The Picture

One of my favorite scenes in my all time favorite movie, Terminator 2, is when T-800 (Arnold) shoots T-1000 when he is frozen and he shatters into a thousand pieces.

So it goes like this. John, his mom and the Terminator are driving in a pick up truck being chased by T-1000 driving a huge liquid nitrogen tanker. They come towards some sort of an iron factory where both of them eventually crash. The tanker tumbles over spilling all its contents. John, Sarah and the Terminator get out of the crash and are reasonably unharmed. Meanwhile the amongst the icy fumes of the tanker crash site, emerges an icy looking T-1000. As he is walking towards his enemy, his movements appear noticeably obstructed ( he is made of liquid metal after all ). His feet are getting stuck to the ground as he tries to inch forward. There comes a point, where his legs stays stuck at the floor while he moves ahead. The expression of surprise on his face is one I’ll never forget. The T-1000 is a robot, who obviously doesn’t feel pain, so he briefly glances at his limbs to actually notice that a part of it is missing. Finally, with half his body frozen and stuck behind, the T-1000 seizes to move altogether and the Terminator says that one line which has since then become forever associated with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

” Hasta la vista,  baby  ! “

And he fires the most iconic bullet ever fired in the history of Hollywood. It rips through T-1000 shattering him into small pieces. The pre-programmed artificialness with which Arnold says those words and the momentary triumph of the hero has etched this scene forever onto my mind. 20, 30 or 50 years later, I’ll still remember it as clear as I did when I was a boy ( the VCD era ).

Here’s the scene I’m talking about.

How we remember things

As humans, we are used to remember events. When we look at a photo, we probably recreate the sounds, the expressions and the feelings that took place 10 seconds before or after the photo was taken. When we think of a person, we don’t recall his age, or address or phone number, we think about how we looks, his face. People are not meant to remember numbers, or words, or formulas. That’s why we invented the calculators and the books and the pens. I visualize the Terminator scene when I talk about it. That’s why, I can write about it as many times as I want, each time, with slightly different words, but always capturing the gist of events that happened. That’s how we remember things in our life, out first bicycle ride, our first jump in the pool, or maybe the first job interview.

As a Programmer

As a guy almost graduating Computer Science, I can write a stack, linked list, quick sort, etc. etc. program with relative ease. Each time slightly differently maybe, but always correctly ( obviously after some debugging ). But if someone asks me about BCNF, I can hardly explain it.  It’s because, although I may be able to produce the definition, I do not have an idea as to how it works on data. When I think of a linked list, I think of nodes with two parts each with one part of each node pointing to another node. With BCNF, I am just unable to get the picture in mind. Sometimes the imagination comes relatively quickly, with somethings I have to struggle, and with some things, I never get it. What each person may be able to visualize may differ, but once that happens, things automatically start falling into place. Then definitions and formulas and theorems aren’t required, and things just make sense




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