### The week that wasn't

Time is flying by fast and I can hardly comprehend where the week got spent. Atleast the day was spent well, redoing problems from a course on general relativity that I am currently sitting through. The concept of killing vectors is slowly sinking into me and I honestly can't get enough of the course, I wish he'd take classes everyday. It's surprising the amount of material the prof covers in a single hour and the last two weeks of classes have simply been mind blowing. Starting with the derivation of the equations of motion from the line element ds, it has been one blow after another.

On the other hand, I spent a bit of time thinking about simple integration problems that I could try the monte carlo method on and compare the errors that I would get with the errors from simpson's rule or trapezoid rule. One easy question that I could come up with was the volume of an n-dimensional sphere. It is fairly straight forward to convert a code that measures the area of a circle to the volume of a sphere in 3D, one just adds another random variable 'z' and extend the condition to '+z**2'. I've added the code at the end of this ipynb file. I haven't been able to figure out how to do the same integration using simpsons' or trapezoid rules but I shall. And I want to extend it to n-dimensions, that way I will be able to show how the error changes with number of points of integration for different dimensions.

### 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…