Saturday, December 10

Are scientific theories really better when they are simpler? – Elliott Sober | Aeon Essays

Given that you're doing logic, I think you will appreciate this essay. 
Generally making thing simpler is better. But then we also have to keep an eye out on complexity. Economics frequently comes up with intellectually clean theories and with major assumptions to avoid contaminating the model with the messy thing that is real life. And when you have central banks and commercial banks and governments adopting public policy because of these simplistic models, the impact felt on the people who have been assumed out is huge. For example, most models assume that people are rational. They aren't. And as we have seen, their behaviours can turn normally and commonly held opinions and perspectives upside down. That causes severe dislocations. 
So yes simple is better but sometimes simple can be dangerous as well. 

Are scientific theories really better when they are simpler? – Elliott Sober | Aeon Essays
(via Instapaper)

Two of Barcelona's architectural masterpieces are as different as different could be. The Sagrada Família, designed by Antoni Gaudí, is only a few miles from the German Pavilion, built by Mies van der Rohe. Gaudí's church is flamboyant and complex. Mies's pavilion is tranquil and simple. Mies, the apostle of minimalist architecture, used the slogan 'less is more' to express what he was after. Gaudí never said 'more is more', but his buildings suggest that this is what he had in mind.
One reaction to the contrast between Mies and Gaudí is to choose sides based on a conviction concerning what all art should be like. If all art should be simple or if all art should be complex, the choice is clear. However, both of these norms seem absurd. Isn't it obvious that some estimable art is simple and some is complex? True, there might be extremes that are beyond the pale; we are alienated by art that is far too complex and bored by art that is far too simple. However, between these two extremes there is a vast space of possibilities. Different artists have had different goals. Artists are not in the business of trying to discover the uniquely correct degree of complexity that all artworks should have. There is no such timeless ideal.
Science is different, at least according to many scientists. Albert Einstein spoke for many when he said that 'it can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience'. The search for simple theories, then, is a requirement of the scientific enterprise. When theories get too complex, scientists reach for Ockham's Razor, the principle of parsimony, to do the trimming. This principle says that a theory that postulates fewer entities, processes or causes is better than a theory that postulates more, so long as the simpler theory is compatible with what we observe. But what does 'better' mean? It is obvious that simple theories can be beautiful and easy to understand, remember and test. The hard problem is to explain why the fact that one theory is simpler than another tells you anything about the way the world is.
One of the most famous scientific endorsements of Ockham's Razor can be found in Isaac Newton's Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687), where he states four 'Rules of Reasoning'. Here are the first two:
Rule I. No more causes of natural things should be admitted than are both true and sufficient to explain their phenomena. As the philosophers say: nature does nothing in vain, and more causes are in vain when fewer suffice. For nature is simple and does not indulge in the luxury of superfluous causes.
Rule II. Therefore, the causes assigned to natural effects of the same kind must be, so far as possible, the same. Examples are the cause of respiration in man and beast, or of the falling of stones in Europe and America, or of the light of a kitchen fire and the Sun, or of the reflection of light on our Earth and the planets.
Newton doesn't do much to justify these rules, but in an unpublished commentary on the book of Revelations, he says more. Here is one of his 'Rules for methodising/construing the Apocalypse':
To choose those constructions which without straining reduce things to the greatest simplicity. The reason of this is… [that] truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things. It is the perfection of God's works that they are all done with the greatest simplicity. He is the God of order and not of confusion. And therefore as they that would understand the frame of the world must endeavour to reduce their knowledge to all possible simplicity, so it must be in seeking to understand these visions…

Friday, December 9

Browned Off and Bloody-Minded: The British Soldier Goes to War 1939-1945 | Reviews in History

This was a good review son. I don't think you actually need to read the book although I've got it on my wish list. So why am I sending this to you? 
It's because you'll become a manager soon. And manage people. It's one of the most difficult tasks son and not something that one can learn easily. General Adam is a name you don't recall or remember that easily. But his job as an adjutant general was easily as important as that of Monty. All the bravery in the world is useless if the arms and ammo and men and food doesn't arrive in the front. People look down on these roles with disdain. I've told you so many times that ordinary generals study tactics. Great generals study logistics. 
And when you're looking to achieve something, you need to think of logistics. You need men, you need money, you need support, you need food, you need intelligence and information. You need all this to get to achieve your objectives. 
But you can't have everything. You go to war with the army you have, not the army you want. You had your chance to build your army and then if you did well, then you're good. If not, then see what happened to us during the war, initially we were hammered across the world. 
Remember that fact son, look after your people. Very important. And they will know when you're a manager who looks after them. 

