I haven’t shared much in the last few weeks, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy.
Currently getting through The Undoing Project, which will lead to start Thinking Fast and Slow over again (I was only about 50 pages in before getting distracted over a year ago.) I got distracted from reading a book about the surveillance state from Bruce Schneier.
I bought a book about how GPS is changing our lives and another book from Kevin Kelly about 12 technological forces that are shaping the future.
After reading an article about Seal Team 6 and war crimes accusations at The Intercept, I wanted to know what fonts were used on the site. I came across FontsInUse.com This is the kind of site that could keep me busy for hours. (And the font is called TI Actu.)
I published a couple of articles on Medium and they got picked up by various publications there, resulting in some good traffic. The best part—better than page views—is to see what parts of an article people have highlighted.
I joined a co-working space called WeWork in Montreal and promptly scored a contract where I proof-read a Chinese to English translation of web content for a financial services firm.
I figured out how to get really high skills scores in Forza Horizon 3. It involves ripping donuts in a palm tree plantation with lots of fences nearby to chain scores together.
My car of choice right now is a 2017 Ford GT Supercar.
The Economist Holiday Double-Issue
For a number of years, the Holiday double-issue of The Economist has been one of the regular things I have most looked forward at Christmas time. It is one of those reasons that I can say I wish every month, if not every day, had a Christmas in them. There is typically a wide range of long-form articles on all sorts of topics designed to pique the interest of any polymath worth his or her salt. So I started my day with some reading of this year’s edition.
Last week saw me start a new consulting gig where I am being asked to essentially design and coordinate the development of a web-based application. (That’s one of the reasons that I have not updated this site in 2 weeks.)
The first order of business is to figure out the data that needs to be captured and what needs to happen to it once captured. So I found myself doing database modeling in Microsoft Word. I know just enough about the basics to get myself into trouble. So I figured that I would spend some free time before Christmas supper making the most of my LinkedIn Premium subscription and learn as much as I could about relational databases in general, and data modelling in particular. I am there enjoying Foundations of Programming: Databases.
US Postal Service fun
While reading an article about marketing and big data, I came across a link to an article that explains how the ZIP code system works. These two images are from that article:
I remember when the wonderful—to many and curmudgeonly to others—Andy Rooney, of CBS’ 60 Minutes, expounded on the topic in 1989. I couldn’t find the video but found a link to a newspaper opinion piece by Rooney that was archived.
Getting a Ph.D.
I applied to pursue a doctorate in international studies in 2008 but was turned down due to professor availability. I wanted to continue the ideas that I put forth in my master’s thesis. In the graphic below—created to demonstrate causality of ideas before I even started writing—I addressed the first 2 “developments”. The focus of my doctoral thesis would be on the future avenues of research described in “development” #3.
While I have not permanently ruled out the possibility, a Ph.D is on hold for now. (The department at the time ruled out on rationale for getting a PhD: replacing those professors facing imminent retirement. He explained that old political science professors don’t retire, they just die.). This site, “Should I get a Ph.D.“, may give me further pause.
As part of my continued research into understanding the business opportunities represented by artificial intelligence and to continue to my product brief—that is rapidly become a book—I came across a very interesting article that about neural networks. What is really cool is that a playground where you can actually the neural networks in action, and make changes, is also provided.