Wednesday, November 7, 2007

New School and a New pair of glasses


How's your daughter doing? It must be getting close to her time. She was one of my favorite students. I kind of like her mother too.

Before I left the reception area, I was equipped with a weight jacket. John said every "bouncer" - which is what they call new comers because we tend to bounce around alot - is given one. It takes awhile to get used to 1/6 gravity. So, this compensates for the weight difference. Every few days I will remove some of the superdense superthin weights and slowly get used to moving in low gravity.

The way people move around here is so amazing. They don't walk so much as they glide. They push off with one foot launching themselves into a low arch, then they touch down just breifly, switch feet and do it again. They call an old-timer or native a "glider." I suspect it will be a long time before I move from bouncer to glider.

John showed me the "teacherage" as he called it. It is one of several small cottages near the grounds of the college. It is a small brick cottage with a small front yard and a good sized back yard. There is plenty of room for a garden. Inside, I have two bedrooms, an office with complete data and advanced comm ports and a direct hook up to the University's private research net. If you ever want to visit, I have plenty of room. Hint, Hint. I can easily walk to school when the weather is okay.

That's right. We have weather here. When you look up you see a simulated sky, but the clouds are perfectly real. Climate, of course, is controlled, but the human psyche is adapted to a daily rhythm of day and night and a yearly cycling of the seasons. According to John, the colony creates a typical climate appropriate to the season, but avoiding extremes. And there are a few "surprises." He said, just last week, in the middle of lunar "summer" they had an unannounced rainstorm. Apparently, several streets had become excessively dusty for some reason and the rain is a type of street washer. Usually, though, you can look up the weather on your com screen just like at home, but here, the weatherman is nearly always right.

I saw the school for the first time today. It's incredible. Remember that summer we signed up for the Bach festival at University of Oregon with it's old style 150 year old brick buildings with ivy growing up the sides? Well, they are using the classic style here, too. It seems the moon is rich in various types of minerals some of these can be made into something resembling red brick. They are even beginning to plant ivy.

But if the outside of the building is old-fashioned everything inside is state of the art. Kathryn, you would love the science labs here. Every conceivable instrument you would want for teaching or research is right there, and if the school doesn't have it, one of the research labs will let the school lease time on their equipment.

The media projection system in my classroom - imagine that a classroom all my own - is fabulous. Holo units, 2-D projectors, RealSound audio systems which play any medium including my vintage tapes, records and CD's. And with laser tracking and magnetic reconstruction built in 100 year old music sounds better than when it was recorded. It's perfect for my 20th Century Popular Culture class.

After the tour, John took me to his office. I didn't realize from his holo-com messages just how engaged he is with his African culture. He has some wonderful pieces of art in his office. It must have cost him a fortune to ship them from Earth, but it's like money is no object here. Well, I guess when your home world is the only place in the known universe that can produce a substance that prevents heart disease and has single handedly almost doubled the expected life span for most people, prosperity is going to follow. I am still in awe at how many "loaves" I get each week. That still tickles me, but it is logical in its own way.

John also gave me a remarkable device. It's a pair of glasses. I know, who wears glasses nowadays. Well, almost everyone does in Armstrong city. The glasses are not for correcting vision. They are links to the city's main computer. They have a variety of functions, like accessing the uni-net, getting directions and initiating voice com calls. But they also have one unique function. Tied into the city's computer, they can be used to identify anyone on sight. Facial recognition software is built into them. So, I can just look at someone and see a little bubble over her head with her name. It's both cool and frightening at the same time. You simply can't be anonymous here. I don't know if that is good or bad, but then, in a small town, you can't be anonymous anyway.

Well, tommorrow, I'm going to go shopping and burn some of those merchandise chips I got at the reception on Oneil.

And please, tell me how Wanda is doing.

Much Love

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