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Hair Gel and Linguistics Paper (Tuesday, April 20, 2004)

So blogging is sorta like writing a paper for linguistics, right? No? Oh well. Today was fairly productive. I got to try out my new hair gel, and it seemed to work okay. Then I did some laundry and dialed in to my team meeting which went on for an hour and didn't apply to me in any way — I should bill webMethods for my time... wait, I already do that. At the office, I packaged up the fix for XA, and a little later, Sumeet comes back whining how it doesn't work. I asked him if he'd read the directions. As I suspected — user incompetence. At least I think I managed to successfully lobby management to actually fix LDAP for this release. Unfortunately, all of the high priority features seems to be slated for... me. And they don't want to give me too many tasks simultaneously, which is awful nice of them.

Class today was interesting. In linguistics, we talked about cookbook-ese, a language that is like English, but only allows simple imparatives, and where subjects are always "you" (i.e. 2nd person singular) and objects are deleted wherever the back trace is obvious:

Beat eggs and milk.
Stir into flour.
Bake 20 minutes.

which translates to English as:

Beat eggs and milk.
Stir eggs and milk into flour.
Bake the mixture 20 minutes.

I will eventually write a paper on how this is stupid and not worthy of a separate grammatical description. In fact, I should be doing it now. But I'm not. So nyeah. [Edit: Wrote the paper.]

Then in geography, we continued talking about sub-saharan Africa, which is basically uninteresting — they're hungry and they have AIDS. It's a horrible situation, but the professor's terrible left-leaning bias is maddenning. The root cause of all the problems there is the government requiring the nomadic tribes to become farmers. This causes spikes in population, increase in deforestation, and so on, all of which are terrible. And all of the weird diseases that were kept contained because populations were small and highly isolated are no spread everywhere by massive movement from villages to cities. The diseases might be preventable, but the governments were not concerned with infrastructure and education, only with their economy — and they figured that agriculture could solve their problems. Bring back the rainforest, I say. Stop pouring money into a system that doesn't work. The reason there isn't much agriculture is because in that climate, if you tear down the trees, you turn the land into a desert. It isn't random chance that huge civilizations have sprung up in Latin and South America, Europe, and Asia, while Africa, with the oldest people on Earth have remained tribal — that is the lifestyle that the land supports. Fifty years ago, the average African Bushman lived a long happy life, working far less than the average Westerner. Until the Western philosophy of agriculture came along, it was fine. Now, the desert is creeping in, disease and poverty are rampant, and simply pouring money at the problem will not help. Anyway, my professor doesn't get it, she just wants to hold hands and sing "We Are the World" and give them genetically engineered rice to eat, and cheap medicines to keep the people with AIDS alive longer, so they can spread it around more.

Anyway, enough ranting about that. Tonight, I made an attempt at registering for classes, and got into General Chemistry I and its lab, but unfortunately, I can't register for my synthesis class or the graduate class I want to take because I need special permission for both. So either I'll call the department or swing by campus tomorrow to take care of that. Surprisingly enough, the semester is basically over next week. I have two final exams, one in Computer Architecture, which shouldn't be too difficult — or at least I know a 50% will be good enough for an A. And another in Software Engineering, which will be tough, but not too bad, as long as I do okay on my project. For linguistics, I really need to get on the ball and write those last two essays — it should be easy, but it just requires some time and focus. And for geography, I've got a "pop" quiz next week, which will be a breeze, and an essay for the final, which should also be a breeze. I cannot wait for it to be over!!! Summer, here I come!

I finally sent back the e-mail to Microsoft, giving them the dates I'm available to come out and interview. With my luck, they'll probably come back with the most inconvenient dates possible. But that's okay. It'll be fun, and it's nice to have options. Really, what I want is my raise at webMethods to go through. Still waiting... tick tock tick tock. I have no doubt everything will be okay in the end. And until next time, good night.

—Brian (4/20/2004 11:15 PM)
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