Yes, Virginia, you do need math to be a programmer
The sentiment is probably related to the statement “Everybody should learn to code“: When newbies ask in forums if they need to be good at math to be a coder, they get the answer “No“. This either means “Don’t worry, you can pick up the required math as you go along“ or “I never needed to solve for X when I built Drupal themes“ or even “I got a C in Category Theory II in uni. As long as you remember the basics from high school, like proofs and equations, you’ll be fine”. It does not mean “No”.
You will definitely benefit from knowing math, because the skills used in math in school are very similar to those you need when learning to program. You need to manipulate formal symbol systems in your head. You need to build an abstract mental model of a deterministic but ridiculously complex machine. Skill in math is strong evidence of talent for programming.
Even “word problems“ are important. You need to formalize requirements from the real world in a way that a computer can understand them. This is what “word problems” are all about.
All programmers use certain mathematical concepts all the time, even when they don’t call it math. Set theory, classical logic, proofs (mostly by induction), polynomials and limits hide in every program.
Beyond that, you need probability, statistics, linear algebra and calculus if you want to do any kind of machine learning.
You need vector algebra and trigonometry in computer graphics or robotics.
You need to understand linear and non-linear dynamical systems if you want to design economy-heavy video games.
You need to understand statistics if you want to understand the performance under stress of operating systems, databases, load balancers and routers.
You can learn what you need while you go along. As I said, you don’t need to have an A in Category Theory to start learning. But even Category Theory really helps. Maybe you don’t see now how this abstract nonsense will benefit you, but I use the math I learned all the time.
Ever since my tfp rewatch, I’ve been developing a sneaking suspicion that it might turn out to be one of my favourite pieces of media ever. I am not kidding about that.
This is a direct result of my decision, sometime yesterday, to try applying the mind bungalow keycode to the episode, a la @the-7-percent-solution: Eurus is John’s repressed desire; the episode is John’s tab, etc., etc. It works so beautifully, shot for shot, the whole thing becomes a complex machine ticking its way toward one conclusion: John is desperate for Sherlock to save him, in every possible sense of that verb.
But it isn’t only the fact that tfp works so wonderfully in this reading that makes me love it so much: it’s that you have to dig through the rubble of the text itself to find this beauty. I’ve been struck, since yesterday, with the way that mofftiss
managed to make a thing that is so ugly on the surface, so repellent, so grotesque, nonsensical, ridiculous, that the primary response to it will be to look away, hate it, and never reconsider it.
In the history of storytelling, this is a very weird achievement. The storytelling me wants to sit down and pull it apart, and try to figure out how it was done. (I suspect the real answer to that question involved a lot of giggling and possibly a few dares, alongside, one hopes, some serious talk about the symbolic network the episode meticulously creates on a subtextual level. But, who knows?)
My point is, I hated tfp so much on first viewing that I returned my theatre tickets. (Still don’t regret that–I’m not making any predictions with this reading, and if the whole thing goes to pieces in the coming weeks, and they leave us with the cliffhanger of textual mess / subtextually dying John, well, that’s not something I want to support with actual dollars, however I might admire it as a singular piece of storytelling.) I could never have imagined that I would pull such a hardcore 180 when, yesterday, I sat down, and went through the episode carefully, beat by beat. (I would never have given it another look if it weren’t for this fandom. So grateful for you all.)
My suggestion is, if you can at all stomach it, give the episode another look, and see how the mind bungalow keycode reading works for you.
I’ll close this already too-long post with some thoughts on what re-reading and reinterpretation can do, and why I’m motivated to promote this particular reading (besides that it’s just, you know, neat). I’m not fully tin hatting, although I want tin hattery to be true, and I’m super excited by the possibilities. I started the rewatch from the point of view that tfp did not sit well with me, and the idea that my experience of it certainly couldn’t get worse with a second viewing. I wanted to see if there was indeed anything to the idea that the episode might make some kind of sense. In other words, I wanted to see if I could make myself happier about it.
This from another iteration of the tfp rewatch post, in response to someone who said that they wished the mind bungalow reading were “true:”
Here is my entire point. It doesn’t have to be true. It just has to work.
An interpretation of a literary text has value insofar as it creates meaning and is consistent with that text. This one does, and is, to a shocking degree. I’m quite pleased with it.
