0312: "With Apologies to Robert Frost"

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costela
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Postby costela » Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:31 pm UTC

If the universe ends in a segfault, where does the core dump go?

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Postby voodooKobra » Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:50 pm UTC

This is officially the funniest thing I have read in a long time. Good job, Randall.
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Postby gormster » Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:31 pm UTC

costela wrote:If the universe ends in a segfault, where does the core dump go?


The core dump of the entire universe causes the next big bang.
Eddie Izzard wrote:And poetry! Poetry is a lot like music, only less notes and more words.

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Postby royalfire » Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:59 pm UTC

Lyra Ngalia wrote:My personal favorite is Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. For reasons unknown to me, perhaps because it feels sort of uncanny.

On the subject of parody poems, some chemistry:

Distilling by Drops on a Friday Evening

What drops these are, I think I know
Although they're coming very slow.
They do not care if I wait here
When really I would rather go.

My normal friends must think it queer
To stay on Friday, not drink beer;
Between the bench and cluttered hood
The longest evening of the year.

They give the telephone a ring
To ask if something they could bring;
Or, at least I wish they would -
Some pizza would be very good.

The pot is tarry, dark and deep,
But drop by drop the drips do creep;
And mLs to go before I sleep,
And mLs to go before I sleep.
http://slog2live.blogspot.com/2006/01/mild-winter.html

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Postby shinybaby » Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:14 am UTC

royalfire wrote:...
And mLs to go before I sleep,
And mLs to go before I sleep.



i can't even begin to tell you how much this made me laugh!! this comic keeps getting better and better, not just by its own awesomeness but also by the awesomeness it inspires in others.

gah! i love geek poetry! (especially chem geek poetry!)

hail.
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chaos95
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Postby chaos95 » Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:45 am UTC

God defined the universe in VHDL.

Code: Select all

architecture structure of universe is
    component black_hole is
        port (
            event_horizon: in singularity_vector(1 downto 0);
            hawking_emission: out std_radiation;
        );
    end component black_hole;
 
    signal superstring_vibrate: subatomic_vector(9999999999 downto 0);

--SNIP

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Lyra Ngalia
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Postby Lyra Ngalia » Thu Sep 06, 2007 1:01 am UTC

royalfire wrote:
Lyra Ngalia wrote:My personal favorite is Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. For reasons unknown to me, perhaps because it feels sort of uncanny.

On the subject of parody poems, some chemistry:

Distilling by Drops on a Friday Evening

What drops these are, I think I know
Although they're coming very slow.
They do not care if I wait here
When really I would rather go.

My normal friends must think it queer
To stay on Friday, not drink beer;
Between the bench and cluttered hood
The longest evening of the year.

They give the telephone a ring
To ask if something they could bring;
Or, at least I wish they would -
Some pizza would be very good.

The pot is tarry, dark and deep,
But drop by drop the drips do creep;
And mLs to go before I sleep,
And mLs to go before I sleep.
http://slog2live.blogspot.com/2006/01/mild-winter.html


That was Domovoi, whose favorite was Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, not me. But still, that is a really good parody.

Now find ones of Nothing Gold Can Stay and The Road Not Taken and you'll be my hero.

:wink:
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path... Only I will remain.

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Mittins
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Postby Mittins » Thu Sep 06, 2007 1:55 am UTC

I thought this one was a real winner! Great work Randall!
Randall wrote:Some said the world should be in Perl;
Some said in Lisp...

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Postby Jach » Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:22 am UTC

Awesome, I'm adding this to my list of favorite poems.
I love reading quotes.

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Phil
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Postby Phil » Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:55 am UTC

I don't know if it's intentionnal, but the bottom of the comic really looks like a depictation of the visible universe, which has a limit. If we try to look too far, we're looking farther and farther in the past and at some point, the universe is no longer transparent, so we see a kind of "wall" of plasma that forms a sphere all around us. In one direction it can be represented like this, so the plasma is like teh end of the visible universe, and looks like a close paren.
I didn't see the close paren at first, I tought it was this sort of representation.

