Alistair Cooke has died. I haven't listened to his Letter from America in years, but in graduate school while I was doing research at CERN outside of Geneva, Switzerland, my main source of news was the BBC World Service on the shortwave band. On occasional weekends, I happened to have the radio on when the Letter from America was played. I felt like it closed a circle for an American living in Europe to listen to a European talking about America. (I really wanted to link to a picture of Alistair Cookie, but google images doesn't turn up such an image and the sesame street website isn't easily searchable.)
A few summers ago we took a wonderful trip to Provence with my wife's family. We had a great time exploring the villages of southern France. This morning, we were looking at our pictures and I was pleased to discover that most of the links on the webpage still worked. Another sign that the web has stabilized is that deep links such as Arles in the middle of the beyond France website still work almost two years later. Unfortunately, I wasn't so lucky with the Provence guide. They still exist, but the Luberon, for example, isn't the same link that you'll find on the above page. (unless I fix them all this morning while avoiding work...) Looking through both our pictures and the travel websites, I yearn to return to the south of France to sit in a cafe and relax.
Their tents are made of goat hair and are very loosely woven. They are beautifully lit inside and, as the outside of the tent gets hot, it causes an updraught that sucks air through the loose weave. If you open the tent flaps, the air comes screaming in, even though there is no breeze. It's brilliant. If it rains, the goat fibres swell up and the tent gets tight as a drum... When we built the offices for Gap in northern California, I used a ventilation system based on the Bedouin model to move cool air across the concrete floors all night long for free, and to get free, fresh, cool air all day long.
Near the conclusion of the interview he advises (in regard to converting old-timers to his way of thinking), "never try to teach mules to play the violin. It sounds terrible and the mules don't like it."
Here at the geek of all trades, I am joining the ranks of the webloggers. While I have been maitaining a weblog for a few months of my private notes, I will now attempt to follow the true Geek Of All Trades by adding a public face to my weblogging.