Displacement: unique interests - Livre d'Or








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livredor
Displacement: unique interests
Thursday, 17 July 2003 at 01:48 pm
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rysmiel posted a meme about explaining one's unique entries in the interests section. So here's my version, cos I'm displacing.

chevruta: Traditional Jewish approach to text study, where you work with a partner and basically argue until you get some personal meaning out of whatever you're reading. It's a very effective way to understand a subject (I've found that a chevruta-type approach works for a wide range of things other than Jewish texts), and at best it can be incredibly intimate and exhilarating. My first boyfriend had been my chevra for a while before we got together, and as far as I was concerned sex had nothing on chevruta in the intimacy stakes.

I don't know anything else that comes close to good chevruta in terms of sheer fun (though obviously that's a matter of personal taste), and mediocre chevruta is also analogous to sex in that it's better than none. I had some really good chevruta going in Oxford, with various combinations of Old A, J and new A and occasional others. (Hey, let's drop the metaphor now before this gets dodgy, hmm?) And I miss it tremendously. At the moment I'm getting by on the occasional session with RB or preparing a supposed shiur for Prof S which isn't quite the same, but at least it's something.

Everett Fox: The coolest Biblical translator I've ever come across. Sadly he's only up to Samuel so far, but his translation is absolutely amazing. It's incredibly close to the Hebrew, to the extent that he makes subtle textual allusions and assonnances transparent, but his English is very readable. It's not exactly standard English, but it's poetic and inspiring rather than clumsy. His amazing translation is published by Schocken Books, and it's totally changed my life. (He also acted as the religious adviser for Prince of Egypt, which is how the obscure Jewish mythological references got in there...)

GB Edwards: The author of one of my favourite books of all time, unfortunately terribly obscure. Edwards was a sort of recluse from Guernsey, but was also an autodidact and spent some time as a professor of English in an English university. He was absolutely miserable and regretted ever leaving Guernsey, so he wrote a sort of alternate history autobiography about his alter ego who didn't. The first volume of this is The Book of Ebenezer le Page; it took him about 40 years to write and he died with the remaining two volumes only in note form. It's an amazing piece of social history, describing Guernsey over the whole span of the 20th century, and it has a cast of characters like nothing else I've ever read. I shall post a proper review of it at some point.

Jewish-Christian dialogue: I've been deeply involved in Jewish-Christian dialogue since I was a young teenager; now I'm branching out into more general interfaith work, but Jewish-Christian will always be my first love. At least partly because I know Judaism and Christianity far better than any other religions, so it's easier to get into a profound level.

Through dialogue, I've met some of my dearest friends, and learnt an amazing amount about myself and maybe even the nature of truth. I also think it's a worthwhile enterprise in terms of promoting goodwill and multiculturalism and all those other sorts of things. It's perfectly possible to be cynical about it, and indeed, sometimes it's little more than mutual congratulation by liberals being fluffy at eachother. But I honestly believe that in some circumstances it can be a genuine force for social change.

Microphotography: Taking (artistic) photos of microscopic things, particularly cells, in my case.

When I first checked with the intention of writing this post, I had BBC micros and Weizmann Institute as unique interests, but it turns out that other users were interested in BBC computers and Weizmann, so I've altered mine to match. And there is one other lj user who is interested in p53 (my professional speciality, which deserves a post in its own right, but this isn't going to be it).


Moooood: okayokay
Tuuuuune: a baby crying in the next door office (!)
Discussion: 34 contributions | Contribute something
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sampiano: default
From:sampiano
Date:July 17th, 2003 07:09 am (UTC)
42 minutes after journal entry

BBC's!

(Link)
I'm sure you had mentioned at one time you were into BBC computers but I had totally forgotten. Did this include programming them? The 6502 was a great chip, beaten in my opinion only by the 6809 which unfortunaetly came out just too late to be actually used in any personal computers. I still remember 6502 assembly language, some of it still in hex... now if that isn't geeky, nothing is!!
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livredor: default
From:livredor
Date:July 17th, 2003 07:28 am (UTC)
1 hours after journal entry, 07:28 am (livredor's time)

Re: BBC's!

(Link)
Yay, a fellow BBC fan!

I was never quite as geeky about them as you, sadly; my programming didn't extend beyond BASIC, which has left me at least unscared of command line interfaces.

My old interest in them was revived recently because my current bf, M, was much more seriously into BBCs than I ever was. And he has a working model, of which I am deeply jealous (I'm just running an emulator on my gigaherz PC...)
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sampiano: default
From:sampiano
Date:July 17th, 2003 07:46 am (UTC)
1 hours after journal entry

Re: BBC's!

