Billionaire Charles Munger is giving $200 million to the University of California on the condition that it's used to build a huge student dormitory to his personal specifications. It's been likened to a prison and the lack of windows in the tiny, tomblike rooms is a particular point of controversy. But Munger is standing by his dream and the University of California is running with his money. He even suggests that artificial light is better than the real thing. From the linked Q&A:
almost every student would be in a windowless room.
No, that's not true. Every student is in a house and suite system, and the house has lots of windows and a big common living space and dining space and kitchen space and so on. And so they're not living in windowless space.
But their bedrooms … are windowless.
The bedrooms have artificial windows instead of real ones, but they've got perfect ventilation. … If you go on a Disney cruise ship and pay $20,000 a week for a fancy stateroom, it uses an artificial window instead of a real one. … You can turn a knob and change the sunlight to brighten it up or down. So if you're a romantic, you can tamp it down. If you want more bright light and so forth, you can turn the sunlight up just by twisting a knob.
In many respects, these things are actually better than real windows.
This project is a poster child for why the most wealthy Americans should pay taxes instead of justifying themselves with these wannabe-Carnegie donations.
I like how he repeatedly compares the habitat to $20,000-a-week staterooms on Disney cruise ships. There are so many things you could do to sell high-CRI artificial light to Gen Z, so many truly interesting images of luxury and high-tech living, Dwell Magazine spreads, retro Japanese capsule hotels, cyberpunk guerilla marketing, and so on. But no. His go-to-reference for selling this? The most expensive cabin on the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Tour of Texas.