Saturday, December 6, 2014

Pontificating About the Scientific Method

Science has led to many successes, in the form of electronics, healthcare, food production, mechanics, and so on.... but is something missing from the scientific method?

It is worth it to explore possible changes to the scientific method in order to make it more accessible to the public.  Art is one area where scientific method is rarely explored, and for good reason.  Subjective taste determines what people embrace.  Art is meant to be an expression of who we are, not what we are determined to create.

Do we assume art and science to be naturally compatible?

Generally, we don't.  A chemist is not going to allow an artist, guided by inspiration, to combine chemicals into a long running experiment, any more than artists use mathematical formulas to paint or sculpt.   We do not consider art and science to be compatible, so we do our best to accommodate their cohabitation.

Science starts with an idea that people wish to prove or disprove.  They set out to prove the idea -- this is considered the experiment.  Whether the proof has succeeded or failed, the results of the experiment are considered useful, reviewed and used for further experiments, then carried along further if others are interested in the idea.  There are two key elements here which are worth investigating: 1) the manifestation of the idea, and 2) carrying the idea further.

What happens between steps one and two are mechanical, with rules for becoming a scientist, rules for journal writing, rules for peer review, and the stark reality that money is necessary to fund every step of the process.  So it is ironic that the subjective desire to manifest and carry the ideas along are really what direct the scientific method.

So at this point, has science failed us, or have we failed science?

Don't take the word 'failed' too seriously here.  Like, it's just a word.  Phrased another way, can the scientific method be altered in such a way that it is more compatible with humanity?  At a scientific conference or a board meeting, what determines the evolution of a product?

Do we fail science by even asking these questions, or has science failed us for pushing us to ask these questions... do these questions get in the way?

Quite possibly, yes, questions do get in the way.  Curiosity is one factor that is appreciated in both science and art.  The best scientists and artists are great at asking questionings.  But there is more.  If this is what drives the direction humanity is taking as it develops new technologies, new ways to design cities, and the food we eat, it is worth asking whether something is missing.  Instead of finding a true compatibility between art and science, we have simply agreed on shared perplexity.

Not that questions are bad.  But there is more to life.

This problem has led to our dependence on leaders.  A family is dependent on its elder to make decisions. Artists depend on acceptance in galleries to sell their work.  A nation is dependent on its government to spend tax revenue wisely.

Tangentially, a corporation is perhaps another story.  It depends on shareholders who might use the scientific method to determine where to allocate resources.  Perhaps this is a glimpse at a solution, but in our society, the word 'corporation' has a somewhat negative stigma, because it implies subservience to a system that we have no control over.  The modern corporation is a new phenomenon.  It is a world wide, all encompassing, behemoth, controlled by only one rule -- the rule of money -- which is essentially based in math.  Math is considered truth, not fiction.

But we've come full circle now.  If math controls our behavior (at least the behavior of those who work) then is something wrong?

The scientific method embraces ideas.  But leaders squash ideas.

Leaders are detrimental to science, even if that leader is a non-human born of math.

Do we guide science or does it guide us?  We do not want science to lead us, any more than we want family, galleries, government, business, or money to lead us.  We want to lead ourselves.  Science is, however, one thing that we can guide ourselves, as long as we can master it.  In a world where there are so many rules that decide whether a scientific experiment is valid, it has not been possible for just anyone to become a reputable scientist.

That can be changed.

Let's not use the word 'science' or any words, but feel empowered to direct the course of events in a way we decide.  This is not to say that we make our own reality.  Just the opposite.  We are entangled in reality.  Every failed experiment gives us an opportunity to try again, as long as anyone has a chance to try again.  Feedback is crucial.  We have up to five senses, and our ability to think, all of which rely on acknowledgement.

Broader acknowledgement is a key factor in bringing the scientific method to more people.  Technology has come far enough to give people tools they need to run their experiments.

On the web, we have access to both the technology and the publicity needed to create a better scientific method.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Business Strategies in Application Development

Technology has evolved from a niche field to integral to the business process, from the corporate data center to the desktop programmer at a small business. Software development tools such as Open Source frameworks and Microsoft's Visual Studio have brought technology to a level that anyone with interest can deploy sophisticated applications. There is still much work ahead necessary to bring it all together to create an efficient streamlined business environment which also ties into the economy overall.

