I went back to Edinburgh for hogmanay this year and it was pretty excellent.
I can't tell if this is supposed to be a cheeky commentary on the #edinburgh fringe.
This year I completed my Undergraduate studies, graduating with a first in Artificial intelligence and computer science from the University of Edinburgh.
Unfortunately, due to refurbishment I didn't get to graduate in McEwan hall. As a result, the only time I've been able to appreciate McEwan was during my second year Probability exam. It wasn't really a good occasion to be staring at the murals on the ceiling.
As a surrogate we used Usher hall, the venue most of the symphony and chamber music events are held in.
Given how diminutive the informatics class is, we got bundled up with the school of Engineering. As a result, we had two honorary degree speeches. I forgot what the engineering guy did. The Computer Science speaker got the deal to develop minecraft for the X-box.
I guess that's vaguely interesting.
One of the quirks of the University of Edinburgh is that we don't wear mortarboard cap. Instead all graduates share the same hat. When walking across the stage, the vice-chancellor bops each student on the head.
Fun-fact: Piers Sellers offered to take the hat into space. Given space-ships occasionally explode (and the hat is sort-of important) a university emblem was taken to space and later sewn on the hat.
I got booped on the head with a space-hat.
I was fortunate enough to be able to get enough tickets for both my parents and grandparents. My family came over a couple weeks prior and we traipsed across Ireland and the highlands together.
I had one ticket left-over and Jammy had a free-morning. As a result, I was able to get Jam-Jam, father of polar bears, first of his name, to come along to my graduation.
Through Jammy's coaching, I was able to get booped on the head and collect a degree without falling in front of everyone.
Another week of HWC. I think we've moved permanently to Tuesdays and permanently to Bar 50.
I guess this was one of the most odd introductions to a course that I've had.
I thought people were joking when they said the first lecture was going to be at 7:30 A.M. in the costa coffee shop at wayverley station. Given how many people in my class complain about how disconnected we are from reality in our classroom, this was an ironic change.
The whole point of the meeting was to contextualize what we were doing. The point of the exercise was to consider how to change people interact with the city. Specifically, we were thinking about how to encourage people to walk through the city: an odd end to meet. Even more bizarre was the fact that we weren't given a reason why we wanted to get more people walking in the city centre, we just only had an end.
With this in mind, there are a plethora of reasons why you'd want to encourage the public to move. Concerns about general accessibility from an infrastructural and could be a valid theme. However, equally so could be revitalizing the downtown core from a cultural, economic, or environmental perspective.
They wanted to frame the project as a hackathon. They sure got it right; the malleability of the proposal lets people twist it to their own ends.
It was kind of odd, but interesting. Spending the past three years doing entirely science courses, it was challenging to step back for a moment and take a look at things from an arts perspective. For this assignment there is no perfect plan, there's no perfect specification. That being said, the whole course is supposed to be from a design from an informatics perspective, so we're using contextual empirical data to fuel our design decisions.
This looks like it's going to be a good course.