Saturday, January 31, 2009

Teaching Computer Science at all costs

Somewhere in the Roppongi mall in Tokyo, looking out at the city

The Manga Guide to Databases, Mana Takahashi.

I just saw a pointer to this book over at Bruce Eckel's blog.. and i'm not sure what to think about it. Apparently it is a book with a storyline, with bits of juicy database knowledge used throughout to solve plot problems. I can barely get through mangas without left joins and replication, but this would be a whole different ballgame!

On one hand, it is good to get otherwise uninterested students reading about technical subjects. But on the other hand, how much cartooning and dumbing down do we need for people to find Computer Science digestible? To my young eyes, it just seems like a replacement for teachers that work hard for their students.

Snowed In, In Sendai

(Yes, thank you sign-maker for explaining 回転すし. Found in Asakusa, Tokyo near the subway station)

Last night, I went to Zaiki's birthday party. I don't remember many of the details, except that we rented out a bar called Zen for a nomihoudai, and then went to Ageha for (overpriced!) karaoke.

All yesterday, it was raining fairly hard for Sendai. I actually had to ride the bus to the party, with an umbrella and a waterproof parka. Eventually it slowed down by midnight, and for much of my stumble home I didn't use an umbrella at all.


When I finally awoke today with a moderate hangover, all was WHITE. I stumbled around for my glasses to confirm. There was a full-blown blizzard outside, with snow colliding horizontally into the dorm. By the time I went outside for dinner at 屋名亭満天 (the ramen place), there was at least 4 inches of heavy, slushy snow on the ground.

Most of the roads looked passable, at least the ones patrolled by taxis. In fact, about every 4 of 5 cars I saw out tonight were taxis, which is a bit higher than the 3 of 4 during the day in Sendai. I have three or four rants about taxis that I could put here, but I'll try to distill into maybe just one or two.

It almost made me miss Michigan and the 4 feet of snow.. until I realized that I couldn't walk to a ramen shop at 9:30PM on a Saturday in Michigan. Tradeoffs, I guess.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Say it, O B A M A

(Don't worry, the reflection pond hasn't frozen over (yet!). The holidays struck again, and brought my lovely girlfriend to Japan as well as my new lovely MacBook, among other fun.)

EDIT: I did eventually stay up till 3:30AM watching the inauguration. Totally worth the broken sleep schedule the rest of the week.

I am seriously doubting that I will be able to stream the inauguration, since it's going to be in the middle of the night Tuesday. :( But, the following video is even more trippy than the inauguration will be, so I guess i'll just watch the news on Wednesday.

Daft Punk vs. Adam Freeland - "Aer OBAMA" from Gold Greendot on Vimeo.