Day 2 Rotterdam August 20, 2008

I had opted to  go on a
“field trip” with Wiebe E. Bijker and a busload
of STS'ers. Bijkerwrote a book called
Of Bicycles, Bakelte, and Bulbs, the first and
section of which I really enjoyed..especially
the chapter about the history of the bicyle.
He uses a theory called S.C.O.T., meaning
Social Construction of Technological objects.
Basically it uses an STS concept called symmetry,
meaning both people and objects are
equal actors in histories. and that objects are
socially constructed
and are the result of a lot of social interaction.
sounds obvious,right?
well when was the last time you wondered
who soldered the
components into your dvd player?
(uh, i do it all the time. joke)

the beach around the Delta Dam

the beach around the Delta Dam

Anyway,The Netherlands are a place where water plays a large part in the lives, and history of engineering of the country. We visited a dam project called the Delta Project, which was conceived of after floods in the 1950s and executed during the 1980's. The dams are normally open to accomodate the tides, but close when the water level reaches a certain point.
Wiebe Bijker giving us a tour inside the dam

Wiebe Bijker giving us a tour inside the dam

Bijker talked about the political and social processes of determining what the water level would be, and showed us the literal line limit that was negotiated by the Dutch parliment, balancing the interests of the ecological interests and the people who don't want to be flooded.
two different lines

two different lines

We also went to a museum and theme park, in which I saw a cool 3d movie that had nothing to do with the project. The conference day ended with an open bar at the city hall, where the mayor of Rotterdam gave us a welcome speech which i thought was cool (both open bar and mayor) The rest of the day ended with a crazy walk to a jazz club that didn't have much happenin with my roomates Vicky and Lindal and a few others. So Vicky, Lindal, and I had dinner at the Cappodocia restaurant..awesome turkish food. -sam smiley