Browned Off and Bloody-Minded: The British Soldier Goes to War 1939-1945 | Reviews in History
(via Instapaper)

Although it is now a full 70 years since the close of the Second World War, there is little sign of a decline in either academic or public interest in the history of the war. In fact, there seems to have emerged a growing interest in the experiences not of those who held commands or public office, but rather of those who served and fought as ordinary soldiers and sailors. This interest is particularly keen in the United Kingdom and the United States, two nations whose forces have been, and continue to be, deployed in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, and it is not surprising that in Britain and America there exists such interest in how and why soldiers fight, or fought. Those studies which have appeared in the last 15 years or so have not been hagiographical works, at least for the most part, but have examined the complicated experiences of those who went into battle and of the ways in which nation-states organized and trained the large numbers required for such a massive military effort. On the British side, these include studies by, among others, David French, Jonathan Fennell, Clive Emsley and (very recently) Yasmin Khan. For American troops, particularly those who passed through the UK before June, 1944, David Reynolds's account of the 'occupation of Britain' is unmatched.

Thursday, December 8

Private prisons are shrouded in secrecy. I took a job as a guard to get inside—then things got crazy

This was a very long article son and was quite painful to read. Quite painful. 
It's a world that's foreign to you and I. A place of criminals and mentally challenged people. Guarded by people who have a terribly tough job and aren't paid much at all. Plus this prison is private. Not public. It's not easy to read but it's worthwhile to ponder. 
What is our society going to be like? When criminals are treated like this? Will they come out and be integrated back in the society or not? Based upon the current trends and practises, the answer is no. One may think that it's ok - we are talking criminals but with no rehabilitation, the societal cost is ginormous not to mention the hit on our morality. 
No easy answers either. None. Would you say that a science fiction like future like inmates being hooked up to tv and food whilst being brainwashed and sedated is good? No. 
very difficult to think how to fix these things. 



Private prisons are shrouded in secrecy. I took a job as a guard to get inside—then things got crazy
(via Instapaper)

  • Chapter 1
    "Inmates Run This Bitch"
  • s

Chapter 1: "Inmates Run This Bitch"

Have you ever had a riot?" I ask a recruiter from a prison run by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).
"The last riot we had was two years ago," he says over the phone.
"Yeah, but that was with the Puerto Ricans!" says a woman's voice, cutting in. "We got rid of them."
"When can you start?" the man asks.
I tell him I need to think it over.
I take a breath. Am I really going to become a prison guard? Now that it might actually happen, it feels scary and a bit extreme.

Tuesday, December 6

4 Hans Christian Andersen Stories That Are Way Stranger Than You Think

I love fairy tales. I think they do make life simple and perhaps that's why kids love them as well. Even adults. Harking back to a simpler time when decisions were simple. Life was black and white. And in many ways that's what we should aim for. 
But this article made me think. What we took for granted, the actual story was more complicated. It's like why I hate Robin Hood while admiring him at the same time. Confusing? Yes. Because I hate him for being a robber and thief. But at the same time, I admire him for being a revolutionary and a hero and a leader and courage and and and. 
Interesting back story on anderson as well in this story. 

4 Hans Christian Andersen Stories That Are Way Stranger Than You Think
(via Instapaper)

Hans Christian Andersen is a strange and fascinating figure who wrote a great many stories for children. His name is synonymous with love, splendor, and the wonderment of childhood. His own childhood was less than perfect, existing in deep poverty as the child of an illiterate washerwoman. He left his first life at 14 to find a new one with a wealthy family. He spun this fortune into a career in the arts, finding his mark with children's stories in 1835. From there he remained a servant to the child's ear, and his work has spawned retellings, both comical and romantic, for generations since.
Disney has picked up more than a few of his tales, and others have been animated, performed, retold, and embraced as fun and moving stories. However a romp within the actual original text of many of them reveal a certain level of sadness, despair, ugliness, and outright weirdness that we tend to overlook when speaking the name Andersen. Let's take a closer look at a few that are particularly famous and particularly ghastly when we take off our rose-colored glasses, put on our spectacles, and peer really close.


