This strange-looking object is an "ethernet concentrator." It was built by Taos student Jeff Duntemann and brought with him to Taos Toolbox in case Snow Bear Lodge had a weak wi-fi signal (it does in some places but not in others). The concentrator is built from a 1918 copper bathroom heater, a pillbox, and some other things I don't understand.
This level of scientific tech is typical of this year's Taos students, which also include an astrophyicist, a doctor, and many computer-savvy types. It's actually a bit intimidating: During last night's post-dinner conversation on the causes of nuclear melt downs, I had nothing to contribute.
The writing, critiquing, and class work go forward very well. Yesterday I lectured on world building, and Walter gave a wonderful talk on the Three R's (reveals, reversals, and raising the stakes). Some memorable quotes from critiquing sessions:
"This is The City and the City on LSD."
"Is it a scheduled squid or a chartered squid?"
"If steam is coming out of his ass, I'd notice."
"I need vowels!"
"Food is intimate without being sentimental."