Sunday, September 11 2011
THe other day I'd seen the recent episode of Nova about the new skyscraper and double-void memorial being constructed at the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. This interested me from a purely technical standpoint. How, after all, does one build a skyscraper in the ruins of an earlier set of skyscrapers while avoiding ground water, buried services, and train tunnels, and how does one make it safe enough for people (including the people who are actually faceless corporations) to eventually occupy?
As for the spectacle of commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the actual terrorist attacks (and that's really all it is, including the dreary square sockets where the towers used to be), the whole thing feels like going through the motions. There might be a few people selflessly doing what they can to remember the attacks, but for the most part the people involved all seem to be cynically self-interested. I mean, beyond the architects, engineers, designers, press, politicians, and people selling hot dogs, who else really cares? As usual, Paul Krugman has it right; the memory of 9Eleven has forever been poisoned by the evil (and foolish) ends to which it was subsequently used, an outcome far beyond the best possible hopes of Osama bin Laden and his ilk. Furthermore, the damage inflicted by the terrorists, though large, was less than the kind many other countries have endured without turning into nations of enraged sadistic fools. When America gets a booboo, it should be enough to put a bandage on it and send her back into the playground without worrying about her becoming an arsonist or developing a new penchant for plucking the wings from butterflies.
Today I spent some time working on an iPhone project involving the display of syndicated information from several sources, though at some point this afternoon the syndication feed died and didn't return. I realized I should have been caching all those data streams for testing use, but one never expects such outages, particularly during development.
I've been listening recently to an indie rock band called Rogue Wave. Unlike most bands I like, they do not have any particular sound. Sometimes they could be Band of Horses or perhaps Matt Pond PA. Not all that many of their songs even appeal to me, but every now and then (like Blue Oyster Cult), they'll produce a masterpiece. Examples of these include "Stars and Stripes" (be sure to watch this great live version done with oddball percussion) and "We Will Make a Song Destroy," a sequence of awesome rock and roll clichés that is far greater than the sum of its parts.
I was watching a little live teevee today and happened to stumble into a Discovery program I've seen snatches of before: I (Almost) Got Away With It." It's one of those reality-reenactment crime shows, this one focusing mostly on murderers who successfully evaded capture for years but who are now serving time. It's a good premise for a show, because, while you know the ultimate outcome, you keep wondering how the fugitive is going to get out of this or that pickle. In one case our hero (who was a bank robber and not a murderer) actually escaped through an elaborate tunnel he'd constructed beneath his trailer using 50 gallon drums buried end-to-end in a ditch. I don't have to see many things like that to keep watching. Still, it's total Cheetos television of the sort I don't really want Gretchen to see me watching (just from her furrowed brow, she makes me feel worse about it than I would watching it all alone). The solution, of course, was to download more episodes via bitTorrent and watch them on my computer with the door closed.
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