I blew it last week. I’ll readily admit it. Blame it on the flu or Covid or whatever the nasty bug was that confined me to bed for a day and fuzzy for a few. It’s not often that the 15th of March happens to come up on the same day as the weekly newsletter release, and I titled my last editorial “Beware Wishful Thinking.” Perhaps my mind was foreshadowing. Whatever.
“Beware the Ides of March” is a familiar refrain to English majors, Latin students, and history buffs as the day in 44 BC that a fortune-teller warned Julius Caesar about as he made his way home from his latest campaigns. Caesar, who had declared himself dictator a few months before at the head of his legions of troops during the Gaelic campaign, spoke before the Roman Senate. Many of the senators had become very concerned about Caesar’s concentration of power and had conspired to assassinate him. Originally planning to speak with the senators, Caesar had heard warnings and decided to wait them out, but when one of his generals, Mark Anthony, convinced him that he was being foolish, Caesar threw caution to the wind. Arriving at the Senate, he was accosted by petitioners, including Marcus Brutus, who then literally stabbed Caesar in the back. Plutarch, in his histories, indicated that as he lay dying, his last words were “καὶ σύ, τέκνον“, or “You too, child?”, which Shakespeare in his play Julius Caesar changed to “Et tu, Brute?” (“And you, Brutus?”).
The event proved pivotal in the history of Rome. kicking off a civil war as generals and senators fell into different factions, and it would be more than a year before Mark Anthony would emerge as the next Emperor. If there are any lessons there, it would be to be careful of the laws of unintended consequences and to plan for exigencies.
On a linguistic note: The Roman Calendar was odd and likely inherited from the Etruscans (the very old peoples in the area now known as Tuscany). It was based on the Lunar calendars, which had alternating month days to take into account the lunar orbit rather than the solar one. The first of the month, the Kalends (from whence the term calendar), indicated the date of the new moon. The Nones occurred around the half-moon, typically around the 7th of March but it varied depending on the month. The Ides fell on the 15th of March, but could be the 13th in other months, and represented the full moon. What made the system particularly strange was that other days were calculated based upon the number of days prior to these named events. Thus, the 12th of March would have been Ante Diem III Ides Martias, or three days before the Ides of March.
From this, another warning: Dates are hard, but they are easier than they used to be. Also, be careful about assuming that everyone’s date notation (or any other similar conventions) are the same simply because you are familiar with your own. Data management is complex because it is built upon many, many unstated (and frequently unexamined) assumptions, and those assumptions can stab you in the back if you’re not watching the time.
Oh, by the way, while discussing things Latinate, I thought I’d mention my closing line for a moment. The term in media res translates to “In the middle of things”, which is exactly where an ontologist should be. On that note …
In Media Res,
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Data Science Central Editorial Calendar
DSC is looking for editorial content specifically in these areas for April, with these topics having higher priority than other incoming articles.
- Military AI
- Knowledge Graphs and Modeling
- Metaverse and Shared Worlds
- Cloud and GPU
- Data Agility
- Astronomical AI
- Intelligent User Interfaces
- Verifiable Credentials
- Digital Twins
- 3D Printing
DSC Featured Articles
- Think AI Can’t Take Your Job? Think Again Zachary Amos on 15 Mar 2022
- Selling Your Digital Content on Amazon, Without Kindle Vincent Granville on 14 Mar 2022
- History of the Metaverse in One Picture Stephanie Glen on 14 Mar 2022
- Data Augmented Healthcare Part 1 Scott Thompson on 14 Mar 2022
- Why is Data Back-Up Necessary? The Benefits of Availing Technical Support Karen Anthony on 13 Mar 2022
- Cloud-Based Mobile App Testing: A Complete Guide Ryan Williamson on 13 Mar 2022
- Opening the Pod Bay Door: Regulating multi-purpose AI ajitjaokar on 13 Mar 2022
- Automotive AR and VR — Prototyping in the Virtual World Nikita Godse on 13 Mar 2022
- Why do you need a metadata management system? Definition and Benefits. Indhu on 13 Mar 2022
- When Good Data Goes Bad Sameer Narkhede on 12 Mar 2022
- Top 5 Fundamental Concepts of Data Engineering Karen Anthony on 10 Mar 2022
- What’s Under the Tree for ECMAScript-mas 2022? Kurt Cagle on 10 Mar 2022
- Flutter vs Kotlin: Comparison of Mobile App Development Frameworks Ryan Williamson on 10 Mar 2022
- Fast-track The Way You Find Tech Talent with These IT Staffing Solutions Costanza Tagliaferi on 10 Mar 2022
- The long game: Desiloed systems and feedback loops by design (I of II) Alan Morrison on 09 Mar 2022
- How the Internet of Things Empowers CAD Anna Liza Montenegro on 09 Mar 2022
- DSC Weekly Digest 08 March 2022: Beware of Wishful Thinking Kurt Cagle on 09 Mar 2022
Picture of the Week