21 November 2009

On professionalism

The word "professional'' as been used and abused. It is nowadays often confused with "bureaucrat'' or with "wearing a suit and a tie''. But let's see what Schopenhauer had to say when he contrasted professionals to dilettantes, an also confused word:

"Dilettantes! Dilettantes! - this is the derogatory cry (directed at) those who apply themselves to art or science for the sake of gain raise against those who pursue it for love of it and pleasure in it... The truth, however, is that to the dilettante the thing is the end, while to the professional as such it is the means; and only he who is diretly interested in a thing, and occupies himself with it from love of it, will pursue it with entire seriousness. It is from such as these, and not from wage-earners, that the greatest things have always come." Parerga and Paralipomena, 1851 (Essays and Aphorisms, R. J. Hollingdale, trans., London Penguin Books, 1970), p 227.

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What measure theory is about

It's about counting, but when things get too large.
Put otherwise, it's about addition of positive numbers, but when these numbers are far too many.

The principle of dynamic programming

max_{x,y} [f(x) + g(x,y)] = max_x [f(x) + max_y g(x,y)]

The bottom line

Nuestras horas son minutos cuando esperamos saber y siglos cuando sabemos lo que se puede aprender.
(Our hours are minutes when we wait to learn and centuries when we know what is to be learnt.) --António Machado

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.
(Those who do not know geometry may not enter.) --Plato

Sapere Aude! Habe Muth, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!
(Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!) --Kant