This one is like a two level joke. Excellent!

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Postby Swizzle » Thu Sep 06, 2007 5:55 am UTC

Phil wrote:I didn't see the close paren at first, I tought it was this sort of representation.

This one is like a two level joke. Excellent!
That's what I thought at first as well. The only code I know is a little bit of Python, so I didn't catch it at first; I'm more of a science geek than a code/computer geek.

And I may be in the minority on this one, but I think Fire and Ice is funny as hell. I'll admit to not having read too much Frost, but the tone of the thing seems almost sardonic.

EDIT: I swear I posted in the introductions thread. It would also seem to have disappeared. Oh well.

Domovoi
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Postby Domovoi » Thu Sep 06, 2007 7:31 am UTC

Lyra Ngalia wrote:
royalfire wrote:
Lyra Ngalia wrote:My personal favorite is Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. For reasons unknown to me, perhaps because it feels sort of uncanny.

On the subject of parody poems, some chemistry:

Distilling by Drops on a Friday Evening

What drops these are, I think I know
Although they're coming very slow.
They do not care if I wait here
When really I would rather go.

My normal friends must think it queer
To stay on Friday, not drink beer;
Between the bench and cluttered hood
The longest evening of the year.

They give the telephone a ring
To ask if something they could bring;
Or, at least I wish they would -
Some pizza would be very good.

The pot is tarry, dark and deep,
But drop by drop the drips do creep;
And mLs to go before I sleep,
And mLs to go before I sleep.
http://slog2live.blogspot.com/2006/01/mild-winter.html


That was Domovoi, whose favorite was Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, not me. But still, that is a really good parody.


That was indeed me, and I lolled. This is better than The Stapler. Thanks for pointing it out. :)

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Postby julisana » Thu Sep 06, 2007 3:54 pm UTC

I printed this one out and put it up in my cube. It's fantastic!
A computer is only capable of floating point math and crude malice.

Roses are red, violets are blue....in Soviet Russia, poem writes you!

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Postby mewilliamson » Thu Sep 06, 2007 4:29 pm UTC

Phil wrote:I don't know if it's intentionnal, but the bottom of the comic really looks like a depictation of the visible universe, which has a limit. If we try to look too far, we're looking farther and farther in the past and at some point, the universe is no longer transparent, so we see a kind of "wall" of plasma that forms a sphere all around us. In one direction it can be represented like this, so the plasma is like teh end of the visible universe, and looks like a close paren.
I didn't see the close paren at first, I tought it was this sort of representation.

This one is like a two level joke. Excellent!


wait, so the universe could be seen to be contained within parentheses? I wouldn't have thought about that in it hadn't been mentioned. way awesome.

stu42j
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"it's so easy to write, but it's not always easy to rea

Postby stu42j » Thu Sep 06, 2007 5:44 pm UTC

Jorlem wrote:I wonder, has everyone else here heard the song God Wrote in LISP. If you haven't, give it a listen. Its the first song on the list.


For a song about Perl, check out:

Perl, in a Nutshell

tehlaser
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Postby tehlaser » Thu Sep 06, 2007 5:51 pm UTC

One of my favorites has always been this:

Stephen Crane wrote:A man said to the universe:
"Sir I exist!"
"However," replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."

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Number3Pencils
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Postby Number3Pencils » Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:58 pm UTC

tehlaser wrote:One of my favorites has always been this:

Stephen Crane wrote:A man said to the universe:
"Sir I exist!"
"However," replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."


In my English class, junior year, we got a big old packet of Stephen Crane poems, including that one. Our assignment was to draw a little doodle showing each one. I remember finding a packet that someone had drawn in on that poem's page. A barely contiguous stick figure cried in scrawled letters, "here i am", and the Universe boomed in the same underformed script, "who care".

So that's what I automatically think of when I hear of Stephen Crane.

