2024 articles

A4risms

“Money only has relative value to useful goods and services; otherwise the government could make us all wealthy by printing more money.” [2024-06-11]“Effort is not a good measure of progress—clarity is.” [2024-05-19]“The antidote for arrogance is service.” [2024-03-01]“There exists an academic paper which ‘supports’ virtually any position.” …

Stylometry: A Bird's Eye View

Now that large language models (LLMs) have become part and parcel of how we conduct text authoring, there is a danger that this will result in a loss of linguistical diversity in style as more and more people lean on LLMs to expand on their ideas. I'll readily admit that …

Where TDD Falls Short

TDD is not design.That's it.While TDD does produce robust code, it amounts to building with a scaffold. The only problem is that the scaffold ends up being the life support for the application.While the test suite then serves as an aid to prevent regression of the code, …

Vectors: The Danger of A Bad Definition

"A bad definition is worse than useless––it is misleading and the cause of endless confusion."The standard definition of a vector is: "a way to describe a quantity that has both magnitude and direction". Even ChatGPT4 states that: "A vector is a mathematical entity that possesses both …

Abstract vs Concrete Knowledge

I have a growing realisation of a noxious temptation to want to know more than I need at any one moment. Recently, I've found myself veering towards exotic mathematical ideas I was exposed to as part of my engineering education. For example, I was recently going through Maxwell's equations that …

Strategy

I've come across the word 'strategy' quite a bit over the last few weeks and it just got me thinking: what does it mean? How is strategy different from other conventional thinking?I tend to think of strategy in the context of chess. Strategy is often pitted against tactics. …

Effective Writing from Larry McEnerny

If you have not watched this inimitable talk on writing then you must see it here and another version here.The quality of writing is in the eye of the reader. There is no such things as good writing objectively.Ensure that there is a consistency in the …

The Vision of Software

“To allow any user to easily complete domain tasks in such a way as to be indistinguishable from a domain expert while enforcing domain standards.”

Unnaturally Agile

Inasmuch as the Internet has become a treasure trove of information, there is one form of information that abhors its radical transparency: curated content. The best it offers in its place is crowd-curated content or social knowledge such as on StackOverflow and its myriad sibling sites. Even with social …

Data Science Value

The value of data science is two-fold:insights through the interpretation of statistical models, orinsights through prediction from statistical models.As with any value, the true measure is time-to-value: how long does it take to get insights? We would much rather get value sooner rather than later. However, we …

The Government Superstore

Suppose you read a announcement that the government would like to take over the operation of the largest supermarkets with a view of ensuring quality and affordable prices. "In the wake of the current economic woes," it read, "we believe that the public will be assured of higher quality and …

Generations Do Not Exist

I think the notion that human populations exist in generations is fallacious because it suffers from a subjective bias. Any individual who makes a claim contingent on the idea of a generation automatically thinks in terms of the distinction between his age group, his parents' age group and his offspring's …

Step 1: Establish Control Limits

According to Deming, management is not playing games; it is all about prediction. A manager must be able to predict with a fair degree of certainty the likelihood of certain outcomes. How can this ever be achieved? It stands to reason that the first principle of prediction is knowledge of …