March 24, 2002
sunday

A busy week. I've set to programming in earnest. With datasets this big, there really isn't any way to answer certain questions unless you write a program to explore it.

Now I see why Mike has such affection for MATLAB in this setting. It's an astoundingly flexible tool. Only problem is that much is up to whether you're capable of writing a program to test your hypothesis.

I'm learning, but I'm also fully aware how inefficient and memory intensive my code is. Especially when it comes to manipulating matrices, there are things I take 50 lines to write that a good MATLAB coder could do in a few.

I suppose this is what you get when a liberal arts major starts programming--verbose code.

Enjoying myself though.

The other day we stopped by the apartment the Chius have rented. His wife, from what I've seen, a cheerful, poised woman, started crying. My Mandarin is poor, but I understood it to be her frustration being the main caregiver and Mr. Chiu getting annoyed at her for hen-pecking him about exercises he should do, medicines he should take.

Sitting there, listening to them, reawakened something that I've always puzzled over: we never *really* know how someone is feeling. If a friend has a headache, I'd never know it unless she told me. I'd never know Mrs. Chiu's frustration unless she expressed it. Certainly there are times where we might guess or infer things, but we never reach a state where we feel exactly what someone else is feeling.

It's sort of sad--there's always that otherness, and the only thing we can do is make good guesses or just try to be considerate all the time.

Posted by erich at March 24, 2002 03:10 PM
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