Rohit's Realm - September 2010

// / archive / 2010 / 09

September 06, 2010

Bye Bye Chicago

A little bit over three years ago, I said goodbye to San Francisco, and in a distressingly optimistic post some days later, I said hello to Chicago (more specifically, much loathed Hyde Park). Today I say goodbye to my city of residence of the past three years.

September 13, 2010

The Decentralization Epidemic

In a previous entry penned some three years ago, I discussed paradigm shifts (in molecular biology and elsewhere) and more generally our inability to properly comprehend contemporary events for which we are present with the same analytical rigor we are able to apply to the past. (Schrödinger's Cat was also mentioned, but that's mostly because quantum mechanics is awesome.) In this post, I will cover a new paradigm shift of sorts that seems to be all the rage in fields as disparate as politics and computer science: decentralization.

At the outset, two articles appearing in the August 14th issue of The Economist must be considered. (And yes, I am a couple weeks behind due to the twin malaises of exhausting travel and overwhelming laziness, but bear with me.) The first is an article on latest developments in artificial intelligence and the second is one on the transformation of Britain underway since the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition took power. So, what does artificial intelligence based on hive algorithms and the devolution of power from 10 Downing St have in common? Everything, really. Allow me to explain.

September 16, 2010

Rohit Reviews: Pale Fire

Pale Fire
We who burrow in filth every day may be forgiven perhaps the one sin that ends all sins.
—Charles Kinbote

Having only very recently returned to the literary world after an absence that is as staggering as it is embarrassing, I have finally achieved a pace of reading that I once maintained for years on end. (But we shall see how long this lofty pace shall last; I am, as you all well know, no stranger to all-consuming failure.) Today I review Pale Fire, the heavily analyzed and criticized 1962 novel by Vladimir Nabokov. This is the third Nabokov novel I have completed, though the first I have reviewed. The other two—the immaculate Lolita and the intensely dark Despair—I completed before I had taken to writing about books on this most dreary and dreadful of sites.

September 24, 2010

Fun with Flex, Bison, and Friends

The past month has been particularly prolific for me, if this (worthless) site is any indication. I wrote more regularly in the last three weeks elapsed than I had in the past three years.

But the all-consuming dragon of existential angst that is a mainstay of my most trivial and farcical condition in this miserable life is not easy to slay. So in addition to readin' and writin', I have also been spending some quality time with a dear old friend of mine from a past life: the C programming language (not quite arithmetic, but close enough). It's hard to contemplate killing oneself when all your ire is directed at gcc.

In this post, I discuss a particularly pernicious bug that has plagued me into the wee hours for two days in a row with flex/bison. (Most of you, therefore, can safely skip this entry. But I warn you: nothing invokes the disaffection, misanthropy, or self-loathing for which this site is renown quite like computer science.) The problem and (hopefully) its solution after the jump.

September 28, 2010

Blast from the Past (Or, How Gangsta Rap Ages)

Way back in 2006, I wrote about my top underutilized purchases at that time, which included, among other things, a 12'', 400 W subwoofer that got a total of maybe ten uses in six years; a Kenneth Cole Reaction briefcase that would be replaced by a superior Tumi model within three months; and the second season of Dark Angel on DVD (don't judge!) that I never managed to complete. The past couple of days have presented an opportunity to undertake a similar retrospective. That's largely because along with existential angst and geeking out, my time thus far in (the) OC has also been accompanied by coaxing, pressure, and the occasional threat from my parents to clean out the crap that I have managed to accumulate over nearly three decades of (necessarily futile, much lamented) existence on this planet.

Yesterday, amidst the trash stacked up high in my closet, I came across a gem: a sealed box containing roughly a hundred albums from my youth (a/k/a the 1990s) that I had neither seen nor thought of since I left for college. Converting those compact discs into a format more suited for the new millennium has given me the chance both to wax nostalgic and reflect on how these anthems of my adolescence have aged. The short answer? To a large extent, not very well. After the jump, a list of some of the best and worst finds.