20 07 2008

[By Shawhin] I just read an article about mapping and thought I’d share.  It was about the influence of maps on people’s conception of the spaces around them and also about alternate methods of mapping and the ability of maps to discover and promote aspects of the world we engage with.

(to view larger version, click here: tehranshake-exhibit)

Read the rest of this entry »


a humble letter to the people in power!

19 07 2008

[By Shideh] My mind has been preoccupied with a number of events lately. I am busy with my last experiment while the world around me seems to have turned upside down. I usually worry a lot about the state of practice in earthquake engineering and am passionate in thinking that I can make a difference in this field, in Iran and perhaps other developing countries. Here I am though, sitting in front of the TV watching CNN in my hotel in Davis, tired of hard work all day, witnessing the world turn upside down once more.  What is going on? Are Israeli authorities really planning to bomb Iran’s nuclear power stations (and other things)? Is Iran’s government really showing fake or real movie clips of its military maneuvers to threaten Israel back, to bluff, to defend itself, or to scare others?  Are American politicians really open to the military option against Iran? Does it seem like a video game to them or do they actually realize it’s people’s lives they are so easily taking?  Am I wasting my life trying to solve a tiny technical problem in earthquake engineering hoping to make cities safe, wishing to save lives, while our governments can blow up the whole world in one second?  Who am I trying to save?

I am helplessly writing to you, my governments, the authorities or decision makers of the world, you who think you can make decisions on my behalf to kill others, I am writing this letter to you hoping to make you realize that I am disappointed in how you have all used my tax money toward propaganda against each other, to promote our differences, and to create hatred.  When are you going to stop fighting and start solving conflicts without actual conflicts? Read the rest of this entry »