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Postby icarus » Thu Sep 06, 2007 11:04 pm UTC

gambit411 wrote:
Chromana wrote:I'm not codewriter or anything so can someone explain the significance of the )? Does it mean that the code or whatever has an end?


According to Wikipedia, "The use of parentheses is Lisp's most immediately obvious difference from other programming language families. As a result, students have long given Lisp nicknames such as "Lots of Irritating Superfluous Parentheses"


I read it like this: The god of the poem, knowing both Perl and Lisp, wrote the world in Perl, but dislikes the "disappointing founding myth (probably the Parable of the Pearl in Matthew for which, according to Wikipedia, Perl was named)" and should the world need to be rewritten, would do it in Lisp.

The original poem, Fire and Ice, was about how the world would end, but the closing paren isn't causing the end of the world in this poem. Rather, it's the distinctive feature of the language in which the world would be written.


Now I am also no coder, but unless I am reading this too simply or not simply enough, my first guess at the meaning would be:

that perl doesn't use parentheses that much!? and the disappointing founding myth is that the universe goes on forever? so with a lisp parentheses, it wouldn't, and we would be able to tell where the end of the world is? hence the homage to the original poem? or am I completely out of the ball park here?

(apologies for the long list of questions and the appalling grammar)

Sriad
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Postby Sriad » Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:38 am UTC

CatProximity wrote:Have you all seen the Holy Tango of Literature?

The premiss is, you take an anagram of an authors name to create a title for a poem and then write the poem with that title in that authors style, often blatantly ripping off one of his or her previous works.


I'd completely forgotten that book existed, now I'll probably have to buy it. :D

A favorite from a quick glance:

LIKABLE WILMA
WILLIAM BLAKE

Wilma, Wilma, in thy blouse,
Red-haired prehistoric spouse,
What immortal animator
Was thy slender waist’s creator?

When the Rubble clan moved in,
Was Betty jealous of thy skin,
Thy noble nose, thy dimpled knee?
Did he who penciled Fred draw thee?

Wilma, Wilma, burning bright, ye
Cartoon goddess Aphrodite,
Was it Hanna or Barbera
Made thee hot as some caldera?

jester
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Postby jester » Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:59 pm UTC

This may be my favorite xkcd so far! Having used both lisp and perl, and knowing a little bit about the design and philosophies behind both, I found a lot of deeper meaning behind this strip.

(Have a seat, this'll take a while. I'll try to keep it entertaining. ;) )

First, take a look at the development of physical theories. A couple of hundred years ago, scientists had discovered that all matter seemed to be made of a few types of atoms, and that was a very elegant and straightforward idea. As they tried to catalog all the atoms, they kept finding more and more, and different atoms had very different properties, with a few trends but no obvious patterns. This seemed disappointingly complex, until a teacher discovered that you could lay the elements out on a grid and everything in the same row or column had similar properties; this was the discovery of the periodic table. Things got even simpler when they found that all of these atoms were made out of just three different types of particles: protons, neutrons, and electrons.

So everything almost seemed to work out, all matter in the universe was made out of just three elementary particles, which seemed very elegant. But these three elementary particles didn't explain all known physical phenomena. Soon scientists discovered more and more other types of particles. For a while things started to get unified when some of these particles turned out to be made out of different combinations of six smaller particles, called quarks. But other particles were discovered that weren't made of quarks. Now, scientists know of dozens of elementary particles, and they're all different sizes, very different weights, all sorts of different properties with very little pattern to them. Theories like string theory try to explain this and find patterns that apply to most particles, but not all of them, and every time they find a pattern, they find another exception to it.

Most physicists believe that at its lowest level, the universe is very simple and straightforward; but the more we look at it, the more it seems complex and inconsistent. Einstein summed up this idea when he said that he knew the universe should be made of pure, elegant marble, but that modern theories looked more like complex, gnarled wood.