(Link)
I still have a working BBC back in a cupboard in Edinburgh. Maybe one day when I've finally decided which country to live in, I'll get it out again. Here in the US, people have never even heard of the BBC. Ah well, I don't need any other hobbies just now!
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From:hmw26
Date:July 17th, 2003 10:16 am (UTC)
3 hours after journal entry
(Link)
Wow, were you into BBCs when we were at the Perse? How'd you get interested in BBCs?
(Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
(no subject) - livredor (7/17/03 10:41 am)
(no subject) - hmw26 (7/17/03 10:57 am)
(no subject) - sjmurdoch (7/18/03 06:57 am)
Teaching programming - (Anonymous) (7/22/03 10:10 pm)
(no subject) - sjmurdoch (7/23/03 11:15 am)
Re: Teaching programming - livredor (7/23/03 12:07 pm)
Re: Teaching programming - (Anonymous) (7/23/03 06:05 pm)
Re: Teaching programming - livredor (7/23/03 12:15 pm)
Re: Teaching programming - (Anonymous) (7/23/03 06:18 pm)
(no subject) - livredor (7/23/03 12:04 pm)
(no subject) - livredor (7/22/03 07:31 pm)
Re: BBCs! - (Anonymous) (7/22/03 12:29 pm)
Re: BBCs! - livredor (7/22/03 12:58 pm)
Re: BBCs! - (Anonymous) (7/22/03 09:54 pm)
rysmiel: default
From:rysmiel
Date:July 17th, 2003 07:48 am (UTC)
1 hours after journal entry, 03:48 am (rysmiel's time)
(Link)
chevruta: Traditional Jewish approach to text study, where you work with a partner and basically argue until you get some personal meaning out of whatever you're reading. It's a very effective way to understand a subject (I've found that a chevruta-type approach works for a wide range of things other than Jewish texts), and at best it can be incredibly intimate and exhilarating... I don't know anything else that comes close to good chevruta in terms of sheer fun (though obviously that's a matter of personal taste)

What a cool concept. I've always loved talking about books in depth with people, and found it can be an utterly exhilarating experience; how lovely that there should be a word covering something like that feeling. I've always felt that my feelings about text and good conversation were more accurately perceived as lusts than as fondnesses, but too many people give you blank looks when you say something like that.

If only the way my brain does attention were compatible with doing this and giving a good backrub simultaneously.
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livredor: default
From:livredor
Date:July 22nd, 2003 07:37 pm (UTC)
5 days after journal entry, 07:37 pm (livredor's time)
(Link)
a word covering something like that feeling
I don't think chevruta is precisely a word for the feeling, I think it's a word for the activity which leads to the buzz I was talking about. Though it's certainly a nuanced word; the root ch-v-r covers friend, study-partner, fellow (as in member of the same society, associate I suppose), and sometimes lover.

my feelings about text and good conversation were more accurately perceived as lusts than as fondnesses
Most certainly, you put that very well indeed, thank you.

too many people give you blank looks when you say something like that
This is possibly cos they are puritanical enough to object to using sex as a metaphor?

doing this and giving a good backrub simultaneously
Mm, I see what you mean, it's a sort of skinship thing, isn't it?
(Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
(no subject) - rysmiel (7/23/03 05:19 pm)
(no subject) - livredor (7/23/03 07:05 pm)
skinship - livredor (7/23/03 07:12 pm)
sjmurdoch: default
From:sjmurdoch
Date:July 17th, 2003 03:07 pm (UTC)
8 hours after journal entry

Pair programming

(Link)
chevruta: Traditional Jewish approach to text study, where you work with a partner and basically argue until you get some personal meaning out of whatever you're reading.
I've been interested in programming languages and methodologies for some time (I come from a background of a Software Engineering degree) and this reminds me of pair programming, a technique popularized by eXtreme Programming but was used for some time before it was given a name.

In pair programming there are two programmers per computer, one at the keyboard, the other watching. It is stated to have many benefits and when I have tried it I have found it very effective. We were able to spot bugs during writing the code that neither of us would have probably spotted working by himself. I think this was because when I was not coding I was able to see the bigger picture, since I didn't have to worry about the details of the next few lines.

We were less likely to get distracted, and less likely to want to be distracted since we did not feel isolated, so I found it more enjoyable. Also by having to explain something we were about to do we gained a better understanding of it, and possibly realized a flaw without ever having it pointed out. It also made debugging less time consuming, firstly because a lot of bugs were eliminated during coding, and by being able to bounce ideas off of each other we were able to find the cause of bugs faster. There were probably other benefits too, and it is something I would like to try again in the future.

