“Shortly after touching down in Tokyo, we were standing in KDD’s landing station in Ninomiya, Japan. I’ll describe it to you.
A surprising amount of space in the station is devoted to electrical gear. The station must not lose power, so there are two separate, redundant emergency generators. There is also likely to be a transformer to supply power to the cable system. We think of optical fibers as delicate strands consuming negligible power, but all of those repeaters, spaced every few dozen kilometers across an ocean, end up consuming a lot of juice: for a big transoceanic cable, one or two amperes at 7,000 or so volts, for a total of something like 10,000 watts. The equipment handling that power makes a hum you can feel in your bones, kicking the power out not along wires but solid copper bars suspended from the ceiling, with occasional sections of massive braided metal ribbon so they won’t snap in an earthquake.
The emergency generators are hooked into a battery farm that fills a room. The batteries are constantly trickle-charged and exist simply to provide power during an emergency - after the regular power goes out but before the generators kick in. Most of the equipment in the cable station is computer gear that demands a stable temperature, so there are two separate, redundant air-conditioning plants feeding into a big system of ventilation ducts. The equipment must not get dirty or get fried by sparks from the fingers of hacker tourists, so you leave your shoes by the door and slip into plastic antistatic flip-flops. The equipment must not get smashed up in earthquakes, so the building is built like a brick shithouse.
The station is no more than a few hundred meters from a beach. Sandy beaches in out-of-the-way areas are preferred. The cable comes in under the sand until it hits a beach manhole, where it continues through underground ducts until it comes up out of the floor of the cable station into a small, well-secured room. The cable is attached to something big and strong, such as a massive steel grid bolted into the wall. Early cable technicians were sometimes startled to see their cables suddenly jerk loose from their moorings inside the station - yanking the guts out of expensive pieces of equipment - and disappear in the direction of the ocean, where a passing ship had snagged them.”
This blog seeks to provide a visual representation of the everyday of “microaggressions.” Each event, observation and experience posted is not necessarily particularly striking in and of themselves. Often, they are never meant to hurt - acts done with little conscious awareness of their meanings and effects. Instead, their slow accumulation during a childhood and over a lifetime is in part what defines a marginalized experience, making explanation and communication with someone who does not share this identity particularly difficult. Social others are microaggressed hourly, daily, weekly, monthly.
“A city can’t be too small. Size guarantees anonymity-if you make an embarrassing mistake in a large city, and it’s not on the cover of the Post, you can probably try again. The generous attitude towards failure that big cities afford is invaluable-it’s how things get created. In a small town everyone knows about your failures, so you are more careful about what you might attempt.”
“La industria, de alguna manera, intenta prediseñar la escena, el mapa antes del territorio. Quizá la mejor forma de decirlo es que una escena se crea en los bares y una industria se crea en los despachos.”
El city tour es una maquinaria presta a confirmar prejuicios: los del turista que espera encontrar en París una ciudad romántica -y no otra cosa-, en Roma una ciudad histórica -y no otra cosa- y en Buenos Aires la ciudad más europea de Latinoamérica -y no otra cosa. Y aunque París no sea tan romántica y a Buenos Aires le quede poco de europea, el city tour hará sus mejores esfuerzos (mentir antiguos esplendores, ocultar lo feo, lo sucio, lo viejo) para confirmar al viajero en su prejuicio tranquilizador y devolverlo al hotel convencido de que París era en efecto una ciudad romántica, Roma una ciudad histórica y Buenos Aires, oh, tan europea.