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Teflon® Weltanschauung

Aug. 2nd, 2011

12:48 pm - Lunch Decisions

Madonna is the Michael Jackson of women
Lady GaGa is the Madonna for current adolescents
Ke$ha is the Courtney Love of pop

May. 13th, 2011

02:20 pm - 5 Hour Energy

"Contains caffeine comparable to a cup of the leading premium coffee." --- This doesn't seem like a very useful measurement.

May. 10th, 2011

08:53 pm - People Must Be BEGGING

String theory must be calling out to the public in some unexpected fashion, because there's no other way anyone as boring as Greene could write a national best-seller with "The Elegant Universe."

Granted, packing quantum physics and relativity into two chapters must have felt like an insurmountable task.


May. 3rd, 2011

03:43 pm - Just Like TV

A cop chased down some guy running behind my work. Looks like the perp thought he could escape them on the main street by ducking through some trees, only he discovered this swamp. Whoops. Cop caught up with him trudging pointlessly and aimlessly around.

As the officer approached, taser at the ready, he shouts, "Stop! ...Buddy, I will light you up!" And, just like on the show 'Cops', after nabbing the guy the officer felt compelled to inform him just how stupid he was.

So, if you were wondering whether they ham it up for the camera, my one data point says "no."

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

Jul. 4th, 2010

10:02 pm - <3 PLT

Another programming milestone passed.

We have an instrument at work, our most popular one, that requires some extensive testing. And then we're developing another one based on the same technology that also requires testing. Our one—one!—programmer simply cannot keep up with his demands and implement the changes I'd like to get some automated testing done.

Well, score one for the PLT group, previously makers of PLT Scheme, now "Racket." (Not sure about the name but whatever.) They have a foreign function interface that is so magical I get a little giddy just thinking about it. I got access to the DLL for our prototype, which also works for our main instrument, and in three days banged out about 16 pages of scheme (ok, ok, Racket) to control it, and get just the data that I want the way I want.

The lovely thing? Apart from a minor control issue (not worth going into details), the code worked perfectly the first time, every time. I always had the possibility of hacking our C++ code, but shuddered at the thought. Better to live with the heartache of manual experiments than muck around in C++. But this week I told myself, "Time to try the FFI," and wham—a functional script. It already generated data I literally could not have collected previously because the C++ code for the prototype is such a hack and doesn't work.

I don't understand why anyone uses C++ for anything. Python, Lua, Lisp, and probably every other decent language in existence is capable of dealing with C code. If you need to get down to the metal, write up some libraries in C. I just don't understand the point of wasting programming time on managing C++ garbage.

Well, anyway, yay! All I need to work on now is some kind of interface to serial ports (maybe possible directly in Racket) and I will be able to have a completely automated testing script. Plug it in, turn it on, and click the button. So awesome.

Jun. 1st, 2010

10:59 am - Charmed

I joined Netflix a while back, since streaming movies on the 360 is so convenient. Too bad not more of their collection is available that way. Back in my Law and Order days I ended up watching an untold number of Charmed reruns. Kind of got into it. Now Netflix let's me watch a show I don't care enough for to purchase the DVDs. Sweet.

First, I am totally in love with Shannen Doherty. I think I have had a crush on her since 90210. And then her appearance in Mallrats was golden. Second, I pretty much grew up with a massive crush on Alyssa Milano since her Who's the Boss days. I have no idea who Holly Marie Combs is but I fucking hate Piper; still, Milano can carry me through pretty much every ep single-handedly.

At least, by the time the reruns rolled around I hated Piper. Just watched S1 disc 1 last night and... well, Piper isn't a whiny mega-bitch. I kind of like her, in spite of myself. I wonder if this is going to be another great Seinfeld reversal. See I thought Jerry was a terrible character when I first watched the series, but on reruns I really find him to be the best character in the show. Maybe I will like Piper after all.

May. 24th, 2010

12:49 pm - The Role of Consciousness

Some years ago I read Consciousness Explained by Dennett. An interesting read, though the title is more than misleading. In that work, an experiment was mentioned which indicated that our minds decide actions prior to our awareness of them. I found the experiment quite fascinating.

That book heavily influenced my own pet theory of consciousness. Not being a real philosopher, not being a psychologist, not being anything but some random schmoe, I never really talked about theories of mind, which I found to be somewhat empirical in nature. But just because I didn't share my ideas doesn't mean I didn't have them.

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