4. The Princess and the Pea

Pea-1.jpgAuthenticity, rather than true love, is the focus of this old tale. It has an element of the glass slipper narrative from Cinderella. There are those who are, and those who are not, and the only way to tell is with a simple test, in this case a pea. The prince in this story seeks not love, but a "true princess," and though there are those who hold the title, he finds something "not right" about each of them. The story doesn't elaborate or define what is lacking, but it does keep him a bachelor until a rain-soaked woman shows up at his doorstep in the middle of the night seeking a place to sleep and has only her word to claim that she is a "true princess."
The queen, the prince's mother, has her doubts, but creates a fool-proof test. She places a single pea under the mattress of her guest. Not satisfied with this, she then piles twenty mattresses on top of the single mattress and then offers the bed to the woman claiming royal blood. In the morning the princess complains that she didn't sleep a wink and that her body feels bruised and battered after sleeping on such an uncomfortable mattress all night. The prince and queen rejoice as only a "true princess" would have a skin and body so sensitive that she would feel a tiny pea under so many mattresses. She and he are married and the story boasts that the pea was placed in a museum and can be seen today, so this is a "true story."
This tale and the seeming lesson behind it have been celebrated in children's books and plays for years and the world has accepted, without question, this odd and nonsensical assertion that physical sensitivity is a true mark of royalty. After reading the original, there might be readers who express more concern than acceptance with this supposed royal affliction. If a pea under 21 mattresses causes her body to be black and blue, what is the rest of her day like? Surely the stones in the street just on the other side of her shoe must rival the pain felt by the poor mermaid! How does she sit, stand, ride horses, or simply get through life? And why is physical sensitivity a positive? Wouldn't constant skin irritation and pain be a detriment to the potential royal duties? The odder thing is that no other information about those the prince deemed "not right" and this fitful sleeper are shared. The other women are not said to be ill-tempered, rude, self-obsessed, unattractive, selfish, or any other kind of "not right." It just seems to be a gut feeling that is only satisfied by proof through the inability to sleep on top of a pea.
There is also the curious house-guest arrangement of this tale. A princess arrives in the middle of the night and accepts, without question, the task of sleeping on a stack of mattresses. This does not bother her, and she gladly climbs a ladder (one must assume) to sleep on this tower of bedding. In the morning, rather than being appreciative, she complains and focuses on the one, tiny, element of her visit that was unsatisfactory. A strange sort of hospitality, a very strange response, and from this we are to nod in agreement that "Yep, this is royalty alright."
There may be an argument here that Andersen may have not been celebrating how other-worldly and deeply sensitive royalty is, but pointing readers towards the opposite conclusion. To assume that royal figures feel and respond in a different way than the rest of us do; that they are too sensitive and delicate for normal life, and that this is why they do not have to work at the same level or deal with the same hardships, is as ridiculous as choosing a wife based on her lack of sleep after sleeping on a pea (which, by the way, would clearly be smashed by the weight of even a pillow, so there's that also).

Monday, December 5

Surround Yourself with People Who Hold You to a Higher Standard than You Hold Yourself – The Mission – Medium


I liked this article. Really liked it. Some of the quotes are brilliant. You're the average of the 5 closest people that you have. Or best you have people around you who hold you to a higher standard than you hold yourself.

If you surround yourself with people who are of a lower standard setting then you will go down to their level. Always kids. Always keep on trying to improve yourself. And one way is to be pushed by others. In a variety of ways. In travel. In reading. In skills. In playing football. In whatever activity.

They don't need to be physically present. They could be ideals or somebody you've read about. Somebody who you look up to.

Read the article. Very helpful :)



Friday, December 2

15 -Philes and What They Love .

