A mind bending discussion on the Making Sense podcast: what we perceive as reality is only a “user interface wrapper” that natural selection has created to enhance our fitness. It has no necessary mapping to the truth of reality.

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone is an imaginative literary romance novel wrapped in a time travel espionage plot. I really enjoyed it, though it was not at all like my usual sci-fi reading 📚

Gamer

I’ve just bumped up my monthly support of CANADALAND to the next tier. Plenty of great content that I’m happy to pay for.

Great fun at the Axe Pancreatic Cancer fundraiser last night! Thanks to everyone that joined us to raise money to support two promising clinical trials.

A cool visualization and exploration of the network of scientific papers

As a daily AeroPress user, I enjoyed watching this documentary on its origin and culture

I finally got my flu shot and hope you did too 😷🦠

A great conversation between Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins on the Making Sense podcast. Nice to hear Dawkins talking about evolution again.

Several catchy songs on Joseph Arthur’s new album Come Back World

Recursion by Blake Crouch is an entertaining time-travel, multiverse story. Distinct from his previous Dark Matter novel, but with the right kinds of echos 📚

With an agent based model you can explore interesting scenarios. Our latest post models the 🇨🇦 election with another Liberal scandal, new Conservatives climate change policy, or proportional representation. The results are not obvious, showing benefits of non-linear modelling.

At my son’s soccer game, but I’m not that familiar with the game. Anyone know what position he’s playing in this picture?

Axe Pancreatic Cancer is back! Join us to throw axes, drink beer and wine, and raise money for pancreatic cancer research. Early bird tickets are sold out. So, don’t wait!

We’ve been using our agent-based model to analyze the upcoming Federal election here in Canada. Now that we’ve generated our predictions, we’re going to explore how best to explain the outcomes. 🗳🇨🇦

My “Best Dad” mug has been recalled. Apparently it may break when filled with hot liquid, which is exactly its function. Hopefully this isn’t some metaphor for my parenting

Task management with MindNode and Agenda

For several years now, I’ve been a very happy Things user for all of my task management. However, recent reflections on the nature of my work have led to some changes. My role now mostly entails tracking a portfolio of projects and making sure that my team has the right resources and clarity of purpose required to deliver them. This means that I’m much less involved in daily project management and have a much shorter task list than in the past. Plus, the vast majority of my time in the office is spent in meetings to coordinate with other teams and identify new projects.

As a result, in order to optimize my systems, I’ve switched to using a combination of MindNode and Agenda for my task managment.

MindNode is an excellent app for mind mapping. I’ve created a mind map that contains all of my work-related projects across my areas of focus. I find this perspective on my projects really helpful when conducting a weekly review, especially since it gives me a quick sense of how well my projects are balanced across areas. As an example, the screenshot below of my mind map makes it very clear that I’m currently very active with Process Improvement, while not at all engaged in Assurance. I know that this is okay for now, but certainly want to keep an eye on this imbalance over time. I also find the visual presentation really helpful for seeing connections across projects.

MindNode has many great features that make creating and maintaining mind maps really easy. They look good too, which helps when you spend lots of time looking at them.

Agenda is a time-based note taking app. MacStories has done a thorough series of reviews, so I won’t describe the app in any detail here. There is a bit of a learning curve to get used to the idea of a time-based note, though it fits in really well to my meeting-dominated days and I’ve really enjoyed using it.

One point to make about both apps is that they are integrated with the new iOS Reminders system. The new Reminders is dramatically better than the old one and I’ve found it really powerful to have other apps leverage Reminders as a shared task database. I’ve also found it to be more than sufficient for the residual tasks that I need to track that aren’t in MindNode or Agenda.

I implemented this new approach a month ago and have stuck with it. This is at least three weeks longer than any previous attempt to move away from Things. So, the experiment has been a success. If my circumstances change, I’ll happily return to Things. For now, this new approach has worked out very well.

Stranger Things season 3 is fun with 80s nostalgia and familiar characters. Not as delightfully creepy as season 1 though.

Nick Cave’s song Hollywood is quite potent, particularly given the recent death of his teenage son 😢🎧 Ghosteen cover art

RStats on iPad

Among the many good new features in iPadOS, “Desktop Safari” has proven to be surprisingly helpful for my analytical workflows.

RStudio Cloud is a great service that provides a feature-complete version of RStudio in a web browser. In previous versions of Safari on iPad, RStudio Cloud was close to unusable, since the keyboard shortcuts didn’t work and they’re essential for using RStudio. In iPadOS, all of the shortcuts work as expected and RStudio Cloud is completely functional.

Although most of my analytical work will still be on my desktop, having RStudio on my iPad adds a very convenient option. RStudio Cloud also allows you to setup a project with an environment that persists across any device. So, now I can do most of my work at home, then fix a few issues at work, and refine at a coffee shop. Three different devices all using the exact same RStudio project.

A screenshot of RStudio Cloud on the iPad

One complexity with an RStudio Cloud setup is GitHub access. The usual approach of putting your git credentials in an .REnviron file (or equivalent) is a bad idea on a web service like RStudio Cloud. So, you need to type your git credentials into the console. To avoid having to do this very frequently, follow this advice and type this into the console:

git config --global credential.helper 'cache --timeout 3600'

Thanks to Run the Jewels 3 for providing a much-needed boost on today’s run 🏃‍♂️

Fall has arrived

Thanksgiving weekend begins with the traditional excessively long and slow drive on the 401

With Category Theory, Mathematics Escapes From Equality - Quanta Magazine

Ultimately, you will build an infinite tower of equivalences between equivalences. By considering the entire edifice, you generate a full perspective on whatever objects you’ve chosen to represent as points on that sphere.

Thanks to a recommendation from @verybadwizards I read and very much enjoyed Ted Chiang’s short story “Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom”. Plenty of deep implications for free will and morality in a fascinating story.