With the two Auckland conferences finished, I found I had a day spare. In my travels visited the Auckland art gallery
, which I was very impressed by the gothic-surrealism of Tony Fomison
, the political-modernism of Robyn Kahukiwa
. The same level had the haunting sounds of Mladen Bizumic's "Adagio Under My Thumb" (an altered version of the Rolling Stones song) adding to the experience. As for the newly added abstract and installation art, that can go in the bin. There are reasons for why my political liberalism is equally matched by cultural; Sturgeon's Law
. After this made my way down to Onehunga
, a light-industrial southern harbourside suburb of Auckland with some interesting history and impressive early 20th century buildings, including the former post office and Carnegie Free Library, both of which are now coffee shops. Also spent time in the dilapitdated environs of the Hard To Find
bookstore (who also have a good Dunedin store).
During the return flight to Melbourne watched The Book Thief
, a good if somewhat overrated film, and Gravity
, which I suspect would be very good on the big screen. Returning to Melbourne at midnight I had scant time to rest before presenting to The Philosophy Forum the following day on Magical Thinking : An Anthropological Excursus
, which included not only the pre-modern anthropological study of such beliefs, but also modern examples of the same. There was good discussion on the psychology (including the positive aspects), the social development of magical thinking, and the propensity of certain occupations towards such behaviour (those with a high degree of naturalistic randomness; sailors, farmers, fisherfolk, etc). I was asked at the end whether I considered myself more of a priest or a sorcerer - I didn't have an answer to that one!
On the afternoon of my first day back at work was informed that my paper, Critical Issues in the Teaching of High Performance Computing to Postgraduate Scientists
, had been accepted for the The 2014 International Conference on Computational Science
, so I guess I'll be going to Cairns later in the year. This evening will be convening the March meeting of Linux Users Victoria which will have Suelette Dreyfus
speaking on Whistleblowers
within the IT context and Colby Swandale speaking on Vagrant
. Have also sent out an announce for the annual general meeting of the Victorian Secular Lobby
which will be held on March 15.