My Faults My Own

…willing to sacrifice something we don't have

for something we won't have, so somebody will someday.

IN WHICH Ross Rheingans-Yoo, a sometimes-poet and erstwhile student of Computer Science and Math, oc­cas­ion­al­ly writes on things of int­erest.

What I found in the desert

A month and a half ago, I took a plane to Reno, a bus out into the desert, and spent a week at Burning Man. This is an attempt to order some of my thoughts about that week.


Surviving (even in relative comfort) wasn't as hard my pre-trip reading billed it as. Of course, it helped that I was camping with engineers who could reliably make a plan, ask themselves what would cause it to go wrong, fix that, repeat -- and then problem-solve when something unanticipated broke. Basic competence, responsibility, and leadership -- together with a well-adhered-to norm of "make sure you have everything you personally need, even things the camp has plans to provide" ('radical self-reliance' is the usual term) -- left us with a lot of slack.

From there, it was mostly just a matter of drinking enough water / electrolytes, noticing when I needed to eat, remembering sunscreen and moisturizer and lip balm, wiping my hands and face and feet for dust, and using earplugs, a


Oh, say...

A year ago, the school (and the city) was just getting off lockdown after the manhunt for the marathon bombing suspect(s). And looking backward, there's a few things I remember quite clearly:

  • the spreadsheet of students offering couch space, spare beds, and sleeping bags to 'stranded' students unsure if it was safe to be crossing campus
  • the Dining Services workers who crossed a city on lockdown (by bike, as I recall) to come in to work, and the students who volunteered to work the dining hall with them
  • the pre-frosh who came to Visitas Weekend despite its cancellation (including mine!), and the hosts who did everything they could to make their stay worth its while (in the fall, the school would announce record yield numbers...)
  • the sudden, temporary freedom from work -- afterward, a friend would recall "I've never felt so free as that day we were trapped inside!" I'm not sure what this says about Harvard. But there's one thing in particular about what whole bizarre half-week that
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