On March 7, 2005 Brian Greene, a string theorist and author of "The Elegant Universe" and "The Fabric of The Cosmos", gave an interview at a Barnes & Noble in Austin. He was interviewed by Jeff Salomon from Austin-American Statesman and took questions from the audience.
The topics involved: What kind of experiments can possibly verify string theory? How and why would you look for astronomical evidence of strings? Would it make sense to look for confirmation of string theory in the possible violations of the Second Law of Thermodynamics? What is Brian Greene's own interpretation of quantum entanglement? What does it mean that space and time are not fundamental? In what sense is space-time analogous to temperature? What's next for physics after TOE? Will there be anything left to do, or will science come to an end? And, umm... does Brian Greene feel a need to reconcile psychic phenomena with the unified physical theory?
The talk also revealed some things you would not immediately think of Brian Greene. By his own admission, he finds physics hard and visualisation helps him enormously to understand physics concepts. That's one reason why he never condescends to his audience. (Another may be that he is simply a nice person.) Also, did you know that Brian Greene's books can cause people to quit drinking and start reading?
Note: I could not hear everything that was said or write it down verbatim, so I paraphrased some places the best I could. Most of them are in angle brackets.
Lifelogging is an emerging trend of recording every, or nearly every moment of your life. A simple example of lifelogging would be wearing a video recorder that would record continuous video and audio of everything you see and do. Ted Chiang used this example to speculate about how lifelogging would change our society. At the end he answered the audience's questions and engaged in a discussion regarding some points, such as: would lifelogging encourage us to craft our lives as stories, and thus become better people? Doesn't forgetting play a big role in getting over a trauma? Doesn't forgetting go a long way towards forgiving? What if your memories are hacked? Who has control over shared memories?
My impression of Evernote API documentation is that it is not very friendly to Python beginners, and rather short on examples. So I wrote this document on how to write a simple script that will get notes from a notebook.
These are slides from a lightning talk I gave at Women Who Code (a meetup for women software developers) Austin chapter on January 5, 2015.
Recently I was surprised to see that Ruby
uniq method didn't seem to work on
ActiveRecord. Suppose I have a bunch of
ActiveRecords and I want to select just the ones that are unique by some field.
These are slides from a lightning talk which I gave at All Girl Hack Night, an Austin meetup for women software developers.
It only took a flicker of WiFi to make a difference between a productive workshop experience, and a waste of time. The workshop was RailsBridge, a free Ruby on Rails workshop for beginners. I have been dabbling in Rails for a while now, but there is only so much you can do in those minutes before sleep, when you are finally done with the day's work, and finally think you can sneak a smidge of time for your pet project -- only to find yourself faceplanting in the keyboard. So I went to a RailsBridge to learn "proper" Ruby on Rails development, complete with things like unit tests, that I tend to skip if I have just 15 minutes in the evening to learn a new framework.
RailsBridge was part of Lone Star Ruby Conf 2013 in Austin, TX, and it was lead by the main instructor, Sarah Mei (founder of RailsBridge workshops), and many coaches. The students were divided into groups of approximately 4-6 people. The process of dividing ourselves was interesting, and worth a paragraph, but since it was nonessential to the workshop, I put it at the bottom.
When I was looking for documentation or tutorials on how to create a RESTful WCF service that returns JSON-formatted data, I found lots of partial information and code examples, none of which completely worked. So when I finally figured out how to create it, I decided to write this article for those who may be in the same predicament as me.
This walk-through uses .NET 4.0, and Visual Studio 2010.
Recently I've been taking a closer look at LINQ, or Language-Integrated Query -- a set of C# and Visual Basic features that let you write SQL-like queries against data structures such as arrays or hashtables. I like how it lets you replace loops with just a line or two of code. I will illustrate it here with two simple exercises.
On March 19, 2008 Richard Dawkins, the famous evolutionary biologist and popularizer of science, gave a public lecture at the University of Texas in Austin; it was preceded by a reception hosted by the Center of Inquiry Austin. Though I didn't have a chance to exchange more than a few sentences with Dawkins at the reception, I formed some kind of impression of him as a person. For example, he speaks in perfect phrases and is hip on technology. (Though I bet he would never use the word "hip". :-)) His lecture topics I found familiar, even though I haven't read his books where he expounds on them. I guess I've absorbed his ideas by osmosis. The questions the audience asked revolved around whether atheists should adopt an in-your-face or a conciliatory tone with general public; some of the questions were more unusual. (Would you ask a well-known skeptic to support his reasoning with astrology? :-)) Then someone asked what Dawkins thinks of transhumanist visions. Finally, a concept he wanted us to take away from this lecture, if it was the only thing we would take away: why evolution is NOT equal to random chance.