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Monday, November 20, 2023

thoughts on Israel/Palestine


I still don't really know what's going on in Israel/Palestine, but I do take these concerns that there is genocidal intent against the Palestinians seriously.
In this thorny situation with a long history of conflict there is bound to be anger and frustration on both sides. 
It's obviously a very incendiary charge against the Israeli government and some of the Israelis, who were formed out of a long history of attempted genocide against the Jewish people. And indeed, there is now growing anti-semitism which raises the specter of that genocidal intent against the Jewish people that has resurfaced so many times through history generally based on prejudices and false stories about a people that often have had to live in diaspora on the boundaries of other societies.
But growing up with the daughter of survivors of the Armenian genocide and having some of my father's family killed in the holocaust in Hungary, I have some idea of what inter-generational trauma looks like. And my mom's family also were formed out of pogroms and anti-semitism in Bessarabia and then Canada.
So I feel an obligation to prevent this from happening again, wherever and to whomever it happens. My obligation is to look for truth and not look through the lens of prejudice and call out misinformation when I see it.

Sunday, November 12, 2023



Today started out (8am) with the second installment of the Week ( discussion about the state of the world. We saw the video which talked about the capitalistic attitude (More is Always Better) that got us to these disasters: massive species loss, out of control pollution and global warming.
Then I went to karate, learning how to get out of grabs and holds of all sorts. In the middle of the afternoon, I joined my mom on a Zoom call with some Jewish prayers. Finally, this evening was a birthday party at Nyland. Puzzles, costumes, karaoke (I sang a Pogues song) and the start of a conversation with one of the global climate model software engineers at NCAR. 
A little bit of a hodgepodge of a day, but still I suppose it's nice to start filling out my life a bit more. Karate and yoga...climate science and particle accelerators, Jewish prayer and the Pogues. Sometimes life feels like a bunch of balloons all going in different directions, and I need to hold onto them all and I don't feel like there's enough of me to inhabit this center.
Work also feels a bit disconnected. Not much progress on the neutron scattering data analysis. A little progress on getting a Genesis model for the TESSA undulator at the FAST accelerator. This should also help for modeling LCLS and European XFEL. I do need to learn some more about free electron lasers...

Thursday, November 02, 2023

Life's complexity

 I've been waking up at 4am recently, feeling stressed out. So many different threads in life and the world and it's hard to see how they will turn out. Getting to know people at Nyland and to understand the complex organization. The difficulties in the world- war and climate change and people not getting along with each other. And my complex job, working with a lot of different organizations, trying to do something meaningful, to help with the technology of particle accelerators at the same time as to understand the kinds of experiments done with x-rays and neutrons to understand the atomic structure of materials and elementary excitations of matter. Sometimes I feel like I'm pretty good at managing complexity and pulling different pieces together into something that makes sense, and sometimes I feel like it's all too much for me. I suppose painting has always been a kind of practice for this aspect of life. How do we pull together the pieces of this world that seem much more fragmented than any one person can manage?

During these times, I often find myself watching the first few episodes of Season 7 of Deep Space 9, where the Bajoran prophets have been attacked by the Pah Wraiths, Ducat has killed Jadzia and captain Sisko is visiting his father, trying to figure out what to do next. I love these two episodes, because they follow three completely different plot lines, that all end up resolving and weaving together in a beautiful way. Sisko meets Ezri Dax and tries to find the orb of the emissary with his father and son, Worf goes on a mission to fight a battle to get Jadzia into Stovokor, and Kira faces off against the Romulans to protest a military build up on the Bajoran moon of Durna. It gives me inspiration during these complicated times to keep trying to follow what I'm doing with integrity, with the hope that the threads of my life (and other world developments larger than me) may come together in some integrative form.