The books I read in 2022, in order of date of completion: Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Peter Drucker Stolen Focus, Johan Hari The Call of the Wild, Jack London Brave New World, Aldous Huxley Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka The Law, Frederic Bastiat The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, F. Scott Fitzgerald Data Oriented Design, Richard Fabian The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, Bill Gates Putinomics, Chris Miller The Dawn of Everything, David Graeber and David Wengrow Phreaks, Matthew Derby Master of the Senate, Robert Caro Airframe, Michael Crichton The Passage of Power, Robert Caro Caffeine, Michael Pollan Say Nothing, Patrick Radden Keefe The Black Pages, Nnedi Okorafor Fall, Neal Stephenson Global Brain, Howard Bloom Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, Robin Wall Kimmerer Ethiopia, Wendy McElroy The Lathe of Heaven, Ursula Le Guin Mr.
Emerson wrote that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. Arguably, a complete lack of consistency is another hobgoblin, a Puck by whom I am mischievously harassed, at least insofar as this weblog is concerned. Since last post, I’ve been working hard, but also getting in some play. I went with my siblings to California for a bit, and got some time in Vestmannaeyjar and Spain and what not.
Sitting at an airport, awaiting a flight, is a fundamentally unenjoyable experience. You know that you still have to sit through the boredom of the flight in an uncomfortable seat, in full knowledge that they’d make you stand if only they could do so while maintaining mirage of safety. You know the face mask you’re wearing will hug your face for way more hours than it is designed to be effective, and that this does not matter anyway, since it’s largely a performative gesture.
It is really alarming to see the nonsense on the front pages of the Serbian media today, with claims that Ukraine has attacked Russia. Come the fuck on, really. As much as I like a lot of people in Serbia, I cannot for the life of me understand the profound aversion to truth that appears so commonplace here. Thankfully, there are some excellent people trying to promote truth. I shall visit with some of them later.
Working on the road is always a bit of a double edged sword. Today I’m in Kragujevac, Serbia, where I’ve just emerged from an 8:30 hour marathon meeting, conducted in three languages, discussing complex topics relating to physics, chemistry and engineering. My brain is melty. Despite this, I’m feeling a strong urge to get some more work done tonight. Perhaps some code later. Perhaps. Tomorrow to Belgrade, and then back home on Wednesday.
Some weeks ago I gave a talk at The Goa Project. I ran into my notes from the event and although I don’t have much time to process them into something coherent at this point in time, I figure it doesn’t hurt to put these somewhere more useful than oblivion. The warning implicit in such notes is of course that they were written out hastily and are lacking in context; the real context exists only in the recordings of the event where these notes were used.
At 17:40:07 UTC today, a Cygnus spacecraft desginated NG-17 was launched from Wallops island atop an Antares 230+ rocket, destined to rendezvous with the International Space Station. This was by most metrics a typical resupply mission, but one of the items in one of the payload bags is an artwork produced by the Moon Gallery, which itself contains 64 artworks, each 1cm³ in size. The ultimate goal of the Moon Gallery is to establish the first permanent art gallery on Luna.
Yesterday, a conversation with a friend veered into the convoluted history of post-WWII scientific and technological development, and the various characters that drove it. During the conversation, we unavoidably veered into cybernetics, that long forgotten systematization of theories around feedback and control systems, which at the time appeared so promising, but are now at best ignored, and at worst reviled. When reading the history of cybernetics, it is hard to not get swept up by the eager and earnest romanticism of it, and the tenderness with which the various characters discuss the ideas.
The other day, I went on an Icelandic language podcast called “Bitcoin byltingin”, or “the Bitcoin revolution,” in which I tried to explain that 13 years after its conception, blockchain technology has proven revolutionary only insofar as it has revolutionized the efficiency of scams, facilitated ridiculous volumes of societal harm, and accelerated the rate at which we burn our planet. Of course, I largely failed. Not so much at explaining these things, but rather at doing so in a way that anybody would actually care about.
So yeah, my work managed to get in the way of my documentation efforts, and I’ve been running like mad for the last month. As of today, I have committed code for 30 days in a row. In addition, I have sent out four grant applications, and set up a number of other business related things. I think I might take a rest sometime soon. Compressing floats As a test, I implemented TSXor for floating point number compression, because I need to shunt large amounts of time series and geospatial data around and it’s nice if that doesn’t eat up all the bandwidth and storage space.