this would be a good opportunity to revisit some of the more eccentric characters we’ve been lucky enough to chat with over the journey.

By definition, eccentric are unconventional. They see things differently and encourage others do the same. But breaking new ground isn't just about seeing new opportunities where others see none. It's about having the wherewithal and determination to forge that new path. So, if there is one trait we would say is common to all of the following interview subjects, it isn't eccentricity – it's passion.

That’s what kept them pursuing visions that many others would have disregarded as crazy and kept them persevering when others would have taken the easier well-laid path, or simply given up.

Picking the brains of such people to gain an insight into their work and a greater understanding of their drive and inspiration is one of the major benefits of what we do. We hope you enjoy paying them another visit as much as we did.

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