Thursday, April 07, 2011

Meetup in Woodstock

Mom reminded me on the phone that she and Jack had visited the remnants of a Georgist colony in Louisiana. Most had gone to Costa Rica a generation before. Quakers mostly: not eager to play out their lives against the backdrop of Machine World in El Norte. My sister Julie joined the Costa Rican branch off community as a school teacher.

My review of Inside Job had attracted some attention, but we didn't talk about that film. Tom Gihring, already a good friend of the Boltons (whom I'll lunch with today), was one of the gang. He seemed comfortable with Georgist lingo. I consider myself more of a novice.

Indeed, my purpose in being there was more to recruit another school of Economics to Systems Science. PSU is like that last university in El Norte to offer a degree in it. Melanie Mitchell is on the faculty. Students from around the world come here to learn this stuff, but there's talk of being swallowed by another department. From my side, Systems is doing some swallowing of its own, the better to compete with Economics, while seeking defectors willing to jump ship.

Plans to phase in energy management simulations (micro and macro), as a part of the curriculum, link here. I'm not sure if Stanford is into being this practical. California is taking the lead in other respects. I was expressing admiration about that at Wanderers today, saying Reed College could learn a thing or two from the competition (not that I'm with Reed College, any more than with PSU -- just close with some alums, current and ex faculty, a few students).

The Systems / GST camp is staking turf in the "smart house / smart grid" namespace, prying it loose from Economics, at least of the fuddy dud sort. Software engineers will have more of a future with CEOs who studied Systems over some withering branch of Econ out of Chicago or whatever.