Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’
This book is an epistemological nightmare. Rizzi asks the reader to take on radical and unfounded views, sometimes without even a loose explanation or logical construction beyond “That makes sense, right?”
Even though I disagree with nearly every tenet of Rizzi’s philosophy, I still would give it a respectable two or three star rating if it weren’t for:
- His obvious lack of a copyeditor;
- His entire disregard for even addressing other points of view;
- His attempt to tackle complex issues with a poorly developed philosophical toolbox; and, most importantly,
- His total lack of logical flow or structure beyond asking the reader to accept things on his authority.
Though no doubt a great physicist, Rizzi seems to have lost his notion of rigor in trying to invent a new realist approach to the philosophy of science. His biggest flaw, in my opinion, is in his confusion of the nature of words; he oftentimes seems to think that he can pull universal truth out of the English language.
Unfortunately for him, the English language is neither an authority on nature nor a system he’s totally mastered himself.
All in all, avoid this book — especially if you don’t have the scientific grounding to understand why it’s wrong on your own.
I was supposed to read this in high school, but I just didn’t feel like it then. They made a big deal about it being a great novel, you know? My teacher was in love with it. That kills me. It really does. But the rest of the class was just full of goddam phonies.
All that aside, this really was a great novel; I’m glad I finally read it! It’s hard to classify what this book is: at times you feel like it’s a coming-of-age novel, but by the end it seems that Holden hasn’t really learned much; he has, however, been saved by the overwhelming power of kin selection. The end of the novel begs the reader to hypothesize about Holden’s future, which is left open. Mr. Antolini’s prophesy seems avoided, but despite his narrow escape from destroying his life he unaltered in his perception of “phonies” and a pessimist can do little but suppose that Holden will have the same experience at his next school that he has at the previous few.
On the other hand, Holden is growing up. Even if he doesn’t show it in the story’s narration, we know that kids get older and wiser. We know that eventually he’ll be more clear minded and realize what’s going on around him. And the experiences throughout the novel may just be the foundation he needs to take a firmer stand on life and step boldly into a more lucid future.
I attended Bert’s Installing Fedora session in block 1; I think it went pretty well, although I probably would have prefered a less technical and more end-user/hands-on approach, but that’s probably the User-Guide-”Writer” coming out in me.
BarCamp was fun too, and full of ponies…
And what lunch lacks in choice it makes up in the quaint cuteness of brown bags, along with some pretty tasty treats. I’ve arranged them here in golden sprial style.
I’ve recently ventured off to visit two tea rooms around Clemson. Last weekend, Karen and Sarah and I headed to The Victoria Tea Room in Anderson. Pretty awesome place. You can see pictures of the excursion on Facebook, if you’re friends with myself or Sarah or Karen.
Aside. Click the links. They’re relevant, really! Well, half of them are.
The Victoria had over 80 different teas (which you’d know if you clicked that link up there)! I went ahead and ordered a full cream tea. The scones were excellent.
I ended up buying two ounces of a chinese white peony to bring home with me. Overall, the trip was an epic success.
This week – Tuesday, in fact – Mark and I ventured down to Greenville to visit the O-Cha Tea Bar. We didn’t get a chance to stay for the full experience because we had trouble finding it and Mark had to get back for his French class, but we brought back an ounce of cream earl grey and and ounce of lapsang tea. Both are… interesting. I’m not going to buy either again, myself, but they aren’t bad and I’m glad to have tried them.
The cream earl grey is actually earl grey with some vanilla flavors. It’s meant to be a dessert tea; I’m not a fan of dessert teas, but it was okay, especially when we diluted the vanilla with some of our own earl grey. And the lapsang was good, but it’s an extremely smoky tea, and we couldn’t get the smoky flavor out of my tea pot until today. The weird thing is that it tastes like barbeque when you smell the leaves, and it isn’t a subtle hint of odor, either. It’s like someone stuffed barbeque up your nose.
I’m harsh, but they were both good teas. Don’t take it the wrong way.
That was the tea; now for the tidbits:
- FUDCon’s coming up and I still need to ask Mel about the class I’m doing. She already replied to my email, but I never followed up.
- Somebody needs to help me understand the tagging mechanism CVS uses. My xinha package is done but I can’t put it in more than on repository (I already put it in rawhide) because I don’t know how to use different tags for each branch… I guess.
- Still need to email Dr. Tipnis to follow up on that medical physics paper.
- Anastasia and Lauren are coming up to Clemson tonight!
- Next semester in Sosolik’s lab, we’re going to be building/coding a touch screen interface to monitor the entire ion beam assembly. I’m looking forward to that a lot, and I’m starting to brush up on writing daemons in C (to monitor data logging all day on all our sensors).
And I think that’ll about do it.
Oh, in other news, happy Riemann Hypothesis 150th Anniversary month. I’m starting to think that Abstruse Goose has it about right. *despair*
If you haven’t checked out the IP over Facebook application yet, you should definitely make that your first destination after you’re done reading this page. It’s the first implementation of RFC 5514, ‘IPv6 Over Social Networks’. The RFC was an April Fools joke, but it’s still fun to play with on Facebook.
My current network topology looks like this:
Add me to your router on Facebook if you try it out!
To be brief, I’d really like to package Freemind for Fedora. I’ve been working on it this morning, going through the packaging documentation on https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/PackageMaintainers, but the problem is that all of the examples there focus around programs which have makefiles. Freemind, however, is built with ant. My minimal experience with ant + my minimal experience with packaging makes this a bad situation; I was hoping that my first useful package would be an easy one to make.
So I’m asking politely – will anyone out there help me through the steps of writing this spec file? I’d be happy to maintain it, I just need help getting through the initial process. Even some links or comments would be appreciated.
