Greetings to you, from the leeward side of January.
I was in Boston for a day last weekend, looking at apartments and spaces for the UnLAB, and I took this shot from the window of a room on the 22nd floor of the Sheraton in Back Bay.
This is where I’m headed as soon as the CGB books go to press, except I’ll actually be viewing from a 4th floor walkup (!) in Beacon Hill, a bit to the right and forward. As usual, MIT54 (the tall building in the MIT skyline and the target for our first WindLAB) dominates the view, visible even from my dining room window below (extreme left of the skyline).
I don’t know how long I’ll perch there… it’s difficult to predict how lightly I can live vs. how lightly I would ideally like to live. I’m not quite ready to give up my books or my paintings yet, for example, or my odd collection of ball gowns, and I very much want to live with Miss Fish, who may or may not wish to roam the world. I’ll have to consult with her on the matter.
I like walkups. My friend Peri had a 6th floor version in NoHo and all of the climbing was divine for the figure and kept me from bringing up too many castaway items from the street. The only really shocking thing for me here is using the Longfellow instead of the Harvard Bridge to cross the river.
I think I’ve shied away from the LF ever since I got drunk on sake with Jack Wisdom and found myself beneath it, admiring a wall of trophies. I could see that it was a powerful vortex in space-time; anything could happen on or near the LF. The Harvard Bridge is just a bridge.
bottom photo Ryan Anas, the day Bri signed off of the USS Constitution.
I must admit that living at the foot of the LF is a ninjaperfect way to be walking distance from both Harvard and MIT; it’s just a few stops on the ever-handy Red Line, and of course just a hop or a walk across the bridge from MIT/Kendall. Also, it’s where our friend Ron lives, and before I knew he existed, and that we could collaborate with him, I never thought too much about living around Beacon.
Ron isn’t in this photo, but he may as well be, because this moment aloft on 54 with Peter and Steve Imrich from the Cambridge 7 architectural firm was deeply material, as was the morning we went up with Erik and Marty Demaine, and Peter had us all in a circle, affirming our dedication to taking that roof by storm. “Are you in!?”, he said to each of us in turn, in his 1000 watt Peter way, “ARE YOU IN!?”
It was an easy question for me, as I’ve known for decades that the building was in my future. I remember when MIT recruited Rick Binzel away from the Planetary Science Institute shortly after I was hired in 1987. He went off to work in this very same building, the one we all called the Needle Of Science; it’s so tall and narrow that people feel isolated, and sometimes depressed inside. I’ve long wanted to help.
I’ve only taken the Boston apartment for a month to begin, but it (and many other apartments as well in this world) are available for longer, and I am curious to know myself where my next real landing place will be. I decided to sell the Tucson house, as it’s clear that my work and my mind are taking me elsewhere. I don’t like hoarding space, and I can’t afford to maintain it if it isn’t my home. We’ll ALL be there the first week in February (come over if you are in town the 2-5!) and then I’ll be saying goodbye.
It’s been a beautiful place to live, an entire urban acre of peace and warmth and sunshine and gentle growth. And the accumulation of way too much awesome STUFF.
Since I wrote last, I’ve really been all over. We’re moving straight ahead, doing All of the Things, working on the startup of the UnLAB, the furthering of the MIT site projects, and as ever now, the inescapable study of hypars, which are even more prevalent than sights of MIT54.
I’ve interacted meaningfully with a vermillion flycatcher, a female kestrel, a raven, a Navy carrier pilot who flew Vikings, I’ve seen an eagle land in a pine tree, sat down with hedge fund investors in Manhattan, played tennis in Tucson and LA, listened to bartenders and vice presidents. Bartenders know everything.
It strikes me from watching everything around me that there are a lot of points ready to flip. If you knew what you were looking at here, you could just make a little twisting or untwisting motion on the origami hypar, and it would go “sproing”, flip back into the other way of being, and the deer might look like a deer again.
But, whether it could actually still be a healthy deer… hmm.
We are definitely going to new places with all of the crazy here in the USA, and some of our pieces aren’t going to be the same deer after it’s over. In a way, I feel like it’s my job to think about that now, before things go sproing, I must look for the hidden twists, useful and not useful, and get ourselves sorted out. That way we can move like pole vaulters and not like bugs heading for a windshield.
Because you know, yesterday, the new government froze all of the Federacy agency websites, forbade staff from using social media, and locked out the press. Naturally, science went rogue, BECAUSE FACTS, and because we are the media, and it’s time to do our job. If you’d like to keep up with the plight of these people inside the agencies as we ride our greased rocket to God knows, you can follow them now on their rogue social media accounts.
And please plan to join us when Scientists March On Washington, because frankly, we’re not gonna take it. The date of the march will be announced on Monday, and you can sign up for email updates at the link. I expect to see a lot of pink hats back in DC!
And remember, if you are Tucson-bound next week, come and find us at the house. Stop by in the evenings of Feb 3, 4, or 5 and come and see what we have to give, share a glass of wine. Leave a comment if you want an email with the address. I’m going to sell my Miata, too, because I don’t want a car in the city. We can take a farewell ride around the neighborhood, wave at the midnight rabbits. Many changes, but I have a full heart.
And Obamacare. For now.