How does this all relate to the comic? Let's take a look at the programming languages. Perl is a very large, complex, and powerful programming language. If you want to hack together a quick solution to a complex problem, Perl is the perfect language for it. It has lots of rules, and lots of exceptions to every rule. There are ten ways to use every command, and dozens of different approaches to solving any given problem. A popular pastime among perl programmers is to write programs that do incredibly complex things in a single (large and unwieldy) line of code.

Lisp, on the other hand, was originally designed as a mathematical exercise rather than as a useful programming language. It is extremely minimal. It's nice, neat, and symmetrical. It has only a few basic commands, and a very minimal syntax, and everything else is built up from there. If you want to be able to prove mathematically that your program will be bug-free and run as intended, you use lisp. If perl supports dozens of approaches to any one problem, lisp lets you solve dozens of problems using only one simple, elegant, powerful approach.

So, to paraphrase Einstein's marble/wood analogy: I know that the universe should be written in lisp, but it appears to have been hacked together in perl. :)

PS To the non-programmers: The last line of the poem refers to the fact that every lisp program must end with a closing parenthesis. (Perl programs, on the other hand, usually end with a semicolon, though they may in fact end with just about anything.)

PS about the "disappointing founding myth": I take this to refer to the fact that we still haven't found any sort of "theory of everything." If the universe is written in perl, that is, if it really is as complex as it seems to be, then no grand unifying theory will ever have any satisfying elegance to it.

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Re:

Postby sab39 » Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:22 pm UTC

AtomicLlama wrote:He would have written the universe in Python, but it wasn't invented yet.

I thought that was why so much of the universe was made up of significant whitespace...

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Re: "With Apologies to Robert Frost" Discussion

Postby FiddleMath » Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:49 am UTC

Apologies for unearthing buried threads, but a friend of mine wrote the following. He's doing research in programming languages, you see...

Steve Jackson wrote: Two paths diverged in a CFG,
and sorry I could not follow both
and be one analysis, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it iterated a tree;

Then took the other, which traversed lists,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it seemed buggy, the code amiss;
Though as for that the analysis
Treated them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In blocks not yet in local cache.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how path searches delay,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
At a conference, ages hence:
Two paths diverged in a graph, and I—
I took the one less followed by,
And that has made all the difference.

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shinybaby
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Re: "With Apologies to Robert Frost" Discussion

Postby shinybaby » Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:56 am UTC

holy mother of win.
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2) Deploy Gordon
3) ...
4) Profit!!!

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Nero
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Re: "With Apologies to Robert Frost" Discussion

Postby Nero » Sat Nov 24, 2007 4:46 am UTC

Oh yes. You have just won my soul.

I too love Frost, though my favourite of his is "In a disused graveyard."

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Re: "With Apologies to Robert Frost" Discussion

Postby Fieari » Sun Nov 25, 2007 5:11 pm UTC

Jester, I know code better than physics, but your explanation has enlightened me. That's so beautiful, and it almost brings tears to my eyes (also knowing both lisp and perl).

Fiddlemath, that's beautiful.
Surely it is as ridiculous to consider sqrt(-1) "imaginary" because you can't use it to count pieces of chalk as to consider the number 200 imaginary because by itself it cannot express the location of one point with reference to another. -Isaac Asimov

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Re: 0312: "With Apologies to Robert Frost"

Postby mrob27 » Tue May 22, 2012 7:32 pm UTC

(if (not (youve-seen-this-already-p))
(
(print "Here's the proof that the Universe was indeed written in LISP:")
(img Image)
(source (http://twitpic.com/9nild1, via Colin Barrett @cbarrett))
)()
)
Robert Munafohttp://mrob.com@mrob_27
Image
I ᴍᴀᴅᴇ sᴏɍᴛᴡᴀʀᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ Rᴀɴᴅᴀʟʟ ɍᴏᴜɴᴅ ᴜsᴇɍᴜʟ ɪɴ ᴛʜɪs хᴋᴄᴅ


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