Tag Archives: python1

Intro to Python1

First of all, I don’t like snakes. When I’m talking about Python, I’m talking about the programming language.

I am not a programmer. It was not even a requirement in engineering school. I struggled through programming MATLAB (an analytical math software) and promptly decided that programming was not for me. Then, I made a couple websites, and messed around in HTML and CSS. Making pretty designs is nice, but I want to do something functional.

I chose to study Python as an experiment because I love data. Python is excellent for building databases and parsing lots of data. Last year, I found data for the past 10 years of March Madness and spent nearly 15 hours trying to develop a method for figuring out how who will win. It was not successful, but that gives you an idea of how much I like playing with data and trying to find patterns.

So where am I now? I’m taking a 13 hour training course on Codecademy.com. At 28% complete, I still have a long way to go. I am intrigued so far though. Unlike HTML and CSS, it’s really easy to get user inputs and call databases. I am hopeful that I will survive the next 72%.

My end goal of this project (Python1 – mind you, I intend to make this a series of projects) is to call information from a database and match it to a list in a spreadsheet. That sounds really boring, but the data is cool! So, NASA has this database of outgassing properties. When materials are exposed to the vacuum of space, they often lose some of their mass. (Metals don’t lose much; plastics lose a lot). To launch satellites, the developers usually have to make a list of all the materials in their spacecraft and then write down the outgassing properties using the NASA database. Sadly, I know that many people do this by hand. I want to make a code that matches the material in the list (say Aluminum 6061) to the outgassing amount. Then, the outgassing properties can automatically be generated once you have a bill of material.

Maybe that this boring to you, but it seems much less boring than looking up each material property individually and then copying and pasting it into a document. (Welcome to engineering!)

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Reinventing knkelley.com

For the past few months, I have maintained knkelley.com as a place to  blog about three of my interests/potential careers – entrepreneurship, writing and engineering. While that sounds like a pretty broad blog, I’ve felt restricted to the three topics. To allow me to expand my focus, I’m now going to track three projects. These three projects can be anything – singing lessons, learning how to change oil, going back to school. I’ll blog about it all. My life is not limited to only engineering, writing and entrepreneurship.

Blogging is fun, but it’s not my only purpose in creating this site. I have three main reasons for paying each year to maintain knkelley.com

  1. Practice Writing – I work as an engineer. While I do have the opportunity to write on a regular basis, the topics are usually arcane. It’s practically writing in another language. Simply, it’s not a fun style. I want to regain my natural voice in my writing.
  2. Document Experiments – I have spent my whole conducting very small experiments. Can I get by on $200/month for food? How many miles can I run? Can I learn an instrument without any lessons? These are questions that I’d like to answer. I’m documenting the experiments because I think its a better method than my current method – which is, conduct experiment, forget details of results…repeat.
  3. Find my passion – Someone recently described to me his love of triathlons. He was so pumped about it; he thought that Ironman triathlons were the coolest thing.  Triathlons were so awesome (to him) that it was impossible not be become obsessed once you tried it. I don’t feel that way about triathlons. However, I hope to someday find that one thing that I’m willing to dedicate my life and energy to do. I want that level of obsession. These experiments (and perhaps helpful comments? Please?) will help me uncover my purpose in life.

And so we go….

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