That old-school beat
“Worst Comes To Worst” Dilated Peoples
Answer by Jonathan Paulson:
Go to, and work down in order. If you get bored, skip down a ways. If you can’t solve the problem, look at the per-problem forum. If that doesn’t help, ask someone (like StackOverflow, or a friend, or Quora, or…)
Once you’ve done 50-100 of those, you can write some code and maybe know a few basic algorithms. Go to and do their weekly-ish contests. Do TopCoder contests too. When you don’t get problems, figure them out afterwards.
Once you get into Div 1 on Codeforces/TopCoder, you have some skills:
1) You are an algorithms/data structures “expert”. You probably know as much as most undergraduates at top CS schools and enough to get a job at Google or similar
2) You can actually write code, which is apparently a surprisingly rare skill.
You are still missing a bunch of programming knowledge:
1) What are threads? How do I solve concurrency problems?
2) How does memory management actually work? How do function calls actually work? How does thread scheduling actually work?
3) How do computers talk to each other? How does the Internet actually work?
4) How do I make things appear on the screen that people can interact with?
I don’t know of as-simple ways to learn those things. Some suggestions:
- Write an OS to learn #1 and #2. (I think there are online courses. Maybe)
- Write a game to learn #4
- Write a multiplayer game to learn #3
Answer by Tracey Bryan:
The A series of paper sizes are designed so that when you cut one in half, you get two pieces of the next-smallest-size, and every size has height and width in the same proportion. A little math reveals that one can achieve this by having the height and width in the ratio sqrt(2):1, or approximately 1.414:1.
So once you’ve decided that this is the ratio you want for your page, how do you decide the absolute size?
In the case of the A series of paper sizes, an A0 piece of paper is exactly 1 square metre, requiring width x width x 1.414 = 1, which gives a width of 84.1cm and height of 118.9cm (to the nearest mm).
An A1 piece of paper has a length that’s the same as the width of A0, or 84.1cm, and a width of 84.1cm / sqrt (2) = 59.5cm. Which you’ll notice is half the height of the A0 size (118.9cm).
These relationships hold true going all the way down to A10:
It happens that of the A series, A4 is the one that’s closest to the traditional size used for correspondence, and this has therefore become the de facto standard paper size in the metric world (i.e. pretty much globally except the United States :) ).
One fairly obvious consequence of this is that one can make a booklet of a particular size, from a sheet of the next-largest-size folded in half. So A3 sheets of paper can be folded to create A4-size booklets.
Another interesting consequence is that it becomes easy to calculate the weight of single sheets. Standard photocopy paper is usually 80gsm (grams per square metre), thus an A0 sheet, being 1 square metre, weighs 80g. An A1 weighs 40g, A2 is 20g, A3 is 10g, and A4 is 5g. (And so on.)
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A lot of these cultural crimes I’ve been complaining about can be blamed on the baby boomers. Something else I’m a little tired of hearing about – The Baby Boomers Whinny, Narcissistic, Self-indulgent people, with a simple philosophy: “Give Me IT! It’s Mine!” “Give Me That! It’s Mine!” These people were given everything – everything was handed to them. And they took it all – took it all, sex, drugs and rock-n-roll and they stayed loaded for 20 years and had a free ride, but now they’re staring down the barrel of middle-age-burn out and they don’t like it, they don’t like it, so they turned self-righteous and they want to make things hard on younger people. They tell them to abstain from sex, say no to drugs, as for the Rock-n-Roll they sold that for television commercials a long time ago, so they could buy pasta machines, StairMaster’s and soybean futures; “Soybean Futures”. You know something? They’re cold bloodless people, it’s in their slogans, it’s in their rhetoric: “No pain, no game”, “Just do it”, “Life is short”, “Play hard”, “Shit happens, deal with it”, “Get a life”. These people when from “Do your own thing” to “Just say no”. They went from “Love is all you need” to “whoever winds up with the most toys wins”. And they went from Cocaine to Rogaine.
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice, instead he got a safe job as an accountant, and when I was 12 years old he was let go from that safe job, and our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.