R. Feynman on why symbols don’t matter compared to their meaning

On weekends, my father would take me for walks in the woods and he’d tell me about interesting things that were going on. “See that bird?” he says. “It’s a Spencer Warbler.” (I knew he didn’t know the real name.) “Well, in Italian, it’s Chutto Lapittida. In Portuguese, it’s a Bom da Peida. In Chinese, it’s a Chung-long-tah, and in Japanese, it’s Katano Tekeda. You can know the name of that bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird. You’ll only know something about people in different places, and what they call the bird. So let’s look at the bird and see what it is doing – that’s what counts.” This is how I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.

From Richard P. Feynman’s The Making of a Scientist, 1988

As quoted in The Elements of Computing Systems by Noam Nisan and Shimon Schocken


That stupid brat!

I was in a perfectly good mood. And she just had to do that! What a pain! I could never put up with her stupidity when she was smaller and now that she’s grown a bit, she’s turned into a major brat! Spoiled children! They’re the worst!

And at a time like this when I have to learn machine languages!

Just a note: she’s a bastard daughter of a neighbor.

Since different computers vary in terms of CPU operations, number and type of registers, and assembly syntax rules, there is a Tower of Babel of machine languages, each with its own obscure syntax.

Well, that doesn’t sound good.

Hey, this reminds me of a very similar-sounding xkcd comic. I should find that one.
Update: Standards

From The Elements of Computing Systems by Noam Nisan and Shimon Schocken

Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.
—Albert Einstein (1879–1955)

As quoted in The Elements of Computing Systems by Noam Nisan and Shimon Schocken

The term global climate change is more appropriate than global warming because human-caused changes in the Earth’s climate includes both increases and decreases in temperature, precipitation and storm frequency. Warming of the Earth’s atmosphere is only one aspect of global climate change.

Now, that clears up my confusion about global warming and climate change.

From UoPeople’s Unit 5 Learning Guide for GS1301: Introduction to Environmental Science

“People who one year ago couldn’t think about higher education at all, all of the sudden can think about NYU,”
– Shai Reshef, founder and president of the University of the People, on the partnership with NYU

This is the third time I’ve had a brush with a vehicular accident. And, as always, the vehicle I was riding in was not at fault. I don’t say that simply because I’m biased, I say that because it’s what happened.

And, no matter how many times it’s happened… Well, there’s just no getting used to it.

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock…

I’ve finally been able to build a RAM8. That felt good. Of course, that happened with quite a bit of help. Still, after I got through that one, the next ones were too easy. Right now, the Hardware Simulator is still testing my RAM4K. Even so, I’m already feeling that it’s safe to say that the RAM16K that I’d be building after this test will also pass.

I’m really wondering if we are allowed to post our chips in blogs or something…

Kinstones (from Zelda) are said to bring happiness.

My mother so needs a truckload of them right now. In fact, give her a boatload. Oh, wait, not just right now but make it everyday. She needs a steady inexhaustible supply.

My approach to building logic has been wrong. So wrong that I have been hugely stupid; as I have been many times over.

So, note to self:

When building logic, you are connecting wires not making a program.

Building logic and writing code are different affairs however similar they might seem.

Build logic, write code.

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock…

How do you create a branching sort of thing in this simulator so you can create a feedback loop?

Basically, that’s my only issue here right now.

#NowPlaying Paramore’s The Only Exception

If I’ve said this before, then I’ll be saying this again: The first time I heard that song, I really thought it was Taylor Swift because it sounds like the kind of stuff that Taylor Swift sings about. Except, the voice sounded wrong.

Ralph Fiennes in Clash of the Titans:

I’m a god, I will live forever.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2:

Only I can live forever.

He is good at it.

The physical implementation of a DFF is an intricate task, and is based on connecting several elementary logic gates using feedback loops (one classic design is based on Nand gates alone). In this book we have chosen to abstract away this complexity, treating DFFs as primitive building blocks. Thus, our hardware simulator provides a built-in DFF implementation that can be readily used by other chips.

A data flip-flop based on Nand gates alone?!

Sure, it’s possible. In theory. But how?

Well, I think I’m glad the authors decided to abstract it away because, given that I couldn’t finish building the ALU (I’ve an issue with the negativity. Or lack thereof.), I’d probably won’t be able to complete that one, too.

Yeah, I admit, I couldn’t finish building the ALU we were tasked to implement. But I’m not admitting defeat. Somehow, in one way or the other, I’d learn how to complete my design.

From The Elements of Computing Systems by Noam Nisan and Shimon Schocken, emphasis added

It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backward.
—Lewis Carroll (1832–1898)

As quoted in The Elements of Computing Systems by Noam Nisan and Shimon Schocken