Random thoughts about random subjects… From science to literature and between manga and watercolours, passing by data science and rugby; including film, physics and fiction, programming, pictures and puns.
I had the opportunity to attend the Strata+Hadoop World conference in London last week on the 2nd and 3rd of June. It was held in the ExCeL Centre in East London. Given the size of the venue, I had the expectation that it was going to be a massive event… Don’t take me wrong, it was indeed big, but I thought it was going to be even bigger. Colleagues that have attended other editions in San Jose did also remark that this one was on the smaller side of things.
In any case, I had the opportunity to talk to a lot of very interesting and engaging people, and heard about the work that large and small companies in the scene are doing. I had the chance to present a demo on the use of Spark in Bluemix and I think it went really well.
Yesterday I had the chance to attend the first Visualized.io conference in London. It was a fully packed day with lots of interesting speakers and fun people. The variety of the talks was quite good and most of the presentations were very well prepared. I was surprised at the bad use of video in a couple of the talk in the morning session, but apart from that it was all very good.
I ended up winning a print and it is not decorating one of the walls at home. You can see a picture at the end of the gallery below. The conference tool place at Protein in the heart of Hipsterland (aka Shoreditch) and it was a well attended event.
I particularly enjoyed the talk by David McCandless who turned out to be the mystery guest. Similarly, the presentation by Pascal Raabe about memories was very good and inspiring. Another good presentation was the “smelly” talk given by Kate McLean.
Andy Kirk gave a view about the Design of Time and you can see the slides here.
If you are interested in seeing what twitter was saying before, during and after the conference, check this page.
Finally, the conference was at Eventfire archived here, and I am surprised to see that I was the top contributor according to them! :D
Elena Bodnar, 2009 Ig Nobel Prize winner in public health, presented her emergency brassiere, which can be quickly converted into a pair of protective face masks, one for the brassiere wearer and one to be given to some needy bystander. She demonstrated this invention and the idea was a also to introduce a device worn by males. However the “prototype” disappeared and a bit of improvisation had to be done…
Dan Bebber, one of the winners of the 2010 Ig Nobel Prize for Transportation, talked about using slime mould to model an effective railway network. In the experiment, cities were represented by porridge oats that were linked to one another as the slime mould grew.
John Hoyland, editor of the “Feedback” column in New Scientist Magazine talked about some interesting oddities.
Mexican poets’ tour the UK. Readings in Spanish and Zapotec alongside their translators.
For more information visit: www.poetrytranslation.org
2010 is the bicentennial of Mexico’s independence movement an and the hundredth anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. To mark the occasion the Poetry Translation Centre has organised this Mexican Poets’ Tour introducing leading poets from Mexico to new audiences around the UK.
Coral Bracho: writes in Spanish, her translators are Katherine Pierpoint and Tom Boll.
David Huerta: writes in Spanish, his translator is Jamie McKendrick.
Víctor Terán: writes in Zapotec, his translator is David Shook.
The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) was the venue, the band “Noah and the Whale”, the album-film “The First Days of Spring”, the result a bit mixed…
When I first heard “5 Years Time” I could not help but feel a smile to take shape in my face and I almost felt compelled to sing along the addictive “sun, sun, sun” choir. So when I heard that the ICA was going to hold a gig with the band and that they were also going to screen the film that was supposed to be released together with their new album I decided to get a couple of tickets.
The venue was, as usual Thursday evening, packed with people and the fact that there was also a play in the theatre added to the general feeling of an art evening. Eventually, people started to make their way to Cinema 1, where the film was shown. The film producer Olivier Kaempfer introduced the film by mentioning that they would start by showing what can only be described as a home made extended video of an unplugged impromptu gig at someone’s house. It obviously had its value, but I would have rather seen that playing in the bar as a background rather than the introduction to the film
By the time the actual film started you had already heard the main songs of the album and thus there was no actual surprise as to what the music brought to the narrative of the film. Now, for those of you who would have imagined that Dalí’s painting would have been some form of inspiration for the images in the film would be very disappointed. Instead we are presented with a low-budget 45-minute piece that tries to be an exploration of broken hearts, break-ups and loss. Although for someone as young as Fink, it seems to me to be early days to suffer that much for someone. That is not to say that his pain is not a valid emotion, but given some of the clichéd lyrics, you would know what I mean.
In my opinion the best scene of the shot film is the one where a seemingly serious and earnest elderly gentleman breaks into dance at the rhythm of an orchestral arrangement entitled “Love of an Orchestra”.
During the question and answer session, Fink mentioned that the idea of making the film along with the album was to provide the latter with a framework in which the audience has no choice but to listen to the entire compilation of songs, and what better way to keep the audience captive than in a dark cinema. Personally I don’t see anything wrong with being able to pick and choose the songs that you prefer in an album. This is a process that has happened even before the age of iTunes and the iPod. Just think of all those mixed tapes that people used to make for one another; some of them even with the same excuse of a broken heart.
Tonight the band has a gig in the same venue as part of the screening of the film. I hope that the live performance brings the best out their music; the film did not make it for me.
As some of you may know (and if you don’t after reading this you will), the Science Museum in London opens its doors late on the last Wednesday of every month.
This time round, on July 29th the theme of the night was “Launch into space” to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Moon landings. They had usual events such as the “Silent Disco” held in the Flight Gallery or the “Pub Quiz”.
The highlight of the night was a talk by Sy Liebergot, who was manning the desk when Houston heard there was a problem! And if you wanted to know more about some of the spacecrafts used you could go to the “Centernary Talks@Lates” with Chris Riley about the Apollo 10 capsule (see pictures).
Of course there is always more to explore in this interesting museum and for more information, you can visit the Science Museum website.