Na inšpiráciu v mesiaci knihy

S blížiacim sa deadlinom na dopísanie vlastnej knihy mám času ešte menej ako zvyčajne, ale na počudovanie, čítať sa mi darí kúsok viac ako inokedy. Dôvody sú dva. Mišo je preč. A na to, aby som mohla písať, pričom písať v tejto fáze už neznamená ani tak pridávať text, ale hlavne prepisovať, dopisovať, vysvetľovať a vylepšovať, potrebujem, aby sa mi mleli v hlave slová. A tak siaham aj po osvedčených autoroch a autorkách, kde je aká-taká záruka, že to bude dobré, ale aj po nových, kde ma možno čaká prekvapenie. Takže tu je zoznam za posledných pár týždňov: 

Change agent (Daniel Suarez) – cez vianoce som čítala jeho knihy Daemon a FreedomTM. Po ďalšej by som už nebola siahla, ale táto bola o CRISPR, editovaní DNA, a na to som bola zvedavá. A musím priznať, že pri písaní záveru našej knihy (zatiaľ pracovne nazvanom Dreaming up the future), som nad ňou rozmýšľala.

Yet political realities in America made it increasingly unfeasible for entrepreneurs there to tinker with the building blocks of life. Every cluster of human cells was viewed as a baby in America. A quarter of the population wasn’t vaccinated. A majority of Americans didn’t believe in evolution. Social-media-powered opinions carried more influence than peer-reviewed scientific research. In this virulently anti-science atmosphere, synbio research was hounded offshore before it had really begun. 
all genetics is warfare
steel painted as wood

Cit slečny Smilly pre sneh (Peter Høeg) – túto som čítala zabalená v deke. Studená, ľadová, pochopíte z nej, prečo majú eskimáci viac ako sto rôznych slov pre sneh. Prvá polovica je výborná, napísaná presne na hrane, kde si môžete čítať medzi riadkami… a potom sa to zvrhne na nie príliš dobrý thriler. (Mimochodom, v tejto knihe sa spomínajú Euklidove Základy, nekonečný hotel, je tam uprostred textu matematický vzorec, píše sa tam o vedeckých článkoch… curiouser and curiouser)

Vládne rozšírený názor, že deti sú otvorené, že ich najvnútornejšia podstata sa z nich priam rinie. Aký omyl! Nik nie je tajnostkárskejší ako deti a nik na to nemá ani väčší dôvod. Ako odpoveď na svet, čo ustavične prichádza k nim s otváračom na konzervy, aby preveril, čo majú vo svojom vnútri …

Čítanie snehu je ako počúvanie hudby. Popísať, čo ste prečítali, je ako vysvetliť hudbu.

Ale ja som v živote ukotvená k niečomu, čo je stabilné. Môžete to nazvať orientačný zmysel; môžete to nazvať ženská intuícia; môžete to nazvať, ako chcete. Stojím na samých základoch a nemám už kam spadnúť. Možno to znamená, že som si život nezorganizovala príliš dobre. Ale vždy sa držím — aspoň jedným prstom — Absolútneho Priestoru. Preto je tam tá hranica, ako veľmi sa môže svet vychýliť, ako veľmi sa veci môžu pokaziť predtým, než na to prídem. A teraz už viem, bez štipky pochybnosti, že niečo je zle. 

Fire sermon (Francesca Haig) – na tejto knihe je zaujímavá hlavná myšlienka. Roky po veľkej katastrofe sa na zemi rodia vždy dvojčatá, chlapec a dievča. Jeden z nich je zdravý/á, druhý/á je nejakým spôsobom postihnutý/á. A zomierajú vždy naraz. Toto sa dozvieme na prvých tridsiatich stranách. A potom namiesto toho, aby sa autorka vyhrala s touto myšlienkou, nasleduje pomerne klišé príbeh, ktorý ani nie je veľmi dobre napísaný (nebola tam ani veta, ktorá by mi stála za odloženie…). 

Z neznámych dôvodov (Zdena Frýbová) – tak som sa odhodlala. Túto knihu som už raz – približne pred dvadsiatimi rokmi – čítala. Už som si nepamätala príbeh, ale pamätala som si veľmi dobrý pocit, ktorý som z nej mala. A bála som sa po nej siahnuť znova, že čo ak sa ten pocit po tých rokoch pokazí. Pokazil sa. Postavy mi liezli na nervy, každá svojím špecifickým spôsobom, príbeh nezaujal, miestami dokonca rozčuľoval, veci príliš klapali a zapadali do seba. Tuším, čo sa mi tam vtedy páčilo, ale dnes by som už takúto knihu ani nedočítala do konca – keby nepísala o biochemickom akademickom prostredí v Československu v sedemdesiatych rokoch. Zaujímavé pozerať, v čom sa podobá a líši od toho dnešného a v čom sa podobalo a líšilo od zahraničného vtedy. Takže ak, tak len ako sondu do minulosti. 