Efficiency Strategies
Agile programming practices have been hyped recently, and that might not be solely due to their effectiveness, but their relevance to business development. Agile programming is similar to the Lean Six Sigma process that identifies problems in value stream and works to continuously improve, sharpen, production processes.

Development Strategies
It was not long ago that Object Oriented programming was considered new, but now it is essential in any programming environment that seriously wants to extend the life and effectiveness of its applications.  The alternative, Procedural programming, is the path of least resistance when a developer wants to just dive in and make a program work.  But that leads to problems down the line when linear logic needs to be resolved.  The linear logic required for procedural programming will almost always change in years ahead, and that might require a system to be completely rewritten whereas OOP systems consist of extensible objects which can be easily modified and extended.

Bringing it All Together
It is clear that with each passing year we will see new computers, portable devices, phones, and technology we have not even seen that depend on software.  Software does not write itself (yet); rather, it depends on professionals to realize the fundamental philosophies of both programming architecture and business concepts.  Design concepts in programming have reached a state where the beauty in logic of OOP related concepts supersede the language itself, allowing programming aptitude to retain relevance beyond the life of any one language.

The information economy is a serious turning point and with it businesses are required to understand how finances flow through divergent creative systems and their related products that people are willing to buy.  The same concepts used to create business applications are relevant to business, and as time goes on the architects if the systems used to create software will, by virtue of their job requirements, tie together even more, the development process with business needs.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Boxy - the really big JavaScript solution to Responsive Design

In my experience, HTML and CSS makes centering DIVs overly complicated if you want them to reposition themselves dynamically in a fluid layout as the user re-sizes the web browser.  As far as I know, there is no way to do this without using the PRE tag instead of DIVs, which inposes some limitation on what you can do.  So finally I broke down and used a lengthy scripting solution, and I thought it worked pretty well, so I'm sharing it with anyone who might have the same dilemma.

This code, when pasted at the bottom of your page, will genter all divs that are inside a parent DIV with an ID "main".

function distributeDivs() {
    var minMargin = 5;
    var i = 0;
    var ww = $("#main").width();
    var startingAt = 0;
    var boxArray = new Array();
    $("#main >div").each(function () {
        boxArray[i++] = $(this);
    while (startingAt < boxArray.length) startingAt = addToBoxArray(startingAt);
    for (i = 0; i < boxArray.length; i++) $(boxArray[i]).css("margin", $(boxArray[i]).css("margin"));
    function addToBoxArray(startingAt) {
        var boxesThisRow = 0;
        var totalBoxWidth = 0;
        var temp = ww;
        var boxWidth;
        for (i = startingAt; i < boxArray.length; i++) {
            boxWidth = $(boxArray[i]).width() + (minMargin * 2);
            if (temp > boxWidth) {
                totalBoxWidth += $(boxArray[i]).width();
                temp = temp - boxWidth;
            } else break;
        var margin = Math.floor((ww - totalBoxWidth) / (boxesThisRow * 2));
        for (i = startingAt; i < (startingAt + boxesThisRow); i++) {
            $(boxArray[i]).css("marginLeft", margin + "px");
            $(boxArray[i]).css("marginRight", margin + "px");
        return startingAt + boxesThisRow;

It's pretty lengthy code, so you can go here to see it in action.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Web Applications Portfolio

Here is some of the work I've performed lately.  Most of these sites are my own personal unpaid spare-time work. As you would expect, there are some rough edges on the sites I've been doing individually, but I hope to get all the rough edges smoothed out over time.

Buy Woodstock - eCommerce website
After I moved to Woodstock, I thought it was such a beautiful place, that I had to create a website dedicated to it.  Since I'm usually business minded, my thought was to create a place to go for people to buy and sell local.

Like Me In This - social site
This is my latest site, and it's not yet at 100%, but it's online now for filling in content.  I'm hoping to start eliciting traffic for it someday, but for now it's sort of in the shadows where few will ever bother noticing it.

Web Upload - Printing Solutions
This one was for my last employer, and there actually are two versions.  Unfortunately, you'd need to set up a username and password to get in and see everything, but you can always contact me and I can set you up.

2020 Recycling

Wildwood Park

Galena Retreat

T-Bird Flowers and Such

And Many Others.
If you need to make a payment for a website I have created, or need to reserve work, please use the PayPal button below:

Payment Amount

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Interactive Book

I created another flip book here. Many thanks to Ely Greenfield who designed the API.