Other readings (like the one I had yesterday, that the show is confusing trash), can also create meaning, and be consistent with the text. Fortunately we get to decide which one we like better. We can let ourselves be persuaded by the stronger reading, or, heck, the one that makes us happy.
The really important thing here is to take it for what it’s worth, and use it if you want, to help you reframe the episode for yourself. That’s what I did today, and it helped a lot. That’s how you become an empowered member of the audience.
It’s interesting to think about life in terms of insignificant choices that changed everything. Moments that didn’t matter. Car crashes avoided by an extra minute in the bathroom. Illnesses prevented by turning left, people you didn’t meet, some ridiculous thing you did in 2007 that affected millions of lives, and you’re never going to know. I guess everyone has a bunch of stories they didn’t make happen, and only one they followed through on. It’s a complex machine.
I literally fucking screamed rn bcause I followed u for the Captive Prince and ur awesomeness, and now ur telling me u basically watched the best yet unpopular piece of television history, one that made me cry 4 times on the finale only, and one more just because it was over? Come on. COME ON. (I dont do crying. I normally dont. Yet NiF made me sob consistently. I wanted to to watch the finale cuz damn, but I paused 4 mins in because I was crying again.)
what happened, essentially, was this:
me: I love slytherin mastermind characters SO MUCH! someone: you should watch nirvana in fire me: stories about super-complex political machinations are MY JAM someone else: you should definitely watch nirvana in fire me: I am so fucking weak for romances between noble lords and their loyal ruthless spymasters someone else: seriously, fahye, are you even listening?
&c. &c. until FINALLY I got around to taking their advice, at which point I ploughed through all 54 episodes in less than a week, immortalised the experience semi-coherently on twitter, and came out the other end feeling like a bruised and delicate flower petal that had somehow escaped a wildfire.
(I didn’t cry, I’m not a cryer, but I did hug my knees and rock back and forth on my chair while keening NOOOOOOOOO at the screen a lot.)
You definitely haven’t seen a pocket knife quite like this one. Discommon has teamed up with the James Brand to create a special edition of its signature Chapter knife. They’ve taken the handle and updated it with an incredibly complex surface of machined aluminum scales that mimic an ocean wave, hence the name, the Swell. Not only is it beautiful, but the scales double as a grippy, tactile surface to secure the knife in your hand. It’s definitely one of the finest examples of form and function to cross our desks in recent memory.
Alright, I’m gonna ramble for a little bit about techno witchcraft again. Let’s talk about intent and programmed spells.
We say that a person can charge singular items, such as such as amulets, crystals, sigils, with intent. These things can be made of various materials, from paper to quartz, and they often have their own energies to contribute. Outside of the physical realm, one can charge words, dancing, art, song, and any number of representative actions with intent, and shielding can be seen as general energy being charged with a purpose.
Here’s my argument: computers are already by definition energetic systems. They’re complex machines run by electricity and logic. If one can call upon the wild energies of a thunderstorm, why couldn’t one harness the controlled energies of a computer or smart phone (and if you really get into it, you can literally control the controlled energies of machines)?*
Furthermore, specific to programming: by planning and creating a program, you are investing your own energy in it – you are investing a great deal of very focused energy into it, often for hours at a time.** Your intent is by nature crammed into that program already.
As for automation, long-lasting magic is something that exists already. If you weave a wreath that you hang over your door to protect your house from negative energy, how do you keep it there, a day, a week, a season? When was the last time you gave that old spell jar a shake? How long do your protective amulets last? What about that sigil you drew under your desk to reduce work anxiety? Often you can answer that with the question, how long did you mean for it to work?
Why can’t a spell you throw up in the cloud last for a while? If it didn’t, why couldn’t you check its magical pulse, so to speak, and charge it again? Or, why not make it a part of the spell to harness the energy generated by the server it’s on (remember, “The Cloud” is actually just tons of servers in a warehouse holding data)?
I’m still experimenting with all this myself (currently and always running tests on this to see what I can do), and these are just my thoughts based on my experience thus far. There’s certainly a lot more topics you can tackle branching from this: what implications do bugs and errors have on spells, which logical structures are best suited for which types of spells, is a spell best charged on completion or just before runtime***…the list goes on, all the more to explore!