Z neznámych dôvodov je proces tvojho metabolizmu trochu iný ako ten môj. 

Wild girls (Ursula K. Le Guin) – malinká, zvláštna knižka, taký mix. Je v nej príbeh, zopár básní, rozhovor a úvaha. Natrafila so na ňu, keď som hľadala niečo úplne iné. Ale štandardne dobrá.

The Next War
It will take place,
it will take time,
it will take life,
and waste them.

Stalker/Roadside picnic (Arkadij a Boris Strugatskí) – na jednom matematickom sústredení bola raz nočná hra. Z chaty sme ochádzali v malých skupinách do lesa večer po tme. Keď začínalo svitať, schádzali sme sa pri ohni pár kilometrov odtiaľ. Alebo možno to bolo inak. Možno to ani nebolo ďaleko alebo celú noc. Ale to ráno si pamätám. Mokré, chladné, hmla sa prevaľovala, občas sa z nej niečo vynorilo a zase to pohltila, zo stromov kvapkalo, nevedeli sme kam presne, ako, prečo, mala som všetkého plné zuby a topánky plné vody. A išlo o nejakú guľu obalenú v pozlátku. Knihu som prvýkrát čítala, až keď som odtiaľ prišla domov. Dodnes mám pocit, že som v Zóne bola a viem, aké to tam je. Stalker je klasika a u mňa je výborný aj po dvadsiatich rokoch.

Or how about this hypothetical definition. Reason is a complex type of instinct that has not yet formed completely. This implies that instinctual behavior is always purposeful and natural. A million years from now our instinct will have matured and we will stop making the mistakes that are probably integral to reason. An then, if something should change in the universe, we will all become extinct – precisely because we will have forgotten how to make mistakes, that is, to try various approaches not stipulated by an inflexible program of permitted alternatives.

In some sense, we’re all cavemen—we can’t imagine anything more frightening than a ghost or a vampire. But the violation of the principle of causality—that’s actually much scarier than a whole herd of ghosts…

Look into my soul, I know – everything you need is in there. It has to be. Because I’ve never sold my soul to anyone! It’s mine, it’s human! Figure out yourself what I want – because I know it can’t be bad!

On writing (Stephen King) – ešte nie som úplne na konci. A King nie je ani môj obľúbený autor, ale písať naozaj vie, tak som si povedala, že pozriem, čo hovorí o svojom remesle.

Books are a uniquely portable magic.

The road to hell is paved with adverbs.

Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.

Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.

Víkendové surfovanie

Ak ste nepozerali štart Falcon Heavy live, tak si ho môžete pozrieť aj spätne. Dvom z troch rakiet sa podarilo aj úspešne pristáť. Tretia sa zrúbala do vody, lebo jej neostalo dosť paliva na brzdiace manévre – asi príliš veľa minula na vystrelenie Muskovej Tesly.

Keď som to púšťala Kubovi, tak sa veľmi čudoval, že prečo tam vystrelili tú Teslu. Že tú by si on radšej nechal:

Ale dobrá reklama nie? Budú Starmana raz navštevovať vesmírni turisti? 

how fungi saved the world

nedávno bola jedna linka (Monday morning observation), ale ukazuje sa, že veci sa majú trochu inak 

seedship – jednoduchá textová počítačová hra

fotka atómu

This is why Uma Thurman is angry

The Favorite Literary Work of Every Country Visualized on a World Map

Ženy-Matky-Telá II

pracovná ponuka od kamarátky, ktorá pracuje pre WFP (hlavne pre ženy-developerky)

Dovolenkové čítanie

Artemis (Andy Weir) – Druhá kniha chlapíka, ktorý napísal Marťana. Tentokrát je hrdinkou mladá žena a dej sa odohráva na Mesiaci. Rýchle a ľahké čítanie, ale ani zďaleka nie také dobré ako Marťan. Príliš akčný film pripravený na sfilmovanie.

By the way, we also hate it when people . . . call Artemis “the city in space.” We’re not in space; we’re on the moon. I’m mean, technically, we’re in space, but so is London. 

On a scale from one to ‘invade Russia in winter,’ how stupid is this plan?

