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$
It’s amazing what you get done in the bath. That was my takeaway from the movie Trumbo, based on the true story of a blacklisted script writer accused of using movie scripts as communist propaganda. And I latched onto the fact that he wrote in the bath! Maybe that’s because baths and saunas, like walking, are activities that bring me great clarity of thought: a transient clarity borne of an intense but narrow focus. Wabi sabi?
When Catherine Dunne was honoured with the 2018 Irish PEN Award for Contribution to Irish Literature, I was lucky enough to be in attendance. A round-table chat about the books we were reading that year brought me to the realisation that, sitting among so many novelists, I had read no fiction in the previous twelve months. I’d unexpectedly retired from a career in geoscience and possessing a past and a present, I was looking for a future. Determinism was parked and I was imagining multiple probabilistic outcomes while trying to make the right choices. My bedside bookshelves were decorated, if not vertabrated, with spine words like Harari, Sapiens, Syed, Black Box Thinking, Taleb, Antifragile, Frankopan, The New Silk Roads, O’Connell, To Be A Machine, Rosling Factfulness and walking here, there and anywhere.[Read more…] about World Book Day
“… those who philosophise on the matter, and who think men unreasonable for spending a whole day in chasing a hare which they would not have bought, scarce know our nature. The hare in itself would not screen us from the sight of death and calamities; but the chase which turns away our attention from these, does screen us.” (from Pensées by Blaise Pascal)[Read more…] about Displacement Inactivity