Archive for September, 2014

‘In a wordless blinding haze…’ (Viktor Kulle)

September 29, 2014

In a wordless blinding haze
stood with predecessors in a row
I have the prospect of lying in a grave
and collecting dust on the shelves.

The world of the future is populated.
The letters are germinating.
Progress is only weak in one thing–
pain hurts and tears are salt.

And with what such novelty
shall I amaze my native coombe?
What is left behind your back
overtakes you like a boomerang.

In it the blocks of ice preserve
a land that is melting a little bit.
And all the rest is the same as ever:
pain hurts and tears are salt.

В бессловесной слепящей мгле,
встав с предшественниками в ряд,
предстоит мне лежать в земле
и на полках пыль собирать.

Мир грядущего населен.
Прорастают все письмена.
Лишь в одном прогресс не силен —
боль болит и слеза солона.

И какой такой новизной
изумить родной буерак?
Остающееся за спиной
настигает как бумеранг.

В нем хранима глыбами льда
чуть подтаявшая страна.
А все прочее — как всегда:
боль болит и слеза солона.

‘As a bird makes from twigs…’ (Viktor Kulle)

September 28, 2014

As a bird makes from twigs
Its temporary home, to its misfortune,
so the soul is grown over with words.
And flesh is turned into Spirit.

I will go out into the street. Go out
only so as not to be on my own.
Still youngish in appearance,
I have already looked into darkness.

Anybody, do you hear, anybody
has their immortality predestined:
for some, it is like a cartridge in a clip,
for others like a seed in ploughed land

and for others still, sand under one’s foot,
the teeming of the dumb beasts.
Are you frightened, my soul? Never mind.
More frightening is the simple thought

of interstellar freedom with its coldness
that may be calculated for now
where there will be–once more–
no nature, no time, no language.

Виктор Куллэ

Виктор Куллэ

Как птица из веток свивает
свой временный дом на беду —
душа прирастает словами.
И плоть претворяется в Дух.

Я выйду на улицу. Выйду,
чтоб только не быть одному.
Ещё моложавый по виду.
Уже заглянувший во тьму.

Любому, ты слышишь, любому
бессмертие предрешено:
одним как патроном в обойму,
другим — словно в пашню зерно,

а третьим — песком под стопою,
кишением тварей немых.
Страшишься, душа? Бог с тобою.
Страшнее нехитрая мысль

про холод межзвбездной свободы,
вполне исчислимый пока,
где снова не станет природы,
и времени, и языка.

Books on Operational Research: A Practical List

September 27, 2014

orbooks

 

The list below is drawn from various sources and organised according to categories that seem to be useful in practice.  The items in bold are ones I feel able to endorse, having used them myself. I think Tools for thinking, Mike Pidd would be a good place to start as an overview of modern practitioners’ OR, and you can an earlier edition for £2-81 on Amazon. The Pleasures of Counting T. W. Körner is an excellent book for background/inspiration, but may be difficult to get hold of cheaply.

General/methodology/approach

The Pleasures of Counting T. W. Körner

The Art of Problem Solving: Accompanied by Ackoff’s Fables Russell L. Ackoff

Tools for thinking, Mike Pidd is a good introduction to modern practitioners’ OR

Books from Geoff Royston

Modelling

Systems Modelling: Theory and Practice Michael Pidd

Sterman J (2000) Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex

World, McGraw-Hill [from Strathclyde outline]

M. Pidd (1992) Computer Simulation for Management Science, 3rd edition, Wiley.

Spreadsheets

From Strathclyde outline:

Walkenbach J and Pieterse JK (2007) Excel 2007 VBA Programming For Dummies, ISBN:978-0-470-04674-6

Stephan L, Berenson K (2002) Statistics for Managers: Using Microsoft Excel, Prentice Hall

Databases

No idea!