Black Swan (Nassim Nicholas Taleb) – o tom, aký vplyv majú veľmi nepravdepodobné veci. Človek odchovaný na klasickej štatistike (na to mám aj nejaké papiere) a gaussových krivkách povie, že malý. Ale Taleb hovorí, že treba dávať veľký pozor na takúto intuíciu. Dá sa na ňu spoľahnúť pri číslach týkajúcich sa výšky, váhy, v prírode merateľných vecí, ale zlyháva, keď sa bavíme o akciových trhoch, sociálnych sieťach, predajoch kníh a iných moderných vymoženostiach. Zaujímavé, pár dobrých odporúčaní, ako si dávať pozor na čierne labute a profitovať z nich, ale knihe by určite prospelo zoškrtanie na asi tretinu objemu (text a argumenty sa príliš opakujú) a keby autorovi niekto vysvetlil, čo je to sebareflexia (tak samoľúby a arogantný text, ako bol tento, treba hľadať).

Pasteur said, like all great discoverers, he knew something about accidental discoveries. The best way to get maximal exposure is to keep researching. Collect opportunities

Look into your own existence. Count the significant events, the technological changes, and the inventions that have taken place in our environment since you were born and compare them to what was expected before their advent. How many of them came on a schedule? Look into your own personal life, to your choice of profession, say, or meeting your mate, your exile from your country of origin, the betrayals you faced, your sudden enrichment or impoverishment. How often did these things occur according to plan?

Almost everything in social life is produced by rare but consequential shocks and jumps; all the while almost everything studied about social life focuses on the “normal,” particularly with “bell curve” methods of inference that tell you close to nothing. Why? Because the bell curve ignores large deviations, cannot handle them, yet makes us confident that we have tamed uncertainty.

One useful trick, I discovered, is to avoid listening to the question of the interviewer, and answer with whatever I have been thinking about recently. Remarkably, neither the interviewers nor the public notices the absence of correlation between question and answer.

Deamon a FreedomTM (Daniel Suarez) – takéto knihy väčšinou nečítam: príliš krvavé, zbytočne explicitne hnusne násilné. Ale tento dvojdielny thriller ma chytil na zaujímavý základ. Mŕtvy programátor začne sofistikovane vraždiť. Dokáže preniesť do skutočného sveta počítačovú hru. A v druhej časti to podať tak, že možno je práve toto je to, čo (my, ľudia) potrebujeme… Desivé, uveriteľné, na rozmýšľanie. Chystám sa prečítať si ešte Suarezovu knihu o CRISPR Change Agent.

Now combine an application like that—a widely distributed entity that never dies—with tens of millions of dollars and the ability to purchase goods and services. It’s answerable to no one and has no fear of punishment.

Humanity had always trafficked in oppression. Before the corporate marketing department got ahold of it, it was called conquest. Now it was regional development. Vikings and Mongols were big on revenue targets, too—but Leland had dispensed with all the tedious invading, and had taken a page out of the Roman playbook by hiring the locals to enslave each other as franchisees.

We basically used oil and aquifer water to temporarily boost the carrying capacity of the land, all for economic growth demanded by Wall Street investors. It’s a crazy system that only makes sense when you foist all the costs onto taxpayers in the form of crop subsidies that benefit agribusiness, and defense spending to secure fossil fuels. We’re basically paying for corporations to seize control of the food supply and dictate to us the terms under which we live.

Playful Parenting (Lawrence Cohen) – Často ma nebaví hrať sa s deťmi. Alebo som unavená a nechce sa mi. Táto kniha bez akéhokoľvek obviňovania alebo moralizovania hovorí, prečo a ako sa deti potrebujú hrať, dáva konkrétne príklady a ukazuje, ako hranie sa rodičov deťmi môže pomôcť prekonávať rôzne ťažkosti a konflikty. Inšpiratívne pre rodičov detí od škôlkárov po prvý stupeň základnej školy. (Toto bola jediná papierová, ktorú som mala v Thajsku so sebou.)

Children don’t say, “I had a hard day at school today; can I talk to you about it?” They say, “Will you play with me?

If they don’t think we will play, they may not even ask. They just go about their business, and we go about ours, and we all miss chance after chance to reconnect.

Using Playful Parenting, we can help children release all this emotion in ways that aren’t hurtful to others. We do this by just spending lots of time giggling together, but also with some specific techniques. To help children with fears, for example, it often helps to play as if you are the one who is scared, and really exaggerate it. Make sure they don’t feel mocked or humiliated. It helps if you don’t imitate them exactly, but just take the general idea and exaggerate it.

