My country, tis of thee... / 2010-12-07

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Well said:

A bad argument against mutable lexical variables / 2010-07-16

Been a long time... Anyway, I was reading this proposal for Java closures (well, more or less closures, you know what I mean).

Not much to say about the proposal as a whole. But this...

"Pentecostal movements" / 2009-01-05

This is a funny and very insightful comment about programming practice from Kay Schluehr:

Generalizing Functor / 2008-12-19

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(From a couple of conversations in #haskell...) The other day, Peaker was trying to characterize a relationship between Arrow and Functor. I'm not sure I understood his intuition, but there's one relationship that seemed obvious to me...

Pointless fun / 2008-12-03

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At the end of my last post, I posed a question: can we write combinators that allow us to write something like this:

argument length . (result.argument) length $ compare

more like this:

compare <$> length <*> length

(Of course, we aren't really looking for an instance of Applicative, so the actual combinators will be different. But you see the idea...)

After a bit of thought, I've found that we can solve this pretty easily. I suspected that the solution would involve type classes, but it doesn't. If we compromise (or generalize) and add a transformer for the result type as well, we can define ($.) and (~>) so that we can write:

compare $. length ~> length ~> id

Implementation follows...

A clearer point-free style / 2008-12-02

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Conal Elliott has been explaining (1, 2) what he calls semantic editor combinators, which I've also seen referred to as (fmap.fmap) style. It's great stuff. Simple, clear, and a big payoff. For a long time, I've wanted a better (read: clearer) way of transforming arguments of curried functions.

Coincidence? / 2008-12-01

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These two books, long ago separately pre-ordered, arrived from different places on the same day:
today's mail
One of the things keeping me busy lately has been a Haskell reading group, which has mostly amounted to me teaching some people Haskell, using this book as the main text. We've been using the web preprint, and it's exciting to see the real thing!

Fermilab / 2008-11-25

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We just watched The Atom Smashers on PBS, a documentary about the search for the Higgs boson at Fermilab. It reminded me of the time I spent in the computing division at Fermilab in high school, an experience that I remember very fondly and for which I'm still enormously grateful. It also reminded me once again how lucky I was to have been there when the top quark was found. That kind of excitement is a pretty rare thing.

Miscellaneous connections... As it happens, my friend Kate Simko scored the music for the film. And just as it ended, this post showed up in my RSS reader. Thank you IMSA indeed. And thanks, Jay, for bringing me to Fermilab in the first place.

Community organizing is not a joke / 2008-09-04

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Ok, so I didn't find much to admire in the RNC last night, but one thing really stood out. Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin both cracked jokes about community organizing. Jokes. Man, that really pissed me off.

Same-sex marriage and sex discrimination / 2008-05-25

I find this argument pretty interesting. I'm ashamed to admit that I never thought about this before:

I don’t understand the resistance to the idea that the homosexuality taboo is about sexism. Homosexuality and deviation from gender norms (which, of course, are relentlessly hierarchical) are so tightly connected with each other in popular culture that each is normally and easily taken as a marker for the other. A "faggot" or a "dyke" is a person who fails to conform to normal gender norms; the term is routinely applied to people without regard to their sexual behavior.

I don't find the argument completely convincing (and I don't find the hypothetical about "miscegenosexual couples" as preposterous as I'm apparently meant to), but it's clearly an important aspect of this form of discrimination that deserves to be more widely recognized and addressed.