a sunset over a bay in west wales
Books,  monthly roundup,  Music

April 24 round up

I was looking forward to April, I had booked study leave and had a number of small, fun projects I wanted to get started. Well, it transpired that April had other plans. For no particular reason I had a mental health wobble in the first week, and was just getting over that when an elderly parent emergency arose, which necessitated several trips and stays in Bedfordshire. This included missing the much anticipated hockey playoff weekend in Nottingham with my daughter, and abandoning a holiday in West Wales. Add in an emergency dental appointment, and yes, April can do one. I looked back at my google doc for plans for this month and it is a wasteland of unchecked lists. The saying that if you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans, comes to mind.

Because I’ve been doing lots of driving and hanging around in hotel rooms, I have gotten through a lot of books this month, although I’ve also been struggling to find ones that really engage me. One book that definitely did was Data Feminism by Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein. They set out how a feminist perspective on data science is necessary to combat dangerous misuse, stating “Underlying data feminism is a belief in and commitment to co-liberation: the idea that oppressive systems of power harm all of us, that they undermine the quality and validity of our work, and that they hinder us from creating true and lasting social impact with data science.” They set out 7 principles of data feminism, and I would argue that all institutions would be well served by approaching any large scale use of data, AI, analytics with those principles in mind. The book is available as open access also.

Speaking of feminism, I also read an intriguing book with a great title, House of Psychotic Women by Kier-la Janisse, in which she uses analysis of exploitation and horror films as a route for autobiography. Navigating her complex, and sometimes traumatic childhood in particular, it’s a thoughtful (if sometimes difficult) interweaving of personal history, feminist theory and film critique.

And, speaking of data, I also read an ice hockey analytics book, which prompted me to develop my own NHL playoffs predictor model. This has given me the following playoff bracket prediction, so let’s see how well my model does against that reality thing:

In my previous post I mentioned the book The Revenge of Analog, and an event mentioned in this book is the success of Record Store Day. Although I couldn’t participate on the actual day I managed to pick up a couple of releases later, including the 3-LP box set of Wilco’s The Whole Love. I also enjoyed Kacey Musgraves’ exploration of contentment in Deeper Well, and decidedly less content, we saw the return of the Phosphorescent with Revelator. At one point this month I nodded in agreement with his sentiment “I don’t even like what I like any more”. But, I got to spend some days in West Wales with the view above, so can’t really complain.


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