The Way of Kings (Brandon Sanderson) – Sanderson je môj obľúbený autor. A toto je prvý diel trojdielneho fantasy eposu. Nie je nejako úžasný, je celkom rozťahaný a je o svete so zvláštnou mágiou, dlhou históriou a komplikovanými postavami. Dobre sa číta a dobre sa pri ňom zaspáva (mala som ho rozčítaný už asi od septembra, lebo vždy dám len pár strán pred tým, ako zaspím).

Ignorance is the natural state of human mind.

Expectations are like fine pottery. The harder you hold them, the more likely they are to crack.

Words are not meant to be kept inside. They are free creatures and if locked away, they will cause trouble inside.

Robin (Zdena Frýbová) – Od Frýbovej som na strednej škole prečítala všetko, čo mali v mestskej knižnici. Najväčší dojem vtedy zanechala kniha Z neznámých důvodů. Taký, že sa síce chystám niekedy si ju prečítať ešte raz, ale trochu sa bojím do toho ísť, aby som nebola sklamaná. Robin vtedy v knižnici nebol. Kolegyňa mi ho pred vianocami požičala, po tom, čo som jej rozprávala, že náš Kubo nepije vpodstate nič okrem vody. Občas sa dá ukecať na džús a po celkom dlhom skúšaní sa mi podarilo nájsť konkrétny čaj (lipovo-šípkový), ktorý si dá. V knižke manželia, ktorých deti sa už odsťahovali z domu, dostanú foxteriéra Robina. A Robin má ku jedlu podobný prístup, ako náš Kubo ku pitiu. Plus ďalšie humorne zveličené príhody, ktoré zažívajú s tvrdohlavým psom.

Je s podivem, že jsme se nikdy nehádali ani kvůli dětem, ačkoli nám svým temperamentem dávaly pěkně zabrat. Já, jakožto psycholog hlásající, že duše dítěte je křehká a snadno zranitelná, proto se k němu musí přistupovat vždy s laskavým pochopením a vést klidný dialog, jsem na ně ječívala a mlátila je vším, co jsem právě měla v ruce. Honza mi dodnes připomíná, jak jsem ho jednou nakopla, čímž jsem prý doživotně narušila jeho zdravý vztah k ženám vůbec.
Rudolf, hňápajíci se v psychologii lidských vztahů jako slon v porcelánu a proklamující barbarský názor, že děti jsou sběř, kterou je nutno řezat a systematicky decimovat, na ně v životě hlas nezvýšil, natož aby na ně přiložil pravici. 
Normální děti by se v takové rodině před matkou třásly a otcem by zametaly. Naše zrůdičky se se mnou bouřlivě handrkovaly, mazlily, hádaly… a k Rudolfovi pociťovaly respekt. Vydal-li výjimečně nějaký příkaz, podrobily se mu, a když došlo na větší průšvih třeba ve škole, úpěly: „Maminko, prosím tě, jen ať se to nedozví táta.” Prostě naše manželství plynulo v pokojném souzvuku, který po odchodu dětí z domova nerušilo už vůbec nic.
To vše se rázem změnilo příchodem Robina. Začali jsme se s Rudolfem hádat.

Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis (Sandra Steingraber) – Túto som nečítala na dovolenke, ale ešte niekedy na jeseň, len som sa nedostala k tomu, aby som si z nej odložila aspoň zopár viet. V každej kapitole sa prelína osobná materská skúsenosť s nejakým problémom týkajúcim sa životného prostredia. Strašidelné, veľmi dobre napísané, len miestami trošku iritujúce (too much privilege). 

Here was an interesting truth about entering motherhood for the second time: I was just having a baby; I wasn’t taking on a new identity. Furthermore, I now carried with me a skill set.

Nevertheless, I was now starting to suspect that having two children was going to require of me something that having only one didn’t. Of course, it went without saying that another baby was going to eat whatever was left of my solitude. That was an easy prediction.
I’d been a mother for fewer years than three. Being a nonparent still felt like my normal state. It was still a surprise to wake up and find a child in my house. But I wasn’t nostalgic. In my experience, a happy single life was like an exotic orchid with particular moisture, light, and temperature requirements. It required a lot of tending. You had to make weekend plans, have a therapist or a pet, and keep track of how many days had passed since you had last dined with someone. Small disappointments had to be monitored lest they balloon into despair.
When you are by yourself, surreal things can happen: You could get lost in a rainforest while hiking to a study site and then step on a snake at the precise moment you realize that you had neglected to tell anyone where you were going. Or an infected salivary gland could send you to the ER on Thanksgiving morning. Five hours later, you might find yourself shivering with fever in a check-out line at a Walgreens, a scrip for antibiotics in one hand, a can of condensed mushroom soup in the other, and a homeless guy in front of you kindly offering to give you, the girl with the puffed-out face, his can of tuna fish. Which makes a nice story but you have no one to tell it to. (Until now.)

