Seven 2015 resolutions of a digital marketer

  1. block out Googlebot and all known robots from my personal website
  2. keep automating data: ifttt.com, followthatpage.com and all price trackers I can get hold of
  3. mash up APIs left and right for my own
  4. bag hundreds of interesting articles in my personal wallabag
  5. learn how to massage all sorts of data formats, be it dates, vectors or else, on R
  6. follow the marketing efforts of remarkable brands like beardbrand and pantone
  7. read Advanced Analytics with Spark
  8. donate to the following tools and software
    • Wallabag
    • Ubuntu
    • Kdiff3
    • Filezilla
    • Notepad
    • Mozilla

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Mind map of The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe

I can emphasize with Tom Wolfe’s anti-intelectuallism and criticism of the art world. I tolerate his white suits too. I do hate however his inventing the use of present tense in profile articles (upon Ben Yagoda).

Police and emargency services in the field use the present tense to report an accident or an arrest for instance. Their descriptions read strained and clumsy. Poorly educated journalists resort to present tense when, in their minds, past tense sounds old fashioned.

The book

 

Bronx County Building

Bronx County Building / Gibraltar in the book

 

I read The Bonfire of the Vanities with the hope of remembering the 80′s. The noughties explain better what is going on nowadays that probably the 90′s do. For instance, the inability of Sherman McCoy to explain his job is bizarrely contemporary.  Trading with in the bond markets anticipated the antics of the Credit Default Swap dealers two decades later. The CDS fuelled the subprime mortgage crisis that in turn is still ravaging the public finances of US and Europe nowadays.

Life-inspired elements of the novel

Pierce & Pierce are Lehman Brothers

Tommy Killian is Eddie Hayes

Reverend Bacon is Reverend Al Sharpton

Judge Kovitsky is Burton Roberts

 

Mind map of the book

  • People
    • Sherman McCoy – bond trader
      • Judy – wife
        • Campbell – daughter
      • Maria – lover
        • Arthur Ruskin – millionaire
      • Gene Lopwitz / boss
      • Killian – lawyer
    • Larry Kramer –  assistant district attorney
    • Henry Lamb – victim accident
    • Kovitsky – judge
    • + -
      Abe Weiss

      • Fitzgibbon
      • Martin
    • Peter Fallow – social life reporter
      • Gerald Steiner / boss at the The City Life
      • Vogel
    • + -
      Rev. Bacon – swindler Harlem

      • Fisker – creditor
  • Zeitgeist
    • 1987
    • Ronald Reagan in office
    • Black Monday: Stock market crashes
    • Microsoft releases Windows 2.0
  • Places
Mind map of the Bonfire of the Vanities

Mind map of the Bonfire of the Vanities

 

The Bonfire of the Vanities – Tom Wolfe

To-do’s:

Find about the film locations here and here

Compare the Bronx and New York of the early century with the same places in the 80′s

Read about the bickering between Norman Mailer and Tom Wolfe

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Juvenile swift stranded in Luarca, Spain

A nestling swift (Apus apus) was lying in the ruins of a house at one meter over street level. It didn´t look injured. We did not touch it.

The pictures were taken in the first week of August in Luarca, a seaside village in the north of Spain.

Swift chick Luarca

Swift chick Luarca

Swift frontal closed eyes

Detail frontal closed eyes

Detail of head of swift chick

Detail of head of swift chick

We spent as little time as possible taking the photos. We did not see the parents coming in to feed the chick in the 5 minutes that we stood waiting at a safe distance.

The first fledgings show up around July 27th in Asturias, Spain, upon the phenology records. There is a great guide to take care of fallen chicks: Swift First Aid.

First arrival dates of swifts are a popular phenology record. Swifts in London arrive in April and May. I think that the duration of stay for Common Swift presence on the nest is a more interesting metric than the first arrival. Surprisingly, this metrics is still poorly studied in Europe (Tigges, U., 2007, The Phenology of the Common Swift Apus apus in Eurasia and the Problem of Defining the Duration of their Stay).

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Mind map and quotes of The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope

A frequent problem with novels or piece of media in general is that I forget them. A few weeks after reading the text I I don’t remember the names. Months later I cannot describe the plot even.

In addition to this problem, finding the time to read a 700+ pages long novel is a rare luxury these days. Such is the extension of the book “The Way We Live Now“, by Anthony Trollope. It took me more than 3 years reading it: mostly on holidays. I enjoyed the experience but perseverating with the plot and characters took me some will. I thought that it would be a shame

I ploted some important names and concepts on an improvised mind map while I learned the interface of Mindjet Maps. The choice of this tool proved a mistake down the line. Mind maps cannot be saved to formats other than the proprietary and undescribed mmap. The only export available is printing. You can download a pdf version of the image below: Mind map of The Way We Live Now by accuteaccent.com

 

Mind map of The Way We Live Now. License: Creative Commons' Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Mind map of The Way We Live Now. License: Creative Commons’ Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

 

Composing the mind map took some patience to deal with the tool’s interface. I used an online tool by Stamen to get stylized geo representations of maps

grosvenor square london

Grosvenor Square in London

suffolk

 

Trollope does not save his sharp criticism to anyone on his novel or the society of this time.

You can read for instance about Roger Carbury, a gentleman with dim views on life but true to his beliefs: “To a man not accustomed to thinking there is nothing in the world so difficult as to think”

An even duller character, Georgiana Longestaffe is quoted as claiming: Who thinks about love nowadays? I don’t know any one who loves any one else.
Not even we, the readers, and the human race in general are spared from getting the flak: “After some loose fashion we turn over things in our mind and ultimately reach some decision, guided probably by our feelings at the last moment rather than by any process of ratiocination; and then we think that we have thought.”was, as a satire, powerful and good. The character of Melmotte is well maintained. The Beargarden is amusing,—and not untrue…

Tropolle himself contributed to the understanding of the book with his own words:  “.Roger Cardury and Paul Montague were “uninteresting”. Hetta is “weak and vapid….”. “The interest of the story lies among the wicked and foolish people,—with Melmotte and his daughter, with the American woman, Mrs Hurtle, and with John Crumb and the girl of his heart.

Reading this book in the early 21st century is a sweet-sour experience. We are no longer shocked by the dishonesty and the decadence of a greed-driven society. We are bewildered by the We are nowadays on the stage when we acknowledge in ourselves the extent of the devaluation of moral values.
The experiment is: will I remember this novel in a few years time when reading this post better than any other book I read in those 3 years it took me to complete this one?

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Disconnected notes from an amnesiac