Small Experiments and Grand Plans

From here: This story is from Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland: “The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all thoseContinue reading “Small Experiments and Grand Plans”

Critical Thinking and Rough Estimates

I’ve always been a fan of qualitative (back of the envelope) calculations. This started when I was an undergraduate doing my physics degree. After my career in academia ended and I moved to government and commercial work, I was interested to find that similar methods can also be used there (adapted accordingly of course). TheContinue reading “Critical Thinking and Rough Estimates”

COVID-19 and The Swiss Cheese Model

I’d not heard of the Swiss Cheese Model as a way for understanding risks and their management: “The Swiss cheese model of accident causation is a model used in risk analysis and risk management, including aviation safety, engineering, healthcare, emergency service organizations, and as the principle behind layered security, as used in computer security andContinue reading “COVID-19 and The Swiss Cheese Model”

Selling Science

From a talk on carrying out successful research by Richard Hamming, a distinguished American mathematician and computer theorist: “While going to meetings I had already been studying why some papers are remembered and most are not. The technical person wants to give a highly limited technical talk. Most of the time the audience wants aContinue reading “Selling Science”

A Key To Problem Solving

I came across this interesting tweet from @theresiatanzil: “The difficult part of problem solving is rarely about coming up with the solution, but rather 1) getting people to agree what the problem is,2) which solution we decide to try,3) how to coordinate and work together to solve it, and4) committing to keep it solved.” It’sContinue reading “A Key To Problem Solving”

Books And Their Conversations

“The book you are reading – as I would guess is the case with most books – is the result of many conversations I’ve had over the course of many years, in my case with both humans and nonhumans. Many of them happened while I was writing this, and all of them changed my mind.Continue reading “Books And Their Conversations”

Thinking Allowed

“We live in a culture that tends to view thought with a degree of suspicion. Thinking is frequently associated with uselessness, idleness, laziness. These suspicions can be somewhat allayed when thinking can be directly tied to some kind of purpose or tangible result, of course. Accordingly, we tend to conceptualize thinking in terms of learning.Continue reading “Thinking Allowed”

Collecting And Finding Things In The Digital World

One of the things that bothers me is, although I assiduously collect lots of digital stuff (web links, pdfs etc) actually finding useful information afterwards is quite difficult (or perhaps just time consuming). I thought that was just me being very inefficient but now I think that probably isn’t so. This week I listened inContinue reading “Collecting And Finding Things In The Digital World”