COVID-19 Journal: Day 180

Actually I have things to do. I have ebony beads to string into a necklace. I have a new volume configuration for headphones to test. I have five Boxes to build (the last of Batch No. 1!). I have meetings coming up. I have to vacuum. I should roast that chicken. I could get a haircut. I could neaten my desk yet further. I could do Batch No. 2. I could put away the clean clothes. I could plant more lettuce. I could get the new shop ready.

Instead, after reading the Google AI twitter account and its tendrils for a bit, I had breakfast. Did yoga -- yay, thanks Laura for suggesting some wrist wrap things for support; now I feel like a cyborg? -- I continue visiting past events. Perhaps it's a form of socialising. Though I did listen in on a live one yesterday, at which I felt out of my depth, even though it was warm. Yesterday I was at EYEO 2015, inspired in particular by Sara Hendren and Allison Parrish, and this morning, went to some sessions at the International Conference of Machine Learning (ICML), this year's and last's. 

I was learning about Graph Neural Networks (GNN). I was out of my depth even more, but enjoyed it. The talks were very jargon-y, but, there were lots of diagrams to help. The GNN concept is all about how you jump around data/info graphs efficiently, classify groups of nodes (into "neighbourhoods" or "communities"), and even predict meaning through proximal learning or inference. Other ideas and concepts accrete around the core, like Position-GNN (P-GNN), Relational Pooling-GNN (RP-GNN), Graph Convolution Network (GCN),. and "disentangled GCN" because "entanglement is important because of multiple labels" (so it doesn't always make sense to crush dimensionality in exchange for speed). 

I latched on the a new-to-me concept called "fairness constraints". If I'm reading it correctly, it's the point where you have to make sure you're not just opening the firehose and showing everything, but, constraining it for the humans/users/viewers/authorities(?). 

  • THERE IS NO PERFECT NOTION OF FAIRNESS (which we can optimise success for). That must be frustrating.

Then I went to the post office to post a Box to Nebraska, and another to the International Bomber Command Centre, and grabbed a lifesaving pot of hummus from the shops and a few carrots and cucumbers and strawberries and lemons. Now I'm typing this as I listen to Dickens vs TolstoyLetters That Changed The World from Leonard Cohen, Alan Turing, Rosa Parks and more, and read Tom's helpful exposition of why exploring archives online (and in life) is confusing as hell, Baffled by Archives in Three Parts

One of the letters I heard was written by Michaelangelo as he was painting the Sistine Chapel, to his friend, Giovanni:

I’ve already grown a goiter from this torture,
swollen up here like a cat from Lombardy
(or anywhere where the stagnant water’s poison).
My stomach’s squashed under my chin, my beard’s
pointing at heaven, my brain’s crushed in a casket,
my breast twists like a harpy’s. My brush,
above me all the time, dribbles the paint
so my face makes a fine floor for droppings!

My haunches are grinding into my guts,
my poor ass strains to work as a counterweight,
every gesture I make is blind and aimless.
My skin hangs loose below me, my spine’s
all knotted from folding over itself,
I’m bent taut as a Syrian bow.

And because I’m like this, my thoughts
are crazy perfidious tripe:
anyone shoots badly through a crooked blowpipe.

My painting is dead.
Defend it for me, Giovanni, protect my honor.
I am not in the right place—I am not a painter.

There's an article on The Guardian today too: Why doing nothing is a radical act for women. "Time is a feminist issue", and I'm enjoying having it very much.

FUCK. Day 180.