Year: 2021

  • Sunday photo: The Christmas market and its context

    COVID-19 is on the rise in Switzerland and in the rest of Europe. After a relatively stable summer and autumn, the number of new infections has increased exponentially. This means we will revert to what we have done before: distancing, masks, hygiene. Stay safe by staying away.

    Advent is also approaching. In Geneva is it marked by beautiful lights and decorations and Christmas market. This year Jardin Anglais is home to the largest market in the city, taking over from Parc de Bastion. It opened on Thursday last week.

    I have admired it from afar but not up close. I took this photo from across the lake. That’s probably distant enough. I’m sure it is also beautiful up close but I like seeing the market in context.

  • Don’t panic. But when do, here is some advice

    Derek Sivers shares a story and some advice about panic:

    I knocked on the teacher’s tank, pointed up, and went to the surface. Once above water, I ripped off my mask.

    The teacher came up and said, “What’s wrong?”

    I frantically said, “I don’t like this. I don’t want to do this. I don’t like it. I’m going home. I’ll see you later.”

    The teacher, Tobi, was so calm and peaceful. I’ll never forget this moment. He looked at me carefully for a few seconds then slowly said, “Look around. It’s a nice day. See those mountains over there? It’s beautiful here. Let’s just relax for a few minutes.”

    Read the whole story, a short quote doesn’t do it justice.

  • How would you react to someone trying to burn down your house while you’re in it?

    Neil Gaiman spoke at COP26:

    We need to reach people’s hearts, not just their minds. Reach the part of their hearts that believes it’s good to plant trees for our grandchildren to sit beneath. Reach hearts to make people want to change, and to react to people and organisations despoiling the planet and the climate in the same way you would react to someone trying to burn down your house, while you are living in it.

    So that 200,000 years from now, children can leave handprints in clay, to show us that they were here, and because making handprints and footprints is fun.

  • Trying to understand COP26?

    UN Secretary General Antonio Gutierres shared a concise summary after the climate conference wrapped up last night:

    “It is an important step but is not enough. We must accelerate climate action to keep alive the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees”, said António Guterres in a video statement released at the close of the two-week meeting.

    The UN chief added that it is time to go “into emergency mode”, ending fossil fuel subsidies, phasing out coal, putting a price on carbon, protecting vulnerable communities, and delivering the $100 billion climate finance commitment.

    Briefly put: the work continues and we must be relentless until we reach the goal of 1.5 degrees. There is simply too much at stake.

    Also, faith leaders are ready, disappointed but undeterred. The work continues.

  • Sunday photo: The prize

    A Sunday morning in September. I set off from home to ride the Tour de Canton a Gravel. A ride around the Canton of Geneva on gravel paths with a bit of singletrack thrown i the mix. I think I had seen every part of the route, but never from the perspective of the day. It was a glorious and muddy day.

    A few hours later I finished the ride and had a chance to greet the other riders and enjoy a cold drink. I think everyone there had an endorphine-induced smile after hours on the bike. The ended with a tombola – a raffle with some nice prizes. The main one: a gift basket with produce from the Geneva countryside.

    I listened in my broken French an dthen heard the number: Vingt-deux.

    That was my number. So after a day on the bike I could bring home Geneva-delicacies to be enjoyed by the whole family.

    Of course there was the challenge of getting all of this back home on the bike. But there is a reason why cycling clothes have so many pockets.

  • Real, augmented, virtual?

    Reality is in the news these days. Earlier this month Facebook announced its rebranding and gave a sneak-peek of their vision of virtual reality. This led to a smart spoof from the people marketing Iceland as a tourist destination: Introducing the Icelandverse, where reality is real and tangible.

    Then there are those who believe the future isn’t virtual but augmented reality. Like John Hanke who founded Niantic labs and had many of us chasing Pokemons around town. His approach is not to replace reality with the virtual but to augment it, show how there can be more than meets the eye.

    We’re at a fork in the road. The future that I am describing is the one that’s going to win. It’s one where computing stays with us, disappearing into the background and supporting what we’re doing. It is ubiquitous computing, which goes back to the early work at Xerox PARC. I feel like that vision of the future has gotten somehow lost temporarily as people have become fascinated with these online 3D worlds.

    It’s going to be fascinating to see how this develops.