I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and of the degree of the arcades' curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past...A description of Zaira as it is today should contain all Zaira's past. -Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
Friday, September 30, 2005
On a side note, not quite as anthropological, I was also excited to learn this week that a live giant squid has been filmed. Don't think they use tools, but a reminder that quite a bit of science fiction is fact if you look below the waterline is a good thing.
Anyway, during this lag I have thought about my blog...but not posted. Is it an obligation that I am not fulfilling when I don't post regularly? Or is is a comfortable chair to come back to and write when I have the chance, just like sometimes I get to curl up with a good book yet too often can't find the time?
Clearly I will not become an uberblogger anytime soon...and yet, I do like my little outlet.
Monday, September 12, 2005
I do trust the people who I work with face to face every day because I know them, I know their work, and I know I can count on them (or in some cases I know where the weaknesses are so I can plan for that). And yes, I have at times worked with people who I don't trust, in that I don't have faith in the quality of their work. So how does trust develop in virtual relationships? Does it take more time? Does it take the same amount of baseline experience? Or do we take bigger leaps of faith?
I haven't really worked this out yet, but it is fun to be mulling around on.
Friday, September 09, 2005
It is interesting though because two different colleagues have asked me whether I would take people in to my house (because they themselves were considering whether it was the right thing to do, since they both have extra rooms). Obviously, I would take in family, or friends of family--I think anyone who had a connection to someone I know. I don't think I would take in a stranger (and of course the people who really need housing right now are strangers). Is this selfish or wrong?
I can't imagine what it must be like to lose everything (and I hope I never have to). And on top of that, people who have never left their home towns are being put on busses and planes to totally different parts of the country. I am glad we are all doing what we can to help, but the culture change will be yet another thing for many people to deal with.
There is a temptation to take an intellectual view of it--the National Science Foundation is already awarding grants for research on the aftermath of the hurricane. A long view is important, so we can handle such catastrophes better next time, but in the meantime there are so many people that need help now.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
As I watch the news come in, it is also just such a stark example of the best and worst. My sister lives in Houston (and once lived in New Orleans) and is one of the thousands of people there volunteering to get things set up and comfortable for refugees. And I have no idea how the Texas schools will in fact accomodate all the children, but it is something that they will find a way to do, because it has to be done...but at the same time I look at New Orleans itself and shots are being fired at rescue workers. Is it inevitable that we degenerate under such circumstances? I am fortunate in that I am not there experiencing that mental stress to find out, and I want all the best for the people who are there, though I know things will not be Ok for them for quite some time.