The kingdom of numbers is a strange place, and gets stranger the further human exploration of it goes. It is entirely abstract and self-contained; and yet it is the key to the structure of the physical world. It is not, however, validated or verified by anything in that world. Mathematicians explore it not by sight, sound, touch, or taste; not by experiment; not by measurement; but by the pure cold light of reason.

Michael Frayn, The Human Touch

If my teachers had explained that I would need to understand math in order to, oh, you know, understand why the world happened, I might have actually paid attention.


Flash Talks

Every year, my company, Automattic, has a grand meetup somewhere in the world. We are a distributed company and currently we have ~140 employees who work from all over the world. While we have many smaller group meetups throughout the year, the yearly grand meetup is the only time we all get to see each other in person.

One of the traditions is that everyone in the company must give a five-minute “flash talk” on any subject. Here are mine so far –

In September 2012 in San Diego, I spoke about rabbits:

And in September 2013 in Santa Cruz, I came out as a proud liar:

(Thanks to my colleague, Aaron Douglas, for posting his flash talk and giving me the idea to post these.)

Why Albuquerque?

A lot of people ask me why I chose to move to Albuquerque. I don’t have a very good answer for that, but look, this is where I go running. This part of the Sandia Foothills is an easy one mile jog from my house:


These pictures don’t really do it justice. There are a ton of trails and it’s really gorgeous.

And guess how many lungfuls of car exhaust or cigarette smoke I inhale while I am running here? ZERO LUNGFULS!

Guess how many asshats get in my way to comment on my running attire? ZERO ASSHATS!

Albuquerque has over 24,000 acres of Open Space and most of the daily maintenance is done by volunteers. People here are heavy into outdoor recreation.

I am not heavy into outdoor recreation, but I appreciate the views and the solitude.


Women, in contrast, were given only one name — either the feminine nomen of the clan for patricians or the feminine cognomen of the family for plebeians. Hence all the daughters of the Julii were called ‘Julia’, or of the Livii ‘Livia’. Sisters were not differentiated. The two daughters of Mark Antony were both called ‘Antonia’. One became the mother of Germanicus, the other the grandmother of Nero. All the daughters of Marius were called ‘Maria’.

– Europe, a History by Norman Davies

See also: