The best part of life is…

Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 17:57:26

….failing. Failing is absolutely vital to success and this is a nice piece picked up by Garr Reynold’s in a recent blog (yes he of Presentation Zen fame… anyone interesting in presentation should buy this book, but more on that another time).

Bounce by Matthew SyedThis reminded me that one of the most inspiring books I’ve read about success is Bounce by Matthew Syed - its inspiring because it effectively debunks the idea of “talent”. There is no such thing - it comes down to practice and, in particular, “purposeful practice”. That is the willingness to go to the edge of your ability try, try and keep trying, not being content with simply being able to do. This ties in very neatly with Malcolm Gladwell’s reporting of 10,000 hours practice - that’s what it takes to become insanely good at something. And if you think that you can average about 1000 hours per year, then that’s 10 years. And, within whatever physical constraints to your activity, this can occur at any age - he uses the example of Beethoven to illustrate this.

This is an incredibly powerful message - how often do you hear, and particularly within the context of children, that “they are incredibly talented”. They aren’t - they have worked hard to get to that point. And to get there earlier than your contemporaries it means having family that are prepared to sacrifice in order to facilitate this and/or a combination of circumstances that enable it (and Matthew Syed illustrates this with his own story). But tell children that its not talent, its hard work and that anyone can achieve it - WOW - what a motivator. It’s a message that should, and must, be repeated - it’s enabling, it changes life chances.

So… “failing”? That’s what success is built upon and life is a precious and inspiring place to inhabit when you realise that. Find your passion, do it until it consumes you and not only will you love life, but you will be amazingly good at it.

Testing techniques to quantify drumlin height and volume: synthetic DEMs as a diagnostic tool

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 16:41:38

Hillier, J.K. and Smith, M.J. (2014)
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms

Glacial bedform height (H) and volume (V) likely preserve important information about the behaviour of former icesheets. However, large systematic errors exist in the measurement of H and V. Three semi-automated methods to isolate drumlinsfrom other components of the landscape (e.g. trees, hills) as portrayed by NEXTMap have recently been devised; however, it isunclear which is most accurate. This paper undertakes the first quantitative comparison of such readily implementable methods,illustrating the use of statistically representative ’ synthetic landscapes ’ as a diagnostic tool. From this analysis, guidelines forquantifying the 3D attributes of drumlins are proposed. Specifically, to avoid obtaining incorrect estimates caused by substantialsystematic biases, interpreters should currently take three steps: declutter the digital elevation model for estimating H but not V;remove height data within the drumlin; then interpolate across the resultant hole to estimate a basal surface using Delaunaytriangulation. Results are demonstrated through analysis of drumlins in an area in western central Scotland. The guidance arguablyrepresents the best current advice for subglacial bedforms in general, highlighting the need for more studies into the quality ofmapped data using synthetic landscapes.

PDF XChange Viewer

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 16:38:58

Just saw this come up - PDF-XChange Viewer - which is small, lightweight, fast and portable. Having played with it, it is now quite a bit faster than my old favourite (Foxit) so has replaced it. Sure its funding model is based around getting you to purchase the “pro” version which has a variety of features. But if all you want is fast and, well, fast, getting you viewing quicker and easier, then look no further

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