Cormac McCarthy:”My perfect day is sitting in a room with some blank paper. That’s heaven”

Q: How does the notion of aging and death affect the work you do? Has it become more urgent?

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CM: Your future gets shorter and you recognize that. In recent years, I have had no desire to do anything but work and be with [son] John. I hear people talking about going on a vacation or something and I think, what is that about? I have no desire to go on a trip. My perfect day is sitting in a room with some blank paper. That’s heaven. That’s gold and anything else is just a waste of time.

Source : https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704576204574529703577274572

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Elon Musk:”Stuff doesn’t need to change the world just to be good”

Q: So, we want to spend the time today talking about your view of the future and what people should work on. To start off, could you tell us, you famously said, when you were younger, there were five problems that you thought were most important for you to work on. If you were 22 today, what would the five problems that you would think about working on be?

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Elon: Well, first of all, I think if somebody is doing something that is useful to the rest of society, I think that’s a good thing. Like, it doesn’t have to change the world. If you make something that has high value to people… And frankly, even if it’s something, if it’s like just a little game or some improvement in photo sharing or something, if it has a small amount of good for a large number of people, I think that’s fine. Stuff doesn’t need to change the world just to be good. But in terms of things that I think are most like to affect the future of humanity, I think AI is probably the single biggest item in the near-term that’s likely to affect humanity.So, it’s very important that we have the advent of AI in a good way. It’s something that, if you could look into the crystal ball and to the future, you would like that outcome because it is something that could go wrong, as we’ve talked about many times. And so, we really need to make sure it goes right. So that’s AI, working on AI and making sure it’s great future. That’s the most important thing, I think, right now, the most pressing item. Then, I would say anything to do with genetics. If you can actually solve genetic diseases, if you can prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s or something like that with genetic reprograming, that would be wonderful. So I think genetics might be the sort of second most important item. And then, I think, having a high-bandwidth interface to the brain. We’re currently bandwidth-limited. We have a digital tertiary self in the form of out email capabilities, our computers, phones, applications. We’re practically superhuman. But we’re extremely bandwidth-constrained in that interface between the cortex and that tertiary digital form of yourself. And helping solve that bandwidth constraint would be, I think, very important in the future as well. Yeah

Source: https://www.ycombinator.com/future/elon/

 

 

 

Margaret Atwood :”rights did not descend out of the sky

Q: This idea, especially when it comes to women’s rights, that, “Okay, well, things are moving forward. Women are better off than they used to be.” Do you think we’re rethinking whether that is always true right now?

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Margaret Atwood : Well, there’s no such thing as inevitable progress. And it always has been true and always will be true that rights did not descend out of the sky. Rights are things that people agree on, and they end up agreeing on them because people work to get them to agree. So they can always change their minds. They say, “Well, this has gone too far. We certainly can’t have high heels; let’s abolish them.” Or whatever it may be. And people are prone in times of crisis, turmoil, and social unrest … to limiting things. Because it makes them feel safer.

So there’s no inevitability about it. And you can’t have human rights for women unless you have human rights. Think of that. You cannot. Because unless you decide that women are some class of nonhuman beings and should have special treatment, then you have to have a general category of human rights, which includes women as human beings.

Source : https://www.vox.com/conversations/2017/4/26/15435378/margaret-atwood-handmaids-tale-interview

 

 

 

 

 

John Pawson:”We all live in a state of contradiction”

Q: Your architecture is famous for its clarity and purity. Did you seek out those qualities when you were younger?
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John Pawson: In my mind, everybody feels this need. We all live in a state of contradiction. We want to create order and feel liberated from the weight of too many possessions, but at the same time we love to accumulate things. We want to travel and be alone at the same time. We want to be successful and earn more money, but we also want to turn our backs on the corporate world. But it’s true, I felt the desire for simplicity you are talking about early on. When I was six years old, I went on a seaside trip to Blackpool. On the way back, I realised I had lost my set of pens. I was shocked and swore to myself never to get so attached to things again.

Martin Hairer :”Researchers should follow their hearts, not fashion “

The Fields Medal is the highest accolade a mathematician can receive. As someone looking back from a high point in his career, what advice would you give to a young mathematician who was just starting out?

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Prof. Martin Hairer : ‘The first thing they should honestly asses is what are the things that they like to do. I think they should really work on the things that they actually like and enjoy, and they shouldn’t try to just pick a subject because they have the impression that it is fashionable and that if it is fashionable they might be able to win a big prize.

‘At the end of the day there is a much greater chance that they will make some real progress if they think about something that is interesting to them. If you are generally interested in a problem then you always have it at the back of your mind, and that is the way you make progress on it. Whereas, if you work on it because you think you should work on a fashionable problem you wouldn’t actually always keep it at the back of your mind. Then it’s much less likely that you would make genuine progress on it.’

Source : https://horizon-magazine.eu/article/researchers-should-follow-their-hearts-not-fashion-2014-fields-medal-winner-prof-martin

 

 

 

Gulzar :”You have to protect what you love”

Q: What draws you to children’s literature?

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Image Source :internet
Gulzar :One of the reasons I left film direction was my work for children. I may not get a chance later. I wasn’t born with innumerable years and this is what I want to do with the years I have left. In India, we love our children, but we haven’t done enough for them. At least where literature’s concerned, we have only provided books and translations from the West, or adapted texts for them. These are not very good efforts. In fact, it lacks genuine affection and responsibility. You have to protect what you love, but we haven’t done enough to protect our children. We leave a lot of our responsibilities to teachers, maidservants, ayahs. In joint families, grandparents would come forward and take care of children; nanas and nanis, dadas and dadis would tell stories, hum folk songs and perform small mimes for them. Especially now, when parents are working and there are no joint families anymore, parents have to ask themselves if they are satisfied with the extent of their own involvement. What we do is, we make them sit in front of the television and watch Tom and Jerry and other inane shows. Inevitably, the child is becoming more and more lonely.

Source : https://csbhagya.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/interview-gulzar-3-2/

 

Kurt Vonnegut : “One thing I hate about school committees today is that they cut arts programs out of the curriculum”

Q: Tell me the reasons you’ve been attracted to a life of creation, whether as a writer or an artist. 

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image source : internet

Kurt Vonnegut : I’ve been drawing all my life, just as a hobby, without really having shows or anything. It’s just an agreeable thing to do, and I recommend it to everybody. I always say to people, practice an art, no matter how well or badly [you do it], because then you have the experience of becoming, and it makes your soul grow. That includes singing, dancing, writing, drawing, playing a musical instrument. One thing I hate about school committees today is that they cut arts programs out of the curriculum because they say the arts aren’t a way to make a living. Well, there are lots of things worth doing that are no way to make a living. [Laughs.] They are agreeable ways to make a more agreeable life.

Source : http://tim.blog/2007/11/29/lack-of-seriousness-the-last-interview-with-vonnegut/