Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn
dachte

The Man with the Soft Shadow

The weather is nice again, and I felt inspired, about 45 minutes ago,to go out and enjoy the sun. A part of me suggested that I wait for someother time, perhaps the weekend. Ahh, screw that. I need more spontinaeityin my life, and I'm working late tonight anyhow, so I went out and hada wonderful nap on Flagstaff hill. While starting to doze off, I had a nicesight of the buildings of east Pittsburgh, people playing frizbee, peoplewalking their dogs, taking their laptops out with friends to sit and listento music, and what's probably the first of people going light onclothing for this year. Perhaps I'll join them sometime -- I do tend to tanpretty nicely. The ground was a bit soggy though from the recent snow melting,so when I got up, I needed to wait a bit for my clothes to dry off. Lifeis good. If you, my reader, are in a similar clime, I suggest you also go outand enjoy some sun. If you're working a job where you can't do that, regardlessof how well it pays it's a sucky job.

A quip from Father Ted, a BBC series I've been watching recently:"It's banned in most European countries, so that means it must be very good"

Last night, I also caught some nice radiation, at a backyard campfire at thehome of some friends. Now that I've decided to go if I get a good offer,things are indeed becoming quite nice here. So it goes. Life is at leastpartly about choices. I want to buy a house, and I want to see the world.This can make that happen. I could move back to Pittsburgh if I wantafter my stay there.

An insight in programming -- part of the reason a lot of code is hard to readis that the act of programming involves a certain kind of mental activity --focusing on a particular thing as you implement it, and then forgetting itas you move on to other tasks. This requires a certain amount of momentum indoing things one way, so that one can trust in that momentum when focusing ondoing things that way without actually investigating. Imagine, for example,the act of navigating to a particular place in a park without knowing which wayto go at any of the landmarks, just being comfortable enough knowing that in agiven area, one's artistic sense would guide one to make the same turns, andthat in sequence, these would take one to the same spot, even though the wholeprocess would be unable to be explained to outsiders. This kind of straddles theline between implicit knowledge and consistancy in judgement. A lot of the wayprogramming alone or in small groups with like-minded people works so well isthat they can rely on this sense, and everything flows naturally with minimalnote-taking or communication. As years pass, people change their habits andtheir artistic judgement changes, so this kind of being in the groove eventuallystops working. This is at least one factor as to why reading old code is hard.It's like attempting to page-in/reconstruct memory from a swapfile when ourpaging algorithm has changed.

Google Maps recently added satellite info to their service. It's quite cool.Oddly, while you can scroll over into europe in satellite mode, you cannot instandard map mode (or rather you can, but you end up with ocean for any part ofthe world not in North America. Hopefully they'll fix that, and perhaps willalso add the nighttime light data to their service as another view. That wouldbe quite cool.Some neat satellite photos:Where I liveHow I don't get to workFrom my current really cool apartment to my old really cool apartmentI'm a long way from where I was born

Apparently, for the interested, I was born in the Presbyterian Hospital ofDallas, located at 8200 Walnut Hill Lane, Dallas, TX 75231I currently live 1279 miles from there (although I don't know if that's asthe eagle flies or as the car drives). If I ever wanted to make a road trip tomy birthplace, I'd pass through Columbus, Cincinnatti, Memphis, Jacksonville,and then enter Dallas. Looks like a pretty drive, based on the nice satellitephotos.

Sometimes, there are interesting issues relating to free speech versusgetting a proper trial. In this case, some kinds of information relating toa trial in Canada are subject to a publication ban until a jury can be found,and in this case, an American blogger breached that ban in the United States.I can understand the argument that it's very difficult to find a fair juryonce information leaks out, and that in the United States, for high profilecases it's quite difficult to find people who arn't familiar with some kindsof court cases (the OJ case being an example). I imagine that if one is to waituntil jury selection, one really needs to wait until the case ends to makepublic these things, because sometimes one needs a retrial.

Dayton Ohio has free Wireless internet downtown. Cool!My internet is scheduled to be reconnected on Thursday. Not too bad.

I've had a number of other interesting dreams recently, involving one strangeand quirky one about the word MAYOR being printed blanked out in a newspaper,replaced by underscores, and that being a hint to something, and someoneanswering a question that I don't think I'll ever get to ask in real life. Ididn't entirely like the answer, but it does provide some kind of an artificialresolution.

On the way to work today, I saw my badger(?) friend again in the field on theside of the highway. He's been alone since a car killed his (her?) mate ayear ago. Roadkill really gets to me, especially because I go by foot so much.I keep thinking that we need to leave this planet, not for our sake, butfor its own. And yes, I am fully comfortable using the planet as a metaphorfor its biosphere (a number of non-eco types like to point out thatplanet != life on planet, just to give them something to distract). Some peoplesay that any efforts to preserve endangered species or biodiversity are a signof further arrogance of humanity, noting that we've already done enough tothe planet with our meddling. Well, yes, as civilization, we have messed upthe planet, but it wasn't purely being arrogant that did it -- it was notknowing and then not caring. Either we take steps to slow/halt/reverse thedamage, or we don't. Life doesn't give us an undo button -- we can't arrangeto never have done any of it in the first place. One can sit back and not carewith some dumbheaded optimism that we'll fix it before we destroy ourselves andthe environment, one can decide not to care about the long-term and distractoneself with lucre or other things, one can relapse or stay in blissfulignorance, or one can actually make a serious effort to lighten one'sfootprint on the environment. How could we fix roads to damage the environmentless? Build fewer of them, mandate that alternate paths always exist togo under or over them (ideally ones that are wildlife-friendly), supportpublic transit and take efforts to discourage or ban car use.

Tags: dreams, politics, tech
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