(Reply to this comment) (Thread)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 22nd, 2003 12:41 pm (UTC)
5 days after journal entry

Re: Pair programming

(Link)

In pair programming there are two programmers per computer, one at the keyboard, the other watching. It is stated to have many benefits and when I have tried it I have found it very effective. We were able to spot bugs during writing the code that neither of us would have probably spotted working by himself. I think this was because when I was not coding I was able to see the bigger picture, since I didn't have to worry about the details of the next few lines.

We were less likely to get distracted, and less likely to want to be distracted since we did not feel isolated, so I found it more enjoyable. Also by having to explain something we were about to do we gained a better understanding of it, and possibly realized a flaw without ever having it pointed out. It also made debugging less time consuming, firstly because a lot of bugs were eliminated during coding, and by being able to bounce ideas off of each other we were able to find the cause of bugs faster. There were probably other benefits too, and it is something I would like to try again in the future.

That's the theory at least. In practice, I find it doesn't work out quite so well if the one at the keyboard has a better grasp of the code than the one watching. Theoretically you should swap back and forth to make sure one person does not monopolise the keyboard, but in practice pair programming has taught me I'm a control freak. I now open pair programming sessions with the exhortation to my partner to be merciless in taking the keyboard away from me. It's mine, all mine, MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!*

That said, I do vigorously endorse the other practices of Extreme Programming.

* "Multiple exclamation marks -- the sure sign of an insane mind" -- Terry Pratchett

[monogram]

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livredor: default
From:livredor
Date:July 23rd, 2003 12:17 pm (UTC)
6 days after journal entry, 12:17 pm (livredor's time)

Re: Pair programming

(Link)
pair programming has taught me I'm a control freak
The things people will admit about themselves in LiveJournal! I really never had you down as a control freak...
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Re: Pair programming - (Anonymous) (7/23/03 06:20 pm)
livredor: default
From:livredor
Date:July 22nd, 2003 07:41 pm (UTC)
5 days after journal entry, 07:41 pm (livredor's time)

Re: Pair programming

(Link)
Thank you for pointing out such an interesting parallel, and for those links which clarify stuff that I'd heard of, but didn't know much about.

Do I actually know you, just out of interest? I'm guessing you came here via hmw26. Anyway, welcome to my journal.
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sjmurdoch: default
From:sjmurdoch
Date:July 22nd, 2003 08:03 pm (UTC)
5 days after journal entry

Re: Pair programming

(Link)
Do I actually know you, just out of interest? I'm guessing you came here via hmw26.
No, I don't think you know me. And you are right, I found this entry via hmw26's propagation of the meme. I met Hanna doing geeky stuff (ScotLUG and EdLUG) when she was doing her MSc in Edinburgh and I was doing my BSc in Glasgow. Now we are both doing PhDs in Cambridge, though in different departments (I am in the Computer Lab and Hanna is based in the Cavendish, though currently living in the U.S.)
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Re: Pair programming - livredor (7/23/03 12:20 pm)
rahaeli: default
From:rahaeli
Date:July 19th, 2003 12:32 am (UTC)
1 days after journal entry
(Link)
Dropped in randomly and saw this post -- I *adore* Fox's translations. I first encountered them while reading Thomas Cahill's The Gifts of the Jews -- if you haven't ever read it, you should. Cahill has faith without having dogma, and his reflections on Judaism and Christianity (he's got three books; the other two are How the Irish Saved Civilization and Desire of the Everlasting Hills) are excellent.

Just another technopagan-Deist-with-divinity-school-girlfriend Religion major over here ... :)
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livredor: default
From:livredor
Date:July 23rd, 2003 11:58 am (UTC)
6 days after journal entry, 11:58 am (livredor's time)

(Link)
Welcome, and thanks for this comment. I'm very excited that you know of and admire Fox. I will look out for the Cahill; sounds exciting from your comments.

I like technopagan-Deist as a religious self-identification. I mean, wow.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:August 18th, 2003 05:58 am (UTC)
31 days after journal entry

G.B.Edwards

(Link)
Where did you come across Ebeneezer Le Page? I discovered it many years ago and bought twenty copies to give away over the years to people I met that I thought might be interested. Yes, a most unusual book and absolutely wonderful. The great fascination is which of my friends say "What a great book, thanks very much" and which say nothing.
David (Downunder)
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livredor: default
From:livredor
Date:August 18th, 2003 09:21 am (UTC)
32 days after journal entry, 09:21 am (livredor's time)

Re: G.B.Edwards

(Link)
Oh, that was your good influence, of course! I was one of the people you gave a copy to absolutely years ago. You're also responsible for introducing me (and Mum) to Jane Gardam, so a thoroughly good influence on my literary tastes...
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