Previous: April 2021.
I streamed content in May. Twice.
The first, hosted by Fran. We talked about how is it to work for Automattic or how does it feel to be involved in a free software project the scale of WordPress (40% of the web, 18 years old). We also touched on Obsidian and note taking.
The second, as a host. I interviewed Luz Castro, a galician computer engineer with three decades of experience in the areas of computational linguistics and videogames.
The two were organized by LaretasGeek, the initiative of a couple of local meetups. Both are in Galician ― people with a background in Portuguese or Spanish will understand fine.
Continued reading Stories of your life and others by Ted Chiang:
- Understand. What would happen if someone was able to transcend human abilities. What would that person optimize for? Egoism? Altruism?
- Division by zero. It didn’t occur to me that you could write a moving story that pivots on the division by zero and the struggle it poses for mathematicians. Also suicide. It was short and the most beautiful of the book so far.
- Story of your life. The one I bought the book for. Doesn’t disappoint. Having watched Arrival so many times the story held few surprises.
- Seventy two letters. Set in the Victorian era, it’s an alternate past in which the industrial revolution pivots on nomenclators. Nomenclators are alchemists, programmers, or however you call people that give life to inanimated matter (golems) by imprinting words upon them. Artificial Intelligence, DNA manipulation, social issues, natural selection, etc. You’d like it if Gattaca or “The real danger to civilization isn’t AI, it’s runaway capitalism” resonates with you. There are plenty other reasons you may like it.
When I started the book, I knew Ted Chiang had won 4 Nebulas, 4 Hugo, 4 Locus, and many other awards for a total production of… 18 short stories. I was still caught off guard, he’s a master at world building. Each story has a distinct narrative style: while Understand simulates a stream of consciousness like a journal, Seventy two letters is a “conventional” steampunk story. They tend to be packed stories and there are some infodumps. That demand of attention from the reader is tamed by a decluttered prose in which every word counts.
Music: up and down
Inspired by The making of a corporate athlete, I’ve started to introduce more music during my work routine. I’ve created a list of songs to increase my energy when switching tasks. It’s three so far.
Unlike some other non-pandemic times, this year we didn’t organize anything for Eurovision. It isn’t worth it without friends at home. We had it in the background while doing other things, and I was surprised by the Belgian representative … Hooverphonic! I had listened many of their songs in my Portishead phase, but hadn’t actually played any of its albums back to back. It’s now checked off my list.
We went to a restaurant
First time since February 2020. It was unplanned and beautiful. We found ourselves visiting an old hydroelectric plant in disuse, which looks like a grand monastery at first sight.
The surroundings have been converted into a social area, including a restaurant. The music, the birds, and the calm of the place infused on us a sense of slowness. We felt it was a good moment.