lambda lambada

Ahhh, Lambda the Ultimate. Link. Enter the functional programming fray.

I’ll probably never ship a product in a truly dynamic, functional language. Not until “C%*++” comes along, twenty years from now, which will have 80% of what’s in Common LISP, and whoever cobbles that together will put his foot on the dragon and declare victory.

[“Putting your foot on the dragon” comes from a scene in the film Dragonslayer: After incredible heroics on the part of the main characters to kill the dragon, some a–hole of a knight rides in, chases everyone away, then puts his foot on the dragon’s neck, raises his sword, and has his page snap a medieval photo, flashpop with oil-paint or something, saying in effect, “I did this, and I’ve got a sword to prove it.”]

I’ve been reading some papers from the early 80s on various implementations of LISP, e.g., on the Alto. Interesting stuff that we could takes some lessons from, in the post Moore’s-Law world of cycle counting for fun and profit.

Kaluta

Michael Kaluta, comic illustrator (and more) lives! An exhibition. And more. I lost track of him after he did Starstruck (which seemed sadly incomplete). Very happy he is still around and doing stuff.

Java furballs

A friend of mine recently moved to a Java / Ant shop. Fur flies. Link.

My favorite quote: “Runtime casting is about as evil as pointer arithmetic.” (This is not endemic to Java, I know).

More Books

John Varley’s Mammoth is a disappointment. It starts out with slightly annoying “baby talk” ‘tween-chapter text about mammoths — their eating, migratory, herding and mating habits — but unfortunately the chapters themselves don’t rise much above this, either in writing quality, plot or character development. This might be an okay work for juveniles, but not much else, and you won’t remember it fondly after you’ve finished it, even if you read it when you’re eleven years old. It’s cute, but not very original, and Varley can do lots better.

With River of Gods Ian McDonald returns to the US book market after a ten-year hiatus imposed by his [idiotic] publishers. Set against a backdrop of India’s 100th anniversary (in 2047), the book is full of cultural references (that I am not in a position to judge, but they feel right), a good mix of hard science fiction and the usual great McDonald characterization. Recommended.

Greg Bear’s Dead Lines had me terrified around page . . . no, I’m not going to say, but I’m not that far into it. It’s about ghosts, kind of. Promising. [I either love Bear’s books or hate them. Loved Anvil of Stars. Didn’t finish Darwin’s Children. Well, Slant and Darwin’s Radio were so-so].

The film Primer was made for $7000, and it won some awards at Sundance. It is the best Science Fiction film made since Alien or maybe 2001, and I am not kidding. Summary: Some guys doing the “Silicon Valley Garage start-up thing” invent time-travel and get into a heap of increasingly convoluted trouble. Many good reviews, the best I’ve seen is here. A complete spoiler is here and a neat graphic timeline is here.

Minor notes

Bees suck. So do blackberry brambles. Mix the two, and…

The last game I had actual dreams about was Diablo II (before that, the original Quake). World of Warcraft is kicking my subconcious butt; I’m attempting to level up and complete quests in my sleep. It’s annoying. At least the music is good, and not (yet) stuck in my head.

Update: I’m on the Azjol-Nerub server. All of my characters start with “Kab,” and I’m playing mostly Horde at the moment.

Can’t wait for: Accelerando (Stross, July 1), Anansi Boys (Gaiman, September), Red Lightning (Varley, early next year). No idea when the next Vernor Vinge book is coming out, but it’s been wayyyy too long, as usual (sigh).

Stealing from the best

If Lucas wasn’t bothered by a conscience, and had simply scraped off the serial numbers, here’s what he might have stolen to make the Prequels a little more interesting.

Clone trooper (to enemy droid): “Hey, droid!”

Droid: “What?”

Clone trooper: “I know what you’re asking yourself, did he fire four thousand ninety five laser bolts, or four thousand and ninety six? Well, to tell you the truth, in all the excitement I lost track myself. But this being a Mark XXIV Sondheim Extremo, the most powerful blaster in the known universe and would vaporize your head in a millisecond, you got to ask yourself one question…”

Scene: Deep space. A solitary X-wing is making its way to the Lava Planet.

Voice-over: “Lord Sidious was so close now I could practically taste him. God, he was close. What had he done, to win the trust of all those troopers? Just up and left one day; one moment the ruler of the Senate, the next, just another evil overlord on the run. His dossier didn’t have much, just promotion after promotion, until finally, the Lava Planet. Remember how close he was before? Now he was even closer.”

“Ah, good afternoon Lord Vader, and how are we today?”

“Better”

“Better?”

“Better get a bucket.”

“Droid! A bucket for Mr. Vader. There you are, monsieur…”

“I don’t believe it, I’ve got a ming-metal delivery tomorrow, and I’m being chased by Guido the Killer Pimp. I’m going to throw up, Chewie. I’m going to throw up on you, Chewie.”

Jedi (to trooper): “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

Trooper (to other trooper): “These aren’t the droids we’re looking for.”

Jedi: “Move along now.”

Trooper: “Move along now.”