** Granted, inevitable things like troubleshooting divert your attention for some amount of that time, so I generally charge it afterwards to pull the focus back together – kind of like centering, but for the spell itself.
*** I’ll go ahead and say just before runtime so you don’t send out your intent with buggy code and cause yourself trouble and frustration of either the magical or non-magical variety. Testing is your friend.
The Short Mayo Composite, a unique piggy-back airliner that joined two sea planes/flying boats, a Short S.21 Maia as the bottom mothership, and a Short S.20 Mercury.
The idea behind it was this: an aircraft can actually fly with a bigger load than it can take-off with, so the lower aircraft was only there to provide take-off, where once operational height was reached, the upper aircraft would detach and actually go towards the destination, while the other would simply return to base, this in order to achieve much greater range and payload for the upper aircraft, as it not only was capable of carrying more cargo and fuel, but also the assisted take-off ensure more fuel-savings for the remainder of the journey.
This bizarre concept was eventually abandoned after bigger and longer-ranged sea planes were being introduced, nullifying the benefits of such complex machine.
The death of a social machine has never been heralded by a disharmony or a dysfunction; on the contrary, social machines make a habit of feeding on the contradictions they give rise to, on the crises they provoke, on the anxieties they engender, and on the infernal operations they regenerate. Capitalism has learned this, and has ceased doubting itself, while even socialists have abandoned belief in the possibility of capitalism’s natural death by attrition. No one has ever died from contradictions. And the more it breaks down, the more it schizophrenizes, the better it works, the American way.
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, p.181.
Education is an opportunity, nothing more. It will not guarantee success, or happiness, or contentment, or riches. Everything depends upon what development is produced by it and what use is made of it. It does not mean morality or usefulness. It may make a man more capable of doing harm in the world, for an educated scoundrel is clearly more dangerous than an ignorant one. Properly employed, however, and combined with high character, with a due regard for the rights of others, and with simple and practicable but high ideals, it should help a man very greatly in making himself of service in the world and so in making his life really successful in the highest sense. What the student gets out of his education depends largely upon what he puts into it. The student is not an empty vessel to be pumped full of learning; he is a complex machine which education should help to run.
from How to Study by George Fillmore Swain (must read book for studying)
Graphene Ink 3-D Printed Medical Implant Grows Nerve Cells
There is no shortage of excitement for the possibilities of 3-D printing. The manufacturing technique uses a machine that squirts layer upon layer of material to build three-dimensional objects. The prevailing vision for 3-D printing is that one day we’ll be able to make smartphones, sensors, drones or other complex machines right in our homes.
But if we’re ever to have desktop devices that can output things like consumer electronics or novel biomedical devices, there are a number of obstacles that need to be overcome. Today’s consumer units most commonly use hot plastic that quickly solidifies to build shapes. This material is neither particularly strong nor is it electrically conductive, a characteristic necessary to build electronic components into devices.
Researchers all around the world are looking for materials that can unlock some of 3-D printing’s bigger promises. Now Northwestern University researchers say they have created a 3-D printing ink that is stronger, electrically conductive and biocompatible using another material that has been generating much excitement over the last decade–graphene. See more gifs and learn more below.
You don’t have to see yourself as physically beautiful to be amazing.
Others don’t have to see you as physically beautiful to see you as amazing.
Being physically beautiful, in any sense, is not really what makes you amazing. You are a miracle of existence, a complex organic machine built of whatever was to hand. Your body is amazing because it houses you, an incredible being that loves and imagines and learns and tries. You make jokes and you fuck up and you’re alive despite all the odds and do you know how great you are?
Without minds like yours, there would be no concept of beauty. There’s no equation that determines absolute beauty; you can’t test for it or measure it. Minds like yours were the first to look at the sky or the trees or the face of someone loved and call it “beautiful.”
You’re beautiful in ways that have nothing to do with the way your face is arranged or your fat distribution. Your mind, your self, is the beautiful, unlikely, miraculously complicated thing that can look at or touch a face or hear a voice or a song and decide that it has some wonderful quality that you will call beauty.
And that’s fucking beautiful and how you look is such a small, small part of the things that make you amazing. You’re beautiful, in ways too vast and glorious for the glance of a stranger to begin to comprehend.