I suppose it’s been a while.

I think for lack of a better subject to write about, I may have put blogging by the wayside. I mean, 2/4 posts so far have been how I fixed some problem so the next time my computer breaks, I know what to install…

But good news, Debian Stretch so far hasn’t broken since at least April because I don’t ever recall having to use the Stretch CD that I have on my desk since I upgraded. So even then my blog has been pretty dead.

Although it’s not as if I run a well-known blog, it gives me warm feelings knowing that there’s a little nook in the Internet where I can reflect and vent whatever is in my head that I think is relevant, knowing that some random person (or more likely a bot) will look at it and possibly respond internally as a result of something that I write.

Probably won’t happen though. The Internet’s a pretty big place.

I’ve been thinking about writing a blog post for a while, but whenever computer time and thinking time coincide, it’s like I think “maybe later” or perhaps I need better ideas before wasting my own (or worse, a reader’s) time. So from here on out, I’ve set myself a goal to post something weekly or biweekly, whether or not somebody cares. Anything will probably go, from this melange of thoughts to some random meme dump from the past week.

So in the process of writing that, I guess I’ll just make a mind dump of whatever I don’t forget over the next 30 or so minutes.

Flaming Vsauce

As I’m writing this, I’m currently offline and I was actually going to look at other people explain why Vsauce is often used unironically to describe a bunch of ideas that have no relation to each other.

I’ve watched my fair share of Vsauce videos, and yes, I do agree that there are a few (a lot?) of videos whose entire purpose is to go off on a huge tangent. But look at me. This entire blog post has been a huge tangent, and none of the posts have any relation to each other. Yet. But hold on a minute. If I am correct in my conclusion that Vsauce is used to mock those that go off on tangents (as it is to mock the creator himself), could that not be the entire point of Vsauce videos? Could not even answering the question in full be the actual purpose of his videos?

The point I’m arguing for is that Vsauce videos have nothing to do with being a Q&A type thing where he investigates and answers whatever is being asked in the title, but rather to make random connections so that viewers investigate themselves.

Since I’m still offline, the only evidence I have is trying to remember whatever videos I watched, but bear with me here.

By going off on tangents and only vaguely answering the question, I think that Vsauce is purposely trying to get viewers to think for themselves and become a little bit more curious about what was mentioned in the video. Could it not be possible that those who are even angered by Vsauce’s vagueness or style of discussion to do their own research in order to debunk his claim(s) and in doing so, learn a little bit in the process?

But then again, why not have every inflammatory creator turn around and say “oh, that wasn’t the point, the point was to get you to learn and debunk my claims!”

But then again, Vsauce hasn’t ever said specifically that instilling curiosity was the point of his videos either. Maybe he hasn’t realized how apparently stupid he sounds to some other viewers. I can’t speak for myself of the quality of his videos, but I myself do enjoy some of his content occaisionally, so I’m probably biased in favor of defending Vsauce.

As a final note, for the love of God, do not make me the next Vsauce meme.

Vaguness is Necessary

I recall from my social studies class that there are claims that the U.S. Constitution was written to be intentionally vauge. Now the merits of that claim or how useful vagueness has been to the U.S. as a nation is another topic for another time, but I think that intential vagueness is not only helpful, but absolutely necessary for learning.

So some backstory: I believe it was yesterday night, when I was finally able to get ArchLinux running on my MacBook, and I was just heading off to bed, right? And as I laid there, I still high on satisfaction and having finally been able to get the bootloader and the Wi-Fi and just everything in place, and I thought to myself:

Why didn’t the ArchWiki just tell me everything I needed to do exactly as it needs to be done?

And from there, I realized how perhaps vagueness was connected to learning. Intentional, maybe not, but important? Most definitely. I recall conversations with some of the AP Computer Science students describing how the (unnamed) teacher was (to put in nice terms) “not a very good teacher.” I’m not sure how the Vsauce connection or the social studies connection came about, but through these connections, I realized that you don’t learn from instruction, you learn from what was missed during instruction.

Now let me make clear that at the same time, what you don’t know must drive your curiosity. Vagueness will fail if students are not motivated to learn more about what they don’t understand, or what they don’t know. By allowing students to do their own learning, I think that they might be able to become more independent, be in charge, and feel more rewarded by knowledge than if they are spoonfed.

On the contrary, it is is also important that there are some details that are spoonfed. You can’t learn from nothing, and there must still be the answer somewhere. If it is too difficult to find, or students are not motivated to find the answers themselves, or if students are not willing to create their own solutions, then vagueness has failed to work.

