Rocket launch!

At 17:40:07 UTC today, a Cygnus spacecraft desginated NG-17 was launched from Wallops island atop an Antares 230+ rocket, destined to rendezvous with the International Space Station. This was by most metrics a typical resupply mission, but one of the items in one of the payload bags is an artwork produced by the Moon Gallery, which itself contains 64 artworks, each 1cm³ in size. The ultimate goal of the Moon Gallery is to establish the first permanent art gallery on Luna.

Yes, okay, sure, but what is Cybernetics?

Yesterday, a conversation with a friend veered into the convoluted history of post-WWII scientific and technological development, and the various characters that drove it. During the conversation, we unavoidably veered into cybernetics, that long forgotten systematization of theories around feedback and control systems, which at the time appeared so promising, but are now at best ignored, and at worst reviled. When reading the history of cybernetics, it is hard to not get swept up by the eager and earnest romanticism of it, and the tenderness with which the various characters discuss the ideas.

Ranting about nonsense

The other day, I went on an Icelandic language podcast called “Bitcoin byltingin”, or “the Bitcoin revolution,” in which I tried to explain that 13 years after its conception, blockchain technology has proven revolutionary only insofar as it has revolutionized the efficiency of scams, facilitated ridiculous volumes of societal harm, and accelerated the rate at which we burn our planet. Of course, I largely failed. Not so much at explaining these things, but rather at doing so in a way that anybody would actually care about.

What a rush

So yeah, my work managed to get in the way of my documentation efforts, and I’ve been running like mad for the last month. As of today, I have committed code for 30 days in a row. In addition, I have sent out four grant applications, and set up a number of other business related things. I think I might take a rest sometime soon. Compressing floats As a test, I implemented TSXor for floating point number compression, because I need to shunt large amounts of time series and geospatial data around and it’s nice if that doesn’t eat up all the bandwidth and storage space.

The Last of Jan!

It’s the last day of January! Y’all know what that means! Good, because I don’t. Today is snowy and cold in Reykjavík, but the coffee is warm, the lunch-pizza is baked and eaten, and a ton of code has been made. I struggled with focus in the early morning, but still got an acceptable amount done today. Tapered off towards the end though… but all in all, pretty good. MCH2022! I submitted a talk to MCH2022 today.

Compete, Create, Convert and Replace

Two weeks ago I set myself an artificial deadline for today for a bunch of things to be done. Those things at the beginning of Wednesday included a number of things that are done, and several which were not. The progress this week has been solid. A lot of the work that I’ve been doing in the last several weeks has started to fall into place. Unfortunately, by doing so it has exposed a few annoying data errors already, which I’ll have to deal with, but that’s all in the game…

Various notes

Today was kind of scattershot and weird. I got a lot of work done, but it was interspersed with naps, reading sessions and all sorts of stuff. As a result, my “work notes” today are just a few unrelated notes. On Focus I’ve finally gotten a copy of Johan Hari’s “Stolen Focus”, and it’s really good. In particular, it is touching on a bunch of different topical areas that I’ve been thinking about myself, but weaves them together in a nice and coherent way.

Git, (mostly) nontechnically, for beginners

I wrote this up as a proxy for actually teaching a friend a how Git works the other day. I figure it might as well exist on the internet. A lot of git tutorials focus on the “how”, but I find that too few focus on the “why”. This tries to suggest the how while grounding the why. You definitely want to read something on the “how” after this though.

Slow Friday

Booster shot today. Worried it might screw up my next day. Round 2 took me out for a bit. We’ll see. Not a lot of code today, but lots of planning work and meetings. Slowly converging on infrastructure and nailing a bunch of details. Whee. I’m going to say that I won’t bore you with the details, mostly because I can’t be bothered to write them out. But honestly, the details were fun, and you’re missing out.

Schemas and data transformations

Sturgeon was right, he just spelled CRUD wrong. 90% of everything is in fact CRUD – Creating, Reading, Updating, Deleting. Except, nowadays, we have schemas to at least partially automate the highly efficient creation of an infinity of crap. My Tech Stack is Janky The problem arises when you have six operational domains: Data warehouse (Original data) Batch processing data store (Largely Parquet files derived from original data) The programs that do the batch processing (mostly Jai, some Fortran, C and Python) need to have some internal representation of the data it is processing Operational data store (PostgreSQL tables derived from original data or batch outputs) Django ORM (Python schema reflecting the ODS) React frontend schemas (Typescript schema reflecting the output from Django REST API) The closer we get to the user, the more the data will have been transformed into something directly useful.