Entire regulatory systems are premised on the assumption that all members of the population basically act, biologically, like middle-aged men. The laws and rules so generated by those systems are thus blinded to the unique characteristics of children that should be obvious to everyone.
S Kubinom sme prečítali Zošidlo a s Kikou asi polovicu Anny zo Zeleného domu. S tou Annou to bolo výborné, lebo na Koh Libong sme sa zoznámili s troma Austrálčanmi (spoločne sme na ostrov docestovali loďkou) a keď potom jedného dňa videli Kiku s knižkou, tak sa jej pýtali, že čo číta. Stačilo ukázať obálku, niektoré knihy sú okamžite rozpoznateľné. (Spýtali sa aj Kuba, ale o Zošidlovi nikto z nich dovtedy nepočul.)

Stephen Wolfram: Idea Makers

Túto knihu som prečítala už dávno, ale potom som na ňu nejako zabudla a natrafila som na ňu až pri upratovaní v čítačke. 

Mohla by byť dobrá. Ale nie je. 

Ja som veľkou fanynkou pána Wolframa. wolframalpha používame so študentami veľmi často (dnes sme hľadali najväčšie známe prvočísla), páčilo sa mi, ako spolu so synom pomáhali pri tvorbe filmu Arrival, aj jeho prístup k dátam. Chystala som sa aj na jeho knihu A New Kind of Science (open access). Takže do Idea Makers som sa pustila s veľkou chuťou. 

Prečítala som si o niekoľkých zaujímavých ľuďoch z Wolframovho pohľadu. To by samo o sebe mohlo byť veľmi fajn, lebo kombinácia niečoho intímneho zasadená do širšieho kontextu dokáže byť veľmi silná (teraz mám napríklad v takomto duchu rozčítané Raising Elijah, kde sa prelína osobný, lyricky písaný, príbeh s verejným/náučným/aktivistickým textom). Ale tu sa to nepodarilo. Wolframove ego preráža skoro v každej biografii. Ešte aj u tých, s ktorými sa nestretol osobne, si neodpustil poznámky typu “keď dokázali to, čo dokázali bez wolframalpha, predstavte si, čo ešte by objavili, keby mali takýto nástroj k dispozícii”. 

Takže nie. Alebo ak predsa, tak len so silným filtrom. 

Wonder women

Wonder Women od Sam Maggs 

Táto kniha je skôr pre Kiku, keď raz začne poriadne čítať po anglicky, ale ja som si ju celkom s radosťou preletela. Sú to kid-friendly krátke životopisy 25 žien (plus spomína zhruba 25 ďalších), ktoré boli vedkyne, lekárky, špiónky, vynálezkyne a cestovateľky. Zaujímavé na tom je, že som z nich poznala len dve a Marie Skłodowska Curie, Rosalind Franklin alebo Jocelyn Bell Burnell sa na hlavný zoznam ani dostali. Výborné je aj to, že aj keď biele európanky alebo američanky prevažujú, slušné zastúpanie majú aj iné farby pleti a iné krajiny. 

Annie Smith Peck: A woman who has done good work in the scholastic world doesn’t like to be called a good woman scholar. Call her a good scholar and let it go at that… I have climbed 1,500 feet higher than any man in the United States. Don’t call me a woman mountain climber.

Jedna téma sa v knihe objavuje opakovane – ženy, ktorých objavy boli pripísané mužom:

But since Lise was exiled from Germany, Otto published their findings and Lise’s theory in the journal Nature – without giving Lise credit… Then in 1944, despite Lise having coined the term nuclear fission in her own Nature article in 1939, Otto won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for the discovery… Although his 1946 Nobel lecture did mention Lise five times, most people assumed she was merely Otto’s junior assistant, a misconception that he seems to have done nothing to correct.  

Je výborné, že aj takéto knihy vychádzajú. Representation matters. 

Víkendové surfovanie

A love story – úžasné

When we encounter a mother doing too many things perfectly, smiling as if it were all so easy, so natural, we should feel a civic responsibility to slap her hard across the face and scream the word “Stop!” so many times that the woman begins to chant or whimper the word along with us. Once she has been broken, we may take her in our arms until the trembling and self-hatred leave her body. It is our duty.

