Friday, April 24, 2009

For the nerd in all of us

Querty vs. Dvorak

This update is mostly motivated by my resumption of a years old quest to learn to type using the Dvorak keyboard layout, likely attributable to my recent completion of today's homework assignment and the accompanying brain-worthlessness. As a side note, I am writing this post in Dvorak, which serves the treble purpose of granting me practice, exercising my patience, and honing my humility.

Qualifications: I can cruise at about 50 or 55 WPM in Querty, with gusts up to 70, due to lifelong training, particularly during formative elementary aged years. With regards to Dvorak, I first attempted to develop the ability to type in Dvorak during my Freshman year of college, nigh unto five years ago. Although pressures upon my time caused me to cease before attaining a desired mastery of the layout, I revisit the project from time to time, improving with each return I believe.

Arguments for Querty:
Knowing where the colon key is: +2
Default layout on most English keyboards: +4 (Ubiquity is useful Linux users)
Being able to type 50 WPM is convenient, especially in modern life, especially in academia: +5

Arguments for Dvorak:
Learning new things promotes mental accuity, and languages frighten me: +3
Dvorak sounds cooler than Querty: +1
It is also niche and elitist: +1
Developing a totally new skill is rewarding, and something I haven't done in a while: +3
I can mess with the minds of people using my keyboard: +2

Conclusion, Querty is probably the most logical choice of keyboard layouts for me, for now! If I can polish my l33t Dvorak skills in my *copious* free time then perhaps the sums would work out differently. Well, at least I deserve congratulations for making it through this update in Dvorak, 15 WPM here I come! Ciao!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Round 2

Studying Math vs. Studying Philosophy

Qualifications: Lifelong affirmation of my math skills, BS Mathematics, BA Philosophy, first year in Math PhD program, deep love for and interest in philosophy, and an interest in (and perhaps love for) math.

Arguments for Studying Math:
Questions often have answers. (+5)
Develops logical thinking skills applicable to more relevant fields. (+3)
Teaching kids math is important for our future. (+3)
The triumph of the proof, safer than mountain climbing but same rush. (+4)
Astound cashiers. (+1)
Good job market. (+2)

Arguments for Studying Philosophy:
Questions often have real world implications and significance. (+4)
Encourages critical thinking crucial for a functioning democracy. (+3)
Humanities purpose, relation with the world, and moral obligations require contemplation. (+4)
Will call into question every single belief you have ever held. (+5)
Facilitates discussion with amazing thinkers and doers. (+3)
Quoting Hume sounds impressive. (+1)

It seems that I would prefer to be studying philosophy, something I certainly feel at times here. However, I think that two flaws exist in my analysis, boiling both sides down to 6 arguments oversimplifies things, and I may have weighted two things differently when I made my decision to apply in mathematics. Firstly, while I don't care too much about the status of the job market at the moment, it is likely that I will be very interested in it at some point in my life, so this future weight played into my decision. Secondly, while philosophy does have more real world implication and significance in my opinion, it is precisely that which scares me at times. I feel inadequate to live up to the obligations which I believe that philosophy reveals to me. On the whole, I do think studying philosophy is more enjoyable though, except those darn papers, *wink*.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ultimate Showdown

I want to revitalize my blog, so I plan to run a series of comparisons in order to get myself into the habit of writing. Here is an example:

Writing in My Blog vs. Not Writing in My Blog

Qualifications: It is my life, and my blog, so I feel that I am the uniquely qualified best person in the world to decide which is preferable.

Arguments for Writing in My Blog:
I want to do something creative and share my thoughts. (+3)
I want to be an internet sensation. (+1)
I want to motivate myself to write more (+2)

Arguments for Not Writing in My Blog:
At the moment it is causing me to split my attention 3-ways. (+2)
I have a short attention span and probably won't become an internet sensation right away. (+1)
It might make me feel guilty if I stopped writing in it regularly (+2)

So, by one point, it seems that I prefer to start writing in my blog, which, conveniently enough, I am doing. Tune in next time, which ought to be soon. Planned comparison, math and philosophy.