My brain, as anyone who knows me well can attest, is prone to inspiration and, consequently, distraction. This means that, in order to get things done, I rely on external aides to assist me in breaking tasks down, following through on each step, and delivering the final thing. This is not unusual among STEAMy folks, therefore systems like Kanban boards have become popular in the tech industry (and would probably be helpful if adopted by other STEM).
The keyword “sustainability” has a less commonly known sibling, “resilience”. While Sustainability concerns the ability of a system, community, or person to continue to enjoy a particular behaviour or standard of life long-term, “Resilience” concerns the short-term ability to survive shocks and disruptions. Resilience is usually evaluated and designed with respect to systems and communities, but not all of us are so blessed, yet. What can an individual do to be more resilient?
I have undertaken a project to reintroduce several endangered Irish wildflowers to my garden and some local suitable habitats, and I learned that it was easier and cheaper than I had at first imagined. The hardest part was finding suppliers. So in the spirit of inviting other willing volunteers on board, I've included a handy list of supplier links for the wildflowers I've started with. There is a clear bias toward flowering species because they are more likely to have a commercial purpose: I would like to get seeds for more of the flowerless plants if I found a good supplier.
Something I sometimes wonder about, and now perhaps so will you, is how the advancements of Atlantian civilisation are understood by writers over time. When the story is first relyed, the Atlanteans are not significantly more advanced than their counterparts elsewhere in the story. But as the story of Atlantis is retold, they become more and more socially, philosophically, and (perhaps most of all) technologically advanced. These days, Atlantis is retold as a land of abundant and casual magic, or of advanced crystalline technologies, or of alien-influenced uplifted sentient animals and their half-human kin… It's not something Plato probably saw coming.
Home Automation promises a lot: convenience, efficiency, the ability to make unique affordances to your needs, not to mention impressing dinner guests with gadgets and gimmicks. But, as with so many things that touch capitalism, it has been corroded into something more alien and compromised. A would-be smort-home-dweller must make excuses to conscientious guests; that the frightening surveillance apparatus in the room is ‘just really convenient’ or ‘it was a gift but actually we really like it’.
A curious thing, that one of the most beloved carols was written by an anti-clerical atheist. And the original lyrics, while they seem pretty pious by modern standards, were apparently quite the controversy. Yet, as I come home tonight from a carol service in a local church, “Oh Holy Night” was the stand-out performance sung by a soloist and drawing the most emphatic applause of the night. For all that I love this song for its captivating enthusiasm and hopeful vibes, it's a song that gives me a strong dissonance whenever I hear or sing it, also, because I am not at all Christian and never will be.
We spend a third or so of our lives in a mysterious torpid state, an understudied thing called ‘sleep’ which appears essential to good health and wellbeing. And we spend a sizeable portion of that time in a vivid delerium we call ‘dreaming’. Yet, for most of us, this time is forgotten and unplumbed except as remembered nightmares or indistinct impressions throughout the following day. I always wished that I could do better and remember my dreams more clearly, and it's a short hop from there to learning about the phenomenon of Lucid Dreaming.
When I began learning about machine learning, and the much-hyped “deep learning” subbranch in particular, I necessarily had to learn about the abstract realm of “Vector Space", where all the work of deep learning actually takes place. At around the same time, I was reading most of the backlog of Charles Stross’ “The Laundry Files” books, which deal with a version of cosmic-horror that's synthesised with computer science to create a geeky and compelling, cyberpunky take on the genre.
After months apart, me and my Vaio Flip are back together again. I had shelved it because its achilles heel, the dodgy CPU fan, had begun to die again. This had happened before and I replaced it myself, winning about a year of use before March of this year. This time, it began failing again and then stopped effecively cooling the CPU entirely. So, it went on the shelf until I had time and funds to repair it, and I picked up my trusty backup: a slightly battleworn Lenovo u300s.
As returning visitors may note, the look and feel of IndieBiotech.com (and CathalGarvey.me) have changed drastically. Closer inspection yields it's no longer Wordpress at all, and all of the content is being delivered over HTTPS. That's because I spent an inordinate amount of time converting my two Wordpress blogs to Hugo / Markdown format, and they are now hosted through Caddy, which means automatic HTTPS. The upshot: Hosting of the sites is now done through my own hardware, specifically a Raspberry Pi 2 about a meter from me as I write.