When I swim at the public pool, I wear sunglasses so I can admire the hairless chest of the nineteen-year-old lifeguard. I love it that he, a child, really, is guarding me, fiercest of warriors, a mother, strong as stinky cheese, with a ripe, moldy, melted rotten center of such intense complexity and flavor it would kill a boy of his tender age.

The answer is easy in daylight. But the night’s untethering almost always turns me into someone I’m not. I spend nights thinking about the different women I become in the dark. Where am I keeping these women when the sun is up?

The work of organizing everything – celé dobre a aj iné na jej stránke stoja za prozretie

koláčik navyše

I now live in Berkeley, California. A few years ago, just a few blocks from my home, a pair of researchers in the Cal psychology department staged an experiment. They began by grabbing students, as lab rats. Then they broke the students into teams, segregated by sex. Three men, or three women, per team. Then they put these teams of three into a room, and arbitrarily assigned one of the three to act as leader. Then they gave them some complicated moral problem to solve: say what should be done about academic cheating, or how to regulate drinking on campus.

Exactly 30 minutes into the problem-solving the researchers interrupted each group. They entered the room bearing a plate of cookies. Four cookies. The team consisted of three people, but there were these four cookies. Every team member obviously got one cookie, but that left a fourth cookie, just sitting there. It should have been awkward. But it wasn’t. With incredible consistency the person arbitrarily appointed leader of the group grabbed the fourth cookie, and ate it. Not only ate it, but ate it with gusto: lips smacking, mouth open, drool at the corners of their mouths. In the end all that was left of the extra cookie were crumbs on the leader’s shirt.

This leader had performed no special task. He had no special virtue. He’d been chosen at random, 30 minutes earlier. His status was nothing but luck. But it still left him with the sense that the cookie should be his.

This experiment helps to explain Wall Street bonuses and CEO pay, and I’m sure lots of other human behavior. But it also is relevant to new graduates of Princeton University. In a general sort of way you have been appointed the leader of the group. Your appointment may not be entirely arbitrary. But you must sense its arbitrary aspect: you are the lucky few. Lucky in your parents, lucky in your country, lucky that a place like Princeton exists that can take in lucky people, introduce them to other lucky people, and increase their chances of becoming even luckier. Lucky that you live in the richest society the world has ever seen, in a time when no one actually expects you to sacrifice your interests to anything.

All of you have been faced with the extra cookie. All of you will be faced with many more of them. In time you will find it easy to assume that you deserve the extra cookie. For all I know, you may. But you’ll be happier, and the world will be better off, if you at least pretend that you don’t.

tu je video:

Richard Hamming: You and your research

Now for the matter of drive. You observe that most great scientists have tremendous drive. I worked for ten years with John Tukey at Bell Labs. He had tremendous drive. One day about three or four years after I joined, I discovered that John Tukey was slightly younger than I was. John was a genius and I clearly was not. Well I went storming into Bode’s office and said, “How can anybody my age know as much as John Tukey does?” He leaned back in his chair, put his hands behind his head, grinned slightly, and said, “You would be surprised Hamming, how much you would know if you worked as hard as he did that many years.” I simply slunk out of the office!
What Bode was saying was this: “Knowledge and productivity are like compound interest.” Given two people of approximately the same ability and one person who works ten percent more than the other, the latter will more than twice outproduce the former. The more you know, the more you learn; the more you learn, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more the opportunity — it is very much like compound interest. I don’t want to give you a rate, but it is a very high rate. Given two people with exactly the same ability, the one person who manages day in and day out to get in one more hour of thinking will be tremendously more productive over a lifetime.

tento článok o Iráne ma doviedol k tejto podivnosti

find great books to read without judging the cover (or the author)

my bionic quest for Bolero 

noisli

Víkendové surfovanie

Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria

The stations—which didn’t so much scan as photograph books—had been custom-built by Google from the sheet metal up. Each one could digitize books at a rate of 1,000 pages per hour. The book would lie in a specially designed motorized cradle that would adjust to the spine, locking it in place. Above, there was an array of lights and at least $1,000 worth of optics, including four cameras, two pointed at each half of the book, and a range-finding LIDAR that overlaid a three-dimensional laser grid on the book’s surface to capture the curvature of the paper. The human operator would turn pages by hand—no machine could be as quick and gentle—and fire the cameras by pressing a foot pedal, as though playing at a strange piano. […]

It was strange to me, the idea that somewhere at Google there is a database containing 25-million books and nobody is allowed to read them. […] It’s there. The books are there. People have been trying to build a library like this for ages—to do so, they’ve said, would be to erect one of the great humanitarian artifacts of all time—and here we’ve done the work to make it real and we were about to give it to the world and now, instead, it’s 50 or 60 petabytes on disk, and the only people who can see it are half a dozen engineers on the project who happen to have access because they’re the ones responsible for locking it up.