Forecasting

Makridakis, S., Wheelwright, S., and Hyndman (1998) Forecasting: Methods and

Applications (Third Edition), John Wiley. [from Strathclyde outline]

Project Management

Colleague recommendations:

Project Management Pocketbook

Escalation in Decision-making: Tragedy of Taurus Helga Drummond

Consultancy

Colleague recommendations:

Who Moved My Cheese?  S Johnson

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  S R Covey

Organizational Behaviour: An Introductory Text D Buchanan and A Huczynski

Understanding Organizations C Handy

Statistics

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information Edward R. Tufte

Problem Solving: A Statistician’s Guide (Chapman & Hall Statistics Text… (edition 1988) by Christopher Chatfield

Draper NR and Smith H (1998) Applied Regression Analysis, Wiley Interscience. [believed to be the standard reference; from Strathclyde outline]

Multivariate Data Analysis by Joseph F. Hair, William Black, Rolph E. Anderson, Ronald L. Tatham

Sampling Techniques (Probability & Mathematical Statistics) (original 1977; edition 1977) by William G. Cochran

Introduction to Categorical Data Analysis (Wiley Series in Probability & Statistics: Probability Section) by Alan Agresti

Queuing theory

No idea!

Soft methods

Rational Analysis for a Problematic World: Problem Structuring Methods for Complexity, Uncertainty and Conflict Jonathan Rosenhead

Data mining

Credit Scoring and Its Applications (Monographs on Mathematical Modeling & Computation) Lyn C. Thomas

Decision analysis/decision trees

From Strathclyde outline:

R.L. Keeney, H. Raiffa: Decisions with multiple objectives-preferences and value tradeoffs, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge & New York, 1993.

Valerie Belton, Theodor J. Stewart, Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis: An Integrated Approach Springer, 2002.

Optimisation/LP etc

[??]

Software

The Little SAS Book: A Primer Lora D. Delwiche

‘What other life do you need….’ (Elena Pogorelaya)

September 24, 2014

What other life do you need?
Here is this night, here is this silence,
Here is this hour in the hospital close
Where you walk quietly and quickly
Spreading out on the radiators
Many times darned children’s clothes.

Your eyes see dreams for the moment
The lads are green from lack of sleep
Your back is straight, no cause to mind
That, having attacked the crabmeat, once more
A handicapped youth peers round the corner
At your waist and your behind.

Какая жизнь тебе еще нужна?
Вот эта ночь, вот эта тишина,
Вот этот час в больничном околотке,
Где ты идешь бесшумней и быстрей
Развешивать по спинам батарей
Заштопанные детские колготки.

Твои глаза — покуда видят сны
Мальцы — от недосыпу зелены,
Спина пряма, и нечего стыдиться,
Что, навалясь на крабы, вновь глядит
Из-за угла подросток-инвалид
На талию твою и ягодицы.

‘Love does not pass…’ (Elena Pogorelaya)

September 22, 2014

Love does not pass, but the pain does, all right
And making a fuss about it would just show pride.
And the tears running down my cheeks at night–
They’re nonsense. You’re by my side.
You’re by my side, and your temple is pressed
Into the pillow, the moles on your back could be
An astronomical star chart, possessed
For a short temporary while  only by me.

Елена Погорелая

Елена Погорелая

Любовь не проходит: проходит боль,
Носиться с которой — спесь.
А слезы, бегущие ночью вдоль
Щеки, — это вздор. Ты здесь.
Ты здесь, ты к подушке виском приник,
И родинки на спине —
Как звездная карта, на краткий миг
Раскрытая только мне…

The Woman in the Moon, Rose Bankside 21 September

September 21, 2014

****

Nature (picture from event's FB page)

Nature (picture from event’s FB page)

Before this play, my knowledge of author John Lyly as derived from some forgotten Eng Lit handbook was confined to him writing something called Euphues and it being very boring.  But I was curious anyway.

Sol/Apollo prologues to the effect that what we are about to see is the poet’s dream, about a woman in the moon.  Then we are in mythical times (on earth, not the moon–it took me some time to work that out).  Nature has created lots of nice things, including four shepherds.  They feel the need for a woman so that they can perpetuate their species.  So Nature kindly creates Pandora, who is lovely in every respect.

But then the planets, annoyed at having been overlooked, turn up and decide to exert their influence on her in turn.  So for instance Mars makes her martial and she fights very convincingly with the four swains when she is under his influence.  And the thing goes along in this way–Pandora is (as it were, in this prelapsarian time) betrothed to Stesias but his compeers Melos, Learchus and Iphicles would also like to get to know the only woman in the universe.  This intrigue tangles itself up anew each time Pandora’s character is influenced a different way.

