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have been very busy since the last newsletter, when Sonja and I
travelled to USA and Canada for just over a month. We had one day in
Los Angeles when we went on a tour past movie star's homes and then on
to Universal Studios. The next day we flew to New York , where we
stayed in the Theosophical Society guest rooms and I gave a talk to
ticked off all the usual touris spots: Empire State building (although
the queue took four hours), Statue of Libery (they closed the gate to
go inside the statue itself just as we arrived), the Rockerfeller
Center, horse ride through Central Park, Ground Zero, shopping (Macy's
etc), watched the Mary Poppins Broadway show, Time Square, used the
subway (it was really great), Brooklyn, Staten Island, 4th of July
Macy's fireworks, Grand Central
Station, watched the New York Mets play baseball against the
Cinncinatti Reds (the Reds won), United Nations, MoMA, Guggemheim,
Museum of Natural History, the Met, the Chrysler building, a helicopter
ride over the city, a boat tour, Battery Park, a bus tour. I'm sure I
mjst have forgotten something.
Next was an Intrepid Tour that
took us to Boston, Harvard University (Where I dropped in at the New
England Complex Systems Institute and met Yaneer Bar Yam), Albany,
Niagara (Where Sonja and I got engaged!!), Gettysburg, Washington DC,
Baltimore (Where we met up with Mike Taylor, who took us for a meal),
Philadelphia and back to New York. We got caught in a three hour
trafffic jam in New Jersey getting back to New York and were extremey
lucky to get on a flight arriving at the airport just over 30 minutes
before the departure.(We took off 30 minutes or more behind time)
in Toronto, we ascended the CN tower (The tallest in the world: 147
stories up) before catching a Greyhound bus to Waterloo for the
conference of the International Society for Systems Science, where I
was lucky enough to get to present two papers and met the most amazing
people from all around the world and met some old friends again, such
Following the conference we flew to Calgary and went to
the Heritage Park and then hired a car to drive through the rockies
(driving on the right hand side of the road), which included horse
riding and a flight on a Cessna around the mountains with Sonja
actually piloting the plane for a while.
dropped off our vehicle in Vancouver and explored the downtown area
before catching the Ferry to spend two days in Victoria on Vancouver
Island. We stayed with an old friend, Derek and his partner Carolyn
having an anazing time. We braved the waters to go on a whale watch,
seeing seals, a Grey while and a number of orca.
Next was a
ferry to Seattle. In one day we went on a Duck Tour (an amphibious
vehicle dating back to WW II), had a meal up the needle, visited Pike
Market and did some shopping. Then it was back to Vancouver. It should
have been by bus, but it was held up for three hours at the Canadian
border coming to Seattle and we were transferred to the train.
in Vancouver we went to the market at North Vancouver (We were headed
for Grousse Mountain, but ran out of time). As we left Vancouver the
previous time, we noticed the Cirque du Solleil tent and luckily found
a performance we could fit in on our final day before going to the
airport for the flight home.
Now I have to get
everything in order, such as reading over the information form the
conference and sorting all the photos and video we took. I am also
hoping to get my book published this year and have plenty on my plate
with the theosophical Society.
Interesting WebsitesAt the conference in Toronto I met
Javier Livas, who told me about his video programme available on
YouTube using Cybernetics and Chaos Theory to provide a paradigm for
understanding our world. It is long having been broken down into over
20 videos. It can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ociyaR4zx4c
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Books Victor is reading
I did not get as much reading done as I though I might on the planes, busses and aeroplanes.
Barabasi has followed his book, Linked, with "Bursts". "Linked"
was all about networking and our understandinhgs from it using
the science of complexity. This book looks at power Law distributions,
which are an integral part of complex systems, but focusses on power
laws expressed through time. Barabasi looks at how we do not generally
behave randomly, but in bursts of activity. We will send a number of
emails in a burst while we are at our computer, then leave it for some
time, before returning for another burst. The intervals between sending
emails, fits the maths of power law distributions.
this topic by interweaving a number of stories together. I found it
took a while before the various fragments of stories fitted together
and a thread through them all was discernable. There seemed to be a lot
of story, without that much holding it together. It was good to
recognise how power laws do manifest as temporal sequences.
How things WorkYaneer
Bar Yam, the director of the New England Comples Systems Institute for
the last ten years or so, has written this book about complex systems
. I received an autographed copy when I visited him. I have not yet
read enough to make any real comments, but I like how he started out
with the basics of human behaviour in pattern recognition.