I asked someone who used to have that job, what would it take to make the books viewable in full to everybody? I wanted to know how hard it would have been to unlock them. What’s standing between us and a digital public library of 25 million volumes?

You’d get in a lot of trouble, they said, but all you’d have to do, more or less, is write a single database query. You’d flip some access control bits from off to on. It might take a few minutes for the command to propagate.

Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future

Because, as the human history case study suggests, when there’s something on the planet way smarter than everyone else, it can be a really bad thing for everyone else. And if AI becomes the new thing on the planet that’s way smarter than everyone else, and it turns out not to clearly belong to us—it means that it’s its own thing. Which drops us into the category of “everyone else.” […]

He sees it as only a matter of time before superintelligent AI rises up on this planet—and when that happens, he believes that it’s critical that we don’t end up as part of “everyone else.” That’s why, in a future world made up of AI and everyone else, he thinks we have only one good option: To be AI. […]

The pace of progress in this direction matters a lot. We don’t want to develop digital superintelligence too far before being able to do a merged brain-computer interface.

Before European Christians Forced Gender Roles, Native Americans Acknowledged 5 Genders (Finds Them And Kills Them je úžasné meno)

Stredoškoláčky videli, že by mladí volili Kotlebu a Kollára, tak vymysleli súťaž o tom, ako funguje štát

The Gene, An Intimate History

Od tohto pána som pred dvoma rokmi čítala “životopis” rakoviny – knižku Emperor of all maladies. Natoľko sa mi páčila, že keď som zistila, že napísal ďlašiu knihu, tak som ju tiež kúpila. A nesklamal. Táto kniha je o génoch, o tom, čo si ľudia o nich kedysi mysleli, čo a ako sa o nich dodnes zistilo, filozofovanie o tom, prečo je to jeden z najnebezpečnejších a zároveň najúžasnejších objavov a nakuknutie do možnej budúcnosti. 

Pár úryvkov na zamyslenie a na namotanie sa:

Consider the genesis of a single-celled embryo produced by the fertilization of an egg by a sperm. The genetic material of this embryo comes from two sources: paternal genes (from sperm) and maternal genes (from eggs). But the cellular material of the embryo comes exclusively from the egg; the sperm is no more than a glorified delivery vehicle for male DNA—a genome equipped with a hyperactive tail. Aside from proteins, ribosomes, nutrients, and membranes, the egg also supplies the embryo with specialized structures called mitochondria. These mitochondria are the energy-producing factories of the cell; they are so anatomically discrete and so specialized in their function that cell biologists call them “organelles”—i.e., mini-organs resident within cells. Mitochondria, recall, carry a small, independent genome that resides within the mitochondrion itself—not in the cell’s nucleus, where the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes (and the 21,000-odd human genes) can be found. The exclusively female origin of all the mitochondria in an embryo has an important consequence. All humans—male or female—must have inherited their mitochondria from their mothers, who inherited their mitochondria from their mothers, and so forth, in an unbroken line of female ancestry stretching indefinitely into the past. (A woman also carries the mitochondrial genomes of all her future descendants in her cells; ironically, if there is such a thing as a “homunculus,” then it is exclusively female in origin—technically, a “femunculus”?) Now imagine an ancient tribe of two hundred women, each of whom bears one child. If the child happens to be a daughter, the woman dutifully passes her mitochondria to the next generation, and, through her daughter’s daughter, to a third generation. But if she has only a son and no daughter, the woman’s mitochondrial lineage wanders into a genetic blind alley and becomes extinct (since sperm do not pass their mitochondria to the embryo, sons cannot pass their mitochondrial genomes to their children). Over the course of the tribe’s evolution, tens of thousands of such mitochondrial lineages will land on lineal dead ends by chance, and be snuffed out. And here is the crux: if the founding population of a species is small enough, and if enough time has passed, the number of surviving maternal lineages will keep shrinking, and shrinking further, until only a few are left. If half of the two hundred women in our tribe have sons, and only sons, then one hundred mitochondrial lineages will dash against the glass pane of male-only heredity and vanish in the next generation. Another half will dead-end into male children in the second generation, and so forth. By the end of several generations, all the descendants of the tribe, male or female, might track their mitochondrial ancestry to just a few women. For modern humans, that number has reached one: each of us can trace our mitochondrial lineage to a single human female who existed in Africa about two hundred thousand years ago. She is the common mother of our species. We do not know what she looked like, although her closest modern-day relatives are women of the San tribe from Botswana or Namibia. I find the idea of such a founding mother endlessly mesmerizing. In human genetics, she is known by a beautiful name — Mitochondrial Eve.