That sounds as though it could be Lyly pedantically demonstrating his classical learning and proving some theorem along the lines of ‘Every Man In His Humour’, and there were indeed times at the beginning when I looked at my watch not infrequently.  It also sounds as though it might be an extended audition piece for Bella Heesom, the actress playing Pandora, but she was very very very very good, so we didn’t care.  All of the performances were more securely-delineated than is often this case, pointing to the fact that this show had been aired before in various guises (at Glastonbury and as a reading at the Globe).

There were quite a few entirely genuine laughs from the audience as well as some real poetry in Pandora’s little mad scene.  The production was both economical and attractive, and made good use of the space behind the Rose’s playing area.

At the end, the swains have grown tired of Pandora, and she can decide which of the planets’ spheres she wants to be transported to.  She chooses Cynthia/Luna/the Moon as being fickle, foolish, fanciful, slothful and generally female.  (Of course, we sense some contradiction here since the main characters are Fortune and Pandora, both female, and Pandora gets a very high proportion of the lines–and the female characters would have been played by boys…)

Apart from the programmes having run out so that I don’t know who was who, my only reservation would be that I don’t really think this is a piece of ‘legitimate’ theatre as presented here–it could usefully have had more and better music, dancing and singing, and I think it’s really something in the nature of a masque or a musical comedy.

But enough!–This blog urges you to go and see the show–it’s lovely!

 

The pastor of profit (Anton Nechaev)

September 20, 2014

People come, people go, but their faces are coins
One is a kopeck, another is a cherished euro.
I am selling lingerie and ensembles.
In myself I’m quite calm, but I stammer even so.

A rich lady comes, in a coat of her husband’s hide.
She points with her little finger–put those ones by.
I say: Madam, perhaps you need an admirer?
But earn myself nothing by way of reply.

Time does not pass quickly, neither does it dawdle,
the accounting period is ended, the reports have all been done.
I’m buying a dacha, some furniture, a flat
and going on leave to roast my legs in the sun.

My firm’s building doesn’t rise very high,
but it’s more horizontal, like a painting of war.
I smile–the flashbulbs explode,
I’m teaching my flock the payer once more:

oh my animate, deranged, gigantic gain
so cherished, so valuable, so aureate
my life so ornamented, generous, unbounded…
Welcome to you, eternally smiling fate!

Антон Нечаев

Антон Нечаев

Пастор прибытка

Люди приходят, люди уходят, но лица у них – монеты.
Кто-то копейка, а кто закадычный евро.
Я продаю бюстгальтеры, туалеты.
Сам по себе спокоен, но заикаюсь нервно.

Дама приходит богатая, в шубе из шкуры мужа.
Кажет мизинцем – это, это, еще вот это.
Я говорю: мадам, вам ухажер не нужен?
Не зарабатываю ответа.

Время идет не быстро, но и не слишком медлит,
кончен отчетный год, подметены итоги.
я покупаю дачу, квартиру, мебель
и уезжаю в отпуск жарить на солнце ноги.

Здание возвышается фирмы моей не слишком,
а в ширину оно, как панорама битвы.
Я улыбаюсь – цокают фотовспышки,
я обучаю паству свою молитве:

прибыль моя живая, бешеная, большая,
вещь моя дорогая, ценная, золотая,
жизнь моя расписная, щедрая, бесконечная…
Здравствуй, удача вечная!

Price of Money, The Albany 18 September

September 18, 2014

***

This devised show about…err…money contained the following elements:

i) scenes from ‘Plutus’ by Aristophanes;

ii)  Belarusian folk songs;

iii)  stories improvised by cast members;

iv)  musical numbers not being Belarusian folk songs:

v)  human rights abuse in Belarus;

vi)  testimony from Stéphane Hessel.

Of these, Aristophanes certainly came off best (you can’t beat a pro!), followed by the folk songs.  Certainly whoever was playing the Old Woman (as above) gave an excellent performance, though I’m not sure why Poverty was well-dressed, well-made-up, well-coiffed and generally rather attractive.  At the beginning, a lot of lines (in subtitled Russian) were shouted staccato so that I couldn’t make them out, while later on there was a chorus (in English) that seemed to be about ‘the gap’, but I couldn’t make that out either.  If you want to hear what’s going on it’s best to sit at the sides, while taking sensible precautions to avoid audience participation.

