Editor's Note

Time Keeps on Slipping…

Time Keeps on Slipping…

By Eric Harding

MY BIRTHDAY WAS A FEW WEEKS AGO. As I pondered my whirlwind journey through time, a funny memory from my college days came rushing back to me like a derecho. It was during my sophomore year, when my friends and I were still finding our footing in the chaotic dance of academia and social life.

One fateful evening, we decided to throw a party to celebrate the end of midterms—a much-needed break from the relentless grind of exams. The theme? “Time Travel Extravaganza.” Naturally, we all showed up in a mishmash of costumes representing different eras, from togas reminiscent of ancient Rome to neon leggings straight out of the ’80s.

Amid the laughter and energetic dance moves, someone jokingly suggested that we conduct a “time travel experiment” by setting all the clocks in the house forward by an hour. What began as a whimsical idea quickly escalated into pandemonium as we stumbled around, disoriented by our altered perception of time. (Hey, it was college.) For a brief, dizzying moment, it felt as though we had indeed slipped into an alternate dimension where time operated at warp speed. It wasn’t until the following morning that we pieced together the events of the previous night and shared a hearty laugh at our collective delusion.

Reflecting on that absurd yet delightful night, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the irony of how time had played tricks on us, blurring the lines between past, present, and future in the most unexpected of ways. It was a reminder that against the relentless march of time, there’s always room for laughter and the occasional leap into the whimsical realm of absurdity.

 This issue’s features contain meditations on the calendar, time’s passage, and the old vs. the new. Our cover story, “Election Issues 2024—The Academy Weighs In,” is a fitting reminder that November is only a few months away. National elections call for clear-eyed analysis … and that’s where the Academy comes in. Read on for our latest salvo on that front.

In a special section, we celebrate this magazine’s 35th birthday. Way back in 1989, Contingencies sprang to life, and it’s been a wild ride since then. Be sure to check out the interview with Joe Sutliff, the Up to Code cartoonist—he’s a character.

Finally, in “Into the Deep End,” we take a look at a brand-new resource for actuaries—neural networks, specifically their use in next-gen modeling. But don’t toss the tried-and-true generalized linear models just yet. They have much in common with these new toys and have their place in the actuary’s toolbox.

Thanks, as ever, for reading. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be peering into the mirror, wondering who that gray-haired stranger is.

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