Password reset at work this week, which means my login password has been <old password> -- "invalid" -- <new password> for days

Well, at least I got one thing done in 2020 - I spent at least a bit of time learning German (almost) every day.


Been watching Farscape, and getting convinced that Gritty is actually a Luxan.

uspol/st:disco spoilers 

With all the calls for "healing" and "bipartisanship", I've been thinking of the treaty negotiation scene in this season of Star Trek: Discovery. Admiral Vance would love to see a productive alliance between Starfleet and the Emerald Chain, but won't bend on Osyraa facing a fair trial and appropriate consequences for her crimes, because you just can't work with someone who's willing to see you dead if they don't get their way. Dr. Aurellio learns a few episodes later what happens if you're willing to work with a murderer - eventually, they either make you join in their murder, or they kill you.

Biden, Schumer, and Pelosi could learn some lessons. I think there's value in bipartisanship, compromise, and reaching across the aisle, but your interlocutors need to have some common values and a willingness to work within the system in good faith. Half the GOP House caucus and six Senators voted against the democratic will of the American people, many of them after inciting the mob that tried to overthrow that democracy by force. There need to be conditions on the open hand of bipartisanship, and a clear one is that Republicans need to make a clear stand against mob violence, and expel the seditionists like Trump, Cruz, and Hawley from their party, and in at least Trump's case, from his office as well.

I'm not optimistic, but I've read about the failure of Reconstruction after the Civil War, as well as the Beer Hall Putsch a decade before the Nazis took over Germany, and if the USA wants to still be a democracy in a decade's time, there needs to be a clear stand for democracy now.

And the coding question worth 20% of the midterm was ambiguously worded ... just a whiff all around.

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Not my finest teaching day today ... after the midterm was done I realized I'd accidentally taught them Dijkstra's algorithm and called it Prim's, and not taught them the definition of complete binary tree before I put it on the test.


Gotta say, watching the local Oregon/Portland votes come in is soothing. They're mostly not going the way I'd like, but choices between liberal and progressive don't fill me with the same existential dread


In a stunning reversal from the rest of 2020, I spent an hour procrastinating doomscrolling with work.

Neat essay examining the connection between empathy and self-determination through the lens of Blade Runner and Martha Wells' Murderbot series (which is charming and well worth reading)

One nice thing about being the professor -- when you don't want to do the homework (in my case, write the reference solutions and starter code), you can just cancel it -- it was a syllabus change, so I polled my students, but they were overwhelmingly in favour.

Because I figure I should have some non-trivial content, here's a link to a fascinating new parsing algorithm. The data structure is a DAG of automata, which is definitely twisting my brain in knots, but the claimed results are quite impressive:

A Mastodon instance for users who like the study of programming languages, formal semantics, types, or linguistics.