My graduate program in Science, Technology and Society has gone from making observations about the contingency of scientific work and need for more reflection in tech development (light) to darker and more abstract theories about what it means to be human, the political use of scientific knowledge and creeping boundary between empowerment and control. This is I think very Viennese in a way, superficial and then deeply psychological. Particularly through always on/always with us technologies like physical activity trackers, but also genetic testing and the gradual replacement of the self with data. I’m working on a paper now dealing with the metaphor of genetic “code” and what it means when we forget the biochemistry and work behind the translation.
This is somewhat related to my thesis about genome editing. The thesis will analyze two reports, looking at how promises and social challenges of tools like CRISPR-Cas9 are presented, and how the reports guide the direction of R&D and governance.
Just as class was wrapping up for the year, Nana and Grandpapa arrived, hooray! We got a tree and decorated it, something that *SHOCKED* our friends, because in Austria they don’t decorate the tree until Christmas Eve.
Saturday we went to the Christmas markets at Rathaus, Maria Theresa Platz and Karlsplatz – we bought a new tree topper, called a “Spitz”
By 4 o’clock its dark out, and the lights make everything magical. It was hard to leave, especially when one quick ride on the self-powered scrap metal train turned into a 30’minute wait (queuing Austrian style is a contact sport) and an amazing 30 lap ride. Not even 6 and those girls either tricked or charmed the operator into letting them stay on. We couldn’t say goodbye so we brought our friends home and Duke cooked a delicious spontaneous pasta dinner for Allison’s best friend and everyone else.
Sunday we made a day trip to Bratislava,
the markets there are also wonderful and I enjoyed the cozy cafes and charming streets. Even the bus stop was cozy and charming!