Imagine you are thinking of the future in the past. You are in back 1974 and you think that ‘any word you you speak this afternoon will radiate out in all directions, around the town before tomorrow, out and around the world before Tuesday’. I wish I could have had that thought then. Sure it’s wrong in detail but in principle, it was visionary. Computing has evolved rapidly despite the fact that fifty years later we are still pretty much tied to a keyboard. Global telephony has been upgraded and milliseconds are today’s measure of communication time rather than days. Our voices do radiate out in video and audio streams but much of our thinking is spread by text. It’s still the case that text is faster to comprehend. The limit isn’t the technology, it’s a biological constraint.[Read more…] about Futures and Visions
This is the two hundreth consecutive daily blog and I think it’s a great achievement considering it has been done without incentivisation.[Read more…] about Fragile 200
On Persistent Ambiguity
I was excited though not surprised when President Éamon de Valera walked down the aisle towards my grandfather’s coffin. Grandfathers can be hugely important and mysterious figures to kids so why wouldn’t the President of our country be showing his respect to my grandfather? The bar had been set quite high the week before with the TV coverage for Winston Churchill’s funeral. I had no other model for my first funeral, so to speak.
I was only ten and knew nothing much of the world beyond my family. Indeed, I wasn’t completely sure of that much within my family. Family gatherings, particularly those agnate, were generally fuelled by drink and thrived on stories of death by various mis-adventures. An oral tradition, the drinking and the storytelling both. The rituals often involved stormy nights under the flickering light of the damnable smokey coal fires of the era. The elaborations depended on the storyteller. ‘It was a late summer evening’ might become ‘One spring morning’ and we accepted such ambiguity because the outcome was assured.[Read more…] about On Persistent Ambiguity
Our Day 81 – Not Answers
Today could have been the 81st day of our walk from Manchester to Rome. We could have been at the highest point on our trek (2,469 m) on the shortest night of the year north of the equator. We should have reached and crossed the Great St Bernard Pass.
Micromort and big numbers.
I’ve decided to put my trust in the reader and dispense with long introductions and explanations. If you care what a micromort actually is, you’ll follow the links. If you don’t understand big numbers, you’ll be in good company.
Today is the day we should have reached unorthodox Canterbury after walking out from Manchester on April Fools’ Day. Instead, like so many, I’m curfewed.[Read more…] about Micromort and big numbers.
Giants, Elders and Bosons
How many people know about The Elders? Not science fiction, they are a non-governmental organisation of global thought leaders. Oddly enough, I’ve met a couple of them. We spoke in social pleasantries rather than of their vision which ‘is of a world where people live in peace, conscious of their common humanity and their shared responsibilities for each other, for the planet and for future generations’. Our meeting was the day Lia was being conferred with an honorary doctorate by Dublin University. As her plus one, I was able to enjoy a meal among the honourees, their plus ones and the university principals. And in my own alma mater, something neither my adult imagination let alone my student version was ever capable of imagining.[Read more…] about Giants, Elders and Bosons