It was wonderful to get a selection of books as presents this holiday. One my new treats is this year’s winner of the Royal Society Prize for Science Books, Explaining Humans by Camilla Pang. However, I have a few to finish before I can begin to enjoy the new haul. One of those unfinished treats is last year’s winner.[Read more…] about Winter Book Season
Science and experience both tell us that it may become harder to learn as we get older. On the grounds that it’s never too late to learn, I was thinking about science books overnight. Which is the best? Could it be The Selfish Gene? Or perhaps The Periodic Table? Maybe The Emperor of All Maladies? Or Factfulness?
So I thought a web search would help remind me of some that I have read. Where better to start than the annual Royal Society Prizes for Science Books?[Read more…] about Belated Science Reads
This time next year, a week short of entering Rome on foot, I hope to be resting for a day in Viterbo, between Lakes Bolsena and Bracciano. Each of these lakes occupies the caldera of a dormant volcano and I will enjoy the sight of them.
‘So the first lesson about trusting your senses is: don’t. Just because you believe something to be true, just because you know it’s true, that doesn’t mean it is true.’ (from Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman).[Read more…] about Imagined Futures
In a normal world, there are people who study deviations beyond the standard. There’s a conventional heuristic (rule of thumb) that our most significant interests fall within three standard deviations from the meanest of any measure.
I journaled here of a corporate presentation I titled ‘To 3σ and Beyond’. That, together with the opening paragraph today, are (bad) statistics-based jokes intended to refer to new learnings that may lurk within less than 6.7% of a range of products or data.[Read more…] about Where are all the Curies?
We heard the siren call of the seals this afternoon. Pod, rookery or harem, there were upwards of a dozen of the pinnipeds basking in the diffuse light on rocks exposed by a very low tide.
It was befitting of Bloom’s Day to see the seals in Sandycove where James Joyce spent six nights in 1904. ‘A sleek brown head, a seal’s, far out on the water, round’ was his description of Buck Mulligan in Ulysses. Could this have been inspired by the Sandycove ancestors of these seals?[Read more…] about Ignobility Index
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$