bigger than thou

elements vs operations in time complexity chart for algorithms

i enjoy what Meredith wrote in her post on chapter 4 of Ani.Mystic (is that what we’re up to in book club?):

time is not just number, time is not clock time, time is a feeling

what does it feel like, then, to be in relation to time? Gordon White writes of a 260-day Mayan calendar, tzolk’in, of repeated cycles of days which are also living beings. there is a sense, a way of experiencing, in which a Wednesday is like all Wednesdays (and vice versa, all Wednesdays are this one Wednesday). when your life has a rhythm, this feels true: the middle of the standard work week, the day i don’t like to go to boxing, the day my daughter has karate after school, the day French kids have the afternoon off for out-of-school activities, between early in the week and later in the week, Odin’s day, Mercury’s day. what i like about this way of experiencing is that it connects your quotidian, small existence to all of time, all the Wednesdays, Wednesday as a being beyond you and your limits. simultaneously now and eternal.

it took me very little time to find an appealing image to illustrate this post, and much more time to grok what that image intends to convey. honestly, i just liked the way it looked. the associated blog post, Understanding time complexity with Python examples, really tickles my computer science feelers. my capacity to write any sort of code is lamentable, but i do enjoy reading about data structures and navigating input, output, operations. this makes me think of cockroaches (technically, water bugs, but let’s stick with cockroaches). one appears in my kitchen regularly, maybe once a week, once every two weeks. la cucaracha. i am afraid of them. my husband’s algorithm for dispatching la cucaracha is the chancla method: smack it with a flip-flop, or slipper, whatever light shoe you wear in side the house. this is a quick approach, a direct approach. my algorithm involves quickly placing a clear plastic tub over la cucaracha, sliding a stiff sheet of paper under it, then a small cutting board under that, and holding everything tight and steady as i approach the open kitchen window, until the final moment when i launch la cucaracha into the great wide open. there have been terrifying errors: la cucaracha escapes the plastic tub en route. la cucaracha manages to fly a moment after launch, right back at me. i cannot distinguish one cucaracha from another. one cucaracha is like all cucarachas. i am afraid of all of them. i hope, at the end of my days, that i will not be faced with the great all-cucaracha being, all the cucarachas that i have launched into the narrow alley at the back of my building.

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