Speaking in HTML


<personal thought>Sometimes I wish people would speak in HTML.</personal thought>

<explanation>It would make conversations less confusing for me.</explanation>

<elaboration>I would know when people are being sarcastic. Or when people are withholding the truth. Or when people are hurt. All their words would be tagged with the subtleties of human communication.</elaboration>

<point repeated>Certainly, interactions would be less confusing for me.</point repeated>

<counterpoint>But I suppose there would be downsides. Interpretations, ambiguity, and poetry would be lost…</counterpoint>

<pun>Lost in a fog that would be mist.</pun>

<insight>And we wouldn’t be human if we spoke in HTML.</insight>



Reflecting on Insights from a Pure Mathematician

It is ironic that after years of studying graduate-level mathematics, it was a piece of literature I read during my studies that had the most profound influence on me. Mind you, it was written by a mathematician, but that doesn’t matter.

G. H. Hardy was arguably one of the greatest pure mathematicians of all time. He is portrayed by Jeremy Irons in The Man Who Knew Infinity, a movie that depicts his relationship with the mathematical genius Ramanujan from India.

Hardy’s A Mathematician’s Apology was published in 1940. His poetic and philosophical prose draws me in. In Apology, Hardy poses two questions that lead to the justification of his chosen profession:

A man who sets out to justify his existence and his activities has to distinguish two different questions. The first is whether the work which he does is worth doing; and the second is why he does it, whatever its value may be.

Hardy reflects on his life as a mathematician and concludes one, his work is valuable and two, he is good at it. Hey, if he had been a better cricket player, he may have chosen to be a professional cricketer.

And when others question my work, I reflect on Hardy’s morsels. I have no doubt of the answer to the first question, and I’m pretty sure I suck at baseball.