Much attention has been focused in recent weeks on a mysterious barge floating off Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. On Monday the LA Times ran on the top of the front page a remarkably thin story written in the first person about the mystery of this barge, a Google effort. By the time one reached the end of story one wondered if it had been written in first person to cover up how little fact it contained.
Yesterday, after filing a Freedom of Information Act request, the San Francisco Chronicle forced the truth out into the open. Apparently this four-story barge will become -- if the permits are ever approved, which in San Francisco will always be a question -- an art project.
Sounds cool, in truth. Here's an artist's conception of the finished work:
In a statement, the Googleplex declared that the idea is to draw people to the waterfront, at various spots around the bay. The designers, a still somewhat mysterious group known as By and Large, promised:
"We envisioned this space with community in mind," By and Large says, "a surprising environment that is accessible to all and inspires conversation about how everything is connected - shorebirds, me, you, the sea, the fog and much more."
Which echoes John Muir's foundational -- and often misquoted -- statement of ecology:
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."
Google has done everything it can to connect us to our human universe and to the planet (via the still-astounding Google Earth). Good that it's now working to connect Bay denizens to their home habitat.