Musings/Träumereien/Devaneios

def __init__(self, name): "The Art of Computer Programming" by Donald E. Knuth

The Art of Computer Programming, Volumes 1-4A Boxed Set - Donald Ervin Knuth


(Original Review, 2011)


Here's my code and a sample run attempting to find the shortest path from "Home" to "School":

class Location:
def __init__(self, name):
self.name = name
self.connections = []

def set_connections(self, connections):
self.connections = connections

def __str__(self):
return self.name

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Zero-overhead Abstraction: "The C++ Programming Language" by Bjarne Stroustrup

The C++ Programming Language - Bjarne Stroustrup


(Original Review, 2001)


Back in the day, I started programming AMOS on Commodore Amiga500. It was almost exactly like QBasic, but was able to do more powerful graphics and sound in an easier way, though still extremely similar. Because of how slow those CPUs were, I had to always try to find ways to make the programs run as fast as possible. And then I started programming QBasic on a 200Mhz PC, still being focused on trying to get as much power as possible in my programs. Around 2001 I started with C++ by using Stroustrup’s book, and even though we had a lot of power, I was manically trying to make everything as simple and efficient as possible, to get all that power out, even though I was on a powerful i7 with a GTX780. Whenever I thought of using "smart pointers", I always thought that I'll just use ordinary, low-level pointers, because I don't want to incur any overhead whatsoever. Check if a pointer is OK? Screw that, it'll cost me! Better to make sure it doesn't happen, rather than to check if it did happen, by being smart about it.

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

RIP Ritchie (1941-2011): "The C Programming Language" by Kernighan and Ritchie

The  C Programming Language - Brian W. Kernighan, Dennis M. Ritchie

//Cenesis, chapter 1
#include
int main()
{
puts("In the beginning, when Ritchie created the Unix and the C");
puts("and the UNIX was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters");
puts("Then Riche said: hello, world, and there was code");
puts("Riche saw that the code was good. Ritchie then separated the code from the bug.");
puts("Riche called the code “day,” and the bug he called “night.”");
return 0;
 
 
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
 
 

 

On Horse-Flies: "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking

A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking


(Original Review, 1987)



Will having read Hawking's book help me understand the way a horse-fly "grasps" the arrow of time?
For starters, I'm great at killing horse-flies by hand. Should I get some black pyjamas and a balaclava and become a ninja? And there was me thinking that the horse-fly's all round vision and short nerve pathway had something to do with their reaction speed. Being a horse-fly-killing-ninja, what do I need Hawking’s book for? Move aside Hawking!

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Epidemic of Vanity: "The Grand Design" by Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow

The Grand Design - Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow

(Original Review, 2010)




At university, after spending thousands on tuition, I then had to spend a lot, over 3 years, on books for my courses. More than half were written by the very professors that were teaching me. Quite frankly, it's a giant scam. Those professors have already been paid for the first material through their salaries. Why should we have to pay them again for copies of their pretty badly written books? Yes, these books are very expensive, and many don't deserve to be read. A few years ago, I was asked to review a chapter in a research text. The friend who sent me the invite told me over a drink that I was the third person asked, and would I please go easy on the papers. I said yes.
 
 
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
 
 

 

E = hv: "God Created the Integers - The Mathematical Breakthroughs That Changed History" by Stephen Hawking

God Created the Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs that Changed History - Stephen Hawking



(Original Review, 2005)


Random thoughts while attempting to read the book (the edition is shitty: it's full of typos)


In EM theory, which is Lorentz invariant, there's a relation between the magnitudes of the E and B fields for light (not if you use Planck units. The magnitudes of c and h tell you nothing about physics, but a lot about biology. I don't claim that's original, BTW. I'm trying to recall who said it first, Monod or Schrödinger, E/B = c. That's quite a magnitude difference of the E over the B already. So if you could gradually increase c the structure of a light beam changes radically. But the reason for c is probably tied to quantum vacuum properties so you've got changes there too. In fact I would find it entirely reasonable not to expect invariance in E and/or B while the early universe was trying to sort out its equilibrium conditions during falling out of the gravitational, electromagnetic, weak forces just after the BB.

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Lucy: "On The Shoulders Of Giants - The Great Works Of Physics And Astronomy" by Stephen Hawking

On the Shoulders of Giants: The Great Works of Physics And Astronomy - Stephen Hawking


(Original Review, 2002)




Back in the day, Einstein opened up my head to what I thought of as the architecture of the way things are, that level of intelligence/information where I clearly understood what reality was and wasn’t despite the limitations of my senses. I'd try to hold onto it but it ultimately faded. I'd feel myself coming closer and closer back to dull reality, each and every time. There's a scene in the film “Lucy” where she's looking at a tree which seems alive, pulsing w/movement and brilliantly coloured light. Ages ago, my friends and I called them jizzles and we'd see them anywhere anything grew (resulting in multiple trips in the woods, old cemeteries, anywhere there was foliage and we couldn't see buildings).

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Ancient Rayguns: "Mirrorshades" by William Gibson, Bruce Sterling et al

Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology - Greg Bear, William Gibson, Paul Di Filippo, John Shirley, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, Rudy Rucker, Lewis Shiner, James Patrick Kelly, Marc Laidlaw, Tom Maddox



(Original Review, 1985)




Isn't that just the thing? With the digital world, social media and the online life, comes an entirely new kind of creeping, monolithic conformity. When everywhere you go cookies are recording your choices, advertising companies can predict your needs and your boss is your friend on Facebook, you need to be careful about what you download on Kindle. Writers and publishers too are constrained by this social coercion and so we end up with a homogenised world. Writers are only allowed to be creative within strictly policed generic parameters.