… the largest “negative eugenics” project in human history was not the systemic extermination of Jews in Nazi Germany or Austria in the 1930s. That ghastly distinction falls on India and China, where more than 10 million female children are missing from adulthood because of infanticide, abortion, and neglect of female children.

McKusick’s belief in this paradigm – the focus on disability rather than abnormalcy – was actualized in the treatment of patients in his clinic. Patients with dwarfism, for instance, were treated by an interdisciplinary team of genetic counselors, neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, nurses, and psychiatrists trained to focus on specific disabilities of persons with short stature. Surgical interventions were reserved to correct specific deformities as they arose. The goal was not to restore “normalcy” – but vitality, joy, and function. […] And here too “fitness” could not be judged in absolutes. Rather the lack of fitness – illness in colloquial terms – was defined by the relative mismatch between an organism and environment.

Knižné dilemy

Hmm. 

Martinus mával (rozumej posledné dva roky mal) v rámci mesiaca knihy knižné šifry. Bolo to veľmi fajn, ale neviem, či už došli knihy, alebo prišiel čas na zmenu, tento rok je každý marcový pracovný deň (okrem prvých pár) jedna knižná dilema. A ja že dobre, zapojím sa…

Teraz malá odbočka… ja som veľká fanynka Martinusu. A občasná zákazníčka. A ešte aj členka krajskej komisie matematickej olympiády. Zajtra nám v Žiline začína celoštátne kolo kategórie A, a keď sme rozmýšľali o cenách pre víťazov, tak som oslovila Martinus (na všeobecnej adrese info@martinus.sk) s prosbou. Boli úžasní, blesková priateľská reakcia, mohla som si vybrať, či priamo knihy alebo darčekové poukážky, či má byť darovacia zmluva na mňa alebo na unvierzitu… mladí matematici a matematičky budú mať čo čítať. A ja som ešte väčšia fanynka. Ďakujeme.

Ale tie knižné dilemy? Prečo takto?

Z tých 15tich doterajších, tri neboli o žiadnych postavách (či sa môže čítať vo vani? či je ok, písať ďalšie diely po smrti pôvodného autora? a zvieracia farma vs veľký brat?) 9 bolo o chlapských postavách a iba 3 boli o ženských postavách. A nielenže ich bolo málo, ale aké to boli dilemy? Či si Hermiona mala vybrať Rona alebo Harryho? Či si Deanerys má vybrať Tyriona alebo Jona? A či si Ana má alebo nemá vybrať Christiana? 

Naozaj tie ženské postavy nič zaujímavé nerobia? Neponúkajú žiadne iné “čo by bolo keby?” To najzaujímavejšie na nich je, či a akého chlapa si vyberú? 

Ja sa už ani nerozčuľujem, len som sklamaná. Veď tu netreba veľa a dá sa to robiť o kusisko lepšie. 

Svetlo, ktoré nevidíme

All the light we cannot see, napísal Anthony Doerr

Francúzsko, II. svetová vojna, slepé dievča, ktoré ušlo s otcom z Paríža, nemecký chlapec, ktorý vie opravovať rádiá… a úžasne napísaný príbeh. Ono je to vpodstate obrázková kniha, aj keď v nej žiadne obrázky nakreslené nie sú (ale nájdu sa vzorce!). Akoby svet popísaný pre Marie-Laure, ktorá oslepla, keď mala šesť rokov. Dve rozkúskované predčasne ukončené detstvá, ktoré sa prelínajú a na konci do seba zapadnú ako skladačka. A nie, nie je to love story, je to príbeh o tom, ako sa ľudia snažia byť dobrí aj vo svete, ktorý nedáva zmysel.  

He thinks of the old broken miners he’d see in Zollverein, sitting in chairs or on crates, not moving for hours, waiting to die. To men like that, time was a surfeit, a barrel they watched slowly drain. When really, he thinks, it’s a glowing puddle you carry in your hands; you should spend all your energy protecting it. Fighting for it. Working so hard not to spill one single drop.

What is blindness? Where there should be a wall, her hands find nothing. Where there should be nothing, a table leg gouges her shin. Cars growl in the streets; leaves whisper in the sky; blood rustles through her inner ears.

Time is a slippery thing: lose hold of it once, and its string might sail out of your hands forever.

Veľmi sa mi páčila.

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