Welcome to the island of California!

Buckle up and let the oars rest for a minute… After sailing for months, we are about to disembark! Take a look through the window and behold: The Magnificent Island of California! Where sequoia’s and elephant seals live, and original tribes collectively spoke more than 100 languages…



In 1510, Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo described an island, inhabited with “… many black women, without any man among them, for they live in the manner of Amazons…” The talesman induced many cartographers (backed up by the efforts of true sailor-pioneers who fared deep into the gulf of California, only to conclude it was definitely an island) to keep California classified as an island until 1774. How wondrous it must have been to enjoy maps of the World that included large chunks of undiscovered beauty, containing Amazons, Kraken and British Columbians…


Stanford University has a nice collection of over 800 maps showing this conception, but luckily for me, matters have settled, and I can graciously explore California without sailing ship. For now at least… And while we are on the topic of ships: San Francisco imported cement, railroad iron and glass from Antwerp in the late 1800’s, so I could have been on one of these boats in earlier days. This trade relationship was of high importance in the (re)building of SF in the late 1800’s with the gold rush, and the early 1900’s after the Great Quake in 1906. At the same time, I have found my first trade network! Off to work!


A new work environment coincides with many good New Year’s Resolutions (capitals must quote Important Things), so I enrolled in a running club at Stanford. Not sure what I’ll be running from yet, but I’ll find out soon. I’m also very lucky to have found a good place to stay, very close to the campus. So, here are some addresses you should remember in Palo Alto:
– 1451 Hamilton Ave: Mark Zuckerberg
– 2101 Waverley Street: Steve Jobs
– 334 College Ave: me


By the way, Palo Alto is a great town: there’s “downtown” (actually only University Avenue), and there are squirrels, coffee shops and hair dressers all over the place. I regularly visit one particular coffee shop, and every time I see at least 2 tables where startups are pitching their new app to venture capitalists…Also the ratio Tesla/other cars is somewhat like 1/50… Can’t say Californians aren’t healthy! It’s all about “organic”, “gluten free” and “100% recycling”. Quite amazing.


So I’m visiting Stanford as a PhD student researcher, working in the team of Prof. Matt Jackson, Hero and Defender of Networks and Network Theory in Economics… I will continue to work on my PhD thesis on “Networks in Trade” with the support of the Fulbright grant. But probably more on that in the next episode of “From Glen to Glen.” (capitals, you see…)


To end for now,  I have some homework for you. I want all of you to check out Jon Nakamatsu: We have seen his performance with the SF Chamber Orchestra on New Year’s day in Palo Alto, and his interpretation of the 2nd piano concerto of Saint-Saens was just out of this world… He blended amazingly with the orchestra, and it felt like he was exploring the tonalities and harmonics just like Saint-Saens must have been discovering them while he was writing… So please check him out. Oh, and by the way, this Wednesday, the Kronos Quartet is coming to town, with – off course – some Philip Glass! Ain’t life good…


Hasta la vista!


— Glenn Magerman


Note: This post first appeared on Glenn Magerman’s blog: http://glennmagerman.blogspot.be/2014/01/welcome-to-island-of-california.html

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