So much to say, so much to say, so much to say.
I was bored and so…..
Top Ten Most Frequently Asked PetCo Aquatics Questions That Make You Groan:
- “Which fish are mean?”
- “What will happen if I put two Bettas together?”
- “Do you have those Chinese Fighting Fish?”
- “What’s the hardiest fish you have? Oh, I don’t like those. What else?”
- “So to have saltwater fish, I just put some table salt in my aquarium?”
- “Do these fish die?” (or its variation: “Is that fish dead?”)
- “If I put this in my saltwater tank, will it grow?” (where the object in question is a piece of plastic coral)
- “Do you work here?”
- “How many fish can I fit in this shot glass?” (ok, so that one’s a little exaggerated.)
And the most commonly asked question guaranteed to make any Aquatics worker groan:
- “Do you have those baby turtles?”
Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box. Thats one fscked up music video.
Oh! Last night, I was installing this program, id3v2. It’s a nifty little command line utility that can change the id3 tags of mp3’s. Comes in handy when I want to delete all the id3 tags from all my mp3’s (death to id3!) without clicking on each freakin 1400+ one. So anyways, I’m compiling this program from source code, and it gives two errors. Whoa. Very few programs actually have compile-time (as opposed to run-time) errors. So I took a look at the errors. Oh. Hey, I know what its saying. Pop open the (C++) source code, edit two lines, and boom, it compiles. Sweet! I just debugged and hacked a program I got off the internet. So I e-mail the author with the code I changed. Total buzz. So yeah, I was a bit pleased with myself. I didn’t even do anything really. But it was a nifty feeling.
What else. Oh… installed the nVidia 3D drivers for my GeForce4. Nice. I installed NWN for linux, too, but its still in Beta, so it didn’t quite work. Oh well. I did get bzflag running though! w00t! bzflag! Next on my mission? I’m going to download the Quake II source code and compile that, then play some OpenGL Super Heroes! Oh, and I’m going to have to look for an NES Emulator, too, since I just found all my old ROMs. Heh, its a good thing its now Spring Break at Palomar.
Oh, so wanna hear how SDSU almost screwed me? But for once, SDSU wasn’t at fault? Yeah. So I checked San Marcos’ website the other night, to see about my admission status. Turns out, they haven’t recieved my transcript from SDSU! WTF?! I took care of that back in December! FSCKING SDSU!? Yeah. So I call SDSU up and ask (politely, of course) what the dillie yo? “We sent it December 3rd” they tell me. Hmmm. Ok, call San Marcos. Yeah. A lady by the name of Sheila answers.
Sheila: “So, how long ago did you send the transcript?”
Me: “December 3rd.”
Sheila: “Oh my God!”
Sheila: “I’ll go look for it right now, whats your Soc?”
… So she goes and looks for it. Sure enough:
Sheila: “I found it. It just hasn’t been processed. I’m sorry it took so long, but since you’ve been waiting, I’ll have them do it today, and I’ll have you moved to the front of the line.”
Me: “Wow. Thanks.”
Ok, so maybe those aren’t ordered how everyone else would order them. Or maybe some of em don’t make sense. I thought it was funny.
Oh yeah. So in Math. We’re doing this really cool thing. We’ve been dealing with infinite series and stuff, and its kinda neat. But what’s really cool, is that we’re learning how to approximate a number, using an infinite series.
For all the non-math nerds (not that I’m a math nerd, its merely forced upon me) in the audience, basically it works like this:
Take a number. Square root of 61. Lets say you don’t have a calculator. Who the hell knows the Square root of 61? Not me. Well, take a graph. Look at the graph of the Square root of X. It’s a nice curve. Thats handy, cuz with a nice curve you can draw what’s called a Tangent Line. A Tangent line is basically a line that only touches one single point on another line and does so perpendicular to the point. And it’s just a straight line. Why is that so special? Well, because if we find a number we know the value of at the Square root of X, then we can approximate it using the tangent line. Straight lines are easy to calculate. Or at least easier than the Square root of X. And it just so happens we know that the Square root of 64 is 8! So if we take the tangent line at X=64, then we’ve got a line that touches our Square Root at only one point, 64. Imagine that line for a moment. If you go a little higher or lower than 64, the line doesn’t touch, but it is very very close. Thats your approximation. Using the Tangent line, you can find the value at 61, which is approximately the Square root of 61.
So that’s kinda neat. But what we’re learning right now is that there’s an even better way. If you can make a sort of Super Tangent Line that curves closely (technically, it’s not a tangent line, but the idea is similar) to your actual line, you can get an even better approximation for a certain range of numbers. If you think about it, the tangent line of X is just a straight line. So while its a decent approximation, its not the best. Really, a curve would be better. Something that’s not quite the Square root of X, but its really close. Closer than a line. This all makes a lot more sense in person, but it is fairly interesting.
Anyways. The point was that I was thinking the other day about how I could write a program that did all this. Like, you input an equation you’re looking for an approximation for and then the program spits out (after some number/equation crunching) a value, and a %error. It’d be one hell of an undertaking, but a very interesting idea nonetheless.
I definitly have reached my nerd quota for today.