Transistors for Bottlecaps

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The marketplace is no place for a nine-year-old girl, but that’s always where I spent my mornings. There was something about the crowds, jabbering in a dozen languages, pointing, taking, bartering, haggling, stealing… it’s intoxicating. The merchants would seize you by the arm and pull you bodily into booths, draping silver chains or silks over you, telling you how beautiful this would look on your wife or daughter, practically sobbing over the prices that they give, prices that rob their children of meat. Or maybe you don’t want trinkets, maybe you want tech? Associates produce tea and baclava from nowhere if you look interested, a hookah maybe, and they bring out the real merchandise. Perf boards, ICs, plasma cells, you name it. Then there’s no more talk of hungry children–only business.

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