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“On the morning of July 4, my wife and I were sitting at the breakfast table when the effects of a 6.4-magnitude earthquake outside Ridgecrest, Calif., hit our home. A sensation of dizziness, then nausea, rolled over me as the back wall of our dining room appeared to lean away, our tabletop somehow pushing closer toward me. They then reversed course over a span of several seconds, as if the space around us had begun to bulge and pulsate. Only when I noticed the lights mounted above our table swaying back and forth did I realize what was happening.
The experience of an earthquake can be destabilizing, not just physically but also philosophically. The idea that the ground is solid, dependable — that we can build on it, that we can trust it to support us — undergirds nearly all human terrestrial activity, not the least of which is designing and constructing architecture. That morning, however, it was as if our home had been lifted up by an invisible sea; in an instant, what had been a house had become a raft, bobbing at anchor. Inside, we rocked and rolled, as if hit by a passing wake.
Earthquakes mock the very idea of solid ground, of trustworthy geology. The writer David Ulin has called this “the myth of solid ground,” and it is fundamental to how we have come to define and police civilization. Those who live at sea are considered nomads, migrants, even pirates; they build ships, not cities; they roam rather than inhabit.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"The likely successor to British Prime Minister Theresa May, Boris Johnson, has plans to subsume the government department overseeing development aid into the foreign office, effectively eliminating it. That will destroy a post-Brexit United..."
"Gerard Baker, editor-at-large at the Wall Street Journal (no reflexively anti-Trump publication) recently wrote a piece decrying Donald Trump and his foreign policy as a fount of erratic unpredictability. This essay will give the counter view...."
"On Wednesday, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar announced that she will be visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming weeks. Omar will be accompanied by Rep. Rashida Tlaib. The two freshman congresswomen have become a focal point of..."
"Netflix may have lost US subscribers for the first time since it began making its own shows, but that didn't stop the streaming giant from dropping new figures about how many people are sucked into its Adam Sandler vortex. (Spoiler: More than..."
"A few years ago, Amy Balliett, CEO of a Seattle-based design and marketing firm, noticed that as the work week slogged on, her employees’ energy and productivity wilted. “That would slump to such an extent that the same task on Monday would..."
"Over the last few days the #faceappchallenge has taken over social media. This “challenge” involves downloading a selfie-editing tool called FaceApp and using one of its filters to digitally age your face. You then post the photo of your wizened..."
"Although there are plenty of irrational aspects to life in modern America, few rival the odd fixation on lawns. Fertilizing, mowing, watering — these are all-American activities that, on their face, seem reasonable enough. But to spend hundreds..."
"Can a book change the way we think? I don’t mean that in the sense of a reader’s opinion or ideology shifting—of course the right literary work can do that. But can a book rewire the brain itself, literally changing the way one particular mind..."
"It’s our job to let kids know we see and hear them, but we’re not necessarily going to solve siblings’ conflicts for them (or else they never get the practice). When squabbles start, imagine you’re a sportscaster and describe what you see in..."
"Magali Trejo-Martinez, a 22-year-old living in Salem, Oregon, recently went on a date that was rather uninspiring. “I had dinner, had a couple margaritas, and then went home,” is how she recapped the evening. This outcome wasn’t entirely..."
"The first lunar landing was many things — a D-Day-like feat of planning and logistics, a testament to the power of man's will, an ostensible propaganda coup for NATO. It was also, I think, one of the most misunderstood events in the history of..."
"THE FIRST TIME Bernie Sanders ran for president, he didn’t talk much about being Jewish. In fact, he didn’t talk much about himself at all. His 2016 primary campaign, like his whole political career, was relentlessly focused on one topic: income..."