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|Monday, June 26th, 2006|
- was born in 1997
- was a play on the word database
- had a collection of computers he built from garbage
- spent a lot of time on usenet
- slept on a couch in the basement
- wrote programs of questionable purpose to extend aol
- went to high school programming competitions
- went wardrving
- did pretty well on topcoder
- liked playing quake 2, darkages, and realms of dispair
- read 2600 magazine
- read motherboard specs for fun
- wanted to learn more about physics
- is old news
It's time for a change:http://philentropist.livejournal.comhttp://philentropist.blogspot.comhttp://flickr.com/photos/80694045@N00/
|Wednesday, June 14th, 2006|
I'll be doing a lot of reading this summer. The current reading list in approximate order is:
- On the Road, Jack Kerouac
- The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan (borrowed from Emily)
- The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, Marilyn Manson
- How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love With Poetry, Edward Hirsch (gift from Laurel)
- The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination, Jacob Bronowski (gift from Okie)
- Freedom's Edge: The Computer Threat to Society, Milton R. Wessel (gift from Marianne)
- Been Down so Long it Looks Like Up to Me, Richard Farina (suggested by Mike)
- Learning XML, Erik T. Ray
- Learning SQL, Alan Beaulieu
- Programming PHP, Kevin Tatroe
- Calculus on Manifolds, Michael Spivak (suggested by Sussman)
- Relativity: The Special and the General Theory, Albert Einstein
- Visual Complex Analysis, Tristan Needham (suggested by Sussman)
|Saturday, June 10th, 2006|
|Friday, June 2nd, 2006|
Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. "Dammit, Otto, you are an alcoholic." "Dammit, Otto, you have Lupus." One of those two doesn't sound right.
-- Mitch Hedberg
In my experience, alcohol dependence is one of the most poorly understood and misunderstood diseases. One reason is that alcoholism is a complex condition that the research to date has not fully illuminated. Another reason is that preconceptions about alcohol and alcoholics are deeply ingrained in society, and there is little motivation for anyone to reevaluate them. Alcoholics are held in low social regard, so it is easy to write matters of alcohol dependence off as irrelevant to respectable people, but this reasoning is circular. A final reason, though there are many more, is that alcoholism is both physiological and social in nature. Some claim that alcoholism is a physiological problem, others claim it is a social/psychological problem. A casual observer of the debate could reasonably conclude that maybe it isn't really a problem at all.
There is a huge divide between those who have lived with alcoholism and those who haven't. To those who have lived with it, alcoholism is an extremely emotional and fundamental part of life. Personally, I think about my father's drinking more often than I think about sex. To be more precise I think about how his drinking affected my family and has shaped me as a person. On the other hand, to someone who has never lived with alcoholism, it is just a word, a symbol representing something they have never known. This divide greatly hinders commmunication between the two sides, thus perpetuating itself. Those who have lived with alcoholism often discuss it in subjective and emotional terms that have little meaning to others. Those who haven't lived with alcoholism tend to afford it very little thought and to underestimate the complexity and extent of its effects. Also, misconceptions abound on both sides of the divide. Those who haven't lived with alcoholism seemingly never think to check their beliefs, and those who have lived with it can be so blinded by its personal intensity that they are incapable of thinking about it objectively and rationally. I've heard many otherwise intelligent and precise people exhibit a complete lack of understanding of the nature of alcoholism, and even confidently assert blatantly false facts.
I often wonder if there are other people at MIT who have had the same types of experiences I have. If there are, they must be keeping quiet. Then again, I keep pretty quiet about such things. In any case, I realize that I've seen both sides of the divide and am in a relatively unique position to facilitate understanding between those who have lived with alcoholism and those who haven't. However, I'm not sure either side wants to understand the other.
|Friday, May 26th, 2006|
I have passed my classes, which means that I have finished my undergraduate education.( ReflectionsCollapse )
|Monday, May 22nd, 2006|
My mind has been fixating on a single memory for the past 2 months or so. It reminds me of a line from a Bob Dylan song: I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to
. It was 2002, Steve and I were headed up to the Leelanau peninsula. Three or four other people had planned on coming and cancelled, but we went anyway. We had borrowed Doug's car as mine had been totalled by an old man on his way back from church some months earlier. By the time we passed through Gaylord, the engine was releasing curious amounts of smoke, so we decided to pull into a rest stop and take a break. I got some black coffee and we situated ourselves on a picnic table. Certainly we had a place to go, but that place was no place, and no one cared if or when we got there. So we just sat there, surrounded by forest and sky, while I sipped my coffee.
|Saturday, May 13th, 2006|
I'm using my L-system code as a synthesizer to generate music from the peano curveROOTofBsquared:
i'm adding that to my collection of pick-up lines
|Monday, May 8th, 2006|
|Sunday, May 7th, 2006|
This past weekend was steer roast
. I managed to stop by a couple times. Summary: long lines, playground with ball pit, attempting to guess when my simulations were finished, a lobster named Samuel III, the "Okie zone", physics discussion with an alum named jared from bloomfield hills, towers kids ain't half bad, and moderate to high levels of rocking out.
|Sunday, April 30th, 2006|
Beast roast was yesterday. Good times indeed. There was a little of this
and a little of that
. There was also, virtual beast roast
On an unrelated note, I finished a thesis chapter and given the weather, decided to celebrate with a jog. It's been a while, the last time I went jogging was along lake Geneva. It was awfully wonderful and wonderfully awful, and as always I pushed until I was convinced that I couldn't make it, but ended in a sprint.
|Friday, April 21st, 2006|
Today my life was a video game.
