At first blush, I really thought I had this cool idea to relate dwindling resources, scarcity and self destructive self-advancement to programming in Python. This post is the post where that’s supposed to happen. It was going to be clever. It seemed like a great idea, to blend poetry and programming — OF COURSE! I was sure I could write about something about limited resources and algorithms that, sure you can implement, but really cost you in time and tie it in to the “Scarcity” poem in the other post.
In both cases, we’re talking about increasing costs. On the computational side, this can be expressed in Big-O notation, which indicates how well an algorithm scales depending on it’s input size or how many ‘things’ it’s given to operate on.
Here’s a nice chart from Dave Perrett’s website:
Being that pulling teeth is painful and you only have 32 of them to ‘sell off’, I’d peg it w an expensive operation like O(n^2). This is exponential growth. If the units are dollars, you might be able to swing that $1024 for ten teeth, but all thirty two is gonna cost you $4,294,967,296
What’s lacking though is the detrimental, personal impact of a compromised values system that ‘In Scarcity We Bare The Teeth’ is driving at.
Totally mismanaging development of a neighborhood, being so greedy to ‘eat’ that you sell your teeth off (and let’s throw the tongue in there, too.) doesn’t really jive with a poorly written algorithm. The life value cost correlation isn’t there. While there might be some situation(s) that contradict this — I’d say that running a brute force implementation of the ‘small world’ problem or ‘traveling salesman’ problem doesn’t result in the visceral impact of not being able to enjoy life anymore.
I was basically avoiding what I felt the tie in was, really. That wasn’t it. It’s pretty shallow. Then I started writing some more, trying to figure out and express what made me think I could tie these two things together — and by talking about Python of all things. That had been my vague idea at the onset.
So I thought about it a little more and started writing, again. The draft I was coming up with kept turning not to Python per se, but the time when I first started using Python — circa 2004 and the circumstances around it. I started writing about a time I left a job with a short, 5 minute commute for one with 1.5 hr one (18 times longer) and a 40% increase in gross pay. While, as stated in this article, the bump was exactly enough to justify the switch, I certainly didn’t count on the +12 to 15 extra work hours per week nor did I weigh the physical, social and mental costs of it that piled up.
In scarcity, we bare the teeth
selling them off one by one
appetites in search of the highest price
no longer able to smile at or chew on
what it means to live the good life.
As I wrote — I didn’t like the tone I was developing. Sure, I went for the “highest price” and it didn’t work out. — but think it’s unfair to beat myself up about it and try to hammer personal experience to fit a comparison to poem. I took a job. I didn’t sell off parts of my soul, one by one willingly and I think I can still smile and chew on the good life.