So which ones did you like? I think i am a pluviophile, Gynotikolobomassophile, turophile, pogonophile, ailurophile, cynophile, ergophile, zoophile and clinophile.

I think Diya is an arctophile? :)



15 -Philes and What They Love

Love is patient. Love is kind. And often, love is denoted by the Greek root -phile.

1. Pluviophile

Love a rainy day? You're a pluviophile.

2. Gynotikolobomassophile

This one's easier to do than to pronounce: A gynotikolobomassophile enjoys nibbling on women's earlobes.

3. Turophile

Turophiles have never met a cheese plate they didn't like. They pair well with wine-loving oenophiles.

4. Pogonophile

Someone who loves beards and possibly 2/3 of ZZ Top.

5. Ailurophile

Cat lovers are technically called ailurophiles.

6. Cynophile

Cynophiles prefer dogs and are not to be confused with movie-loving cinephiles.

7. Coulrophile

Look out, Ronald McDonald. Coulrophiles don't just find clowns, jesters, and mimes amusing. They're sexually attracted to them.

8. Ergophile

Don't call them workaholics. Ergophiles just love being productive.

9. Arctophile

A 30-year-old who collects teddy bears isn't weird. He or she's an arctophile.

10. Stigmatophile

Someone who's obsessed with tattoos or branding.

11. Zoophiles

Lots of people love animals, but zoophiles want to really love animals, if you know what we mean.

12. Peristerophile  

A peristerophile would never call a pigeon a "flying rat." They adore the birds.

13. Stegophile

Alain Robert, known as the French Spider-Man, is a world famous stegophile. He's climbed the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House, and the New York Times Building just for fun.

14. Clinophile

Clinophile literally translates to a person who loves beds. Psychiatrists associate the word with sleep disorders and the desire to stay in a reclining position.

15. Chrysophile

File this one under "Words We'd Like To Hear In A Rap Song." Chrysophiles have a thing for bling, specifically gold.

HSBC Holdings plc
Registered Office: 8 Canada Square, London E14 5HQ, United Kingdom
Registered in England number 617987


This E-mail is confidential. 

It may also be legally privileged. If you are not the addressee you may not copy,
forward, disclose or use any part of it. If you have received this message in error,
please delete it and all copies from your system and notify the sender immediately by
return E-mail.

Internet communications cannot be guaranteed to be timely secure, error or virus-free.
The sender does not accept liability for any errors or omissions.

Thursday, December 1

Fwd: tiny person


you remember the sign on the back of the car? tiny person on board? see here are some benefits of being a tiny person, specially when the tiny person is you :) you do all that, remember when you hid in my suitcase? :)

Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, November 30

Fwd: John Steinbeck on the Creative Spirit and the Meaning of Life


I shared Steinbeck's letter to his son about falling in love with you earlier. Anyway if you've forgotten no worries, the link is given here :) 
But I really loved his description of the creative spirit son. The description is brilliant. And the feeling strikes you any time during weirdass times. When I've done 100 miles on the bike. Or after a long trek. Or when I cracked the models during my PhD. Or when I've written a good letter to you. Or when I've done a good piece of explaining something to somebody. Or when I've done a good lecture. It feels good. You may think this might be endomorphins or something. Or adrenalin. Or whatever. But it's something to look forward to son. I went to see my goddess Ishtar yesterday at the British museum. And felt a bit like what Steinbeck described. 3000 years old terracotta baked clay high relief plaque. And she spoke to me across the ages. And I felt so energised. I'll send you more information on her soon. Found a good essay on her recently and very coincidentally. 
If you ask me how does this happen? Or what do I do that allows me to feel energised like this? I would say son that one needs two things. 1. Insatiable curiosity. Einstein said son that genius and children share one quality, curiosity. So I guess I'm still a child. :) 
2. Would be the ability to absorb son. See the second point whichc Steinbeck mentions. The issue of mass production. And technology. And smartphones. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying don't use technology. Heck I'm an early and rapid and fill adopter of technology but also to let things percolate. Way too many people have told me that I need to slow down to let things percolate and absorb but hey my rate of absorption is also different. And my dimensions are different as well. 
If I see a good image or view or thing I click it. Capture the feelings. Then research it. And study it. And dream about it. And write about it and feel it. So different ways of absorption. 
I've banged on enough son. Just a small idea. When you're on your ski trip, try to get away and walk into a quiet corner of the mountain where there's nobody there with you. Or maybe a good girl who can be quiet. Avoid them who prattle on. (Heh). But just watch and see and feel the mountains and snow and ice and wind. It's very quiet in the mountains and snow. The sound is absorbed son. And then you're with your own thoughts. And freeze your toes off. :) but some of those moments are precious. It can really energise you. And then when you're describing your skiing trip to people, that magical moment will come alive and you'll remember that trip forever. 