Go to game area w20. Fire alarm: game area locked.
Go to game area technology square.
Use key item: experiment voucher. Receive key item: cash.
Talk to bank teller. Account opened.
Go to game area kendall square.
Use key item: cash. Receive key item: regalia receipt.
Game area w20 unlocked.
Go to game area w20.
Receive key item: artwork payment. Deposit in account.
Game event: student physics society pizza.
Go to game area: common room.
Active quest: thesis.
Active subquests: music term paper, quantum term paper.
|Monday, April 17th, 2006|
Reflecting on the physics portion of my undergraduate education, and my worrisome prospects for physics grad school, I've realized that a lack of crucial knowledge has been a consistent problem. As such, I've compiled a list of things that a physics major at MIT should do (and that I didn't). Additions are welcome.
Go to office hours. Problem sets often contain incomplete information and vague phrasing, and office hours are the most efficient way to clear this up. Futhermore, office hours offer the opportunity to meet faculty and familiarize yourself with their language, particularly their canonical unstated assumptions.
Find a UROP which involves interacting directly with a professor. Professors will not write letters of recommendation (or reply to email for that matter) if you interacted with their grad students rather than them. Letters of recommendation from research advisors are crucial for grad school apps. Also, stay with the UROP, especially during term, as it will take a while to become trusted enough to work on anything worth doing. To find such a UROP, talk to other UROPs. Be sure to ask whether the professor frequently leaves the country for extended periods of time. Then, approach the professor directly, preferably during any office hours they might have.
Start looking at grad schools early, at least 6 months before applying. Find specific professors who are working in areas you are interested in and contact them by email or phone. Familiarize yourself with the current research and discuss it with them. These are the same professors who will review your application and decide if you are accepted, and if they already know you, your interests, and capabilities, it should simplify the process.
Do not place trust in professors who have not yet proven themselves trustworthy. Some will intentionally mislead, observe unfair practices, and grade unfairly. Attempting to reason will only aggrivate the problem, so it is best to bite the bullet and place time and energy in more productive pursuits.
Meet older physics students. Advisors can be helpful, but they are hit-or-miss. Other physics students have gone through the same classes and are generally better at remembering what is confusing about class material when it is first learned.
Take an easy senior year. Grad school apps and the senior thesis require full attention and a lot of time.
|Sunday, April 16th, 2006|
"Some scientists believe that their mere capacity to respond, in some vague way, to art qualifies them to make judgements about it. This attitude is representative of a terrible cultural problem." --Charles Wuorinen, composer (interview with Richard Boulanger, 1984).
|Wednesday, April 12th, 2006|
I just finished reading Watchmen
|Monday, April 3rd, 2006|
|Say What You See
|Thursday, March 30th, 2006|
athena% ping mudbrick
mudbrick is alive
|Sunday, March 26th, 2006|
I'm in the process of removing all of my artwork from the past 5 years or so from deviantART. I actually read through all of the new license agreement, and it's even worse than I suspected. I suspect that my distaste for giving up my rights will be the end of me. In any case, the final breakdown follows:databoss has 7,246 pageviews total and his 206 deviations were viewed 12,289 times. He watches 40 people, while 22 people watch him.
Overall, his deviations received 340 comments and were added to deviants' favourites 39 times, while he commented 385 times, making about 0.2 comments per day since he joined DA. This means that he gave 11 comments for every 10 that he received.
His deviation with the most comments is 14,340 Words with 16 comments, receiving an average of 1.14 per day in the first 2 weeks, and it is also his most favourited, with 5 favourites, averaging 0.35 per day in the first 2 weeks. His most viewed deviation is Everybody Needs a 303 with 621 views.
1 favourite was given for every 10 comments.
Every 9.2 days he uploads a new deviation, and it's usually on a Sunday, with 44 (21%) of his deviations.
His busiest month was January 2002 with 22 (11%) of his deviations.
The majority of his deviations are uploaded to the Photography gallery (161), while his favourite category was Art Photography > Miscellaneous with 103 deviations.
Comments per deviation: 1.65
Favourites per deviation: 0.18
Views per deviation: 59.65
Comments per day: 0.17
Favourites per day: 0.02
Views per day: 6.41
Pageviews per day: 3.78
|Saturday, March 25th, 2006|
MIT people: who's around for spring break?
|Monday, March 20th, 2006|
Inspired by a recent 6.034 quiz problem that I completely missed:
Storing a 3-SAT instance with m clauses as a binary constraint problem requires 2.58m more bits than storing it as a ternary constraint problem (assuming no compression is used).
|Saturday, March 18th, 2006|