What we can learn from Unix

The Unix Philosophy is a wonderfully cohesive way to thing about program execution and composition. Its beauty relies in its simplicity, somewhat unfortunately this is also tied to the fact that Unix is dealing with software on the operating system level. We’re going to explore what the Unix Philosophy is and what it allows us to do when working in a Unix shell. All the while exploring how Unix can guide our attempts to create simpler programs at a higher level of the stack.

28 May 2016

Haskell Pattern Matching

One of the most interesting aspects of computer science are programming languages, they are the means by which the user and the computer interact and in their choices support certain modes of thought. Some modes of thought are promoted more than others, the dominant style being imperative programming in which you tell the computer explicitly what to do and how to do it. Intuitively this makes a lot of sense, and for that reason it is by far the most dominate paradigm for programming. Besides being intuitive, it is also promoted much more that other options, beginners start with Python, Ruby or JavaScript and for that reason they perpetuate the same ideas, and the same notions of how you program.

07 July 2015

The Timid One

The pods are all attached to an opaque dome, which lies in the middle of the circle formed by the pods. Inside the dome lies one of the 78 terraformed spaces on the surface of Karive. The members of the food pod spend their time here, examining the roots and soil composition and making minute adjustments to the humidity, temperature and atmospheric content of the dome. Inside the dome looked very similar to earth if it wasn’t for the opaque walls. They were a full blue color, chosen to mimic the blue skies of Earth, but in reality missing a certain essence. This was the home of the timid one. He was more at home among the Earth plants than those of Karive. He shuddered at the thought of the Jungles of Karive with it’s tall grasses and sparse trees. He had grown up inside the dome, and as a result, despite living on Karive his whole life, the outside looked peculiar and foreign to him.

07 July 2015

The Brave One

The brave one thought that there is something honorable about going out in a blaze of glory. Perhaps he was right. Perhaps he wasn’t. Either way his parent’s spoke of the first expedition to Karive with great admiration. If the brave one didn’t know better he would think that he would like to be on that mission; exploring unknowns and venturing forth into uncertainty. Now they protected the other settlers from life on Karive, but they yearned to abandon the same.

07 June 2015

A Unfortunate Dichotomy

The majority of cognitive science is curious about the framework of how you work; That is, how your beliefs and intentions are formed, how data points on the retina are translated into thought or how representations about the world get from out there to in here. This is all well and good, but at the end of this quest we arrive at an understanding of how we work in its entirety, that is a complete understanding of how you work and operate, how you walk, talk and move about your world. At that point what you thought makes you you is no longer you, because you are now a system, and moreover a system that can be understood.

11 May 2015

The Kids

They giggled through the tall grass, the echoes of their voices bouncing off the small hills. They didn’t stop running, they went and went, over shallow streams and smooth rocks, across large fields and sparse deserts they went. They didn’t stop until they reached their destination, but their destination was unknown to them. When it was near they would know. A slight tingle on their backs would occur, their laughter would grow louder with their excitement. This was one of those times. As they approached it, their laughter slowed and eventually ceased, for they had found something quite unusual.

07 May 2015

Simple things are most impressive

It seems as though the simple things, those we take for granted, are always the most complex and impressive. It’s quite incredible to know that I am breathing right now, not just because breathing is incredible (it is) but beyond that that I recognize myself. That’s incredible. I know who I am physically, and where I am. I know what it feels like to touch sandpaper or cold tile. I know what it means to feel sadness and joy, I know what heat feels like. I can see objects in front of me and touch them.

09 February 2015

Hololens and Implications

For those of you who haven’t heard, Microsoft has just released a new augmented reality device called the Hololens. This is very exciting, primarily because it is the first product that seems to do a good job of merging our reality with a virtual one. Google Glass attempted this, but the feature set seemed rather lacking and the concept of always having an AR device on didn’t really appeal to most. Hololens is going after something different entirely, and that is a more rich merger of the digital and physical, to the point where you are no longer overlaying a screen into the peripheral vision but instead augmenting your surroundings.

20 January 2015

The Role of Artificial Intelligence

The goal of Artificial Intelligence, and in many ways computing as a field, is to remove the busy work. To remove the clerical from the equation leaving us to glean greater insights. In this way, I don't think of Artificial Intelligence as taking away the jobs created by such tasks, instead creating thousands of new fields waiting for people to leap in and explore. This does, however, require a shift in thinking, from looking for steady reliable incomes to experimenting with different fields and taking on projects as opposed to careers. When people choose to devote themselves fully to a new idea and have the help of an AI to aid their research and learning, people will create more, and enjoy their work and the work of others more.

27 December 2014

Group B Rally

Taken during the height of the Group B Rally craze, this photograph shows the true nature of the sport. Walter Röhrl, the two-time world champion, commanding his 350 BHP Audi A2 Quattro through the bends of the Italian Countryside, is truly the epitome of rally. Inside the aluminum roll cage, surrounded by safety gear and spare parts, sit two men wedged into bucket seats and 6-point harnesses. Despite the heat, they wear woolen fire retardant polymer suits; despite the lack of air conditioning, they wear full crash helmets with woolen fire masks underneath. This is no game for mere mortals.

01 September 2013