Footsteps

Snow. A lot of it. All around us, everything was white. We had underestimated the hike to Jägerkamp, a summit at 1746 meters near lake Spitzingsee in the Bavarian Prealps. While spring had arrived to Munich at the beginning of April, it had not yet melted the thick layer of snow (~2 to 3 meters) that covered the mountains. The trail was by far not visible, but we followed the frozen footsteps that others had left. The views were breathtaking but we were running out of daylight. In a painfull rush, we managed to reach a road clear of snow in the last minutes of dusk. The relief as we escaped the dangerous snow was enormous. We learned the lesson.

The greenery at the bottom of the picture are not bushes but tree crowns buried in snow

A few hundred meters below the summit, everything looked like spring

Near the summit, one could get a "hiking stamp" but the ink was long dry

The view from the top of Jägerkamp

Change is good

This is it, I guess. Three years after coming back to Spain, I have again a one-way ticket to Germany. I have hesitated to take this decission, but I believe that change is good. The hardest part is to leave behind the people who have shaped the past three years. I regret not to have found the time to get to know many of them better. I leave with the feeling that I am missing out on extraordinary people from whom I still had many things to learn. A few weeks ago, I organized a farewell event at work. I was amazed at all the love and good wishes from everyone. I am afraid not to have let them know how grateful I am for all their support and affection.

Farewell cake on my last day at IMDEA Networks

This event woke me up from this comforting routine in which we often fall and that sets work, entertainment, and materialism as priorities. However, all of this shrinks to an insignificant stub of nothing when compared to the power of getting to know and learning from the unique people that surround us. My plane has not yet taken off and I already miss them.

Happiness

This is the third year that I visit my former high school to give a talk about my experience so far in engineering and academic research. The school invites former students every year to give such talks, since this can help the pupils to decide what to do once they finish. In this talk I focus on the contents of an engineering degree, but also on why it is difficult to find a position as an actual engineer. However, I also spend a significant amount of the talk speaking about happiness. We are taught that happiness is having a successful career in a well seen profession, earning a high salary, and never accepting that we may have made a wrong choice.

Need happiness? Just go to this Happiness Superstore in the old town of Dubai!

One of the insights that I try to convey during such talks is that the above formula is exactly the way to unhappiness. Thus, this year I decided to begin the talk with the below video by Steve Cutts, which I believe is a brilliant depiction of this idea.

Browsing Steve Cutts' account on Vimeo, I found two other masterpieces:

Analepsis

Seis años y medio más tarde, visité de nuevo Valencia. Los preciados recuerdos de mi viaje anterior estaban guardados y sellados en lo más profundo de mi memoria para protegerlos ante el paso del tiempo. Por ello, a primera vista apenas reconocí nada. Pero a medida que paseaba por las calles de la ciudad, los recuerdos volvían como destellos: aquella esquina, aquella puerta, aquel establecimiento... Y en una lluviosa y nublada tarde de Enero, estaba de nuevo en el muelle de La Albufera. En mi mente era un soleado día de Agosto y nos hacíamos una foto todos juntos ante el atardecer. Pero en realidad, el embarcadero estaba vacío.

Mi madre convirtió la foto original en un cuadro hace años

Robot PSY

No sabía muy bien que esperar de Corea. De la del Sur, se entiende. Antes de pisar la tierra del Kimchi, solo sabía que tienen un vecino que se apunta a un bombardeo y que Gangnam no solo viene de una canción sino también de un barrio. Del vecino no oí nada en los nueve días que estuve ahí, lo cual agradecí. Pero de la canción tampoco escuché ni un acorde, por lo que toda mi imagen de Corea del Sur amenazaba con desmoronarse. Pero en el aeropuerto, poco antes de regresar a Europa, se recuperó el equilibrio: nos encontramos con mini-robots de tecnología punta bailando los éxitos de PSY. Ahora ya podía regresar tranquilo a casa :D

Cuando nos dominen los robots, esto nos lo van a cobrar caro