Still Alive

It’s been quite awhile since I was updating regularly. A large part of that was the typical “I’ve removed the immediate emergency stressors so now my body is going to crash” thing that I think a lot of people are pretty familiar with. I was seriously ill for over a month straight starting in mid-january and since then I’ve just been chronically exhausted.

I am still alive and kicking though! This is just the massive crash that I’ve been delaying for two or three years now. I’ve started to be able to think more clearly again, the panic attacks are coming less often, and even in the middle of panic it’s getting easier to push it aside and get work done.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading, largely in trying to get caught up with the entire transcendental syntax/ludics/geometry of interaction program that I didn’t know much about until recently. They’re not the incomprehensible papers I’ve seen some (jokingly?) claim they are, but they’re dense and build on themselves. I’ve been bouncing around between Locus Solum and some of Girard’s more recent papers.

Is there some research goal that I have in mind for this reading binge of the last few weeks? Not particularly. Indeed, I’ve been trying to remind myself that I’m allowed to read things that are not within my speciality or have a clear goal to them. Sometimes it’s nice just to learn things for the sake of learning them, and the fact that it’s a topic that I find interesting and that’s making me think harder about my assumptions on logic-as-a-field is just a bonus.

Other than reading and walking so much that I’ve destroyed yet another pair of boots, I’ve still been picking away at the intro to computer science book that I’ve mentioned previously. It’s going to be in Python because that’s what my university has more-or-less standardized on, but when I asked on twitter about people’s suggestions for first programming languages I was surprised that the most common answer I got was Racket! I hadn’t really considered it as a teaching language before, despite the existence of How To Design Programs. The rest of the answers were interesting as well. More than one person suggested teaching some form of assembly language, which I’d also never considered but I can see the reasoning behind it: giving a low-level picture of how computers see computation is definitely useful. On the other hand, I seriously worry that assembly first might obscure the fundamentally algebraic character of computation. That’s my bias showing, of course, since I’m always going to lean towards understanding computation mathematically rather than as things are implemented.

So that’s basically where I am at the moment. Coming out of a long stretch of just being sick and exhausted, and getting back into the swing of things. I’m going to try and turn my beeminder goal for the blog back up again and see if we can get an honest-to-goodness posting schedule again, so we’ll see what happens!

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