In other news, I’ve been habitually upset with Google for not releasing Chrome (the browser, not the OS) for Linux or OS X. It took me till today to release that they actually do have a developer’s beta (at least for OS X). I’m happy to say that it outperforms Safari. I’m ambivalent about saying that it outperforms Firefox, which I’m actually quite disappointed in, and which isn’t a surprise – Firefox is slower and buggier than Safari on OS X. I’m even starting to get away from Firefox on Fedora as well, in favor of lighter browsers like Arora or Midori unless I’m in a media-rich page that requires a more heavyweight browser.
I’ve also had a lot of thoughts about the Fedora User Guide lately. I think/hope we’re going to scrap the whole thing and start from scratch – pulling in old content when useful, but not relying on it as the foundation of the guide. More on that later.
I know some music elitists think that I only listen to the songs I posted before, so I’ve posted a 100% variant playlist of songs which I also listen to frequently, thereby augmenting (hopefully) the variety of music which everyone thinks I listen to.
- Tan Dun: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Tan Dun & Yo-Yo Ma)
- Bon Voyage (Fantastic Plastic Machine)
- First Class ’77 (Fantastic Plastic Machine)
- Techno Syndrome [Mortal Combat] (The Immortals)
- Still Alive (GLaDOS & Jonathan Coulton)
- Son of a Preacher Man (Dusty Springfield)
- Sister Golden Hair (America)
- Norwegian Wood [This Bird Has Flown] (The Beatles)
- Nightingale (Norah Jones)
- Paris (Yael Naïm)
- Conquest (The White Stripes)
“Paris” is a particularly interesting song. It’s by the same artist that you may remember singing “New Soul” from the original MacBook Air commercials (where they pull the laptop from the manilla envelope). The song is mixed English/Hebrew.
“Still Alive” is also a fun song that many people know from Portal, with some classic lines like:
- Aperture Science: we do what we must, because… we can. For the good of all of us, except the ones who are dead.
- There’s no sense crying over every mistake; you just keep on trying, till you run out of cake. And the science gets done, and you make a neat gun for the people who are still alive. And,
- Maybe you’ll find someone else to help you… maybe Black Mesa! That was a joke – ha ha – fat chance. Anyway, this cake is great; it’s delicious, and moist!
The song is sung by GLaDOS, the artificial intelligence from Valve’s Portal. It gave me a neat idea, too, to write a little program that can make several text-to-speech engines “sing” in unison. More on that later.
I just got off my flight out of San Francisco (SFO) and I’m sitting in the Salt Lake City Airport (SLC). During the flight, I was able to finish Angels & Demons, which I started earlier this week. I’ll go ahead and open this book review with a summary – I really enjoyed the book, and I think that it actually carried some good messages (whether or not life lessons were Brown’s intention is something I suppose only he knows).
I’m sure many readers have seen the movie already (I haven’t) but I’ll summarize anyway without revealing too much plot: scientific boundaries are pushed, religion is imperilled, and Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon saves the day with the help of the gorgeous physicist and yoga practitioner Vittoria Vetra. The conclusion of the book presents the reader with a canvas on which to ponder faith, reason, and man’s place in the universe.
Update: I’m no longer in SLC; rather, I’m in MUSC, doing things like using AutoHotKey, calculating Air KERMA, coding, and listening to “Still Alive” (by GLaDOS, from Portal). Aperture science: we do what we must, because we can.
Anyway, a week later I’m still savoring Angels & Demons, which means that it really was a good book. I had previously started revealing some of the plot, but now I’ve decided against in the hope that you, dear reader, will pick it up and find out the plot yourself. In other news, I’ve started Sphere by Michael Crichton (the Jurassic Park guy) and resumed The Tao of Physics, a book that I’ve blogged of many times but keep having to put down in favor of more pressing reading. Hopefully I’ll finish it this time.
Disclaimer: I know, I know. This is about a piece of software for Windows. It’s not like I enjoy using Windows or that I even have it installed on any of my personal machines (I don’t). Read further, and you’ll see why I have to use Windows in my situation for a month or so. And if you’re reading this on Fedora Planet or something, please don’t post something like “Don’t put Windows stuff on Fedora Planet”. We’re all about Freedom, right?
So I started this internship doing medical physics at MUSC in Charleston, SC. I’m doing work in Radiology, and I’m required to use a program called CALDose_X to calculate radiation fractions imparted to patients. The program is closed source and maintained by a nuclear physics lab in Portugal. It can be found at http://www.grupodoin.com.
The program is useful for its purpose, but it’s otherwise kind of clumsy. Exceptions aren’t handled very well, several features seem to be inconsistent with each other, and something is screwed up with how is recognizes the presence of a .NET framework on your machine (which is one reason that I couldn’t get it working under Wine).
The program is made for doctors to do single examinations with, but I’m using it to find trends in data. Since it takes a while to fill out their little GUI form, I was finding it very tiresome to compute simulations for different values. And since it was closed source with poor documentation, I couldn’t readily write any scripts to interface with it.
That’s when I had the idea to write a macro. There are several macro recorder programs available for a fee for Windows, but I found something even better: AutoHotKey. It’s free and open-source, and has an extensively documented scripting language that lets you interact directly with GUI elements (not just relying on screen coordinates). Additionally, you can compile AHK scripts into Windows executables for use on any machine. It also includes a window inspector to reveal the IDs of GUI elements so that you can interact with them in your scripts.
All-in-all, I was very pleased with this program. I can’t stress how well it was documented. Writing a perl script to interface with some open source code – or at least some APIs – would have been nice, but this is a great solution for when that’s not available under Windows.
PS: Do we have anything like this under Linux? (Not that there would be as much use for it when everything can be so elegantly linked…)