I look at the sky and see you,
staring back at me.
Watery eyes and wavering mouth,
Everywhere and nowhere.
Why aren’t you who I wanted you to be?

A lazy wind makes your image dance in the fickle waters,
and I wrench my head up to the clouds,
hoping to glimpse reality.
Yet still I see the reflection,
Rosy hues rippling in the celestial ocean,
Glimmers of a time that was,
A different place,
Unreachable outside the realm of dreams.

If I could but master the waves of time,
and sail to that place I see,
wouldn’t that be something?
Perhaps the tides will soon turn,
The earth will double back upon itself?

Until then I will stand and gaze
up at that oil painting.

Pretending it is the one I once knew.

Originally published at http://plaee.wordpress.com on May 4, 2021.

Bias: can’t live with it, couldn’t survive without it.

Photo by fnfoto on Pexels.com

Bias is a word that has different connotations depending on who you are. In the common world, when we hear the word “bias”, it might conjure up negative images of stereotyping and discrimination. It might be used to describe teachers favouring students on a course, or bias against a particular group of people based on the colour of their skin.

On the other hand, if you operate in the world of statistics and probability, or machine learning, you might know that bias can also be helpful. In this field, there is…

Barnard Castle: A sight for sore eyes? Credit: George Hodan

If you’ve been following the UK news recently, you’ll be hard put to have missed the dominating headline: the fall from grace of Dominic Cummings — Chief Adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson — seemingly breaking the rules his own party set on social distancing during the coronavirus lockdown. He now faces bays for blood, not least from his own party, since 39 Tory MPs have asked for his resignation.

Cummings’ story is a tough one to defend. Despite his party’s ‘Stay Home’ message, there for all to follow, he — as a key government figure — decided to flout…

A Sisyphean perspective sheds light on the age-old question of whether money can buy happiness.

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

During this unusual time, many people, including myself, may be starting to take a more introspective look at themselves and their lives, thinking about their choices and about bigger questions that might otherwise be neglected when we are preoccupied with ordinary life, whatever that is for us. One question that has been on the back burner of my mind for a while is that which forms the title of this piece. It’s a question that has plagued people perhaps ever since money was created. Maybe…

Houses floating on the Nile (Awammas) – Photo courtesy Hanya El-Geresy (Insta @hanyaelgeresy)

For all Cairo’s wonders, there are none that exceed the magnificence of the pyramids. Those are truly official wonders. But that’s not the Cairo that people see on a day to day basis. There are many more wonders to be found on the streets of the city that never really sleeps.

Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, is an interesting place. It’s a place full of noise, pollution and most of all life. People bustling around dust covered streets dressed in all manner of garb – from…

“Mr Stop Brexit” Steve Bray and a Leave campaigner. Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville.

Reading about Brexit recently I encountered one leave supporter describing the current group of remainers and politicians who are campaigning for remain or a blockade for a no deal Brexit as an ‘undemocratic rebellion’. At first, it might seem obvious — the results of the referendum of 2016 have to be honoured: everyone was given an equal chance and right to vote about whether or not we should stay in the EU.

Well, although it is true that based on the vote we should have left the EU, the fact is that I’m not sure that many people — remainers…

Opportunity cost is simply the cost of producing a good with reference to what you could have instead produced in the meantime. You can understand it in terms of the number of hours you have in a day (time is incidentally usually a factor which has to be taken into consideration, along with resources when considering opportunity cost). If you have 12 hours in a day that you can do something useful in, you can do different things. Work, eat, socialise etc.The value of each activity to you as a person may be different, it may even change depending on…

I look upon this clearing as it is.

Through a parting in the branches above shine

Rays of hope too blinding to appreciate

And down below

A brook of astounding beauty

That exists only now

By the light of a lonely star in a vast universe

In a single moment among infinite others.

Yet I am here to experience it

And to one day die and carry its memory with me

To become part of the earth that I once gazed on,

For trees to sprout from my ashes

And wild flowers to decorate my grave

To lie still and unnoticed.

Until there comes another

Neither to know of me

Nor the wondrous scenes I once held in my heart

Yet perhaps

When they look at the world

That the fading of my beauty created

I will become a part of theirs.

Waleed El-Geresy

Searching for meaning in a vast ocean of information, sometimes riding the waves.

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