John Steinbeck on the Creative Spirit and the Meaning of Life
(via Instapaper)

"The free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world."
imageA decade before he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, John Steinbeck (February 27, 1902–December 20, 1968) wrote East of Eden (public library), which was eventually adapted into the 1955 film of the same title starring James Dean and which Steinbeck originally addressed to his two young sons. (The elder one, Thom, later became the recipient of Steinbeck's magnificent letter of advice on falling in love.)
The thirteenth chapter of the novel features some of the most beautiful, poignant, and timelessly transcendent prose ever written — a gorgeous meditation on the meaning of life and the essence of the creative spirit:
Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then — the glory — so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man's importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men.
Writing in 1952, and writing for his two young sons, Steinbeck peers into the future, perhaps our present, with a concerned and prescient eye:

Tuesday, November 29

Fwd: The Assault of Laughter: 13 Perfectly Sardonic Mark Twain Quotes

Old mark twain was my childhood friend. Having had grown up in a similar small town like described in Tom Sawyer and huckleberry Finn he used to describe me. And believe you me I was very naughty indeed. Seriously. Not that I've stopped being naughty, I'm the bane of all the women in my life. 
But fun times. You've read some of his works son. And see? They praise his mustache :) a mustache has to have a life of its own. I've seen many which are limp affairs son. They lie tiredly across the philtum. Some droop like a flower. Some bristle like a toilet brush. Some are as patchy as a scabied dog. Some look so unhappy that you feel like feeding it a muffin. Some people shouldn't have a mustache. It's like God has reserved them for braver things than to hold the awesome responsibility of a mustache. 
A mustache son is a friend. It accompanies me everywhere. I stroke it when I'm thinking. Rodin couldn't have imagined the power of a mustache to help thinking when he sculpted the thinker. I chew on it when puzzled. I blow through it when I'm miffed. It's a nice way to blow off steam son. I comb it sideways when ive got a rebellious phase. I make it bristle when I need to add weight to my words. It's perfect when I'm trying to gauge the heat coefficient of tea. 
But like all good things son it has its price. Scuba diving is a pain as the face mask doesn't sit well in a watertight seal with the mustache. I've got to slather Vaseline on it. It has a distressing tendency to shed hair at inconvenient moments. The last thing you want while kissing a girl is for her to choke on your mustache hairball. It can make the girl sneeze. But used properly a mustache is great for girls. Without going into details, a mustache adds much value. Like you have lubricating strips above a shaving blade, a mustache helps to sensitise skin before you're kissing :) but not many people know how to wield a mustache properly. 
And then you can twirl it. Ah. That's the Fun part of it son :) twirling a mustache. In a land of facial hairless men, one can stand out proudly. 
Try it out sometime :) and ask your mum and girl friend if they like it. If not, well. Something's aren't in your destiny son. :)
Can't wait to see you tomorrow. Be prepared for a big hug and squish! 

The Assault of Laughter: 13 Perfectly Sardonic Mark Twain Quotes
(via Instapaper)

Twain in 1907/ Photo (c) Underwood & Underwood/Creative Commons
Twain in 1907/ Photo (c) Underwood & Underwood/Creative Commons

