Log

Find older entries at {Log Archive}. Books @ {Reading log}.

The following updates are also shared via the Neon Kiosk.

2024-01-01

2024-01-01

Wrote {New Year, 24}. Quiet day to start the year, spent with Alej and M. Long walk to Malden Center, cooked saag with tofu, and got a climb in at the new rock gym (and felt strong). Here's to a more stable and fulfilling year.


Small note: I fixed something that had bothered me on the site for a while. When images were an aspect ratio that didn't fit the page's content width and the alt text/caption were long, I'd end up with a large black area. To fix, I had to add the following style:


figure { display: table }
figcaption { display: table-caption; caption-side: bottom; }

Which gave me the visual result I wanted - where the img sets the width for the whole figure and figcaption.

2023-12-28

2023-12-28

Impenetrable fog settled on the Heights this past week. Weird warmth on wet made point light smear, the full moon a melodramatic dim blob.

I gave my company the last week of the year off, so my last few days of the year have been spent with Meadow and Alejandra.

During naps and after bed I prototyped wxql, a query language inspired by a conversation at my undergraduate advisor's retirement party. The aim is to handle challenges with n-dimensional data such as those that are found in the domain of meteorology, and to provide a foundation on which a number of expressive queries can be used to build.

2023-12-26

2023-12-26

A few weeks ago was my undergraduate advisor Norman Ramsey's retirement party. Norman taught two main classes: Machine Structure and Assembly Language Programming and Programming Languages, which were both the most demanding and rewarding courses in the Tufts CS curriculum. Many students, myself included, found these courses formative, and the right of passage was the bedrock for the culture of the department and a number of enduring relationships.

Fellow students, TAs, advisees traveled from afar to share anecdotes of Norman's teaching. Many of us, myself included, attribute our success in our endeavors since school to Norman. This man was a legend, if I haven't made it clear. There were tears, jokes about compilers, and stories of overcoming imposter syndrome.

Someone at the event mentioned that they were designing a domain-specific query language in Rust for their work. This sparked an idea for me - the query languages that I've encountered to-date have been designed for table or graph-like structures of data. As my mind becomes more immersed in the domain of meteorology, n-dimensional data structures have stood out to me as underserved by the design of languages and file formats. After the party, walking through campus, I wondered to Alden (who also traveled to the retirement party), what if weather data had a programming language or query language expressly designed for its challenges? What would it look like? For now, I'm calling it wxql.

2023-12-25

2023-12-25

They're tearing down the long-abandoned hospital next to my house. At one point a brick facade was visible below the outermost brick facade. Clearly from the era we all accept existed when craft was zenith. The under-brickwork was beautiful, ornate. It appeared as though the crew ripped a section of building off and paused at the discovery.

Before:

After:

A derelict brick building with the right half of it torn off
A derelict brick building with the right half of it torn off

![[2023-10-02]]

2023-09-20

2023-09-20

Went down a TodePond rabbit hole over a cup of tea (i.e. this live talk). Their energy and enthusiasm about spatial programming -- and their storytelling bringing us along the discovery journey -- was incredible. It was one of those mind expanding nights. I've been dealing in "spatial data" from the meteorology, satellite, and geospatial perspective for some time, but this concept of rule-based computation (like, say Orca), explained in this way, had me scribbling down sparks of thoughts, not yet ideas, about how they could relate to forecasting dynamical systems and defining environments.

Thank you, Lu!

2023-09-15

2023-09-15

We've spent the last few months in the mountains of the western part of the state. Cool, misty mornings and sunny afternoons perfect for swimming in the many lakes and streams. My trail shoes got some solid miles; on my last run before we came home I saw three bears, a mother and two cubs rolling and playing and scratching trees. I don't think they saw me as I observed for a while before doubling back to not disturb them.

We also did a first excursion up the green river, walking in and through the riverbed itself, shifting bank to bank to avoid the strongest currents and most harrowing rapids. I'd like next time to travel the full distance upstream to see where the river takes us.

Henry in the Green River
Henry in the Green River

Two things I would recommend not mixing: a newborn entering your family and a complicated and prolonged corporate restructuring/financing. Thankfully, one of these things makes my heart sing. The other has been a metaphorical storm cloud; I've done a lot of journaling about it but nothing I can share yet.

Henry, Alejandra, and Meadow at MassMoca
Henry, Alejandra, and Meadow at MassMoca


I can't stop thinking about weather forecasts. A few things in particular:

  1. Numerical weather predictions (NWPs) are incredibly hard to access, both due to the most common file format and their dimensionality
  2. These hard to access predictions are surprisingly inaccurate (you'd think we - humans - would be better at this by now, but it's very hard)
  3. The forecasting models are extremely brittle to an input being unavailable
  4. NWPs, when presented, don't do a good job communicating confidence intervals

In talking to my longtime collaborator, there's the seed of an idea how how to address all of these issues. We have more thinking to do, but the benefits of an improved weather forecast are far-reaching and energizing.

Compiled 2024-2-14