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Devac's profile

I'm a mathematics and physics student, which summarises many of my interests ;). In addition, I'm an avid fan of metal and RPGs (Role Playing Games).

Some extra stuff you might need to know about me:

I'm half-Polish and half-German, know the Polish language much better than German, but I can get at least the gist of it. Other than that I know bare-bones Czech and Swedish. For the sake of completeness, I also know English. ;)

I'm dyslexic and colour blind (the red-green type), that's to excuse miscommunication and me calling something eye-straining or unreadable. It's a rather extreme case of the bottom left in this picture.

It's not uncommon for me to call pounds, ounces and similar non-SI units of measurement as Wizard Units (WU). That's not due to hate, but it does feel annoying when most people in the USA or the UK can't be bothered to convert them on their own. Yet, moan whenever I would confuse some Pennsylvanian Liquid Ounce with Imperial Lager Ounce. I'm not even certain if the units I made up there are not real! It's a miracle you don't have TI-81 Shaftment to measure distance.

I don't like people making poorly reasoned accusations about me. If you think that you can give me a lesson on something give me a god-damned lesson instead of calling me names.

I don't have any problems with personal beliefs. It includes but is not limited to sexual orientation, gender issues and food choices, and all that other crap. I honest to whatever you find holy/unholy/other don't care. Just don't try to evangelise at me. That's among the easiest reasons for me to block/mute someone, beforehand calling them a sanctimonious git.

If you think that I'm disrespecting you: please, assume that I had a really bad day. I don't think I'm violent by nature. I think that I'm neither offensive nor a douche. But when I'm not at my usual laid-back state I will jump to HULK SMASH in an instant. And usually switch back as fast. Yes, I am serious.

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comments 34

    The Primer seems to be truncated

So it seems, thanks for pointing it! Here is an archived version that isn't cut short.

mk - To your attention.

    Is there some unwritten rule that decrees any website receiving praise must change its current interface to something inferior within several weeks' time?

They want to find the change in praise and therefore make it derivative, duh!

Devac  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 13, 2017

Brother update:

His vision in both eyes has returned, stereoscopic vision improves ever so slightly each day. His prognosis is very good and after the MRI last week it's now confirmed: the tumour is only about 40% of its original size. The operation is now only a matter of him recuperating enough from chemo for surgeon and anesthesiologist to deem it as safe. Might be as early as mid-November.

I want to thank you guys once more for all the support. Both in private and in public. Y'all rock.


In eighty-odd pages, I'll finish Durant's vol. 1. My GEB review is constantly going through rewrites so I don't want to put a deadline on that one.


I won the first round of the tournament. It's ranked and I'm nervous as all hell. I want to get the 1st category in a year or two so it's time to suck the anxiety up.

Institute stuff:

The professor still insists that I should go and do theoretical work. I talked with the guy a lot and it just feels wrong. It's like he thinks I'm going to suddenly realise this work is beneath me and regret the time I must have 'wasted' here. I can't make it clearer that I want to work here without something as dumb and shallow as "operating fuck-off lasers and spectrographs >> writing symbols on a greaseboard or paper ~= what I'm already doing in my spare time." Give me a firefighter's helmet on top of that and I'm basically living the dream.

WTF do I do when my adviser seems to have an impostor syndrome?

Yeah, there's nothing fancy about beurre à la bourguignonne. :P

Devac  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 6, 2017

Thing is, I wasn't yet given any opportunity to conduct actual experiments. All I've done was teaching some of the less prepared undergrads and gave my solutions to the problem. If that's enough to gauge me as someone better to work on theoretical physics than experimental, then I guess he's right. I think it's a premature conclusion.

His arguments are mainly about how much attention I paid to conduct a rigorous proof, taking various factors into an account and working on a steadily more complex model until reaching one that's not a 'spherical cow in a vacuum' if you catch my drift. He also remarked that I'm very well prepared for the mathematical side, almost to the fault where instead of just getting satisfied with an approximation I went out of my way to prove a lack of the analytic solution in one case. The experiment design I put forward was "fairly standard" and admittedly the least impressive part of my draft. In my defence, I was only informed about putting some actual experiment design about five days before the deadline (I had a month).

Anyway, I admire theoretical physics. I don't feel dissed by suggesting I might do better in it. Fact that a much more challenging (for me) venue that is experimental physics can be such easily judged as a bad choice did feel like a bit of a diss. I don't know if I have what it takes to excel in either, but I relish the challenge of experiment a lot more than the theoretical side of what I've been doing so far.

