Monday, 14 June 2010

Downright intuitive and comical

I was on my hands and knees yesterday scrubbing a LOT of blood off a tennis court. And yes, we won. Note to friends - my tennis is not that good, but, I am determined. Determined. And so was he. Imagine. 45 minutes of dripping blood whilst playing. "I'm fine - I can't feel anything" he said...."Good. Keep playing" I said.

I didn't really.

It was a very welcome afternoon respite after two grueling evenings. The first, a book club discussing "Midnight's Children". The second, THAT football game. Both evenings were hosted by one of my best most brilliant friends who is very very good at keeping the glass over half full. An afternoon in the lovely english countryside was just the perfect follow.

Ah you say. So...Missmc was drinking too much again over the weekend. Thank goodness - it gives a good explanation to the last most misguided ranting post. I mean really. If you are going to let your head wander to redefining the Meaning of Liquidity as a solution, one ought to have some practical experience in such matters. Cheers.

In a more sober tone, George Soros has spoken again. Here is the link, but, check out the google ad that popped up whilst I was reading it. Sometimes google is like having a weirdly misguided father-in-law looking over your shoulder. Downright intuitive and comical.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Beyond politics...

If you hold any fascination with the study of systems this is your week to ponder. The financial markets and the world economy are clattering in the press about interbank liquidity, the euro crisis and the solvency of several nations. Layered on top of this all is a perceptual web that remembers the past few years and knows the problem is not solved. Nonetheless, we march on. The new evil according to the press and the politicians is national debt. The phrase du jour is "fiscal austerity" and the turning of focus on the mechanisms of this variable brings forth a Salman Rushdie stream-of-consciousness cast of characters, scenarios and yes, politics.

The hidden ghost in the machine is an algorithmic web that toys with these shifts and removes any sense of logic to the casual spectator. If liquidity is the issue, one has to look past the debt ingesting behavior of individual nations. Electronic trading platforms for bonds have increased the bond trade to such an extent that the notion of liquidity is shifting more to take on board the computerization and subsequent increase in bond trading. In other words, "more" was created, and now, the world is pondering this notion of "more" whilst the economies falter and the computers keep churning. The everyday panics and bumps are bigger in this environment, and, the risks have increased. So, then, welcome to the new world. You have been here for a while but it has just raised to the surface and poked you in the eye. And, there is more, but this is a simplified paragraph because I need a cigarette. And it is a blog after all. In essence, the key thing is our notion and definition of liquidity is shifting in a pretty Wittgenstinian kind of way. Roll with it.

Inherently, this new world is really quite fine. But, like any revolution, there are adjustments to be made. This is one of those historical periods of change that will sit in the classrooms of the future. "Let the material express itself" was the dogma of my high school sculpture teacher. I sat in the front unmalleable, and, mumbled, "Yes, but then, what?"...

Sunday, 6 June 2010

I saw Pegasus evolve into a creepy egg-laying insect

Our au pair has just finished her degree in cartography. Cartography? My goodness - she must be in high demand these days. From Eyjafjallajokull to Deepwater the world is currently enwrapped in map mania. Missmc can never resist a bit of forecasting though scientists would prefer it to be called "a projection".

Projecting the path of Deepwater's spurgy glops raised a bit of hysteria last week in the media. The press scampered back under cover and exclaimed that these projections were not real, could not be real and were mere forecasts based on inky blot models. So there. Not real, not happening. Whew.

Is anyone having a flashback? Ah yes. Volcano dust. The forecasts were not facts according to the Daily Mail. So therefore not real. Philosophers.

Like the dust, oil mapping is a tricky task. The current maps only map what is "visible". Projections based on currents, wind and weather are semi- accurate for a day or so ahead and become more theoretical as the timeframe increases. As there has been over a million gallons of chemicals released to disperse the oil there is an awful lot of invisible gunk in the deep deep levels of the sea that will remain unmapped. The effects of the oil and the chemicals deep down under will appear later on further up the food chain, but, by then, gosh - perhaps we'll have another crisis to take off the focus. Maybe the Israelis will go on a pirating course and hone their skills.

The Rorschachian nature of these maps for both the oil and the volcano dust adds to Missmc's appreciation of the mathematical models behind them. For instance, here is a map of the oil glop. I saw Pegasus slowly evolve into a creepy egg-laying insect this morning. Of course, Missmc is operating on the usual she-still-might-be-a-tad-drunk-after-last-night batteries. Afterall, it is Sunday morning.

I do hope to return this week with my own map. "Deepwater, meet Eyjafjallajokull" "Eyjafjallajokull, meet Deepwater". I just have to adjust the model a bit more as long timeframe projections are...a...bit...unreliable. But the graphics are marvelous.

Thursday, 3 June 2010


Louise Bourgeois. Much has been written in tribute over the past few days on her passing. Most everyone knows her work, and her work's influence. So, I'll skip that, say "wow that spider" and get right to the meat of the matter.

I've never been a proper feminist - at least according to the old school 70's jumble of ism's and anti-isms my hippie mum sponged up courtesy of Ms. magazine. I've always been uncomfortable with any slight hint of righteousness, on any topic. Or things with "messages". I mean, I couldn't watch Star Trek, Lassie...the list goes on. And the television is now permanently off. But.

I'm having a moment of feeling like I am wearing Gloria Steinem's groovy glasses. I am looking for a soap box. Louise Bourgeois. My goodness, she has done the impossible. A late career post-motherhood contemporary art success story? How many of my 30-40something used-to-be-the-creme-de-la-creme of the art world friends who are now home with kids and struggling with work are salivating at the chance for their own LBM - "Louise Bourgeois Moment"? Well, to be honest, I think it is what keeps us all going. Delusional? Perhaps we are, but, delusional is okay in our field. Celebrated.

Louise, we salute you. For not just the inspiration to continue, but, most importantly, for giving dignity and meaning to old age against the zeitgeist of this era.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

An aside -

An aside for the day - it has been a busy one --

While the Deepwater debacle is more than distressing, watching the live footage of robots from an underwater camera is surreal. See it here. At the moment, there is not much action from the robots as the sawblade is stuck...