My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

6 Articles Tagged with “myself”

  1. Math hermit

    With the first term nearing its end, here's a little review of my second year so far.

    That is the best way to describe how I spend most of my time now. With three math classes, I spend nine hours a week listening to math lectures. I have three assignments due each week, so I work on those in my time between school and work. Every second week until the middle of November, I went to a practice sessions for math competitions for an hour on Fridays. Even when I'm not doing my own math, I like to help other people with their math. I am living and breathing math.

    AND IT'S FRELLING AWESOME.

    For those who don't understand how someone can be so excited about math, the best way I can describe it is like being closer to God. I don't necessarily believe in God, but I imagine that what I feel when I'm exploring mathematical concepts is the same feeling pious people get when they do whatever it is pious people do to feel closer to God. And math truly is the language of the universe. If God does exist, in one form or another, then understanding math…

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  2. Help me paint my bedroom!

    It's already been over a year since we moved into our new house. Since moving in, although I've been very happy with my room on the whole, I have wanted to do three things: get new curtains, get rid of the wallpaper, and paint the white walls.

    Classes end next week, and my exams are over by December 12, which gives me a nice break before the start of next term. This is a perfect opportunity to paint my room. I need to do it soon, too, because I've already run out of space to shelve my books--and once I put up more shelves, they are never coming down.

    Over the course of this year and a month, I've adjusted to the curtains. I asked one of my coworkers (who is an artist, so I figured she could suggest some good colours) what I should do with the room, and she said she liked the wallpaper. It's certainly not Mario wallpaper((For those of you who don't stalk me, I used to have Super Mario wallpaper on one wall of my room in my old house.)) ... but then again, if I don't tear it down, I only have to paint…

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  3. Ack, I'm an elitist anglophone snob

    So I was going to write this entry in French, but I discovered along the way that I've forgotten my simple past tense. This disturbs me.

    I took French from grade 1 until grade 11 in school (this was before the provincial government postponed mandatory French until grade 4). It's only compulsory until grade 9, but I liked my teachers, and the courses were interesting and academic. Plus, being able to speak another language is a plus. Except I can't really speak it now, can I?

    Part of me thinks I don't have an ear for languages. I excelled at reading and writing French. However, even at the height of my proficiency, I was never too hot at pronunciation or comprehension of spoken French. Nevertheless, I feel bad that I live in a bilingual country yet I only speak English. There's this whole other culture that's an integral part of my country's history and current events, yet I ignore it. I feel like an elitist anglophone snob!

    This week's episode of Spark includes a segment about the French-English digital divide. That's what got me thinking about this, although it was also tonight's French-language debate amongst the federal party leaders.…

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  4. Ack, temporal displacement--not again!

    I had a bunch of nifty blog posts planned for this week, but I didn't have the time to write them. :( My weekend was chock full of work, followed by homework, leaving me with barely enough energy to drag myself to my computer, let alone write or write a blog post. This week hasn't gone much better.

    That's not to say that I'm having bad days. I try not to start off my day dreading what is to come; it seems like the wrong attitude. Nevertheless, I do feel the pressure of a continuous flow of activities. I wake up, go to class, do homework, maybe read if I'm lucky. I've been working a lot. To reduce the stress and impose some order on this managed chaos, I've tried to establish as much of a routine as possible. Of course, things crop up that don't submit to that routine, and those throw my day off.

    I try to consciously stop and recognize those moments of stillness that happen between each scheduled activity. This afternoon I listened to Brahms while solving differential equations, and that was quite relaxing. Really, it was. No one else was home, so I existed alone…

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  5. The hypocrisy of age ratings

    Let me begin by saying that I don't support age rating of books (i.e., saying "this is for ages 8-12, this is for young adults, this is for adults..."). However, when you look at how we rate our other content by age, it seems hypocritical, does it not?

    Games and movies receive official ratings that state whether or not the content of those products is suitable for a certain audience. Sometimes, the law enforces these ratings. That means if you're under 18, you can't get into an R-rated movie (without an adult). But you can go and buy a book that may have the same graphic scenes as an R-rated movie, and the cashier at the store doesn't stop you. They don't card you. (At least, they didn't card me when I was under 18.)

    Seems like we have a double standard here. I know, I know: books aren't as "visual" as movies or games. Reading about mass violence or sexuality, reading a curse word, that isn't the same as seeing and hearing it. Well I think that insults the average reader's imagination. And even if it doesn't compare to graphical depictions, wouldn't a book's descriptions, if done well enough,…

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  6. This is your brain. This is your brain on books.

    Every day I find myself becoming more of an autodidact whose primary goal is to propagate knowledge. Seems like a pretty worthy goal for a set of self-replicating DNA, no? After all, that's all we--everything in the universe--are: information, in one form or another.

    My thirst for knowledge is perhaps my most consistent trait as far back as I can remember. I loved and continue to love to read. When I first got MSN (because I was jealous of my younger brother), the next step I took was to learn HTML so I could create my own website. From there it ... sort of snowballed :fear: (as this site evidences). The Internet is an autodidact's dream: a nearly limitless, ever-updating source of information. Thanks to Google, Wikipedia, and the Oxford English Dictionary, I can learn the answer to most questions or the definition of a word (still not sure about that whole group of groundhogs issue, however). I read sites like Lifehacker regularly, learning about subjects as varied as technology to productivity to cooking. The Internet's vast potential for education is enough to make me love it, despite of its drawbacks that some critics use to declare technology…

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