As could be expected, going back to work was a bit of a shock to my system. During seven months at home, I had gotten used to no commuting, being able to follow my creative instincts, and having almost total control over my environment. All that is now reversed: I spend more than an hour and a half on the road each day; must focus on what someone else wants me to do – even if I get a stray thought that my gut tells me to investigate or write about; and have only an iPod to shield me from the conversations erupting around my open cubicle. Not that I'm complaining: I can now pay my bills, help a large non-profit healthcare system operate more efficiently, and continue my research on the side (which has included a major revision to my population-consumption model). In addition, I've caught up on some reading and gotten a better idea of where my future focus should be.
This week, I've had to take a minor break from everything and learning first-hand how rigorous the U.S. legal system is in assuring that everyone is treated fairly in the service of justice. I can't help comparing it to how our government starts and executes our so-called wars, where killing people – the ultimate penalty – is based on innuendo and fear. While much of the rest of the country was cheering the assassination of Osama bin Laden, I was wondering, along with a minority, whether it wouldn't have been better to try him like the Nazis, and whether it might have set a dangerous precedent for effectively dictatorial power.