August 18, 2004

I hate math

Actually, I don't hate math half as much as having to write papers about it. I am up to my nads in logarithms, sums and dot products right now. It's not even hard math, it's just mind bogglingly dull to have to explain.

So why, oh why, come August every year, do I start to contemplate taking a shot at this? I mean, this would be logical, and would make loads of sense in light of my career to date. Heck, I got a mention at KU Leuven. I could qualify for a doctoral programme there and never even have to deal with a foreign language. But no, I gotta do everything the hard way.

Why on earth did I ever sign on to do statistical, mathematical, computational linguistics, a field that I knew damn well was going to involve copious amounts of math? What ever possessed me to think it might be a good idea to get a trade where advancement was likely to involve further math education? Did I learn nothing from the life story of Gregor Cantor?

Apparently not. Some days, I think I must be trying to drive myself past the bend.

Posted 2004/08/18 16:25 (Wed) | TrackBack
Comments

Is that Georg's brother, or are you thinking of Kafka's celebrated superhero the Paradox Bug (half set-theoriste, half-beetle!)?

Posted by: des at August 18, 2004 17:53

Aargh!!!

Yes, it's Georg.

I swear, I'm going to stop blogging one of these days until I can get a proofreader.

Posted by: Scott Martens at August 18, 2004 17:56

"Why on earth did I ever sign on to do statistical, mathematical, computational linguistics, a field that I knew damn well was going to involve copious amounts of math? What ever possessed me to think it might be a good idea to get a trade where advancement was likely to involve further math education?"

Because it's fun!!!

Posted by: Peter Dirix at August 18, 2004 18:13

"Fun"? What is this "fun"? Is it one of those odd contrafactual concepts like a "life" that are only meaningful in some sort of analytical philosophy sense, as an element of some possible, if farfetched world?

It's amazing how over the course of a year, a project you thought was the greatest thing ever can turn into the stone around your neck.

Posted by: Scott Martens at August 18, 2004 22:17

Not to get into ethnic slurs or anything, but generations of your ancestors taught themselves to worship God through farm work, and love it too, when everyone else on the face of the universe was trying to escape from that. I think you have a hangover of the Protestant Ethic.

My ancestors too, but I seem to have dodged the bullet myself.

Posted by: Zizka at August 19, 2004 2:01

Zizka, perhaps, but the last generation of farmers in my family all personally loathed farming and almost all of them left it as soon as it became feasible. Of the decendents of my grandparents, there is one elderly hobby farmer who made his fortune in real estate and gets a tax deduction by running a money losing farm on the side. Of the rest, not one farms today.

As for the Protestant work ethic... eh, you may right. There was always a strong resistance to buying something when vast quantites of dull painstaking labour can get you the same thing for free, but I just assumed that was a hangover from poverty.

Posted by: Scott Martens at August 19, 2004 9:49
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