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Be A Man

Be A Man

The Dining Table

Furnishing a new home is pretty similar for most of us — Buy the bed that goes in the corner of the bedroom,wardrobe against the wall, sofa sits here, put the TV on that wall, shelves for books next to the work desk.

When designing for space though, things get a little strange.

Without gravity, our usually concept of furniture gets turned on its head. Do we really need a table when there isn’t gravity to keep things on it? Ditto a bookshelf. And while we’re at it, we can simply any side of that box we are in and make it functional in some way, since there is no real “up” or down” anyway?

Because of this most of the capsules in spacecraft are tremendously functional — which is good, since you don’t want to waste an inch if it takes gallons of fuel to haul things into space.

But in designing the habitation capsule for astronauts, it’s possible to go too far. We are, after all, designing for humans.

One of the things that space crews were adamant about keeping were dining tables.

It seems a most mundane thing thing to keep, giving that we can eat anywhere (TV dinners and grabbing lunch on the move). Yet it makes perfect sense.

The dining table, like the proverbial water cooler, is a place where people not only eat and drink together, but also chat (and gossip).  We all love a good debate over dinner about whether the latest Star Wars lived up to the franchise.

In the description for this video showing the crew of the International Space Station, they write:

Dining together can radically shift perspectives, blurring boundaries just as looking down on Earth from our vantage point, especially, when dinner partners are from all different corners of the world. But also mealtime lets us build a sense of camaraderie.

It is a reminder that even in the void and vacuum, people are people, and we need to connect and mingle. Preferably over food.

Check out the video below if you’re wondering what dinner looks like on the ISS. I just love the way they (literally) bounce stuff off each other.

Speaking the truth

Not everyone who speaks confidently knows what he is talking about.

Not everyone who knows what he is talking about knows the truth.

Not everyone who knows the truth lives it.

Reinhold Niebuhr on surrendering who you are

Change is the essence of life; be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.
Reinhold Niebuhr

Arsène Wenger on himself

In an interview with L’Equipe Sport & Style magazine, Wenger was asked:

“Dans votre relation au présent, au match, le manager se sent-il investi d’un pouvoir presque mystique ? Vous êtes le créateur de votre équipe, de son style de jeu, de sa stratégie.”

(Translation: In your relationship to the present, the match, does the manager [you] feel invested with an almost mystical power? You are the creator of your team, playing style, [and] strategy.)

To which he replied:

Religieusement, on dit que Dieu a créé l’homme. Moi, je ne suis qu’un accompagnateur. Je permets aux autres d’exprimer ce qu’ils ont en eux. Je n’ai rien créé. Je suis un facilitateur de ce qu’il y a de beau en l’homme. Je me définis comme un optimiste. Mon combat perpétuel dans ce métier, c’est de sortir ce qu’il y a de beau en l’homme. On peut à ce niveau-là me dépeindre comme un naïf. En même temps, ça me permet d’y croire et ça me donne souvent raison.

(Translation: In religion, it is said that God created man. I am only a guide. I allow others to express what they have in them. I have not created anything. I am a facilitator of what is beautiful in man. I define myself as an optimist. My constant battle in this business is to get out there is beautiful in man. We can at this level portray me as naive. At the same time, it allows me to believe it and it often gives me reason.)
Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager

“Je suis un facilitateur de ce qu’il y a de beau en l’homme.”
I am only a facilitator of what is beautiful in man.

Wow. Can I be Arsène Wenger when I grow up? (And doesn’t the man look might fine in those outfits too.)

Full interview here: Arsène Wenger, L’humaniste (and a translation on Arseblog here)

(Translations on this page are mainly from Google Translate)

Epictetus on purpose

First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.

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