Biographile's This Week in History remembers events of the past, and the icons that set them in motion. If you're stirred by the words below, read on for more inspiring author quotes.
Mark Twain, father of American humor writing, was a man of prodigious intellect, perfect wit, and an enviable mustache.
Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835 -- this week in history -- Twain spent his early life in a bustling river town that afforded as much opportunity for education and entertainment as exposure to violence and degradation. This town, and all of its peaks and valleys, would become a setting for many of his works, most notably The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
His early life set the stage for an insatiable curiosity, soon fed by his extensive travels across the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Armed with an open mind, an affable aura, a writer's keen observational skills, and the broad perspective his travels afforded him, Twain captured the social and technological changes of America better than any of his peers, all with a wink and a smile.
Though most famous for his political commentary, Twain wrote about nearly every topic under the sun. As a novelist, journalist, and dabbling inventor, no topic was too 'off limits' to dodge the subject of his acerbic pen. In honor of his birthday, we've assembled a few of his driest, most chuckle-worthy opinions.
1. When angry, count four; when very angry, swear .(The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson, 1894)
2. Familiarity breeds contempt -- and children. (Mark Twain's Notebook, 1835)
3. Principles have no real force except when one is well-fed. (Extracts From Adam's Diary, 1906)
4. There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress. (Following the Equator, 1897)
5. "Classic." A book which people praise and don't read. (Following the Equator, 1897)
6. Do not put off till tomorrow what can be put off till day-after-tomorrow just as well. (Mark Twain's Notebook, 1835)
7. Golf is a good walk spoiled. (Greatly Exaggerated: The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain, ed. Alex Ayres, 1988)
8. Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society. (Mark Twain's Notebook, 1835)
9. Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. (Editorial in the Hartford Courant, Aug. 24, 1897)
10. Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet. (Mark Twain's Notebook, 1835)
11. Its name is Public Opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it is the voice of God. (Europe and Elsewhere, 1923)
12. A gifted person ought to learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours, French in thirty days, and German in thirty years.  (A Tramp Abroad ,1880)
13. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand. (The Mysterious Stranger,  1908)

Monday, November 28

Fwd: networking

Whilst we were doing your spring week work assessments and questions over the past couple of days, you mentioned networking…Coincidentally, I was at a networking dinner yesterday and met Luca uncle there. And there picked up this little leaflet on networking skills class. Well, don't think I need to do this, but thought of dropping you a line about my thoughts on this. 
It's a strange thing and I am a bit schizoid about it all. In one way, I hate the waste of time and on the other hand, I love meeting new people and discussing various elements to this. But it can take up loads of time, son. And whenever I mentor people, I tell them that they have to be brutal and honest about how much time you spend on networking as a significant amount of networking is wasted. Most of it is because people don't know how to network. And wasting time is criminal. 
As the picture shows, how you prepare for the networking is crucial. You have to pick and choose the events you go to, don't go to ones just because, but to ones which really will make a difference in the next 6 months, if not, ignore them. You have to be dressed appropriately. Just like you will not wear a suit to a networking event which is in the marshes, you shouldn't wear a pair of jeans when going to a bankers session. And be comfortable son, people can make out very easily if you are comfortable in your skin. Shoes, very important, they allow you to be comfortable and stand around for a long time. 
Rest of the points you can take a look, fairly straightforward. Approach people straight off, don't be shy or embarrassed. Go up and talk quickly. But remember names, have a little pad and pencil handy or use your smartphone to make a note of the name, connect with them on LinkedIn or email, and then drop them a note the day after so that they remember. After a month or so, if you find them of value, ask to meet up for a coffee to further explore something that they said. People love to talk about their work and their ideas, and there's nothing like a little 1-2-1 with some flattery J. Linked in is a very powerful tool so do use that J
Think of these points whilst you are at the ski trip son, you are meeting peers who will be your network in the future, understand what they do, where are they coming from, where are they going. Oh! And start helping them. Remember the godfather, son, collect favours as many as possible. Don't worry about repayment, just collect favours as many as possible. They will pay off son. 
Yesterday I was talking with a police commissioner who wanted to know how to improve policing and we got into a discussion on how to generate new ideas. Few years back, I helped a little charity get off the ground in Africa and India in a tiny way and that helps school teachers come up with good ideas and with a tiny bit of funding helps to increase the impact of those ideas. So I could bring that idea to the police commissioner and we are going to speak more about this to see if we can adapt that idea for the police here in England. Small thing, son, but you never know where your favours end up.. J