Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Everything boils down

I'm a bit broiled right now.. (beyond fried).. apart from an hour ofsleep I snuck in, I've been up since yesterday morning, redesigninga database where feeping creaturism has made some features unwieldy, for work.Spit and glue only goes so far, eventually it's good to tear that down anddo it right. I think I have the new design down pretty well, and I can usethe opportunity to remake the servlets in my own image, now that I knowwhat I'm doing, and now that my Java/Servlet mentor is long gone from theproject. There comes a time, with every inherited project, for the student toreshape things in their own style. The new database design is done, and thenew servlet design is still in my head, but is fairly concrete at this point.Ahh, computer stuff, where one can leave the workplace, having at most twiddledsome bits on a computer, and sometimes just on paper or even just forced an ideainto brutal clarity in one's head, and work is indeed done. Unfortunately, whilethe idea is clear, I've fallen out of deep hack mode, and won't likely fall backin on this sleep cycle :)

Grabbed some more goodies on the internet while programming over the night..some more episodes of a TV show I find funny, and an absolutely amazingvideo of someone playing Super Mario Brothers 1.. Either it's doctored,or they're absolutely incredible. SMB1 was a pretty buggy game (although itdoes deserve its reputation as being one of the best and most important videogames of all time), and this player taped themselves going from 1-1 to 8-4,showing off at ever step, and dancing close enough to death at every go thatit's actually kind of stressful to watch. The next time I have free time(likely the weekend, unless I sacrifice some time I should be sleeping). Atleast that blasted paper is done -- just one more (philosophy, a term paper)to go for this semester.

And now, the news:Kasparov vs Fritz, another human-chess match..Another electronic-voting mess.. It would be very nice if they could replacethe old ways of voting, but it looks like they're probably not testing theirsystems enough if they're getting bugs like this. The phrase "lengthycollaboration" is worrying -- it's presumably no simple bug. Go, Microvote!Woo! Of course, it doesn't hold a candle to the internal memos that leakedfrom Diebold's election services.It's a good thing that the Americans are bringing free speech to Iraq.Also nice that we're getting good, honest media coverage.Kudos to Reid of Nevada, for his bold steps to keep wackos out of ourJudiciary. I guess maybe I'm judging a bit too soon -- I don't know whoBushJr and friends have lined up for the seats, but I suspect they're scarilyconservative folk who will do their very best to undo what progress has beenmade in our government over the last century.Here's another analysis of the recent Al Qæda attacks in Saudi Arabia.Finally, looks like more information has been liberated. Cool! Iwon't be able to use it (I like my 3-year old cellphone, and until it can'tbe repaired anymore, I'm likely to stick with it), but the less effectivepeople are at controlling information, the better off we all are.Isn't this a pretty picture? And in the 'related stories' section,we see she'd like a third child. Umm.. NO PLEASE! (heh)

Omission of important data in news stories is frustrating.. Here's somethingthat helped me understand a rather complex and ugly particular instance inthe Yugoslav breakup (incidentally, although he might not've been a niceguy, it's a pity that Tito couldn't've kept going forever).The new information doesn't excuse what happened, but it does providenecessary perspective. This should be a guiding principle in life --it's much more common that one doesn't have all the information or understanda perspective then that people are malevolent for the heck of it. People whodon't make a decent effort at reading news critically with this in mindrisk being manipulated. Yet.. I see it happen all the time.

That reminds me, last night, I took a break from work to attend a gatheringof the CMU computer club. We saw Real Genius and Swordfish.Real Genius was amusing, in that campy 80s way... kind of like Gooniesor Weird Science. Swordfish was a terrible, stupid movie. Imagine a helicopter flying a bus arounda city, interrupting board meetings. Yeah, it's that dumb. AVOID! AVOID!(but it's probably too late -- you've either seen it or you won't)It was fun to get a break from classes and work for a bit..

Yesterday in Philosophy class, the professor made a reference to H. Evertt'srelative-state interpretation of quantum mechanics. I might try to chew on it, but I suspect that it, while interesting, willbe way over my head. In psych class, we briefly touched on language synthesis,and I dug up an article that I had seen previously on the topic,to show the prof. Surprisingly, she had worked with the person who the article,more or less, was about. While browsing around the server, I found this'parent area' of that article. I might need to add it to my 'often visited'section of my bookmarks :)

Also in philosophy, we're currently reading academic arguments over empiricism..In academic philosophy, things that are checkboxes and rough categories inother philosophy become rather tight schools of thought. I've learned thata number of terms I've applied to myself and other that are accurate in the'lay philosophy' are not accurate in academic philosophy, and while I havelittle desire to enter academic philosophy, I would like to be able to speakboth languages, so much as is possible. In general, I think that the interestingareas of philosophy are the less formal areas -- formal logic is reallyuninteresting to me, and I think formal accounts of scientific discoveryare often too complex and, to use a computer metaphor, mix program and datatoo much. There are some philosophers we've read that agree with me on this,having written papers not too far from things I might've written. To me,the fundamental basis of science is that it works, producing real predictionswith statistical significance stronger than randomness. Everything else isheuristics we've learned in that task. Notions of verification and all thatcan all be chosen and evaluated based on performance. This classifies meinto the academic meaning of "philosophic naturalism".

I really don't like this time of year very much. Darkness, sure, I'm ok withthat.. actually, 24-hour darkness, with rain and thunder all the time, that'dbe really cool.. but the cold, dry air, that really bugs me. Winter is myleast favourite time of the year..

Yup, time for some sleep soon. Fortunately, I think with this jaunt I've made upfor about 3/4 of a friday I took off a few weeks ago. Soon: Zuruch nach Heim!

But, I'll end on a song... It has the same pain and struggling that I enjoyin good Russian music, but it's a different way of reacting to it..If the Russian music is marching ahead, resolute and tragic, the Gaelic musicis still marching ahead, but looking back with a wistful expression..

o/~If I ever leave this world aliveI'll take on all the sadness I've left behind....

She saysI'm OK, I'm alrightThough you have gone from my lifeYou said that it would,Now everything should .. be alrighto/~

Flogging Molly -- "If I ever leave this world alive"

Tags: music, philosophy, politics

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