The Problem

While studying for interviews, I’ve been practicing my algorithm skills on LeetCode and other sites quite a bit. Read on for a walkthrough of my JavaScript solution to the Flipping an Image problem…


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Born of Stars

Salem, Oregon, August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse
One of my daughter’s best friends captured this event. Thank you, Ganesh!

Our daughter’s experience was partially captured in this headline photo. The rest lives within her. She and her husband flew from San Francisco to Portland to meet friends, then drove to a farm in Salem, Oregon for the show. Like many others, indescribable feelings emerged as the mid-day twilight approached and night fell. An orchestration on a cosmic scale, across 93 million miles.

I like to imagine the deep relationship we have with this life-giving orb and the Source that gave rise to it. Physically speaking, we, and it, were born 4.6 billion years ago from the gravitational collapse of interstellar dust. We are made from exactly the same raw material. And like us, our sun has a life expectancy — ten billion years, give or take. So it’s middle aged.

After this star formed, Earth occupied its “habitable zone,” the perfect match of distance and radiant energy and heat to maintain liquid water. Beliefs aside, a life-giving dance with Earth’s elements eventually ensued, giving rise to life.

Earth will enjoy this dance for a while, but not forever. The sun continuously morphs as fusion consumes its hydrogen fuel and its helium core collapses. This releases tremendous amounts of energy and expands the sun’s outer layers, pushing the habitable zone further and further out into the solar system. Currently, that zone is moving away from the sun, and Earth’s orbit, at a rate of one meter per year. This will accelerate greatly in 3 billion years or so as the sun transitions into a red giant, growing to nearly 10 million times its current volume. Its diameter will expand from just under 1 million, to nearly 200 million miles as its output massively increases.

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