🙚 Advent of Code
🙚 Notes
🙚 Thulium

It's not all it's cracked up to be

Friday, 22 October 2021, 10:30 am. Cold, rainy, wet. From inside Joyce–Collingwood station I spotted the R4, just as it was closing its back doors. My first mistake was hope: The front door was not yet closed. My second mistake was hubris: I will make it to the bus if I run. And so I ran, but my normally-grippy sneakers slipped on the sidewalk slick with rainwater, and I ended up landing hard on my ass right in front of the bus driver.

It was a miracle I ended up mostly physically unscathed. I instinctively shot out my arms underneath me and I could have broken a wrist or two. I could’ve landed on my tailbone wrong and broken that too. But it seemed the only damage was a light bruise on my sacrum (had to look up the word for that) and to my ego. Not even a scratch on my palms! Then I sat down, took out my laptop, opened it, and discovered the large crack from the bottom left corner, reaching longingly to conquer the entirety of the screen.

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How to Use Sized Types?
Let Me Count the Ways

This post is inspired by this thread from the Agda mailing list.

Because Agda treats Size like a first-class type, there’s quite a bit of freedom in how you get to use it. This makes it a bit unclear where you should start: should Size be a parameter or an index in your type? What sizes should the constructors’ recursive arguments’ and return types have? Here are two options that are usually used (and one that doesn’t work.) The recommended one is using inflationary sized types and Size<.

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The State of Sized Types

Sized types hold great potential as a very practically useful way to do type-based termination checking, but sufficiently expressive sized types in dependent type theory come with a host of problems, mostly related to its incompatibility with the infinite size found in most simpler or nondependent type systems. This post attempts to describe some potential but ultimately unsatisfying solutions.

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Adding LaTeX to your Jekyll Site

As it turns out, adding support to render LaTeX in a Jekyll blog isn’t all that hard, because other people have done most of the heavy lifting. There are two main ways to do this:

  • Client-side rendering: After the page loads, a JS script is run to transform LaTeXy parts of the page to lovely, styled HTML.
  • Build-time rendering: After Markdown files are compiled to HTML, a Jekyll plugin further transforms those LaTeXy parts to HTML as well. Here’s how you do either using KaTeX\KaTeX.
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Thulium: Disk Failure

On 24 December 2020, my home server Thulium went down. Usually the cause of downtime is my home’s public IP address changing, and I need to update the DDNS record with my domain name provider. This time it wasn’t; when I tried to SSH in through the domain, I reached something, but it wouldn’t let me in. I managed to SSH in through the local IP address and tried to reboot, but I got a segmentation fault, of all things. In the end, I rebooted the server manually by walking over to the other room and holding down the power button. I could then SSH in, my Docker containers were up, all was well.

On 27 December 2020, it happened all over again. This time, I could SSH in again, but everything was painfully slow. I checked htop: CPU and memory were doing fine. I checked my internet connection: that was fine too. It must be, then, a disk issue (obviously, since that’s the title of this post).

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Interesting Problems at Small Values

This post is based on the observation that, in a variety of fields (e.g. logic, computics, mathematics, physics), while certain classes of problems can be parameterized by some natural number $n$, it appears that the interesting problems―not so simple as to be trivial, but not so complex as to be unsolvable, undecidable, intractable, or nonexistent―always occur at small $n$. Below is a collection of such problems, describing at which $n$ they are interesting, and how so.

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Thulium: A One-Year Retrospective

A few months ago, on the 15th of April, was the one-year anniversary of ert.space and the Thulium server, still running happily in its desktop tower, now with an extra 2 GB of RAM. Even if I didn’t have the Thulium posts to remind me, I would always have the timely bill for the domain name. Over the past year, a multitude of services and Docker containers have risen and fallen, having been replaced or abandoned or, rarely, taken up a more permanent post. In 2018, I began with the following:

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