Date:        Wednesday, April 21, 1999 (2:37 p.m. EST)
To:           Haeran
From:       Abiy
Subject:    "Work, Space Creatures or Peanut Butter"

I'll address one of the above topics in this e-mail. (We are supposed to come up with clever subject headers, unfortunately this is about as clever as I get).

Good Morning (or Afternoon) Haeran,

Great hearing from you. Hope you survived your commute.  Used to be a time, not to long ago, when I had to endure a similar commute. One of the smartest things I did after starting my current gig was move into a place three blocks from my lab. Nice of the FDA to build its research facility in the middle of a residential community!  :-)

Having already mentioned work once, I think I'll go ahead and discuss it as a topic. For the record, I'm not opposed to space creatures and I like peanut butter (or is it the other way around?)

I've recently started the fourth year of what I initially envisioned to be a three-year stint in a government lab. In fact things have gone so well that I'm starting to consider five years as a nice round number to aim for. You mentioned that in a past life you used to work on EMC issues. The FDA does address similar issues; classic example being making sure metal detectors do not interfere with pacemakers.

The line of research I'm involved in is a little more speculative. The issue I try to address is the possibility of bio-effects (and eventually health effects) being associated with power line frequency EM fields. (I'll eventually start looking at cell phone frequencies also). There are tones of studies out there on this subject, some showing bio-effect others not. The field is so muddled with conflicting results that the FDA, National Institute of Environmental Heath Sciences (NIEHS) and Department Of Energy (DOE), got together and started funding "replication studies" on some of the more interesting results. A lot of these replication studies are being done in university labs, but the FDA decided to fund a group internally to have some in-house expertise.

Unfortunately in a previous life I used to do the exact same research at a university, so it was not a major career move to jump ship and join this outfit.

>>"what potential effects this radiation may have had on .... say my brain ?!!!"<<

If I had a definitive answer to this question I'd be done with my current research to busily reincarnate myself as a used car salesman. This is a long-winded way of saying, "we really don't know".

So what exactly is "a supply chain consultant"? Work on EMC you described from your previous life sounds a lot like engineering, is your current field in a similar line or did you choose another career path along the way?

On a different topic, I do agree with you, San Francisco is a beautiful city. I've only had a chance to visit a few times, each time for no more than a couple of days. Last time I was there, it was so chilly I had to go buy a sweatshirt in the middle of August! So,  I'm not ready to endorse it as the most beautiful city in the western world.

Well let me go off and try to be productive.
Have a great day.


Date:       Wednesday, April 21, 1999 (10:47 p.m. EST)
To:          Abiy
From:      Haeran
Subject:   Of Brain Cells and Iras Mitats

Tadyas Abiy :

I was waiting for your analysis on the state of my brain . Alas, all I got was "we don't know." I guess that is better than "I'm sorry but you have lost some serious grey matter".

I'm emailing you at the end of the day so I get to vent on you..... Hey, I like this conversation in cyberspace thing...

Actually my day wasn't really that bad. It started out with a phone call that gave me a "kifugna iras mitat" but it ended with a follow-up conference call that went surprisingly well, so luckily for you, I am in a much better mood. I had planned to get out for lunch and catch some sun to help improve my mood but that was not to be, so I settled for reading some amarigna magazines on the web as I chomped on some cafeteria food. It gives me great satisfaction to read print material in amarigna. I have a Japanese friend who always has japanese printouts on his desk. Well, when he stopped by my desk one day I had some amarigna articles I had printed out. It sure raised some eyebrows !! Small things like that ( ... and talking in amharic on the phone and not one person being able to eavesdrop on my conversation) give me great comfort in a work environment that can sometimes be isolating. By the way, I do get some work done in between ...

I am green with envy over your 3 block commute to work! So do you usually walk or is that not always feasible in the blizzards and storms you all have on the "right" Coast !! Ok, we won't go into that East Coast/West Coast rivalry, but I just had to throw that one in. By the way regarding your comment on needing a sweater in August in San Francisco:I don't doubt it, but see, there are patches of sunny neighborhoods in the city (such as the one I live in) and you just have to find them.

So I guess you have more time to do the stuff you really want to do. What do you do in your free time anyway? I was supposed to tutor tonight after work, but my con call ran so late it's not going to happen. I tutor an African American girl who is now in the 7th grade. Unfortunately, with my schedule being as erratic as it has become, I don't tutor as regularly as I used to. I wish we had a similar program for young Ethiopians in the area. But I think the community is more active out in your neck of the woods. Do you you have such programs for Ethiopian youth ?

As for what a supply chain consultant does for a living, well .... geez do you mind if we save that for next time ? (I do know the answer, really I do !) I am running late and my piece is running long so to be continued .....

Dehna Ider or Dehna Wal whatever the case may be .....