More coding

I realized a devoid of code examples lately. I was distracted by a lot of reading lately. Reading doesn’t translate to doing something significant yet still gives me a certain sense of accomplishment. I just spent an overwhelming amount of time last week just clicking and reading through — researching as I like to call it. I achieve some additional knowledge, I guess. However, time could possibly be put into better use had I actually coded something.

So, note to self — do, don’t just read.

Oh, and write, too.

Symfony 2 is hard

Symfony2 is hard. But not simply because it is doing things so differently, rather, it depends on so many packages. While there are certainly a lot of resources online, many can be considered outdated.

This recalls a discussion I had with U-Zyn of gladlyCode on the trends on PHP frameworks. We concluded that Symfony has a brighter future because on the past few years Symfony has became one of the most talked about frameworks in Google Trends. That observation, however, did not consider the scenario where more people posted online as they needed help. Additionally search for Symfony also includes Symfony Legacy (Symfony 1) which turns out to be vastly different from Symfony 2. It is hard to distinguish articles of the two, half the time I’ll be read through then to realized it’s for Symfony 1

Symfony 2 supports both Doctrine 2 and Propel ORMs. There are times I read through articles for Propel rather than Doctrine2 that I am using. Yesterday I spent my day figuring out Symfony and all I achieved is installing bundles. Bundles are not as well documented and many times that are wrappers of another PHP project.

At the end of the day I find myself referring to so much websites that I maxed out my tabs and no longer see the favicon on the tab any more.

Symfony2 reminds me of TurboGears of Python, if anyone is even still using it. It’s not a bad thing, especially in the whole of PHP where writing yet another ORM isn’t really needed. My minor complaint is Symfony requires the developer to do more configuration than other frameworks — say Yii Framework — and the ORM of choice, Doctrine 2, requires too much definitions to be included in an Entity (similar to Model of MVC frameworks). Overall Symfony 2 is a big framework to work with, I am probably discovering something new at every juncture. It’s worth a try but you’ll need a day at least to explore their features.

How words are learned

MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language — so he wired up his house with videocameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son’s life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch “gaaaa” slowly turn into “water.” Astonishing, data-rich research with deep implications for how we learn.

Deb Roy: The birth of a word

Here’s another excuse to eat chocolate

Eating chocolate could improve the brain’s ability to do maths, a new study gives chocolate lovers more excuse to stay with their diet.

How eating chocolate can help improve your maths

Mental arithmetic became easier after volunteers had been given large amounts of compounds found in chocolate, called flavanols, in a hot cocoa drink.

They were also less likely to feel tired or mentally drained, the findings, presented at the British Psychological Society annual conference in Brighton show.

Prof David Kennedy, director of the brain, performance and nutrition research centre at Northumbria University, and a co-author of the study, said that chocolate could be beneficial for mentally challenging tasks.

The findings suggest students who binge on chocolate when revising for exams may gain a real benefit from doing so.

The findings also show that the volunteers did not get as tired doing the calculations if they had been given the cocoa drink, despite being asked to do them over and over for an hour.

The researchers gave the volunteers a total of 500mg of flavanol. Although the amount was too great to be found naturally in the diet, researchers said that people should ensure that they have lots of flavanols, also found in fruit and vegetables, on a regular basis.

Emma Wightman, one of the study’s lead researchers, said: “You can get bars of chocolate that have 100mg of flavanol, and we are also going to look at the effect of lower doses of flavanol on the brain.”

Dark chocolate contains higher quantaties of the chemical than plain or milk chocolate.

Prof Kennedy added: “The amount that you are giving is more than in the diet but there is quite a lot of evidence that general amounts are protective against declining function and that kind of thing.

“The more fruit and vegetables and things that are high in polyphenols the better that is for your brain in the long run.” (Source: Telegraph)

I love dark chocolates, love the rich cocoa aroma.

Obama: Lift stem cells ban

I totally agree on this one. The whole idea of the ban’s rather silly anyway. I don’t consider stem cells human apparently.

Obama Wants Congress To Act On Lifting Stem Cells Ban

Obama, who favors medical research on stem cells derived from human embryos, told CNN he was still exploring an executive order to revoke Bush’s ban.

“But I like the idea of the American people’s representatives expressing their views on an issue like this,” he said, lauding a “bipartisan” consensus in Congress that such research is ethical and potentially life-saving.

If the research could yield hope for victims of degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, “I think that sends a powerful message,” he said.

In blocking federal funding for stem cell research, Bush sided with religious conservatives who argue that research on embryos destroys human life, albeit at its earliest stage of development.

Stem cells are primitive cells from early-stage embryos capable of developing into almost every tissue of the body.

Scientists believe they could prove key in finding a cure for a number of serious diseases, including also diabetes and cancer. (Source: Physorg)

USA probably lacks behind in biosciences just because of this ban.

Worst language I wrote in – Fortran

One of the worst programming languages I ever wrote in is Fortran. It’s got a rather limited set of features. I dreaded to go work every day staring at the lines of codes that basically represent a cholesterol research paper’s equations.

I was using the g77 compiler. The only thing that I can remember is all the nonsensical representation of while loops. It has got the most basic support for structural programming. I had the impression that programmers in the 1970s are like artists, they paint a first layer and paint a second then the third and if there’s a mistake they cover it up with a thick coat of paint. The whole software is like a gibberish piece of code and no amount of comment ever made my life easier the next day.

However it is through Fortran that I start appreciating the more modern programming languages. I look at for each loops imagining how confusing would it be to represent the same code in Fortran.

Every time I hear people whine about how many lines of codes and how confusing a code chunk looked, I wish those people could see things from my point of view. Imagine the number of mistakes made and later corrected for the supposed better.

Coffee shrinks women’s breasts, enlarges men’s

Daily Star reports that coffee shrink women’s breasts and, well, has an opposite effect on men’s.

CUPPA COFFEE GIVES GIRLS A SMALLER CUP

The caffeine-fuelled drink is well-known for keeping people alert and sobering up drunks.

But Swedish scientists have caused a stir by suggesting women who drink more than three cups a day could see their bra size drop.

Nearly 300 women were quizzed but Helena Jernstroem, of Lund University, said women should not worry too much.

She explained: “Coffee-drinking women do not have to worry their breasts will shrink to nothing overnight. They will get smaller, but the breasts aren’t just going to disappear.

While caffeine may shrink women’s breasts, the reaction is the reverse for coffee-slurping blokes – it can make their “moobs” swell.

On the plus side, the study showed regular hits of caffeine reduce the risk of women
developing breast cancer. (Source: DailyStar)

Icecream with espresso

(Icecream with espresso. Tried it at somewhere I can’t recall.)

Breast cancer, by the way, is number five in cancer deaths.

The cure for acne has been found

Oh, cure for acne found. Maybe my face has some hopes. People say that once you hit a certain age you’ll stop having acne? Seems like I haven’t reach that certain age. And whether I would actually like to reach that certain age is somewhat debatable.

Cure for acne found, say scientists

Scientists believe they have found a breakthrough treatment for acne.

They claim that the drug, SMT D002, can reduce the flow of sebum – an oily substance produced by the skin and believed to be a significant cause – by 90 per cent.

At present, the drug is in pill form and is used to treat a condition other than acne but a pharmaceutical company plans to turn it into a cream for easier use. Continue reading “The cure for acne has been found”