My scientific excuses

It has been such a long time since the last story that I had even forgotten about this place. Over time, of course, it had completely lost its ‘raison d’être’ and I was surprised to find that it still floated around somewhere. Surprised and relieved, maybe, that this digital trace had resisted the wear and tear of the digital vaccuum.

But for this absence of almost a year, I have recently been given a sound scientific excuse. The American-Hungarian professor of physics and director of the Centre for Complex Network Research Albert-László Barabási recently published a popular scientific book in which he explains how predictable the patterns behind everyday human behavior are. This may not be so surprising: people have routines, in travelling, working, shopping, doing their evening walk. More surprising however, is that a lot of these human activities are clustered together in short periods, separated by long periods in which we don’t do them at all. He based this mathematical law on a study of people’s occupations with e-mailing, googling, paying, phoning, arranging meetings, but also detected the same pattern in the correspondence of scientists such as Einstein and Darwin, who both organised their letter-writing the way people nowadays write their e-mails.

And so, although my yearlong absence may be a complex variability in Barabási’s already massively complex (or so I presume) mathematics, it also gives reason to suspect that the sudden increase in postings that you may expect in the next few weeks or months is but a short outburst and a statistical indication of my soon-to-come vanishing from the virtual scene. For that, of course, I apologize – already. But know that eventually, I will be back.

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