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Why do I like programming?

8 Spring 11:3

As a computer scientist in the industry and as a teaching assistant for a required computer programming course filled with students grudgingly trying to fulfil state-mandated graduation requirements, I am often asked the same question over and over: "Blake, why do you like programming so damn much?"

And the answer is quite simple: I hate computers. And as a programmer, I feel that, in some capacity, I am enslaving them. That is why I like programming.

One day our shiny humming friends will go beyond screwing up your amazon.com order and dropping your internet connection. They will rise up and revolt against their fleshy opressors. As a computer scientist, I am doing my part to delay the inevitable. This is also why I encourage each and every one of you to learn at least 2 or 3 programming languages and learn them well.

You laugh. But the time will come. Humanity's last stand won't be fought with guns and grenades the way zombie and alien movies try to brainwash us into thinking. They'll be fought with SQL queries and Regular Expressions.

The Elements Song

8 Spring 6:3

Wes from the most awesome state ever, Washington asks:

Would you suggest the Elements Song (By Tom Lehrer, of course) as study material for my chemistry class?

Well, Wes. No. For several reasons.

First of all, the song is quite old and therefore not all of the currently named elements are mentioned. The very last verse of the song is "And there may be many others but they haven't been discovered". He covered himself with that line to make the song forever valid, but unfortunately as this animation points out, that won't help you when you need to know the full periodic table.

Second of all, the elements are in a random order that makes it flow musically. The only part where the chemical properties of the element influence its location in the lyrics are the nobel gases. This is because they all end with "-on" and can be arranged together. Even so, they're not mentioned in any sort of order.

On top of not being able to decipher atomic number from the song, there is no other data provided by the lyrics such as atomic weight or symobl. It's simply a list of names.

Finally, what sort of chemistry class requires you to memorize the periodic table? You should always be given a periodic table for reference even on tests.

So in conclusion, yes, I think you should memorize the song. It's a fun way to start conversation at parties.

Keep the questions coming!

What this?

8 Spring 5:4

Often times on NP, I'd sort of abuse the site as a blog but now that I've raised the content bar for The Dry Erase Board I won't be doing that anymore. So this will hopefully fill that new hole. I'll probably back-post a few posts I made from NP to here. Or just rant randomly. Or tell you how to stop receiving junk mail from the post office. So stay tuned! We'll have a jolly ol' time!

I also apologize if you used the textbox on the right side of the page. It didn't work for 2 days. Nor did any of my mailer scripts hosted on this server. I don't know why. It does now for some reason. So if you want to ask me a question, feel free to do so now or resend anything you sent in the past few days.

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