When I see Elon’s efforts to colonize Mars and help the humanity in becoming a powerful, multi-planet civilization, I smile. I smile because I know that before we are technically able to colonize any other planet, it might be that in a hundred years, there will be no humanity left. And this is all due to convenience.
This fall I was travelling quite a lot. I was attending small evening conferences, local meetups here in the Netherlands, but I was also traveling abroad to attend international events – as a guest, as a speaker, or even as an organizer. And, I obviously met a lot of new people on the way. When traveling, I realised that there is some gradual, global change in the society which is really worrying. Namely, if you took a conscious decision to be a happy person, you are in a serious trouble.
The year of 2009 was groundbreaking, for at least two separate reasons. Firstly, on January 3rd of 2009, the genesis block of bitcoin was mined. Secondly, on October 12th of 2009, Elinor Claire “Lin” Ostrom has became the first woman awarded with a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, “for her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons”. The clue of this work is a phenomenon known in economy as the tragedy of commons. This phenomenon occurs when a group shares a resource, but at the same time, every individual acts on their own behalf, which is often against the common interest of the community. Can we spot the tragedy of commons in academia?
Yesterday was a nostalgic day not only for me, but for every Polish person there is. The reason is because one of our little heroes, Tomasz Mackiewicz, is dying in Karakorum, and no one can really save him from death at this point. Climbing in Himalayas can seem like a distant and exotic concept, but one thing we can definitely learn from mountaineers is a team work.
As every PhD student at the end of the contract, I slowly get the idea that publishing papers is a minor problem in a researcher’s life. There other, more painful issues, such as the environment fractioning into ‘team Brown’, ‘team Green’ et cetera – especially in circles developing new methods for data analysis. Such friendships and antipathies that last for ages before you even found yourself in the community, and once you appear as a fresh person, you do not necessarily understand why you are actually expected to love Mr Brown and hate Mr Green.