New York City, New York — December 21, 2005 through December 27, 2005

We spend a week in New York City on vacation. I take few notes, but I have some memories of wandering around the city, visiting stores and chess shops. We tour MOMA where someone in my family spots Jeffrey Toobin eating lunch near us. We also see a committee, which could have been performance art but probably wasn’t, deciding where to hang a painting, eventually having to call in reinforcements via cell phone.

On December 23 (apparently), I wrote this:

I sit here, at the MOMA in New York, 800 miles away from my home, which is 2000 miles away from where I live, eyes closed, deep in relaxation, when my hip buzzes. It has buzzed because a server in California wouldn’t talk to a server in Chicago, which sent a message to me, which meant sending it to California, which meant sending it to another server, which sent it to a cell phone tower in New York, which sent broadcasted it over the air, which allowed it to be received by this little device at my side.

We take a tour of CNN’s new digs in the new Time Warner building. The tour is remarkably uninformative, although my brother does get to read a teleprompter in front of a green screen.

We take a tour of the UN building. There’s very little security, you can walk just about everywhere (although a guard once asks us not to use the delegates’s computers). As we enter the room where the Security Council meets, the body with the power to make war legal, I feel a giant knot in my stomach and can’t stop thinking “two illegal wars” (referring to Afghanistan and Iraq).

Another day, I wrote this:

In Manhattan, new ad-dispensing TV screens dot the landscape. They’re larger and higher quality than those I’ve seen before. They might even be HD or widescreen. I note that they’re all owned by Clear Channel. No doubt they’ll be provided to the President when he institutes the Three Minutes Hate, or maybe just for his next press conference.

A voice would come booming out thru unseen speakers, from all TV stations and radios. “Attention ladies and gentlemen,” it would say. “Please direct your attention to the President of the United States.” Then his face would appear on the screen, sitting in front of his standard Oval Office backdrop. Crowds would collect around the screens, people standing on tiptoes to get a better look.

“It’s a dangerous world,” the head would say, “but we have struck a major blow against the terra’ists…”

I snap out of this daydream as my brother drags me across the street.

We visit the Museum of Television, which is surprisingly popular, and Ellis Island, which is rather boring. I’m sure we did a bunch of other stuff too, but I just don’t remember.

posted February 13, 2005 10:45 PM (Education) (1 comments) #


Edward Tufte on Beautiful Evidence (and more Stanford: December 8)
Stanford: Thursday, December 9
Home Again
Home: Life and Love
Home: Gloom and Loneliness
New York City: Winter Vacation
Stanford: Back to School
Stanford: I Miss Zooko
Stanford: Fuzzier Heads Prevail
Stanford: Artists and Aliens
Stanford: Meeting the Man in Shadow


Re: “A voice would come booming out thru unseen speakers, from all TV stations and radios. ‘Attention ladies and gentlemen,’ it would say. ‘Please direct your attention to the President of the United States.’”

You do realize that the infrastructure to do this very thing is already in place?

posted by anonymous at February 15, 2005 01:24 PM #

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Aaron Swartz (