Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ben Stein once again proving that he is the ulitmate in conservative coolness

NOTE: Link is in post title.

Long have I been a big fan of Ben Stein. I love what he has to say in the linked web page, and particularly in the interview with O'Reilly. (Sorry, blogger is having trouble with links, or I'd include one).

There are, as I see it, at least two problems here:
1 - human nature is universal, and the sort of thing that he is decrying was as much a result of that nature in the inquisition as it is in 2008 in the scientific community.
2 - No one understands math.
Amount of potential knowledge in universe = infinity
Portion of that which you know = x where x < infinity x / infinity = zero for all intents and purposes.

Bottom line, no one should give up their science because of religion, and no one should give up their faith because of science. Neither side knows nearly as much as they'd like to think. Faith is important, and science and empiricism have given us a lot.

There is a legitimate historical fear that states essentially that when religion of any sort rules, free exchange of ideas is stifled, sometimes violently.

I love secularism in gov't and schools, but people should not be persecuted for not espousing the beliefs of the state (Stalinism, anyone?)

If science were taught and taught well, we wouldn't need to even have this conversation. (I'll post again on that, see my post on inversion of control for a glimpse.)

Thanks you Ben Stein.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Prince who's programmer?

some of you may wonder why I call myself prince Wang's programmer.
those who know me well will of course assume it is reference to the male genetaila.

you may be surprised to find that it is, in fact, referring to this:

Prince Wang's programmer was coding software. His fingers danced upon the keyboard. The program compiled without an error message, and the program ran like a gentle wind.

``Excellent!'' the Prince exclaimed, ``Your technique is faultless!''

``Technique?'' said the programmer turning from his terminal, ``What I follow is Tao - beyond all techniques! When I first began to program I would see before me the whole problem in one mass. After three years I no longer saw this mass. Instead, I used subroutines. But now I see nothing. My whole being exists in a formless void. My senses are idle. My spirit, free to work without plan, follows its own instinct. In short, my program writes itself. True, sometimes there are difficult problems. I see them coming, I slow down, I watch silently. Then I change a single line of code and the difficulties vanish like puffs of idle smoke. I then compile the program. I sit still and let the joy of the work fill my being. I close my eyes for a moment and then log off.''

Prince Wang said, ``Would that all of my programmers were as wise!''

Minimally Logged Operations in SQL Server

I'm posting this mostly so I can find it later :) The following article has a great table that defines when operations will be minimall...