Wednesday, 29 June 2016

A Cube Calendar

I like right angles, so I like cubes and the like - even when images of them have no measurable right angles in them. Calendars are another thing. I don't usually follow them too closely. At best, I sometimes scribble out the next couple of weeks on a piece of paper rather than consult a already prepared calendar.

Here (from AIGA Design Archives) is what happens when cubes and calendars meet:

This I can take or leave. I find that my antipathy to calendars somewhat outweighs my liking for cubes.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Keeping It Simple

Following my recent post in which I offered one of my own quotes (about another layer of simplification having been added to a process where I work), I came across the following from Julian Huxley (1887-1975).

Good writing, he suggests, ought to demonstrate "simplification without distortion".

So should a lot of things. Occam's razor (that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected) is in the same vein.

Today, I start some marking of academic work. For this I had to go for training in how to use a new computerised submissions system. When I suggested a simplified approach that I had used in the past and intended using this time, the person in charge of this system was rather indignant and quite insistent that I do it in a specific (more complex, less easy) way and to fit in with the way the computerised system had been set up and not do what was best for me.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Epictetus - 15

From: The Golden Sayings of Epictetus (translated by Hastings Crossley) - from Project Gutenberg.

He is free who lives as he wishes to live; to whom none can do violence, none hinder or compel; whose impulses are unimpeded, whose desires are attain their purpose, who falls not into what he would avoid. Who then would live in error?—None. Who would live deceived and prone to fall, unjust, intemperate, in abject whining at his lot?—None. Then doth no wicked man live as he would, and therefore neither is he free.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

How to work

How can we work in a productive and satisfying way? Recently, I found that where I work a new process - not to mention a new form associated with it - had been added to something we have been doing successfully enough for years. This was not the result of some external or legal directive but the result of somebody 'improving' what we do... again! This is not the first time that this has happened. Upon reflection, a change in this area of our work has been made every year for as long as I can be bothered to remember.
About this, the following quote immediately occurred to me:
"Once again, a new layer of simplification has been added."
Steve Lewis

This is meant to be ironic, of course, for whenever something like this is done not only is something added but a whole range of relationships between the new thing and all that was there before is brought about. Each simplification is, in fact, a complexification.

I also recently came across this quote:

"Be regular and orderly in your life like a Bourgeois so that you may be violent and original in your work."

An interesting contrast. What Flaubert had in mind was, creative work though.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Numbers (can do funny things)

As I write this, I am looking forward to seeing the film 'The Man Who Knew Infinity' this evening; a film about the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. Numbers can do funny things and appear in all sorts of interesting ways.

Recently, I noticed that I am aged 61, having been born in '55, whereas my wife is 55, having been born in '61.
When I told her this, she noted that this year while see is 55, her mother is 88 and our daughter 22 (differences in multiples of 33 years, as if you hadn't noticed).

Interesting but nothing more meaningful or significant than that. I am NOT suggesting any numerological connotations can be drawn from this coincidence.