In classical Chinese painting, one sometimes sees distinguished figures in a mountain retreat, involved in “the four elegant pursuits.” The first three are readily understandable: painting, music, and calligraphy. The fourth is a surprise: the game of Go. Seeing these paintings, it seemed most odd to include a board game in this pantheon of pursuits. But then I realized there was something quintessentially human about the game. Computers simply couldn’t do it. In 1996 an IBM chess program, Deep Blue, beat the then reigning human champion. Its programs were designed by expert chess players, whose algorithms, pared with the computer’s vast calculating powers, produced an unbeatable competitor. 20 years later, no computer program could play Go as well as decent amateur. Until last week.
The compelling new documentary, Best of Enemies, centers around an extraordinary series of debates between William F. Buckley, widely considered the intellectual godfather of the conservative movement, and Gore Vidal, the prolific leftist novelist and polemicist (and cousin to Jackie Onassis).
It is with great wonderment and awe that I will always remember July 14, 2015. The day we explored Pluto.
It began like any other day but would end as anything but. That evening, I stood in the presence of many of NASA’s finest scientists and other fellow space enthusiasts. Together we were ready to witness one of the greatest moments in our modern history. 9-1/2 years in the making, NASA’s pioneering mission to Pluto was about to reach the closest point in its “fly-by”.
David Brooks, who has debated with Intelligence Squared U.S. several times and delivered the keynote address at our 100th debate celebration, summarizes his new book, The Road to Character. Its the kind of secular sermon we need to hear and encourages us to think about what Brooks calls the “eulogy virtues” as distinguished from the “resume virtues.”
For most, the phrase “corporate workplace art” conjures up benign landscapes, printed reproductions of gallery works, or forgettable prints that fail to even register with employees, blending away with the bustle of a busy work day.
As an avid and lifelong collector of art, from ancient sculpture to modern photography and even conceptual moving images, I believe in the influence of our aesthetic surroundings upon our shared daily experience. Unique, original and thoughtful art enriches our cultural and workplace lives, creating a vibrant and more productive environment. An inspired surrounding fosters creativity, regardless of an employee’s department or role within the organization.