Back in the early 1980s we stumbled across a magazine article by
George Gilder, at the time one of the reigning intellectual lights of
the Reagan administration. In the article Gilder proclaimed that the
United States was at the forefront of a digital revolution, one in
which computers, doubling in processing power every year, would
transform society as we then knew it. Communication, transportation,
medical services – all the critical elements of society – would reach
new levels of sophistication thanks to the power of the computer chip.
The most amazing thing about this revolution, Gilder noted, was that
the natural resource on which it depended was available in virtually
unlimited quantities at virtually no cost: sand, or silicon, the raw
material of the computer chip.
The article kicked around our office for years, and we marveled at its
prescience. Until last week. In New Orleans there simply wasn’t enough
sand. There wasn’t enough sand and mortar, in the form of concrete
levees, to withstand the brute force of Mother Nature. There wasn’t
enough sand, in the form of 10,000-pound sand bags, to fill in the
breaches. And New Orleans, as we knew it, came apart because of a
massive breakdown in communications, transportation, and medical
One day last week we heard a harrowing cell phone interview with a
volunteer at a besieged New Orleans hospital. The next day the
volunteer could no longer be reached. The cell phone battery, we
suspect, might have been the last thing to fail in that glorious
technological society envisioned back in the 1980s. Who of us will run
out of sand next?
Top Of PageTo the Editor: The Fault Lies . . .
As a constant observer of the Princeton Recreation Board over the past
10 years I believe that people should be made aware of what it takes
to get any program running. When the Princeton Rep Shakespeare
Festival wanted to use the arena in Community Park North, it took
prolonged discussion and planning to make it possible. Each year
meetings were held and contract negotiations offered, but the Rep
group was rarely available and often failed to meet deadlines. A
contract was offered last year but was not discussed until late
spring, by which time other plans had been made for the facility.
The Rep group may have been excellent actors but they badly need a
business head to realize deadlines. They have an unreasonable idea of
entitlement; they feel they should have the arena they want and that
no one else should share it. They also expect the community to
underwrite their efforts.
That the Rep Shakespeare Festival is not being offered this year is
definitely not the fault of the municipalities.
Top Of PageCorrection
Elizabeth Sutton notes it was she who took the role of Susanna in New
Jersey Opera Theater’s "Le Nozze di Figaro" (August 17). Our reviewer
had credited that role to Hadley Reinart, but Sutton was brought in to
replace Reinart. Therefore it was Sutton who was "perky, playful,
enterprising, passionate, and graceful." We apologize.
Corrections or additions?
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