Stephen Baker

The Boost
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A trip to Spain

October 16, 2015General


The Chamberi section of Madrid

I've been tucked away the last few months, collaborating on a book project, and writing about 1,000 words a day, and ignoring this blog. The book deals with the kinds of mathematical models I wrote about in The Numerati, the ones that predict us as shoppers, voters, patients, and so on. This one is a different angle, though.

Still, it was fun to return to that world. I went to my agent 10 years ago this November, right before Thanksgiving of 2005. We were discussing another project, but I mentioned to him that I was writing a BusinessWeek cover story about the coming mathematical modeling of humanity.

Lots has changed since that time. I was in Toronto, on the first weekend of my book tour for the Numerati, in September of 2008. Negotiations to rescue Lehman Bros fell through, and lots of radio and TV shows were more interested in the collapsing global economy, and Barack Obama's race toward the White House (and the emergence of Sarah Palin as a national celebrity), than they were in my book about the mathematical modeling of humanity.

Since then, Big Data has become familiar to the point of fatigue. 

Anyway, with the project completed (save some editing), I'm taking off for a bike trip to Spain. My friend and I will tour the region of Extramadura, the dry Western lands that gave the world its hard-scrabble conquistadores, Hernan de Cortes and his coarse copycat, Francisco Pizarro. We'll end up in Seville.

I'm going to be reading Siempre Nos Quedara Madrid, by Enrique del Risco, as recommended by my friend and neighbor, Alexis Romay, author of La Apertura Cubana. I'll have it on my phone. Wouldn't want to add the weight of a paperback. 

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