I think I may have coined a new word. Here's its entry:
stenocoder [stəˈnɒˈkəʊdə] noun. One employed to transcribe dictated software source code.
A graffiti point for my slacking moments.
Simulating intervention, by the way, was an idea that was thought of by economists in 1943. Trygve Haavelmo had this idea that economics models are a guide to policy-making, and that you can predict what will happen when the government intervenes and raises taxes or imposes duties by modifying the equations in the model. And that was taken on by other economists, but it didn't catch, because they had very lousy models of the economy, so they couldn't demonstrate success. And because they couldn't demonstrate success, the whole field of economics regressed and became a hotbed for statistical predictions. Economists have betrayed causality. I never expressed it this way before, but in all honesty this is what it boils down to. In computer science, we remain faithful to logic and try to improve our models, while economists compromised on logic to cover up for bad models.On interfaith dialogue:
... religious myths are just metaphors, or poetry, for genuine ideas we find difficult to express otherwise. So, yes, you could say I use computer science in my religious dialogues, because I view religion as a communication language. True, it seems futile for people to argue if a person goes to heaven from the East Gate or the West Gate. But, as a computer scientist, you forgive the futility of such debates, because you appreciate the computational role of the gate metaphor.
It's hard to overestimate the importance of the scientific method. Human culture contains much more than science—but science is the part that actually works—the rest is just stories. The rationally based inquiry the scientific method enables is what has given us science and technology and vastly different lifestyles than those of our hunter-gatherers ancestors. In some sense it is analogous to evolution. The sum of millions of small mutations separate us from single celled like blue-green algae. Each had to survive the test of selection and work better than the previous state in the sense of biological fitness. Human knowledge is the accumulation of millions of stories-that-work, each of which had to survive the test of the scientific method, matching observation and experiment more than the predecessors. Both evolution and science have taken us a long way, but looking forward it is clear that science will take us much farther.
“Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with gold and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
and follows it thus, with his message:
“And every day, everywhere, our children spread their dreams beneath our feet. And we should tread softly.”
... we have a situation where a corporate PR person, representing two companies with interests in telecom, is mediating between the Congress and its ally when a battle is on for the telecom portfolio. This is the kind of story any journalist would love to report. How could [Barkha] Dutt miss that? Dutt’s situation reminds me of a magic realism novel that a friend had written, in which a lowly journalist is in search of a great story. Every day, when he comes home defeated, he speaks to his talking lizard. I find this novel absurd because any journalist would know that a talking lizard is the greatest story ever in the history of journalism.
... we are the authors and we are the reviewers. It is not "them reviewers;" it is "us reviewers." Hillel the Elder, a Jewish scholar, 30 B.C.-10 A.D., said "What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow." This is known as the Silver Rule in moral philosophy. The Golden Rule, which strengthens the Silver Rule, asserts "do unto others as you would have them do to you." Allow me to rephrase this as the Golden Rule of Reviewing: "Write a review as if you are writing it to yourself." This does not mean that we should not write critical reviews! But the reviews we write must be fair, weighing both strengths and weaknesses; they must be constructive, suggesting how the weaknesses can be addressed; and, above all, they must be respectful. After all, these are the reviews that we would like to receive!I'm inspired by this. So inspired that I decided to hazard a conjecture for the Golden Rule of Authoring: "Write a paper as if you are writing your last paper and you would like it to be your best paper, ever." A conjecture that by no means should be a surprising one.