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Friday, July 26, 2002

Humanist Blackout : Part 1

My experiences during the World Future Society's annual conference are so broad and complex, that it's going to take time for me to finish posting my commentary on it.

Here's Part I:

Due to a severe resurgence of laziness and mudding, which had been in remission, I was considering ditching the conference, even though I had bought tickets.

Then, there was the explosion and total blackout south of 14th street. People were trapped in subways, traffic lights were out. 63,000 customers were reported as having an outage, but the news forgot to report mention that Lower Manhattan is the businest business district in the country, with a daytime population 7 to 10 times the residential population. Most phones and cell phones were out. I'd estimate 400,000 people were downtown at the time*. What's worse is that the cause of the explosion is still under a hushed investigation, with national guardsman patrolling the east side. I guess we're just sick of upsetting people? Anyway, rather than stick around and be a victim of chaos, I walked 30 blocks to Penn Station (no cabs, no car service, nada!), and took a train to 30th Street Station.

I cheked in at the Mariott, and wandered over to the Lowes (which was full), just before the opening ceremony. The titles were mostly self-helpy things like Coping with change, which put me off. Only a few there I'd read. Age of Spiritual Machines by Kurzwiel and Welcome to the Nanoworld. I resolved to buy at least one book for review, and it was hard to find one. Was tempted to read a book on humanist philosophy, but I've been avoiding that because I think it's important to avoid premature influences. I chose Reality Isn't What It Used to Be because the sensationalist title clashed with the tasteful writing style, and I liked the contrast.

More to come...

* Estimate based on these reports: http://www.oag.state.ny.us/press/reports/stop_frisk/ch5_part1.html, http://www.therousecompany.com/operation/specialty/southstreetseaport.html

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