Absurd

In the words I find Joy,
The self sours high,
Life has no meaning,
Death is the only ending,
Conquer the absurdity of being alive,
By doing what helps you escape from wondering ‘what to do in life’?

Fears of homeschooling

Some of the fears which parents usually have –

1. Socialising
2. What if the child needs to rejoin the mainstream school (for whatever reason)?
3. What about the college admissions?
4. How to respond to those who keep pestering why home schooling?
5. Role of parents – if not capable to teach even though have knowledge or capable to teach but lack of knowledge in some subjects
6. Choose a curriculum or just explore different subjects

Books

Has any book changed my life? First, I have to reflect what does the phrase “changed my life” represents for me? For now, not doing the reflection!

Books introduce you to ideas which you have not yet encountered. Or maybe you have felt or experienced but you read someone’s writing and experience that aha! moment.

‘The Art Of Happiness’ introduced me to Buddhism. And, the main idea which I took away was that ‘Life is suffering’. It is not a negative idea. It just means that don’t ever expect that you will reach a state in life when everything happens as you wish. Everyday we end up facing some unpleasant experience as we interact with external stimuli in the real world.

Howard Roark, in ‘The Fountainhead’ represents the idea of idealism. He was not ready to compromise.

‘The Kite Runner’ is a beautiful story. For me, it was about redemption. This paragraph is unforgettable

Then I realized something: That last thought had brought no sting with it… I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.

Code Complete – Oh! I read this book almost 8 years back. I was amazed by the writing and the ideas which I got introduced to. I was inspired to explore further and then dived into Agile philosophy; learned unit testing, writing clean code etc.

Maths Novel -A Certain Ambiguity – This novel surprised me! A novel woven around maths!! This novel and the paper ‘A Mathematician’s Lament’ inspired me to look at maths again.

Seven deadly sins – Joe Armstrong

1. Code even you cannot understand a week after you wrote it – no comments written in the code
2. Code with no specifications
3. Code that is shipped as soon as it runs and before it is beautiful
4. Code with added features
5. Code that is very very fast very very obscure and incorrect
6. Code that is not beautiful
7. Code that you wrote without understanding the problem

It is all about the numbers

The justification game runs like this -

Our film is great, a super-hit; look at the box-office numbers
Democracy is thriving; look at the election turnout
IPL is great; look at the crowd in the stadium
Economy is doing great; watch the rising bull market
We are the best in media; look at the number of awards/readers
We run the best coaching institute; look at our number of students in IIT!!

Lost

The lost time,
The lost memories,
The lost opportunities,
The lost relationships,
The lost knowledge,
The lost compassion,
The lost innocence,
Never coming back!

The NULL conundrum

So, you have a text field, named ‘Contact_Person’ defined in a table. This field is not required, and you allow null. Why not define a default value as empty string? It seems to me using an empty string is convenient. I don’t have to check for ‘null’ in the client application.

What is NULL? According to this wikipedia page,

The original intent of NULL in SQL was to represent missing data in a database, i.e. the assumption that an actual value exists, but that the value is not currently recorded in the database

Now, NULL represents UNKNOWN.

Sql actually uses three-valued logic. This article gives some examples, and writes

Accepts TRUE = Reject both FALSE and UNKNOWN
Rejects FALSE = Accepts both TRUE and UNKNOWN

On stackexchange, the argument made is logical that

I would say that NULL is the correct choice for "no email address". There are many "invalid" email addresses, and '' (empty string) is just one. For example "foo" is not a valid email address, "a@b@c" is not valid and so on. So just because '' is not a valid email address is no reason to use it as the "no email address" value

Few more interesting questions -

NULL = NULL = FALSE

NULL is a textual representation of an unknown value. If you have two unknown values, you can’t conclusively state anything about their equality

Since it’s December, let’s use a seasonal example. I have two presents under the tree. Now, you tell me if I got two of the same thing or not.

They can be different or they can be equal, you don’t know until one open both presents. Who knows? You invited two people that don’t know each other and both have done to you the same gift – rare, but not impossible §.

So the question: are these two UNKNOWN presents the same (equal, =)? The correct answer is: UNKNOWN (i.e. NULL).

SQL does not any good forcing one to interpret the reflexive property of equality, which state that:

for any x, x = x §§ (in plain English: whatever the universe of discourse, a "thing" is always equal to itself).

Why does column = NULL return no rows ?