Andy Pols CTO, Entrepreneur

Some random thoughts...

Visual Mistakes

Our brain filters and interprets what we see to help make sense of the World around us. Simply measuring the light coming from a surface is not enough to understand the surface. A white surface in shadow, for example, may reflect less light than a black surface in full day light.

I first came across Edward H. Adelson’s maddening checker shadow optical illusion while reading Kathryn Schultz’s fascinating book “Being Wrong”. The squares labelled A and B in the following picture are the exact same shade.

Image of illusion

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Through the Language Glass

Does the language you speak impact the way you think?

This question has occupied academics for centuries. Some people perceive deep differences between languages, which affect the minds of the people who speak them. Others argue that the differences are superficial and, linguistically speaking, all humans are essentially equal.

I’ve often wondered how programming languages affect the people who program them, so I found Guy Deutscher’s’ delightful book “Through the Language Glass” both fascinating and enlightening.

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My Favourite TED Global talks

These are some of my favourite talks from this year’s TED Global Conference

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Security theatre

The first person to arrive, following a client office move, found he couldn’t access our new office.

He starts late so he can talk to people in Hong Kong. The door to our new “secure” office would only open during London Office hours.

Luckily, the other door to the same “secure” room did not have a lock.

Dave Snowden Explaining Complexity

We were so lucky to get Dave Snowden as an XPDay keynote back in 2004.

One of the memorable moments was when he used the metaphor of organising a childrens party to explain the various approches to managing complexity. It certainly resonated with the audience (based on the conversation in pub afterwards - a wonderful XP day tradition).

Dave’s now uploaded a version to YouTube… Fantastic stuff. I love the deadpan humour.