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Blood Farts: "The Hidden Reality - Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos" by Brian Greene

The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos - Brian Greene



(Original review, 2011)




The Multiverse is awesome.

We all look, we find what we may, but we all have to choose what we look at more deeply than we will look at the rest of what there is. Yes, I refuse to spend much time on multiverse hypotheses; I used to spend a lot of time looking at quantum field theory instead (and doing QFT, thinking about it, developing a feel for and making choices about what I think is important or not, and changing my mind endlessly, and becoming intimate with it as much as my abilities will let me, all of which takes more time than anyone has).

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

The Kabbalah: "The Elegant Universe - Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory" by Brian Greene

The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory (Vintage) - Brian Greene

(Original review, 2001)


The Kabbalah also describes 10 dimensions and beings that inhabit them. Perhaps these beings are real and at certain levels of dimensional perception they have already seen and experienced these advancements in human history like a child being taught 2+2 to the wave compilation of an electron Y=h/mc = 2.43*10-12m.

Mathematics, My Daddy says is simply a game or a toy for the mind. I enjoy playing with math though I truly know now that it is not Universal Knowledge. Mathematics is like some sports. It brings Me fun and excitement. Sometimes I get low scores and I feel sad, but My Daddy simply tells Me that if I want to perfect the exams, I have to study harder. As you all can see, all the so called greatest mathematicians and scientists and physicists humans' scholars humans gave so much high regards to have immediately realized that all those books and all those studies and all those "humans once thought of as knowledge" became child's play if not garbage right upon My Daddy revealed this Universal Truth and Knowledge. Literally speaking, humans are among the most primitive civilizations in The Universe and yet we humans are very arrogant, sinful and blasphemous because we, humans do not know any better.
 
 
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

 

SR: "Warped Passages - Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions" by Lisa Randall

Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions - Lisa Randall



(original review, 2006)


Hi,I am poor English Portuguese who live in very countly side.
We need a Portuguese translate better and I have a Questions.
The some day I had did so tough-Job.After that small-black-holl shown up and it had moved and mice and soft membrance?
Not a elephant,mice or small birds,didn’t swallow house and many zone and areas.Even wall was tightly-closed-container,importat part is why mice had not smashed.And univers looks like alive and mother earth conected each of us.
Did she report you watched from the sky on360℃degree.
Randall knew it.establish a book in reality what has happen there was no trick.Did she?
i m new to this so i dont understand all the subtleties but i have read the feynman lectures and cant find any mistakes in them i would be helpful if u could point them out and in light of this book i think x prime can be any constant not only zero but but this explaining is definitely wrong as once he is equating x prime to zero and another time Randall is equating it to the disatance travelled by light in its time. mathematical nonsense - but it is TRUE !....0 to the power 0 equals 1.....ie ....0 ^ 0 = 1.

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Going Overboard: "The Fabric of the Cosmos" by Brian Greene

The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality - Brian Greene



(original review, 2004)


"Within each individual [time] slice, your thoughts and memories are sufficiently rich to yield a sense that time has continuously flowed to that moment. This feeling, this sensation that time is flowing, doesn't require previous moments—previous frames—to be "sequentially illuminated."

In "The Fabric of the Cosmos" by Brian Greene



I agree that this is at least as much philosophy as science, though mathematically based philosophy. But what irks me is that for all the pages of science books devoted to this subject, no one has pointed out that for us to experience moments sequentially (assuming those moments don't themselves move) our mind has to move through those moments. And movement entails time. So while time may be a spatial dimension, if Greene (and Godel, etc.) are right, then there must be at least one other dimension of time that allows our minds to move through the different moments that all exist and experience them sequentially.

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

To Plug the Mighty Hole Withal: "Faust - First Part" by Goethe

Faust: First Part - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


(original review, 2004)


I’m planning on spending a few weeks on Goethe’s Faust in multiple translations and as much of the German as I can manage, supplemented by hundreds of pages of notes and commentary.

I first read the book while in high school in the totally un-annotated Bayard Taylor translation from Modern Library – one of the texts I’m currently reading. I’m still pretty fond of Taylor’s version – with some exceptions generally preferring him to Walter Arndt in the Norton Critical Edition. Taylor’s a relatively local boy – born in Kenneth Square, PA where the town library carries his name.

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Coming of Age: "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban  - J.K. Rowling


(original review, 2002)


Children's literature comes in 3 styles these days. "The Coming of Age Stories", in which a child suffers a horrible tragedy and grows because of it. Pets, best friends, and elderly relations don't live long in Coming of Age tales. I hated the things when I was a kid. I'd seen enough tragedy first hand. I didn't need to read about it. Then there are the "realistic" children's books, that describe the social dynamics of middle school, without commenting on how the everyday cruelty affects children.

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Painful Memories: "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

(original review, 2000)

So millions of readers think these books are brilliant. It takes an odd sort of character to say, in this context, "frankly the books are rubbish".

Very odd.

It seems so much more natural, and logical, to say something like "I think these books are badly written ("he was sat there" etc.} and don't think they're any good". Just that tiny yet essential shift in emphasis from "They are crap" to "I think they're crap" prevents this massive denial of their appeal, which demonstrates they can't be crap.
 
 
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
 
 

 

Quaint Britishness: "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré


(original review, 1999)

One of the main things that Harry Potter has taught me is that people who dismiss the series out of hand and people who laud it as the best thing since sliced bread are equally annoying. People who dismiss it tend to be those who are overly eager to demonstrate how terribly mature they are, and end up proving the very opposite. And I can't help thinking that people who laud it as literally the best thing ever do so because they've never read anything else or any of the other hundreds of franchises that essentially tell the same (rather tired) story, often in a more inventive way.

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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