Philanthropy and New York Society
Question: How has New York society changed in the last decade?
David Patrick Columbia: Well since I’ve been following, it’s changed only in the sense that when I first started, the people who were then in their 60s, and their 70s, and their 80s who once reigned in society still had a presence and an influence. And that presence and influence is related to an earlier part of the century because they were young, say, in the 1920s, ‘30s, or ‘40s. And the _______ and _______of our society were considerably different than they are today. And so they have gone. They’re not here. And so a lot of the things that were; the phrase “This is just not done,” or “This is just not acceptable”; those phrases no longer are operative because we now live in a society where people in their 50s and 60s like me only have a dim memory of that kind of traditional way of living.
Well in the last decade; So you’re talking about 1996 to 2006 or 2007? I think that New York society really hasn’t changed all that much in the last decade except for one thing. Things have speeded up more. We’re been living in a festival of speculation in many, many ways. And so it’s just gotten faster and it’s become more and more overnight. You have people now, because of the Internet, you have a lot of people who pursue celebrity personally to make themselves celebrity. Paris Hilton is a perfect example of that. She’s kind of the prototype celebrity of the last decade. And actually that celebrity is based on absolutely nothing but exposure.
Question: How will this age in New York society be remembered?
David Patrick Columbia: I think this age in New York society will probably be remembered in many ways very frivolous, but in many ways very creative; and probably very influential because of the philanthropic aspect that I mentioned earlier, which is; 40 or 50 years ago there was philanthropy of course, and there was a lot of volunteerism; but it wasn’t so much a part of the consciousness of this being a prerequisite to belonging. And it is now. And so that’s going to stay with us for quite some time I think.
Question: Are there people in New York society you find inspiring?
David Patrick Columbia: That’s a really hard question to answer. Let’s say there are; I can’t say there are individuals in New York society that I’ve found particularly inspiring; but there are people, because of my work, and because of the connections that my work makes for me, there are a number of people that I’ve met or been in the presence of who are inspiring in the sense that they’re very, very smart. And they’re very good thinkers, and I’m very impressed by that.
Conducted on: October 29, 2007
The best part about New York society.
We are constantly trying to force the world to look like us — we need to move on.
- When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, many Americans jumped for joy. At the time, some believed there weren't going to be any more political disagreements anywhere in the world. They thought American democracy had won the "war of ideas."
- American exceptionalism has sought to create a world order that's really a mirror image of ourselves — a liberal world order founded on the DNA of American thinking. To many abroad this looks like ethnic chauvinism.
- We need to move on from this way of thinking, and consider that sometimes "problem-solving," in global affairs, means the world makes us look like how it wants to be.
Scientists make an important discovery for the future of computing.
- Researchers find a new state of matter called "topological superconductivity".
- The state can lead to important advancements in quantum computing.
- Utilizing special particles that emerge during this state can lead to error-free data storage and blazing calculation speed.
French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
- The French government initially invested in a rural solar roadway in 2016.
- French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
- Solar panel "paved" roadways are proving to be inefficient and too expensive.