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Monthly Archives: April 2011

The case for cooperation

Perhaps this is unique to China, where the sheer number of other persons drowns out your cries of individualism. But I sense that there exists a prevailing trend of anti-collaboration that has only recently subsided. I don’t say competition, because that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about the generally-accepted notion that, if you go sharing your success secrets with others, you’ll be at a disadvantage, and because of this, you shouldn’t cooperate with anyone. I mean, it does make sense. That is, if you dehumanize people into little nodes of information. But because of this reasoning, there is a lot of anti-collaborative hostility beneath the surface. It makes certain social situations very tense, especially the ones involving direct competition for some limited opportunity1. Of course, it’s a big problem if everyone starts thinking this way. Maybe it’s not our… more →

Spring Pops

www.seatyourself.biz/walnutchoir I wish people would stop substituting “cum” for “come”.

Intentional Deception

On the club application form I created, there’s a place for you to put down a password so I don’t end up having to send a randomly generated “2foas2!v” to a million people. Being counterculture and all that, I don’t like passwords. Nobody does. I tried googling for an alternative way to identify yourself  or perhaps, I could come up with an alternative myself1. But in the end, I just went with a normal password + salted hash. Alright, well, underneath the place where you put your password, I write down “Your password is stored as a 512-bit hash. We do not know what you type”. I have to do this because, well, who would trust me with their password? It’s just too easy to harvest giant lists of email passwords. But still, including this bit is a bit troubling…. more →

80 Days of Summer

I’m planning to start a development blog for the ruby-based NHS application that I’m writing this summer. I’ll like make it walnutnhs.com/dev, and then use /dev/null for the 404 page, and a /dev/stderr/ for reporting bugs. Ha, ridiculous. And maybe  When I think about this idea, it sounds like a blog with a genuine purpose. Summer seems like a bottomless repository of free time, but it probably really isn’t. I will never have as much free time as I do now. But that’s ridiculous! I’ve got homework and AP tests coming up and I want to go outside, and look at summer: absolutely nothing planned. Ahh, but I’ve resolved to stop putting things off and start what I want, right now. Followup: Since nobody did this for me last summer, here are some browser statistics about WHS’s student population, or… more →

First World Problems

I’m looking at the future of the WalnutNHS website and things have changed a bit. I’m supposed to choose a sophomore (not a freshman) who’ll take over the website after I graduate, and I just can’t make any sense of the situation right now. Let me explain: When I look at 2012, there are several people who definitely have the experience and know-how to work WalnutNHS. Of course, I can’t choose any of them because they’re graduating along with me. I need somebody who can inherit the website for future classes. Logically speaking, there must be about the same number of capable people in 2013, and in 2014 as well. But I’m very shaky on this point. I don’t know if I’m underestimating or overestimating the capabilities of 2013. Okay, that statement is wrong for 2 reasons: First, programming experience… more →

Frightening monsters and capitalists

I picked up a telemarketer call today. [long pause.] Telemarketer: Hello, can I speak to _____? Me: He’s not interested. Please remove us from your list, please. Telemarketer: [more casually] Yeah, um. Telemarketer: Okay, thanks. Bye. [More pause, then I hang up.] Hey these guys have the worst job in the world, give em a break. Some people’ll go online to complain and look up do-not-call lists and some people will file in small claims court1. Apparently, some telemarketing companies have a policy where they can’t hang up until you do, even if leave the phone. Of course, listening to whatever crud you might be playing is orders of magnitude better than harassing families at dinner. You think you’re doing them a favor, and you’re probably right. The world’s a lot less scary when you figure that people are people… more →

On Barron’s AP Books

I don’t care what kind of laboratory you have. Two objects with densities of 18000000 kg/m3 is absolutely unacceptable1. You have pulleys that go the wrong way, electrons that move at the speed of light, photons that don’t, made-up equations. Apparently, you don’t know how to subtract numbers either2. Yeah, I get it. It takes a lot of work to write these. But please, proofread? 3rd edition my ass3. At least it’s not a black hole.. yet. ↩ This wasn’t a careless mistake either. You simply wrote down -5.7eV – (-8.2eV) = 3.5eV. ↩ You mixed up apical dominance and phototropism. ↩

Social Credentials

I’ve been taking runs around my neighborhood in the morning for a couple of days. It’s absolutely exhilarating. I like the steep hills that ascend 10 or 12 feet so that you can’t see over the top from its base. It’s like you’re climbing up to something great thats waiting for you. And the sunrise on the horizon is something you don’t ever get to see unless you’re up at 6:30. Hey, people should do this more often. But wait, they do. There are joggers that join track and field and do crosscountry and they must see magnificent sunrises all the time. I feel rather out of place talking about running when I really haven’t seen the sun for 6 months. If you think about it, it’s likewise socially unacceptable to discuss basketball unless you follow its teams and play weekly. There are… more →