50 year anniversary

It has been exactly 50 years, to the day, since Billie Jean King beat Bobbie Riggs in tennis at the Houston Astrodome, in straight sets. It was the most watched tennis match of all time.

It may be hard for young people today to imagine a time when it was simply taken for granted by millions of people that a woman could never successfully compete with a man in athletic competition. The historic match between King and Riggs helped to lay that particular idiocy to rest once and for all.

As we have learned from recent Supreme Court rulings, the struggle for equality within a rigged system is never complete. Sometimes it’s good to remember historic battles that were well fought and well won.

Poetry of Earth

Today I was looking at some natural marble and I thought about how its amazingly beautiful pattern was formed by extreme and violent forces.

I was reminded of Wordsworth’s description of poetry as “emotion recollected in tranquility.”

I said this to the person next to me, and he replied “Yes, it’s the poetry of the earth.”

Which then reminded me of what Keats said in one of his poems: “The poetry of Earth is never dead.”

Flying cars

Suppose we actually had flying cars. Who would drive them?

Given that it is now 2023, and AI is rapidly taking over, I suspect that nobody would drive them.

Given the choice between what able to do in a few years, and what we already know about human drivers, I suspect that flying cars will all be driven by computers.

If somebody has a good counter argument, I am willing to hear it.

AI in movies

Suppose the studios won, and they were to get the right to replace human actors and writers with AI bots. Anyone who has been following ChatGPT already knows what would happen.

We would end up with homogenized pap. Stories would become prosaic and predictable. Movie acting would become generic and flsvorless, making the most mediocre of today’s movies seem like a masterpiece by comparison.

Maybe we could then just go all the way and replace moviegoers with bots. I am sure they would appreciate AI movies a lot more than us pesky humans would.

Today’s math

I love dates that are mathematically interesting. Today is either 9/16/2023 or 16/9/2023, depending on where you live in the world. Which means that the following are all true:

The month is the square of three (the last digit of the year).

The day of the month is the square of four (the sum of the first three digits of the year).

If you add the month and the day together, you get the square of five (the sum of the last three digits of the year).

If you add up the month and the digits of the year, you get 9 + 2 + 0 + 2 + 3 = 16, which is the day of the month.

Whether weather

Today it happens to be a beautiful day in New York City. I know that theoretically the weather should have little or no bearing on how much work I get done.

But in fact it turns out to have an enormous influence on my productivity. When it’s a beautiful day outside, even though, ironically, I am spending most of my time indoors, I end up getting lots more work done.

Maybe it has something to do with feeling happy. 🙂

Bug vacation

Every once in a while I run into a bug in my program that I just cannot seem to fix. I used to get really upset when this happened, but no longer.

Now I see such situations as opportunities. Because sooner or later the bug will get fixed, but trying to approach it by a frontal assault never works.

So instead, I now opt to walk away — to take a bug vacation. I work on something else instead.

Maybe I’ll work on a little side programming project that I never got around to. Or maybe I’ll finally assemble that bookcase that was sitting in a box in the corner. Or I might even cook a nice meal.

Sure enough, when I return, the bug has usually (and somewhat miraculously) become much easier to fix.