### Back after the weekend

Count Photon is a very witty nick name. I wish I'd thought of that! Either way, back to hearing me instead of my friends. Today just passed by thinking about general relativity, lasers and cython. I finally figured out why my cython code was giving seemingly errenous results, because I had forgotten to implicitly typecast a specific constant that I was in the earlier buggy version, calling directly from the function. Every numeric operation in cython has to be between values that are typecast is something that I learnt out of this so far.

The morning was spent in awe at what was being taught as part of a general relativity and cosmology course that I am taking this semester. By simply varying/extremizing the action of a free particle in space, we arrived at the equations of it's motion. No field, nothing! It was beautiful to see that a function derivative of the metric that describes the space(time) describes the equations of motion. It was also interesting to note that the equations of motion become that for a free particle when we are working in inertial coordinates in flat space time and non-inertial coordinates or curved space time will both have non zero derivatives of the metric tensor, which in itself has dependence on the coordinate system.

Later, it was interesting to understand how the gaussian envelope shape in the spectral domain arises. The gaussian envelope is a sum of individual lorentzian line shapes for the individual modes that a laser can support and the lorentzian shapes themselves are because of inhomogenous emissions from oscillators in the gain medium. It was exciting to see a sound theoretical framework to prove this and to understand the theory behind active and passive mode locking. Marvelous feats of engineering, such solutions are always thought stimulating and great examples of applied science.

### Animation using GNUPlot

Animation using GNUPlotI've been trying to create an animation depicting a quasar spectrum moving across the 5 SDSS pass bands with respect to redshift. It is important to visualise what emission lines are moving in and out of bands to be able to understand the color-redshift plots and the changes in it.
I've tried doing this using the animate function in matplotlib, python but i wasn't able to make it work - meaning i worked on it for a couple of days and then i gave up, not having found solutions for my problems on the internet.
And then i came across this site, where the gunn-peterson trough and the lyman alpha forest have been depicted - in a beautiful manner. And this got me interested in using js and d3 to do the animations and make it dynamic - using sliders etc.
In the meanwhile, i thought i'd look up and see if there was a way to create animations in gnuplot and whoopdedoo, what do i find but nirvana!

In the image, you see 5 static curves and one dynam…

### on MOOCs.

For those of you who don't know, MOOC stands for Massively Open Online Course.

The internet is an awesome thing. It's making education free for all. Well, mostly free. But it's surprising at the width and depth of courses being offered online. And it looks like they are also having an impact on students, especially those from universities that are not top ranked. Students in all parts of the world can now get a first class education experience, thanks to courses offered by Stanford, MIT, Caltech, etc.

I'm talking about MOOCs because one of my new year resolutions is to take online courses, atleast 2 per semester (6 months). And I've chosen the following two courses on edX - Analyzing Big Data with Microsoft R Server and Data Science Essentials for now. I looked at courses on Coursera but I couldn't find any which was worthy and free. There are a lot more MOOC providers out there but let's start here. And I feel like the two courses are relevant to where I …

### On programmers.

I just watched this brilliant keynote today. It's a commentary on Programmers and the software development industry/ecosystem as a whole.

I am not going to give you a tl;dr version of the talk because it is a talk that I believe everyone should watch, that everyone should learn from. Instead, I am going to give my own parallel-ish views on programmers and programming.
As pointed out in the talk, there are mythical creatures in the software development industry who are revered as gods. Guido Van Rossum, the creator of Python, was given the title Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL). People flock around the creators of popular languages or libraries. They are god-like to most programmers and are treated like gods. By which, I mean to say, we assume they don't have flaws. That they are infallible. That they are perfect.
And alongside this belief in the infallibility of these Gods, we believe that they were born programmers. That programming is something that people are born wit…