Sorry for a stream of consciousness type of response, but I wanted to put more background in place for future discussion. I might have reacted poorly or used a wrong word (diss does feel a bit strong), but I think that the professor's decision is premature.

Devac  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 6, 2017

Institute stuff:

My throat is pretty much shut at this point. I've done more talking throughout the last few weeks than the previous part of the year. And I'm almost certain it's not an exaggeration.

I might not be doing my diploma project here after all. When the professor finally finished reading my solutions he asked if I wouldn't feel better doing theoretical work. He even offered to recommend me to some of his colleagues. I'm not sure how to read it, really. In a way, it feels like I'm being dissed.


My routine blood tests came back. The fasting concentration of glucose was low even for me at 47 mg/dL. I have no idea what's up with that. I wasn't feeling any less lucid than usual when the blood was being collected. The growth hormone and the rest of its band are still high as all fuck. I feel fine, it's the numbers that are bumming me out.

I wrote it a while ago as sort of a cross between commentary on lazy poems and to boost my own levels of pretentiousness. :P

  Some prose that's


with a line




your 'tab' key

abused here

or <- there



with s p a c e s

at random

p l a c e s,

is not what







- E.E. Devac

Let me guess: too tongue-in-cheek?

Scipy lectures are a solid place to start, just as Think Like a Computer Scientist which is also worth recommending. Both are free and feature a Python tutorial. Same goes for Dive Into Python. After that, I can point you to Pandas (Python for Data Science framework) to get yourself going. They have some solid tutorials in their documentation section.

Devac  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 30, 2017

I can recommend Stay Focusd extension as an aid for getting shit done. It's very customisable.

    It turns out that all you have to do is pull your hair out for 4 hours and stay up until 6am so that you're not discouraged. This can't be healthy.

Sane or healthy people don't write code in the first place. ;)

Kudos on making it work, though.

Devac  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 30, 2017

Thanks! Doing my best here, I hope it will work out. I'll admit that they are frustrating at times, but it's the small steps that count. It just takes a lot of those.

Also, I'll just write it here instead of making another comment: have you seen Notes on Category Theory and Haskell already? I can recommend it as a reference and a Haskell-C++-Category Theory dictionary. C++ is used mainly as an accessibility aid for people who only started with Haskell, so that's new.

Devac  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 30, 2017


Just passed the middle point of Durant's vol. 1. That's about the only non-science reading I got to do this week. Why? Read along.

My undergrad underlings (aka students):

lm - Thank you for all the advice you gave me! Both in public and via PMs.

After two weeks of me patching the holes, filling the blanks and explaining various bits I got some insights into their problem. It's not that they don't know most of the steps, quite the opposite (although not without gaps). When we had one of our "come on guys, just ask me anything" sessions last Friday I got a sudden realisation: they don't know how to connect those steps. Likely can't even see why are they connected in the first place.

During the weekend I made drafts for a series of sixteen lectures, each roughly two hours long. The goal is to take a bunch of subjects that don't connect on the surface by showing them how it works together. Everything is being recorded, they can stop me at any time with a button and ask for clarifications or have their try in answering questions. Their only 'homework' is to take the recordings after each day, watch them, read a paper or two I selected for them and get back to me with questions before the next lecture. Little do they know, but those Q&A sessions are recorded as well. They'll get the records later. I want them to see their own progress.

I gave three lectures so far and the improvement is already quite noticeable. I'm finally getting fewer questions along the lines of "but why X?" or "what's wrong with Y?" and instead get something closer to "so if X and Y produce only partial results, then why would Z give a full picture?" Not always, but they seem to catch on.

There are still gaps in their knowledge, but it's not like I wasn't expecting those. Their (relatively) lacklustre maths preparation is an ongoing problem. They are rather comfortable with the mathematics they know already, but it's ankle-deep at times. Apart from the lectures, it's nothing but getting them up to speed. Mainly in hour-long theory sessions followed by a whole lot of examples. Also, special functions, yo! Seeing how a mere mortal can solve some of those problems (and how easy it actually is) seems to help with their morale.

What's going to happen after the lecture series will end? I plan on giving each a project to complete without my input. They can work together, consult the books or papers, but it has to be original work. If they will get something wrong, then it's all cool. I can work with specific mistakes. It's the vague "how do I physics" that completely throws me off the bat.

I'm losing my voice and sleep over this, so that's not great. At least I feel challenged which translates into my being passionate about this gig.

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