Friday, June 19, 2015
1. Norman Yarvin practices good
period-economy in the process of discussing some
conventional wisdom about writing:
So if you find yourself breaking sentences apart to follow a rule that sentences should be short, you're doing it wrong; if they can be broken apart without much trouble, they also weren't any trouble for the reader to understand in the first place. It's when you read a sentence, get lost, and have to backtrack to grasp its meaning, that rewriting is indicated.Amen.
2. Does software have its own Gresham's Law?
When we look at this from the perspective of the software system itself, Sustrik's Law reminds us that software is subject to a particular kind of entropy, in which well-designed systems with clean interfaces devolve towards big balls of mud...When I consider Microsoft Word, I think so; when Emacs, I do not. But I'm an oddball who finds the way most people use computers to be tedious.
3. Having a B.S. in mathematics, I understand why mathematicians are hoarding a certain now-defunct brand of chalk:
[W]hat's so great about Hagoromo chalk? I tried doing a little math with it on some chalkboards at UC Berkeley. The first thing you notice is a shiny, clear coating on the outside -- it feels like a thin layer of enamel. That sounds like a minor design element, but it cuts down on the biggest annoyance with chalk: dusty fingers. The chalk is also a tad thicker and sturdier than your typical American sticks. But I'm no chalk connoisseur, and I'll admit any subtler differences eluded me. "It's hard to articulate but when I'm using it, I can feel it's nicer," said [Stanford math profesor Brian] Conrad. "It both flows nicely and it lasts much longer, too."I hated the dustiness of chalk then and -- as a parent whose kids like messy street chalk -- I hate it now. Hey! maybe that could be a new market for the current owners of the manufacturing process...
4. On a rainy day, my imaginative daughter decided we could play "cats", giving me the opportunity to tell her about the many endearing quirks of felines and remember Jerome in the process. Among the quirks more typical of cats is that they like their chins rubbed. When I told her about this, Pumpkin (and then Little Man, of course) wanted a chin rubbed. This led to two things. Immediately, I learned that both are very ticklish under their chins. And later, my son started occasionally coming up to me, grinning and meowing. My reply to his joke is to goose him under the chin.
Today: Corrected a typo.