Spaces, supplies, stats, and songs about shamans

| Thursday, October 13, 2011

I'm a two-spacer. I'm not quite sure why. But apparently, two-spacing is wrong. Modern fonts are designed for single spaces after the period. And yet, I am still, as I write this, using two spaces after the period. It's habit. Period tap tap. My thumb cannot help it. My right thumb that is. My left thumb, as far as I can tell, is nearly useless during typing. Lazy jackass.

I'm a bit stubborn. This isn't to say that I am conservative, merely stubborn. I am dead set on how things should be, even if that is not how they actually are. Contrast this with conservative thought which is dead set that things are how they should be. And then for another perspective, try reactionary thought which says that things were best as they were. People aren't very consistent with these. They are conservative in some areas (I didn't want to give up Windows XP), reactionary in others (bring back vanilla!), and progressive in others (socialized gay abortions). Though the circular, or more accurately, helical nature of history means that while anti-Wall Street sentiment seems progressive today, it's actually a very old idea (and older if we look beyond the symbol of Wall Street to banking in general), or that once upon a time, the idea of capitalism was a radical new concept that was shattering the social order.

Anyway, I found an interesting article on spaces after periods. I'm not sure I'm going to change, mostly due to laziness and forgetting about this in a couple days.


I had my econ midterm yesterday. It went... well... ish. I knew the material, I just didn't know it fast enough, so I ended up rushing near the end and certainly lost some points due to that. But I think I'll still get a B, or as they call it in Canada, Zed.

It made me wonder if the problem was a matter of excessive intervention in the time economy. The professor set a maximum supply of time, and even made it impossible to exchange time among students, meaning that even if there were a few who had an excess personal supply of time, other students had a shortage of time. Perhaps we would be better off if we could instead bid for time. For example, give everyone the standard amount of time as one extra credit point. They could then trade time for points, so that students who desperately needed more time could give up some points with the expectation that they could get more through improved test performance, while students who needed less time could trade useless time for valuable points. Maybe I should send that idea to our professor.

After the example a few of us went to an Irish pub that I did not know existed. They had Guinness. This made me happy.

Stats midterm is next week. That worries me more than econ. Economics makes perfect sense: you take wildly false assumptions, plug them into an overly simplified model, and out fall answers that vaguely resemble reality if you don't look to closely. In contrast, statistics takes a vague stab at reality and can sometimes tell you if you're wrong, but stubbornly refuses to ever say if you're right. It's like a bad boss, but for analysis. And less readily understandable.

I'm not trying to suggest that I don't like statistics. I like statistics. I think we need more statistics and number-based analysis. But that doesn't mean that I personally am especially good at statistics or that I enjoy the work of fiddling with numbers to try to figure out what reality is. I take comfort in knowing that I am not a theoretical physicist.

A statistically invalid use of machinema to analyze the perceived relative effectiveness of shamans within the game World of Warcraft.
Uploaded Sep 12, 2010

Uploaded Jun 6, 2011

Happy Friday! Er. Thursday. Happy [this]day!


flosch said...

Spaces: you type two, and yet, Google seems to fix it for you. Of course, if your want to do good text layout (and not spend obscene amounts of money), you use latex anyway, and that gives you the option to use "french spacing" or not. Problem solved.

Exams: You mean, your exams generally AREN'T set up to have not enough time to answer everything? Heresy! In my time and subject, snow, uphill both ways, etc. etc. Plus, statistics is so much better, because most of it is based on math instead of case studies. I had economy minor at university*, and I was devastated what passed for "scientific work" in their eyes. Sorry for the rant, hope I didn't flame your major. ;-)

Weekdays: Do you read Dinosaur comics, too?

* Mostly because I was scared of math as the mathematicians do it (for no reason, as I later found out) and physics (rightfully so, because my physics teacher at school was atrocious), and that didn't leave many options.

Nils said...

Economics makes perfect sense: you take wildly false assumptions, plug them into an overly simplified model, and out fall answers that vaguely resemble reality if you don't look to closely.

You are right. ;)

Kring said...

In the German speaking part of Europe we don't use two spaces. Nobody does that. Actually there was one person, a US native, who once mentioned to me that you use two spaces if you write English. But it didn't make sense to me to fuck with spacing, that's exactly the kind of thing we have computers for. To do those boring things.

Do the Brits use two spaces?

Klepsacovic said...

@flosch: The two spaces are "french spacing"? I shall stop immediately!

As a general rule, I assume that exams are made for people less intelligent than me. I then take my time and work methodically, getting everything right with time to spare. Apparently this exam was made for people working faster than me.

I read it on and off.

@Nils: Of course I am! But I just found a typo I wrote "to" instead of "too." How shameful.

@Kring: They might. I avoid conversing with Brits. I don't want to catch monarchy.

flosch said...

Nah, actually the other way around. In the context of spacing after full stops, french spacing means a single space, and english means double. Though, typographically speaking, i don't think there even are "single" and "double" spaces; those guys tend to measure everything in en and em dashes as units.

I never looked into the topic of spaces around punctuation marks much myself. I generally use templates that already decided that for me.

And the weekday thing just rang a bell. Comic from last week, I think.

Klepsacovic said...

In that case, I am going back to two spaces. This second sentence is for the sole purpose of showing two spaces.

flosch said...

Google seems to disagree with your typesetting preferences though. ;-) And decides to know better, like always.

flosch said...

And now that I re-read that, I realized that's quite ambiguous. What I meant was "google (as in blogspot) disagrees, and silently removes extra whitespace", not "google (as in the search engine) tells us most people disagree".

Tesh said...

I will forever use double spaces. To my eye, they are cleaner. Single spaced text is too dense. Then again, I often run against the mainstream. For example, I still put the period after the quotes if a word at the end of a sentence is "quoted". That's apparently bad form, but to my mind, the period belongs to the sentence, not the quote, dangit.

...and "because everyone is doing it now" isn't a good reason for me to change.

Tesh said...

And yes, I'll continue to start sentences with "and", and I don't like it when browsers scrub my double spacing. Stupid fascist programmers. I want my spaces! I put them there on purpose, dimwits.

Klepsacovic said...

@Tesh: YES! Quotations are quotations, and in my mind that means exact replica, including punctuation, with any changes clearly indicated with the standard brackets.

Grammar rules should exist to promote understanding, not as arbitrary restrictions. If those rules, by limiting expression, reduce understanding, then fuck 'em!

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