There is a fine balance between teaching too much and not teaching at all. Vagueness should be a tool, and teachers a source of guidance rather than a source of information. I would even go as far as to say that teachers should learn not to teach their own subject, but to learn how to guide students.

Make note that there is a reason why I chose to discuss vagueness before some of the sections below :)

Your Opinion Sucks

The section header probably inflamed at least more than one reader.

The connection that some people have with their opinion should be thrown away. I think that opinions are agents of discussion, not the people who are proponents of that opinion. Pretty much 100% of the time, your opinion sucks and needs to be changed.

Don’t get all offended because someone doesn’t agree with you. The idea of an opinion isn’t so other people agree with it, it is so that the existing state of humanity can be improved if is better than an existing idea. If people don’t agree with it, no need to get all butthurt. Their disagreement is an opinion as well, so both of your opinions suck.

But then again… I’m voicing my own opinion on opinions, so I should piss off, right?

Machine Conciousness

I used to have to go to Costco a lot with my parents because, you know, they were those parents.

Thing was, at Costco, there’s this big ol’ table filled with tons and tons of books, and whenever my parents would shop, I would pick up a book and read it while they did their thing, and one of those books happened to be Michio Kaku’s book that discussed time travel or some other baity Sci-Fi topic.

Truth is, one of the things that the book I read that day talked about was human consciousness. Now I don’t recall that much from the book itself, so I’m looking to get my hands on it ASAP after I finish writing this.

Anyways, I also happen to be fascinated with natural processes. Things like what the smallest subatomic particles are made of, what makes energy “energy,” etc… and human conciousness was something that I found mysterious, as well as it happens, neurologists and psychologists the world over. What makes us concious? What makes us/gives us the ability to be meta-cogniscent? Why (if they do not) do animals not think abstractly? And most importantly, what prevents lifeless objects from possessing consiousness?

How mind-numbingly complex and unknown, the processes that go on inside of our little brains. The only thing I recall today about human consciousness is how people have attempted to preserve it through cryogenics and how it was related someehow to prediction, thinking about the future and being able to respond to how events might continue or change. It boggles the mind, thinking about the mind, in fact.

I’d honestly love to find some free time to work on something along the same vein as machine consciousness someday. But for now I gotta finish the blog post.

JDB

Some keen observers might notice that I have a new JDB project on GitHub and this is actually for a post APCS course that I am currently in at school. In short, it’s just a CLI Java-debugger, but looking at jdb.md should give a clue as to what the goals are for the project.

One of the services that I use as part of the class is something called Seesaw, which lets me write a bi/triweekly journal about my progress, but unfortunately, there’s a character limit!

Since I like to elaborate and write, it turns out this is a relevant inconvenience for me. I think I will begin to incorporate those posts into my blog since it will allow me to add inline elements such as photos or videos without having to make a separate entry, something that writing to GitHub Gist and Seesaw itself did not allow.

I think that by writing a public journal, others might also benefit from reading through how I think and be able to apply the same concepts to their own programming challenges as well. At the same time, I might also create the illusion that my blog is a little more active than it really is.

On Thread Safety

It’s been a long while since I’ve looked at the “On Thread Safety” treatise that I had written back in May. I’ve started to look back at it over the past 2 days, so hopefully anyone who has been watching that will be excited for the changes that I’ve made so far, however miniscule. I’m very excited by the prospect of writing a finished product all, but I’m afraid that a single post may not be enough to explain as comprehensively as possible the mechanics of multithreading in Java. I’m not looking to replace other resources, but again, simply condensing and using the vaguness idea from above to help explain a few esoteric/quirky concepts pertaining to thread-safety.

Again, I’m looking forward to continuing to update it, so stay tuned!

Octopress

As I was looking through the 3 photos on the blog so far, firstly, I noticed that each section in this post so far has been successively shorter than the previous.

I also noticed this one photo:

Otopress3 on Mobile

GG @ The navbar button.

Although it’s not necessarily related to the above bug (which I am sure is the fault of the theme rather than Octopress itself), I’m thinking of getting rid of Octopress3 perhaps in the near future and using pure Jekyll. There’s little that I think Octopress offers in terms of features vs. Jekyll and the barebones should be sufficient for me. On top of that, Jekyll is significantly more active in terms of development than Octopress so that is also another motivator.

Closing Thoughts

It’s been a while so I’ve got a lot of stuff to talk about, perhaps contributing to the length of today’s post. I guess my final message would be to stay tuned.

If nothing of interest to you was written here, perhaps you might leave with a smile on your face. If failing to interest you, I hope your day gets better regardless :)