"From inside her living room in London, Paula Koelemeijer can feel the
world around her growing quieter.
Koelemeijer, a seismologist, has a miniature seismometer sitting on a
concrete slab at the base of her first-floor fireplace. The apparatus,
though smaller than a box of tissues, can sense all kinds of movement,
from the rattle of trains on the tracks near Koelemeijer’s home to the
waves of earthquakes rolling in from afar. Since the United Kingdom
announced stricter social-distancing rules last month, telling residents
not to leave their home except for essential reasons, the seismometer
has registered a sharp decrease in the vibrations produced by human
With fewer trains, buses, and people pounding the pavement, the usual
hum of public life has vanished, and so has its dependable rhythms:
Before the spread of COVID-19 shut down the city, Koelemeijer could plot
the seismometer’s data and see the train schedule reflected in the
spikes, down to the minute. Now, with fewer trains running, the spikes
seem to come at random.
“It’s very literally reflecting a slowdown of our lives,” Koelemeijer
told me over Skype."
Via Frederick Wilson II.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics