Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Reading, doing, watching #4.

Wow. I have had a busy two weeks. Apart from friends and family visiting, this is what I have:

  • Went to a felt making workshop where I made this.
  • Finished Unit 5 of the Complexity course, in which I learnt about genetic algorithms and made Robbie the Robot pick up empty soda cans. (Hey, I am saying "soda". Weird.) 
  • Discovered this AMAZING site through a user comment on the Complexity Course Forum. Coursera is a social entrepreneurship company that was founded by Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng. In partnership with universities across the world it allows free access to hundreds of MOOCs (Massive Open Online  Courses). This is a fantastic opportunity to learn from some of the best minds out there, even if you could never afford to attend these universities. Go and choose a course and continue learning. C'mon, you know you want to!
  • Tried to see the PANSTARRS comet. We should have been able to see it about two weeks ago, close to the horizon just after the sun sets, so we took a drive out to Scarborough, which is on the right side of the mountain. But, sadly, we looked and looked and looked, but we did not see a thing. Our twilight is possibly a bit too bright. I did take this picture though to prove that we did not see it ...

and this picture to show that Snous was not very impressed. "You fool!" she says. "Enough of this. Now give me my supper."

  • Seen this exhibition on typography, where I purchased a lovely, witty and pertinent work of art, which I will show you later this week.
  • The Year of the Flood, by Margaret Atwood. I really enjoyed this one. I have read all Atwood's novels, apart from Oryx and Crake. (I was put off a bit by its post-apocalyptic, futuristic scenario.) Well, Year of the Flood is set in the same period, some of the same characters make an appearance, but somehow I found this book very different. (Maybe I was in the wrong space when I tried to read Oryx and Crake.) Year of the Flood is excellent - satirical, funny and disturbing, it describes a quite believable and (scarily) not-so-distant future.
  • The Casual Vacancy, by JK Rowling. This is her first adult novel, and I have to admit that I was not keen to start it. It is not that I did not like Harry Potter - I read one (and a half ), but I have always found the wizard/magic thing a bit boring. But I can really recommend this book. Extremely readable, excellent characterisation, a great story -  cynical old moi even shed a tear at the end. And there is not a wizard in sight.


Nicky Linzey said...

Gosh, you have been busy! Lovely sky picture and the one of Snous of course!

Sarah said...

I want to read that book-one of many on my list! I have read most of her earlier novels but not the later ones. I am having a detective fiction spate at the moment brought on by a chance encounter with a Kem Nunn novel then a book I read as a result called 'Back to the Badlands'. That is a pile of books on its own! But then I have been distracted by a Kate Atkinson novel!
I love the picture of Snous-her big ears are so gorgeous!