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A Diversionary Tale about technology adoption



P2TECH'ers --

Working at home on a very rainy day, I couldn't resist sending out the
following diversion about overcoming resistance to new technology.  Seems
like an appropriate topic for this list.  For those who have a low tolerance
for diversion -- well, I suppose you've already set your e-mail filters to
delete my messages anyway, so not much point in finishing that
thought.......

Recently I've been reading Bill Bryson's "Made in America: An Informal
History of the English Language in the United States."  It's wonderful
reading, and explains the 
etymology of  hundreds of words in the language -- but the real bonus is
Bryson's rather quirky approach to setting historical context with odd
anecdotes about commonplace items.  

I mention the book because the following excerpt seemed particularly
relevant to P2, and inspired a certain amount of mischievous speculation
about how the P2 community might employ similar tactics....

		"....it wasn't until 1936 when a store owner in Oklahoma
City named Sylvan Goldman invented the modern shopping cart -- which he
called a basket carrier -- that bulk buying became a possibility.  (At
first, customers showed great reluctance to use the new contraptions.  It
wasn't until Goldman employed half a dozen people to do nothing but push the
carts around all day, pretending to shop, that others began to imitate
them.)"

		Bill Bryson
		Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language
in the United States
		Avon Books, NYC, NY  1994

I thought that this tale might inspire a whole new approach to P2 -- call it
"voluntary duplicity."  It might just work: after all, as Kurt Vonnegut is
reputed to have said: 
"We are what we pretend to be... [so] we better be very careful what we
pretend."

Scott Butner (rs_butner@pnl.gov)
Senior Research Scientist, Environmental Technology Division
Pacific NW National Laboratory
4500 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle WA  98105 3900
206-528-3290 voice/206-528-3552 fax
http://www.chemalliance.org/