Apart from the devised show format and the weakness of much of the material, I had problems with the underlying premise.  It probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but that was then and this is now.  Take Belarus, for instance.  Minsk is prominent at present as the site of negotiations between Russia and what is left of Ukraine.  Now, annexing parts of Ukraine is not going to make Russia rich–in the best case it will impoverish the country not too badly, and in the worst case it will turn it into a colony of China.  Money is not the issue.

I didn’t see any sign of the promised contribution from Ben Jonson’s The Staple Of News.

But it was all right if you like that kind of thing…

 

Long black dress (Olesya Nikolaeva)

September 17, 2014

Mother brought me this long black dress from Warsaw once.
For seven years I went to the monastery in it.
At Lent I knelt in it,
Dropped wax on it,
Inhaled the incense,
Slept while I waited for the nocturmal liturgy,
Took communion in the heat and the cold
Even dragged logs round in the monastery’s back yard.
And finally I used it as a doormat
It lay spread-out at the threshold
And people who came to see me carefully wiped their feet on it.
And for some reason that caused me pain.

ДЛИННОЕ ЧЕРНОЕ ПЛАТЬЕ

Это длинное черное платье мама мне некогда привезла из Варшавы.
Я в нем лет семь ездила потом в монастырь.
Великим Постом стояла в нем на коленях,
Капала на него воском,
Вбирала кадильный дым,
Спала, дожидаясь ночной литургии,
Причащалась в жару и в холод
Да на монастырском заднем дворе таскала поленья.
И, наконец, пустила его на тряпку:
Оно лежало, распластанное, у порога,
И те, кто приходили ко мне, тщательно вытирали об него ноги.
И мне от этого было почему-то больно.

Half of ‘Agamemnon’ at Madingley Hall (12-14 September)

September 16, 2014
A refractory passage from the 'Agamemnon'

A refractory passage from the ‘Agamemnon’

To start off with, Tony Verity emailed us:

A message for you in preparation for tackling Aeschylus at his most baffling.

To the brave Aeschylus group:

I’d forgotten how tough the Greek is in Agamemnon, especially the parodos and choruses. I must have read the play a dozen times, but I’m still finding it hard here and there to puzzle out the language, much to my annoyance. It’s not helped by the text being dodgy in places.

We were in fact due to go as far as line 809 this time, with the remainder to come in November.  The six brave souls assembled were keen to tackle every last knotty problem in the Greek text, though some may have suffered more than others in the attempt.  As I explained to more than one person over dinner, the format was to go round the group in order with each student reading aloud then translating, and the tutor helping and commenting.  We did in fact manage the to achieve the scheduled 809 lines by means of a spirited joint attack on the chorus at the end.

I think this was about the most rewarding Greek reading group I’ve been to,  probably due to having a small group and a text that forced itself in people’s attention, as well as a very inspiring tutor.  The other candidate would be doing Aristotle with the great and good Barbara Goward, where once again the text made claims that a rather small group could not dismiss as that’s all very lovely.

We had a talk from Malcolm Schofield, Emeritus Professor of Ancient Philosophy at Cambridge, and he also called the Agamemnon the most formidable text in surviving Greek literature.  Apart from that, he was talking about love and the Symposium, where Aristophanes had defined love as the desire for wholeness, Agathon as the desire for beauty, and Diotima as the desire for immortal goodness.  After that, Alcibiades had rather muddied the waters.  One was not meant to understand the character of Socrates, and there was a lot about him that was unappealing.

We also had a meeting to discuss future texts for the Advanced groups, and I discovered (what I had not noticed) a set pattern:  Homer for both groups in February, a shorter text for both the poetry and prose groups in May, and one longer piece of poetry/prose occupying both September and November.

In giving general suggestions for courses on my feedback form, I suggested that on the one hand Madingley could do life skills courses aimed at their specific demographic (to be based on research evidence of course):  Preparing for retirement, Managing your investments, while on the other hand recidivist readers of classical texts might benefit from some systematic instruction in linguistics, a course in Proto-Indo-European/historical linguistics, a course on the Ancient Economy (especially demography).

You can see the Madingley course listing here.  Do feel free to  write to me  if you have a query about all this I might be able to help with!