the whole world burns

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Rilke on Marriage

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The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.

On variable naming conventions


Isaac Schlueter:

[O]ur conventions for naming things should take into consideration the limitations of the human brain. The length of a variable's name should be proportional to the distance between its definition and its use, and inversely proportional to its frequency of use.

Global config setting that gets specified once and used in 4 places throughout the program? 10-20 characters is probably appropriate. Might wanna go with UPPER_SNAKE_CASE to make it stand out a bit more, even.

Iterator variable that you define in a 3-line for loop and then never see again outside of it? Call it "i".

Another way to look at this: The first time you meet someone, you learn their full name. When discussing them with someone else who knows them, you use just a single name. If they're standing right there, you don't bother using their name, but just make eye contact, and maybe a "Hey". Should be the same way with variables.

Jonathan Rosenbaum: A critic examines his path to judgment


The way we determine what's true or false, real or artificial, good or bad in movies tends to be highly individual. As a reviewer, I'm obliged to give movies star ratings, but they're simply a summary of my personal response, not a declaration of some objective value and certainly not of any sort of consensus. I was taken aback recently when I received a couple of e-mails from Star Wars fans asking how I could have concluded eight years ago that the "special edition" rerelease of that film was "worthless" when it gave so much pleasure to so many people. I might have given it an even lower rating if I could have, but all I meant by giving it no stars was that it was worthless to me. I'm not qualified to speak about its value to anyone else.

In my reviews I try to describe the paths that lead to my subjective response so that readers can decide whether some part of my path might be theirs too. In the case of Crash I may blanch at Haggis's narrative contrivances and think two stars, though I did enjoy them (three stars). But the vision of Los Angeles that they're designed to express strikes me as just and vital (four stars). So I wind up with an average of three. Viewers who find the vision uninteresting and the narrative contrivances acceptable but unenjoyable will come up with ratings of their own -- or arrive at the same rating for entirely different reasons.

Lamby's Law of Distributed Systems


Some people, when confronted with a problem think "I know, I'll make it distributed!" Now they have 2 million problems.

Small things, links and miscellany, sparkling with light. Sam's tumblelog.

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