Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn
dachte

Antiideals

Sometimes, I think of people, ideas, and lifestyles that are so perfectly wrong, from my point of view, that they achieve a kind of perfection in their antithesisity. I am sometimes rather impressed by how masterfully these things invoke horror in me.

Fortunately, I am in an altogether excellent mood, because I am programming, and I love what I am making. I love Perl, I love databases, and I am working again on stuff that involves both. I don't know if I'd be quite as happy if I were working with more primitive databases -- PostgreSQL is, in some ways, the Perl of databases in that it allows enormous flexibility with its rich data types, ability to run other languages inside itself, powerful constraint tool, and altogether friendly and powerful SQL dialect. Of course, it's disturbingly readable, but ... hehe. My perl is pretty readable anyhow. Although I seem to have a problem motivating myself to start programming (or really, do much of anything nowadays. I'm not sure why, I just have been having trouble with motivation), once I start, it's like eating MIT-MAGIC-COOKIES with a lot of syntactic sugar on top ;)

In Bioinformatics, we're doing stuff with wavelet-based classifiers, spurring me to think about the relationship of information compression using SVDs and wavelets. Also, I now (surprise!) seem to understand a lot of the stuff that was opaque to me when I was working in the Auton group in CS. This pleases me greatly -- while I've been wondering what to do with my life (maybe I'll never stop wondering..?), when previously opaque math/science things become clear to me, it feels like a sign that I'm continuing with intellectual growth, which is a major continual life goal for me. The deeper the knowledge I have, on both the soft and the hard sides of human understanding, the deeper the insight I'll have. The best gift that anyone could give me would be to teach me something cool and new. I am indebted to almost every professor I have had for doing just that, and while doing it through classes is more structure than I'd like, it is still a way to recieve that gift.

To touch briefly back on Perl stuff, I initially was confronted with the ugly problem of sensibly handling date/time stuff. I've done that kind of stuff with C, and it's always been difficult, messy, and hard to get the border cases right. Fortunately, some enormously cool person write a module called DateTime, which rocks my world. Apart from some very minor ways it could be more flexible (e.g. having its constructor allow me to specify week and day_of_week rather than day_of_month), it provides a minimally complex interface to a naturally fairly complex abstraction.

It surprised me earlier to see a cute little kid telling some random other person not to mess with them in that cute-but-threatening-but-still-cute way. By cute little kid, I mean what was probably a 9 year old girl. It further surprised me to hear recently someone talking about greek philosophy who actually seemed to have read some greek philosophy. Ahhh.. life.

I just realised that some nice music I'm listening to is not in fact Gerschwin, it's instead a friend of mine who gave me one of her CDs about 6 years ago. Neat.

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