‘What good is a newborn baby?’ asked Benjamin Franklin in 1783 when people questioned his enthusiasm for the innovation of hot air ballooning. His predictions that the balloons would become significant for transport was unusually wrong. 250 years later, Loon is a balloon system in the news for delivering the internet in Kenya and elsewhere. Balloons are helping transport information.[Read more…] about Uncomfortable Thoughts
There are a few stories in these journals about how technology changes with time (and space). Today, our TV breakfast news was headlined by the story of a collision of two black holes several billion years ago. A redefinition of the concept of a ‘late breaking’ story that we know about because of the sciences. The collision that was detected chirped for less than a tenth of a second on May 21st, 2019. It’s worth noting that mankind only invented the mechanism to record such news recently.[Read more…] about Gravitational Waves And More
How many times do you use? What time phrases suits you? I’ll be with you in a heartbeat. It’ll be done in three shakes of a lamb’s tail. Only six sleeps to your birthday. The empire lasted five generations.
‘Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.’; an old joke is a new tease for grandchildren. Does time really advance like the arrow or is that an illusion? Isn’t it interesting how spacetime can bend with gravity as does the trajectory of the arrow over distances longer than are common in olympic archery?[Read more…] about Plenty of Times 1
We’ll be walking to the Somme this day next year or perhaps the year after, pandemic dependent. The day’s walk will be mostly through lands occupied by Germany in 1916, east of the main battlefields of the Somme. We’ll walk south from Bapaume, passing Combles and finishing in Péronne. I look forward to the opportunity to visit some of the sites not out of macabre interest but to remind me just how fragile peace can be. Assuming things haven’t kicked off again in post-pandemic melt-downs.
Still under curfew, I trawled disk drives yesterday and recovered a lot of ‘missing’ photos. Among them were some memories of a month in the Caspian. Ironically, my first memory was my return journey.[Read more…] about Caspian Fishing
A 2017 Dalkey Book Festival talk I attended has lingered in memory. It was ostensibly about America, Russia and the new Cold War. It awoke something else in me. I was, at that time, professionally engaged in seeking geosicence applications for algorithms and machines that could learn. What I sought was time. I saw (and see) algos and ML as labour saving devices like the clothes- and dish- washers that continue to liberate people from drudgery. Freedom from repetitive, mind numbing tasks, creates the opportunity to pursue more rewarding things. And I sought to help my colleagues find unseen correlations, derive new insights and put their time to more creative uses. There wasn’t an easy answer to be had.[Read more…] about Networth$
You may have noticed the spine of Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist in a recent photo I posted. There’s a line in it that advises that ‘The best advice is not to write what you know, it’s to write what you like.’ And with such confirmation I feel encouraged to meld it with an Anne Lamott aphorism that’s infected the web: ‘Every thing that happened to you is yours; people should have behaved better.’
Are these observations deserving of reflection and expression? They certainly contributed to my rereading an older walking commentary blog to see if I’m repeating themes close to my heart and of course, create an opportunity to steal from myself. Which led me down some old paths this morning and a return to a personal favourite theme which is that one’s point of view depends on the view point. Mountain tops become islands if you are looking down from a peak above a cloud filled valley.[Read more…] about Future Imperfect