That evening, at a café near the work site, I had a drink with an ITER physicist, who was despondent, fearing that the machine would never work. Why he was staying with the project he couldn’t say. But a few weeks later, after thinking about it, he told me that his mood had lifted. He had come to see his role in both small and sublime terms—akin to a stonemason toiling for years on the York Minster cathedral (begun 1220, finished 1472) without witnessing the work being completed. “I now expect to devote my full professional career before seeing a decent plasma in ITER,” he said. “This does not bug me. There have been many scientists before me, working for this same goal, who will not see this. Martin Luther King had a dream fifty years ago. He did not live long enough to see that dream realized. But, thanks to him, we have made wonderful strides in helping his dream be fulfilled. The scientists working on ITER have a dream that could be as powerful as Martin Luther King’s—not for human equality but for energy independence. We won’t see this dream realized. But each day I go to work I have a hidden smile knowing that I am helping us get one day closer to our ITER dream.”Raffi Khatchadourian: Can an Audacious Plan to Create a New Energy Resource Help Save the Planet? : The New Yorker
…current economic conditions are creating a marketplace in which firms increasingly sell the availability of their employees as part of the services offered by the firm…Mazmanian & Erickson
Systems development is not the creation of discrete, intrinsically meaningful objects, but the cultural production of new forms of material practice.L. Suchman et al.
The human psyche can tolerate a great deal of prospective misery, but it cannot bear the thought that the future is beyond all power of anticipation.Robert Heilbroner
Pattern Recognition, 2. “Bitch”, page 8.
CPUs for the meeting, reflected in the window of a Soho specialist in mod paraphernalia, are a fresh Fruit T-shirt, her black Buzz Rickson’s MA-1, anonymous black skirt from a Tulsa thrift, the black leggings she’d worn for Pilates, black Harajuku schoolgirl shoes. Her purse-analog is an envelope of black East German laminate, purchased on eBay if not actual Stasi-issue then well in the ballpark.
She sees her own gray eyes, pale in the glass, and beyond them Ben Sherman shirts and fishtail parkas, cufflinks in the form of the RAF roundel that marked the wings of Spitfires. CPUs. Cayce Pollard Units. That’s what Damien calls the clothing she wears. CPUs are either black, white, or gray, and ideally seem to have come into this world without human intervention.
What people take for relentless minimalism is a side effect of too much exposure to the reactor-cores of fashion. This has resulted in a remorseless paring-down of what she can and will wear. She is, literally, allergic to fashion. She can only tolerate things that could have been worn, to a general lack of comment, during any year between 1945 and 2000. She’s a design-free zone, a one-woman school of anti whose very austerity periodically threatens to spawn its own cult.
Earlier this month, at a symposium at the University of Southern California film school, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg predicted the collapse of most megabudget movies, and with it the end of Hollywood as it now exists.
What Spielberg and Lucas are really saying is, “Nobody wants our movies anymore.” They’re being credited with foresight for simply noticing that they’re no longer wanted.
The focus on technology as the answer is misguided and embarassing. I’ve fiddled around with Oculus Rift. It’s neat, but it’s not a solution to a problem any more than 3D is. Or surround sound. Or IMAX. Or videos that pause when you look away. It’s a baby step at best. New features are rarely game changers.
Sleep No More is a solution to the problem. I’ve logged 12 hours in that world. It’s good art. It’s challenging and visceral and human and immersive in a way Oculus Rift will never be. It’s entertainment for grownups. It charges what it’s worth and it’s wildly popular.
Sopranos was a solution to the problem. Louie is a solution to the problem. The Paul F. Tompkast is a solution to the problem. Radiolab is a solution to the problem. The best video games, and not just the ones on your TV screen, are solutions to the problem.
Spielberg and Lucas are predicting the future when it’s already here. It’s not bold to predict that the megabudget movie industry will die. The interesting part is that, just as is the case with Spielberg and Lucas projects right now, nobody will care or really even notice when it happens. Our attention will be elsewhere. It already is.
This […] is probably why a great number of people know the German word schadenfreude (describing happiness at another’s misfortune) and almost nobody knows the Yiddish shep naches (happiness at another’s success).Elizabeth Weil in Happiness Inc.