The blog and I were still on holiday last week, though I managed to catch up on some writing and reading. I especially enjoyed reading an interesting book charting the rise of Google, written by an employee who managed the branding in the early days. As well as that organisation’s well-known strategy of hiring extremely bright engineers, one facet that came over very strongly was the exceptionally hard work that was involved (this too a theme of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers and of Matthew Syed’s Bounce). I am also enjoying dipping into the book by Nathan Yau – founder of FlowingData – on Information Visualisation.

Following the appearance of my ‘deep roots’ paper, that even got a namecheck at the Financial Times online, my attention was drawn to a recent review of the considerable role of agronomic practice in improving root architecture, drought tolerance and the like, as encapsulated in the System of Rice Intensification. Such approaches bear wider dissemination.

I also enjoyed a nice approach to the integration of systems biology models annotated in SBML with appropriate ontologies.

As it is now clear that the availability of online search dulls folks’ attempts to remember facts, I also spent a certain amount of time surfing, such as an etymological database of surnames (lots of timewasting fun, as with the Baby Names Voyager) and several excellent blog posts at the Debtonation site. Halcyon days, indeed.

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