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Medium 9781855755604

5. Therapists and clients

Paolo Bertrando Karnac Books ePub

How can we see our clients—both in the proper, perceptual meaning of the word, and in its figurative one? Another apparently innocuous question, which can, however, have interesting answers. For we can only see things and persons from our own point of view. Our view is always situated. This is also, probably, what Maturana means when he states that “everything that is said, is said by an observer” (Maturana &Varela, 1980): anything I can say, I say from my own point of view.

Of course, science had to transcend the individual point of view in order to grow and to establish another kind of point of view—that of the disembodied, all-knowing Maxwell's demon—a point of view that can encompass virtually everything and that, as such, is neither situated nor even human.1 But in my ordinary life I can still say that the scientific view is but one point of view—one that is more relevant that many others, but one point of view all the same.

The theory of the observer, made popular by constructivist theorists (see Maturana &Varela, 1980; von Foerster, 1982), tends to emphasize too strongly the uniqueness of my point of view and to overlook another side of this situatedness, one that is considered by Bakhtin (1923). According to him, my point of view is necessarily limited. In order to transcend, to trespass such a limitedness, I need another perspective: the perspective of another—of the Other. This is one of the reasons why psychotherapy is relevant for peo-ple—at least for some of them—and supervision for the therapist: because in therapy I am constantly faced with another perspective, another position, and at the same time this other person is striving to give me—or us—some sense, in my exclusive interest.

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Medium 9780596510336

7. Customizing Your Subversion Experience

C. Michael Pilato O'Reilly Media ePub

Version control can be a complex subject, as much art as science, that offers myriad ways of getting stuff done. Throughout this book, youve read of the various Subversion command-line client subcommands and the options that modify their behavior. In this chapter, well look into still more ways to customize the way Subversion works for yousetting up the Subversion runtime configuration, using external helper applications, Subversions interaction with the operating systems configured locale, and so on.

Subversion provides many optional behaviors that the user can control. Many of these options are of the kind that a user would wish to apply to all Subversion operations. So, rather than forcing users to remember command-line arguments for specifying these options and to use them for every operation they perform, Subversion uses configuration files, segregated into a Subversion configuration area.

The Subversion configuration area is a two-tiered hierarchy of option names and their values. Usually, this boils down to a special directory that contains configuration files (the first tier), which are just text files in standard INI format (with sections providing the second tier). You can easily edit these files using your favorite text editor (such as Emacs or vi), and they contain directives read by the client to determine which of several optional behaviors the user prefers.

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Medium 9780596803735

11. The Developer Ecology

Jim Waldo O'Reilly Media ePub

There was a time, not all that long ago, when developers faced the vast emptiness of an unwritten program carrying only the simple tools of an editor, a compiler, and (if they were lucky) a debugger. Like their spiritual forefathers who carved a country out of the forests with just an axe and a flintlock, these hardy developers built things of lasting beauty with remarkably crude tools. Get a bunch of older developers together and they will soon be talking about the deprivations of those times, and how programmers these days have it soft and dont really know what it was like to wait for hours to get a compile done or to track down a subtle bug with nothing but their bare hands and printf.

But we are no longer in the frontier times of software development. Indeed, there is a thriving ecology around tools for the software developer, especially around the Java language and environment. Although there are still remarkable craftsmen (and craftswomen) building software using the coding equivalents of axes and flintlocks, developers now have a selection of power tools that make things easier and aid in the production of good software. These arent really part of the Java language or runtime, but many of these tools have grown up around the language and runtime. So our final look at the good parts of Java will be to take a quick tour of some of these tools and talk a bit about how they can improve a developers life.

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Medium 9780596003111

26. GD and L-Systems

Jon Orwant O'Reilly Media ePub

(Or, how to see plants on your computer without getting soil on the keyboard.)

In GD-Graph3d, you learned how Perl could create three-dimensional graphics. Naturally, Perl is quite comfortable with two-dimensional images as well. Lincoln Steins GD module (based on Thomas Boutells gd library and available from the CPAN) makes it possible to import, manipulate, and even generate GIFs from the comfort of your very own Perl. In this article, well use GD to create images of plants using mathematical constructs called L-systems.

Using GD is straightforward: all thats necessary to create a GIF suitable for displaying on a web page is a GD::Image object, some colors, and a few drawing commands. It takes only six lines of code to produce a lone brown dot on a white background, a work surely worth millions to a sufficiently avant-garde patron of the arts:

Here we create an image 100 pixels square and allocate two colors. GIFs use color tables (in particular, a 256-color palette) so its necessary to specify in advance which colors are to be used. The colors themselves are specified by their red, green, and blue components, which range from 0 to 255.

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Medium 9780596801748

2. Fat

Matthew MacDonald O'Reilly Media ePub

It can strike fear in the heart of the most level-headed, body-positive person. Wrapping your body just under its outer covering of skin is a gentle, gelatinous blanket of fat. Serving as insulation, cushioning, an energy reserve, and the focus of intense social scrutiny, fat is one body component that the average person spends more effort to remove than to understand. But fat is no lightweightalthough it gets a lot of bad press, it's as essential to your survival as any of your more popular organs.

Fat is also at the heart of a controversial body mystery. Unlike the fine-tuned processes in the rest of your body, fat storage is the one mechanism that frequently goes completely off the rails. In the process, excessive fat sets up ordinary people for a dismal collection of health troubles.

It's hard to overstate just how big the problem is. Compared with other animals, obese humans are biological wonderspound for pound, the fattest creatures on earth. (If you aren't already feeling self-conscious, consider this: The percentage of body fat of the fattest humans tops that of even the generously proportioned beluga whale.) Still more remarkable is just how common excessive fat is. Despite billions of dollars, high-powered research, and some seriously good intentions, people are getting fatter year after year, in countries across the globe. In the U.S., more than a third of the population is overweight and another third is obese, leaving less than a third of the population to give everyone else disapproving looks in line at the all-you-can-eat restaurants. Clearly there's something about the modern world that's throwing the body's carefully tuned mechanisms seriously out of whack.

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