More quantum weirdness: tunnelling particles can exceed the speed of light

Some great colours on the neighborhood trees 🍁🇨🇦

For my “A Day In The Life” photo, here’s a look out my window at a beautiful Fall day here in Toronto, Canada at noon

A great day for apple picking 🍎 🌳

A nice hike through Crother’s Woods

This agenda shortcut from Matthew Cassinelli is a useful way to start my day. I modified it to include flagged reminders and just have it appear as text, rather than be read aloud by Siri.

Data Governance Sponsor recruitment

I’m very excited to be recruiting for a Data Governance Sponsor to join my team and help enhance the use of good data analytics in our decisions at Metrolinx.

I’m looking for someone that enjoys telling compelling stories with data and has a passion for collaborating to build clean and reliable analytical processes. If you know someone that could fit (maybe you!), please pass along the job ad

Although waiting can be annoying, How to Wait Well makes some good points:

Waiting pulls us into the present unlike any other experience of time. In the waiting, we realise that this moment is meaningful as it exists, not as some step toward a future moment. Waiting is present tense, and its meanings are full of the potential to transform the ways in which we see the world. Each moment is its own experience and its own fulfilment.

If you’re at all curious about physics, I strongly recommend you consider watching Sean Carroll’s Biggest Ideas in the Universe. Well worth the investment of time to watch

I’m listening to The Jungle by Plants and Animals a lot this week 🎧🎵

I continue to enjoy these posts on A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry. This one starts a new series on iron and steel production.

Using Shortcuts automation to automatically switch my watch faces has really helped enforce the work/personal transition. A simple, yet effective trick

Supporting my favourite apps with App Store reviews 🎖

I’ve been negligent in supporting some of my favourite apps on the App Store. In many cases, I reviewed the app a few years ago and then never refreshed my ratings. So, I’m making a new commitment to updating my reviews for apps by picking at least one each month to refresh.

First up is Fantastical. This one took a real hit when they switched to a subscription pricing model. I get the controversy with subscriptions in general. For me, Fantastical has earned a spot on my short list of apps that I support with an ongoing subscription.

And here’s my App Store review:

Fantastical is a great app and is definitely one of my top three most-used apps. Well worth the subscription price.

A few favourite features: - Integration of events and tasks into the calendar view
- Access to event attachments
- Automatic link detection for Teams and Zoom meetings

Optimizing urban mobility by shifting from prediction to adaptation is a good example of how complexity theory can help solve practical problems

My current theme song: Everyday is exactly the same. Just the chorus though, some of the verses are pretty bleak!

We enjoyed playing Letter Jam. A nice mix of strategy, cooperation, and language

We really enjoyed our time at Bass Lake Provincial Park. Fresh air, campfire pizza, and a hike along the lake were a great escape 🏕

The widgets in the new Fantastical 3.2 are great. Having my calendar events and scheduled tasks in the same widget is really helpful

The toddler discovered Lucy’s tail. He’s amused, she is not 😀

Trying out a new iPhone Home Screen 📱

With the release of iOS 7, I’m reconsidering my earlier approach to the Home Screen. So far I’m trying out a fully automated first screen that uses the Smart Stack, Siri Suggestions, and Shortcut widgets. These are all automatically populated, based on anticipated use and have been quite prescient.

My second screen is all widgets with views from apps that I want to have always available. Although the dynamic content on the first screen has been really good, I do want some certainty about accessing specific content. This second screen replaces how I was using the Today View. I’m not really sure what to do with that feature anymore.

I’ve hidden all of the other screens and rely on the App Library and search to find anything else.

I still like the simplicity behind my earlier approach to the Home Screen. We’ll see if that is just what I’m used to. This new approach is worth testing out for at least a few weeks.

Back to school

There’s a good distinction made in Is Your Chart a Detective Story? Or a Police Report? between visualization as explorations of data and communication of insights. Often these two purposes are in conflict with each other.

Evidently I haven’t been in the office for a while! Should take me a full day just to catch up on Dilbert.

In defence of “poisonous"​ models ☠️🧮

Skipping past the unnecessarily dramatic title, The Broken Algorithm That Poisoned American Transportation does make some useful points. As seems typical though these days, the good points are likely not the ones a quick reader would take away. My guess is most people see the headline and think that transportation demand models (TDMs) are inherently broken. Despite my biases, I don’t think this is actually true.

For me, the most important point is about a third of the way through:

nearly everyone agreed the biggest question is not whether the models can yield better results, but why we rely on them so much in the first place. At the heart of the matter is not a debate about TDMs or modeling in general, but the process for how we decide what our cities should look like.

Models are just a tool for helping guide decisions. Ideally we would use them to compare alternatives and pick a favoured “vector” of change (rough direction and magnitude). Then with continuous monitoring and refinements throughout the project’s lifecycle, we can guide decisions towards favoured outcomes. This is why scenario planning, sensitivity tests, and clear presentation of uncertainty are so important. This point is emphasized later in the article:

civil engineers doing the modeling tend to downplay the relevance of the precise numbers and speak more broadly about trends over time. Ideally, they argue, policymakers would run the model with varying population forecasts, land use patterns, and employment scenarios to get a range of expectations. Then, they would consider what range of those expectations the project actually works for.

Although I’m not a civil engineer, this sounds right to me! I get that people want certainty and precise numbers, I just don’t think anyone can provide these things. Major infrastructure projects have inherent risks and uncertainty. We need to acknowledge this and use judgement, along with a willingness to adjust over time. There is no magical crystal ball that can substitute for deliberation. [Me working from home:🧙‍♂️🔮]

Fortunately for the modellers among us, the article does acknowledge that we’re getting better:

As problematic as they have been, the models have gotten smarter. Especially in the last decade or so, more states are working from dynamic travel models that more closely reflect how humans actually behave. They are better at taking into consideration alternate modes of transportation like biking, walking, and public transportation. And, unlike previous versions, they’re able to model how widening one section of road might create bottlenecks in a different section.

But, wait:

Still, experts warn that unless we change the entire decision-making process behind these projects, a better model won’t accomplish anything. The models are typically not even run—and the results presented to the public—until after a state department of transportation has all but settled on a preferred project.

😔 Maybe it wasn’t the model’s fault after all.

This brings as back to the earlier point: we should be favouring more sophisticated decision-making processes, not just more sophisticated models.

I enjoyed The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington. A reasonably complex plot with mystery and adventure, along with some good characters. The word building has lots of potential and the rules for the magic make sense. I was a bit intimidated by the length, given it is part one of a trilogy, but it is nice to get immersed in a good, long book. 📚🧙‍♂️