Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

06 Oct 2013, 10:41 a.m.

Net Work

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2013 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I saw Apollo 13 when it came out in theaters in 1995, and I don't think I'd seen it again until the other night, when Leonard and I rewatched it.

Apollo 13 Mailbox at Mission Control Leonard and I both thought it was pretty inspiring -- see his review -- and of course we both absolutely loved the Iron Chef moment where engineers on the ground gather copies of all the equipment the astronauts have, dump the mess on a table, and get to work kludging together a CO2-scrubbing solution.

What is a hero? Is it a person who makes a big positive delta between the world as it might have been and the world as it is with the hero in it? (I'm remembering when Aaron Swartz talked that way, when I asked him what he wanted.) Part of the magic of that scene in Apollo 13 is that it demonstrates that you can be a hero in a life-or-death situation even if you are not the one at risk. John Rogers's recollection from filming a Global Frequency pilot touches on some of the same chords, about mutualism and solidarity and sharing our brilliance with each other towards an urgent goal.

My tastes in stories grow clearer over time. I like wit, compassionate clear-eyed observation about how intelligent people act, and celebrations of labor. Via deepad: "Yeh Zindagi Bhi" from Luck By Chance.

Part of the joy of open source is that I can work with and share my work with more people than I could otherwise. I can help people I've never met. And I get help from people I've never met. Some days you're Mission Control, and some days you're the astronaut.