Computer science: value parameter vs variable parameter

Tutoring computer science, the difference between variable and value parameters is interesting. The tutor illustrates it.

value parameter:

the parameter’s value is sent to the function or method, but the function can’t change the parameter itself. For instance:


function(value_parameter p){


output “p=” p;
output “j=” j;


will give the output

j=5 //j is still 5

variable parameter

the parameter itself is sent to the function. Changes made to it by the function will persist in the external program.


function(variable_parameter p){


output “p=” p;
output “j=” j;


will give the output

j=6 //j has been changed to 6 by the function


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English: what does lassitude mean?

Tutoring English, new vocabulary is always interesting. The tutor brings up the word lassitude.

lassitude (noun):
lack of energy; weariness; fatigue; depletion.

After the last performance of the week, the cast always displays lassitude.


Gilmour, Lorna (ed). Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary & Thesaurus. Glasgow: HarperCollins, 2006.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Psychology, lifestyle: what is eustress?

More lifestyle self-tutoring: the tutor shares the term eustress.

eustress noun:
a good kind of stress. An example of eustress is the anxiety one might feel while trying to set a new best time for a 5K run. Another is the elevated level of concern one might feel studying for – and then writing – an important exam.

Typically, eustress surrounds a situation the person voluntarily embarks. Furthermore, it likely has a decisive ending. The person perceives a benefit, so is willing to risk effort and uncertainty to gain it. The person believes that, by applying their own wherewithal, they are able to accomplish the objective.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: grocery shopping: Is the same item in more than one place?

Shopping for groceries can mean continual self-tutoring. The tutor shares a discovery.

Grocery shopping, in my opinion, is best not done in a hurry. Being able to browse for deals beyond what brought you there is often an advantage. Furthermore, there are products yet to be discovered, meal ideas that can be triggered, etc.

I get contemplative while grocery shopping. Looking for an item, I try to classify it: What will it be with? Sometimes I imagine the item in two different categories, but find it in the first. Yet, is it also in the other? Is that item actually on two different shelves, in different aisles? I often wonder.

A few days ago I bought cocoa: I found it with the baking needs. Yesterday, however, I returned to the store for a different reason. There the cocoa was again, in a different aisle, among syrups and powders for making hot chocolate.

Promoted items are often found at various locations in the same store. However, the cocoa is the first item I’ve noticed, for certain, to have two homes at the grocery store.

I can’t help but wonder how many other items occur in two different aisles. Undoubtedly, some shoppers know Item A only in Aisle X, while others seek it only in Y. It’s an example of how distinct realities exist, even in the mundane setting of a grocery store:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Health: what is cortisol and what does it do, part 0

Researching the human body can mean continual self-tutoring. The tutor begins about the critical hormone cortisol.

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Its release is augmented when the person feels stress. It has many effects; what follows is one mechanism in which it participates. The first two points are necessary background, while the third explains a function of cortisol:

  1. The human body interprets stress as physical danger rather than a social condition.
  2. Neither brain cells nor exercising skeletal muscle cells need insulin for glucose uptake. However, as I understand, fat cells do need insulin to import glucose.
  3. Cortisol increases blood sugar but inhibits insulin secretion and possibly even insulin sensitivity. Doing so channels the glucose (blood sugar) towards use by the muscles and brain, rather than by the fat cells (which would change it to fat for storage). Therefore, under stress, the muscles and brain have access to lots of energy so they can respond.

I hope to talk more about cortisol:)


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Computer searches: literal search?

For me, refining search techniques leads to constant self-tutoring. The tutor shares a discovery about searching on some sites.

Today I was at a site and entered the search term “triglyceride”, quotes and all. Two articles were offered in reply: the page showed the first paragraph of each. From there, I saw the word “triglyceride” in one.

I clicked the other article and scanned it for “triglyceride”, but couldn’t find it. I then asked the browser to find “triglyceride” on the page: No result found. The article itself was about cholesterol.

As far as I’m aware, entering a word in quotes suggests literal search. Moreover, triglyceride and cholesterol are not equivalent; the terms have different meanings. Even so, within the site I was visiting, the search utility seemed to decide that “cholesterol” is closely enough related to “triglyceride” to return an article about cholesterol to a literal query about triglyceride. Curious.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Bird watching, lifestyle: Oregon dark-eyed junco, part II

Bird watching means constant self-tutoring. The tutor mentions another encounter with a dark-eyed junco.

March 8 last year, my post was about a couple of dark-eyed juncos. This morning, I had no idea they’d compel me to write another post about them. Apparently, the dark-eyed junco refuses to be ignored.

I didn’t see the junco at first, but heard a long trill that repeated insistently. Scanning the hedges and trees, I noticed a lone bird with a black head whence the song seemed to come.

The junco was not alone; a collection of birds dueled for attention, including a robin. I have high hopes of identifying more bird songs – and discussing them here – very soon:)


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Computer skills: a search tip

For me, search skills lead to constant self-tutoring. The tutor shares a technique he’s noticed.

“word” ≠ “word ”

Searching my posts for the word fire, I got many results in which it was part of a word – Firefox and fireweed, for two examples. Yet, I wanted to find instances of just fire, but itself.

I wondered if typing in “fire ” instead of “fire” would change the results to give only those where fire stands alone.

What do you know – it worked:)


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Probability: a video game premise

Having two teenagers means continual tutoring. The tutor mentions how he got schooled by his thirteen-year-old.


My thirteen-year-old plays a video game that begins with 100 players, but ends with only one. It’s a free-for-all: each player tries to avoid being eliminated, and can eliminate (“kill”) other players. The last player alive wins. Occasionally my son has won.

The other day my son, while playing the game, observed that two “kills” is better than average. He just intuitively knew so, but I wondered. He’s right, and here’s how I’ve come to agree with him:

Every round, there are 99 “kills”, but 100 players. Therefore, each player’s expected number of “kills” is 99/100, or 0.99. Someone who gets two kills has beaten the average.

Good thing it’s just a game:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Autos: tire pressure gauge accuracy

Maintaining vehicle safety, for me, means self-tutoring. The tutor shares an experience with tire pressure gauges.


I noticed the car tires might look a bit low, so wondered about their pressure. I found a gauge and checked them. The gauge read very low: about 26psi.

Yet, we have several gauges. Finding another one, I measured the pressure again: about 35psi, it said.

I double checked the pressure with each gauge, but there was no doubting what they said: one, 26psi, while the other, 35psi.

How is it even possible, I wondered, that two pressure gauges could disagree so dramatically? Tire pressure measurement is a matter of safety; what a gauge says, you should be able to count on.

Next morning I went to a parts store and told my story. They were a bit surprised by the disparity between the readings, but not surprised they were different.

“I use a digital one. Digital ones seem to work the best, but you do pay,” I was told.

I got a nice discount and returned home. Interestingly, the digital one reads about halfway between the two stick models I tried.

I decided to research tire pressure gauges on the internet. Sure enough, advises limited faith in the accuracy of cheap stick-type pressure gauges. Some are good, but unless you have a reference to test against, how do you know?


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.