Loads of reading this week. I’ve been particularly enjoying Vikram Chandra‘s “Geek Sublime: Writing Fiction, Coding Software”. Thanks to Vikram Chandra’s excellent writing, I’m starting to properly *get* logic gates:
“Once you have objects which can materialize both Boolean algebra and binary numbers, you can connect these components in ways that allow the computation of mathematical functions. Line up sufficiently large numbers of simple on/ off mechanisms, and you have a machine that can add, subtract, multiply, and through these mathematical operations format your epic novel in less time than you will take to finish reading this sentence. Computers can only compute, calculate; the poems you write, the pictures of your family, the music you listen to— all these are converted into binary numbers, sequences of ones and zeros, and are thus stored and changed and recreated. Your computer allows you to read, see, and hear by representing binary numbers as letters, images, and sounds . Computers may seem mysteriously active, weirdly alive, but they are mechanical devices like harvesting combines or sewing machines.
You can build logic gates out of any material that can accept inputs and switch between distinct states of output (current or no current, 1 or 0); there is nothing special about the chips inside your laptop that makes them essential to computing. Electrical circuits laid out in silicone just happen to be small, cheap, relatively reliable, and easy to produce in mass quantities…
Logic gates have been built out of pneumatic, hydraulic, and optical devices, out of DNA, and flat sticks connected by rivets. Recently, some researchers from Kobe University in Japan announced, ‘We demonstrate that swarms of soldier crabs can implement logical gates when placed in a geometrically constrained environment.’”
Chapter 3 refers to randomwraith’s LEGO gates, which are so visually helpful when combined with that part of the text. A few:
I also started “Language as Discourse: Perspectives for Language Teaching (Applied Linguistics and Language Study)” by Ronald Carter and Michael McCarthy, to develop my thinking around literacy and language teaching (and to consider as a possible OU module after two final design courses). I picked this up as light reading…ha. This is going to be a book for irregular dipping into instead though, as it’s densely written, a bit of a slog & not immediately applicable.
So here's the question: we're all feeling this, we're all lost and sad and angry; what are we going to do about it?
— Joshua Ellis (@jzellis) August 6, 2014