Martin חיים Berlove
creator, thinker, polymath
Selected Projects / Achievements / Activities
Calm Speech Project[In Progress]
Goal: Achieve a better society through better communication.
A short guide to help people learn new tools and frameworks with less hassle
Received Mongo DB developer association
Customized Vi[m] themes
Much to my surprise, I've become something of a vim adherent, enough to want my own themes to suit my preferences.
Simple Trello tasklist integration using PHP
A small task list app made using Ruby's Hanami framework
Decided to kill two birds with one stone and make a productivity app for myself while learning a newer framework.
A better way to think about the money you spend
Augments[2016]
Conceptual game made for Github Game Off 2016
Graphling[2014]
Extensible interface for demonstrating graph theory fundamentals.
Pong clone in JQM that supports touch.
Teaching[Ongoing]
Video-based classes on various topics in computing
Raytracing[Ongoing]
A variety of raytraces for fun and education
Learning German language, spoken and written
Through the use of Duolingo, textbooks, online tutoring, and immersion, I hope to bring my skills up to a level for day to day communication with native speakers and to read technical papers written in German.
Music[Ongoing]
Explorations in music creation
Summary of Experience
Recent Writing (@MartinBerlove)
I wish more organizations across all industries thought this way about technology solutions.

I wish more organizations across all industries thought this way about technology solutions.

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Lessons in Understanding, via HTML

Poking through the W3C specification for HTML, I ran across a snippet of markup that was rendered something like the following:

<html
><body
><div
title="Title"
>Hello
</div
><div
>Hi again
</div
></body
></html
>

It was a little hard to mentally render this at first, so I decided to mess around.

First I added newlines in new places:

<
html
><
body
>
...

This didn’t work, for reasons that probably should have been obvious, but weren’t yet.

So I tried something else:

<html
Something here
><body
><div
...

Of course, this worked. So now my brain finally started to piece together what was happening.

HTML tags must support n arbitrary attributes after the tag declaration, which will contain whitespace as well. Any newline before the closing caret simply becomes extra white space. And my extra text was simply interpreted as additional attributes (albeit nonconforming).

So my crazy line of HTML could really just be understood in the following form:

<html attribute1 attribute1 >

which is really not at all that crazy.

On the other hand, when I had broken the lines apart after the opening caret, it was effectively rendering so:

< html > ...

which inserts white space before (or as part of?) the tag declaration, and is not supported — why would it need to be?

Pretty obvious when you get right down to it. But who would have known.

I learned the fundamentals of HTML over fifteen years ago and have used it continuously since, yet presented with a structure so different from how I was used to seeing it, my mind momentarily forwent all the lessons it knew so well and refused to contemplate the code I was presented with in view of that knowledge — it was just too different.

We run into this kind of situation in all sorts of contexts, sometimes as simple as code written by someone else. They may write great code but in a very different way, and we automatically reject it as “poor code” before we’ve even fully parsed it.

Even a normal sentence in natural language, coming from someone who views the world differently, may present us with a context so different from our own norms that we immediately jump to conclusions on the quality of what is being expressed, without really examining the semantics of the content.

If nothing else, when presented with something known but radically different, it behooves us to pause, think about the new information, play around with it, maybe even frame it in a familiar context. You might find it makes more sense than you thought it did.

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One aspect of technology that is both wonderful and terrible is the rapid propagation of new…

One aspect of technology that is both wonderful and terrible is the rapid propagation of new information.
Knowledge is not confined to silos, nor can it be easily blockaded by a single entity, yet false, misleading, overhyped, or simply misunderstood information may spread like wildfire.

Additionally, since small, incomplete pieces of information can be consumed and distributed easily, misleading information often spreads faster than the whole truth, leaving out important nuance or other information that provide context.

And if that extra information gets added on later (e.g. a well-meaning commenter hoping to balance out the conversation), it is often disregarded out of hand since the reader “already knows the facts.” At best, the reader is presented with a confusing portrait of the situation, not knowing whom or what to believe.

But I do believe that people at large are becoming aware of this issue, and novel communication systems may make it easier for us all to correct misinformation and see the full picture.

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Recent Tweets (@MartinBerlove)