0297: "Lisp Cycles"

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surjection
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0297: "Lisp Cycles"

Postby surjection » Wed Aug 01, 2007 3:59 am UTC

http://xkcd.com/297/
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Title text: I've just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the MIT computer science program permamently.


This one really made me laugh - it's one of the better ones recently.
Does anyone else think the drawing style is developing in these later comics? The lines seem bolder and sharper to me. Looks good anyway.

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Pathway
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Postby Pathway » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:02 am UTC

It isn't drawn on notebook paper anymore, that's for sure.

I'm thinking A4. :P
Last edited by Pathway on Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:02 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
SargeZT wrote:Oh dear no, I love penguins. They're my favorite animal ever besides cows.

The reason I would kill penguins would be, no one ever, ever fucking kills penguins.

joeframbach
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Postby joeframbach » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:02 am UTC

I wonder what a paren would be like if it were a physical object.

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FiddleMath
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Postby FiddleMath » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:06 am UTC

joeframbach wrote:I wonder what a paren would be like if it were a physical object.


Dude - lots and lots of little parentheses, for building sexps from arbitrary objects.

*makes stickers*

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Pathway
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Postby Pathway » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:09 am UTC

joeframbach wrote:I wonder what a paren would be like if it were a physical object.


Ever play Nethack?
SargeZT wrote:Oh dear no, I love penguins. They're my favorite animal ever besides cows.

The reason I would kill penguins would be, no one ever, ever fucking kills penguins.

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Postby _sandswipe_ » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:10 am UTC

Beautiful. I keep hearing all these great things about Lisp, but not being a programmer or an expert of any sort of maths I can't understand what anyone's talking about. The fact that it's managed to stay at least semi-relevant over every single generation of programming since the dawn of the art form, though . . . wow.

I must agree that the figures do seem to be sharper. It makes since that a professional artist would experiment and change things up every once in a while, anyway. I'd go back and search for a definitive switch, but it seems to be nearly late o'clock in the evening, and I have very important ways to waste my time tomorrow morning.

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Postby EvanED » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:11 am UTC

I've been programming in Scheme for work for the last month or month and a half. I have two annoyances.

(1.) The interpreter we use has a really crappy library. I keep having to write functions that I feel 'should' be provided. Like, say, flatten. Or fold. Or filter. (Okay, I didn't write those, but someone else did, not the interpreter.) The sort of stuff you find in every single FP book ever written.

(2.) I hate the indentation/bracketing scheme (no pun intended). It's gotten way past the point of a visceral reaction, and I have a number of specific things that I dislike about it. Some may go away with even more time, but I'm not sure. Some are innate. (For instance, the fact that you often put a closing paren on a line that didn't start it means that you can't just comment out such a line.)

Anyway, I have a couple projects of my own, one of which I may do in Lisp. You can be sure that I'm going to invent my own indentation/bracketing style. ;-)

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suso
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Postby suso » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:28 am UTC

I'm not sure whether with this comic you are making reference to Star Wars or Wagner or both. Maybe something else entirely.

LordLandon
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Postby LordLandon » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:39 am UTC

Check the latest bash quotes o.O;

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Belial
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Postby Belial » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:41 am UTC

Hmm. I wonder how long before Randy notices he spelled it "Permamently"
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

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OneLess
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Postby OneLess » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:59 am UTC

So this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause...
“Observation: Couldn’t see a thing. Conclusion: Dinosaurs.” –Carl Sagan

Last edited by OneLess on Sat Dec 17, 3003 10:35 am, edited 0 time in total.

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Devilsaur
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Postby Devilsaur » Wed Aug 01, 2007 5:00 am UTC

(if lisp (language (reads hideously)))

I'm part of the new generation of coders and beware, for I value absurd things like readability and the ease of coding. But yeah, even I have to admire lisp for it's awesomeness (just not it's practicality :P).

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Mighty Jalapeno
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Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Wed Aug 01, 2007 5:06 am UTC

I can code LISP, that's how AutoCAD runs... I've got tons of huge, one-line codes stored in a text file for emergency use.

Herman
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Postby Herman » Wed Aug 01, 2007 5:06 am UTC

OneLess wrote:Tho thith ith how liberty dieth, with thunderouth applauth...


Fixed.
Last edited by Herman on Wed Aug 01, 2007 5:16 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Kaye
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Postby Kaye » Wed Aug 01, 2007 5:12 am UTC

My friend and I made a supervillain named "Dr. Scheme" who would use razor-sharp parenthesis as weapons. This strip kind of reminds me of that.

[/somewhat off-topic]

tyr
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Postby tyr » Wed Aug 01, 2007 5:16 am UTC

Let us hope they do not find the secret base at Caltech.

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UserGoogol
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Postby UserGoogol » Wed Aug 01, 2007 5:43 am UTC

Lisp is awesome. That said, my brain initially interpreted the last panel as a "closing parentheses" joke before I read it properly and realized it was a Star Wars joke.

Qabach
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Postby Qabach » Wed Aug 01, 2007 5:59 am UTC

I always thought that he said "From a more civilized age."
If anyone happens to be watching it right now, can they confirm either one?

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Postby Arancaytar » Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:00 am UTC

tyr wrote:Let us hope they do not find the secret base at Caltech.


Too late. The Googleplex has just blown it up with a gigantic laser cannon.
"You cannot dual-wield the sharks. One is enough." -Our DM.
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Grape
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Postby Grape » Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:01 am UTC

Hilarious strip, love the starwars references.
Since my first programming course at college where we used Scheme I've never really gotten used to any other language.

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Kawa
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Postby Kawa » Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:13 am UTC

*sigh* My programmer-fu is weak. In other news, I totally saw the parentheses as tools and weapons, which is filled with its own form of irony.
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Postby plunkettt » Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:23 am UTC

Qabach wrote:I always thought that he said "From a more civilized age."
If anyone happens to be watching it right now, can they confirm either one?


That was the first thing I noticed about this strip.
That last panel felt so wrong with "for a more civilized age".
It's definitely "from".

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Postby Lester :P » Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:32 am UTC

Kawa wrote:*sigh* My programmer-fu is weak. In other news, I totally saw the parentheses as tools and weapons, which is filled with its own form of irony.


Agreed.
`When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean-Neither more nor less.'
`The question is whether you can make words mean so many different things.'
`The question is,'said he,`Which is to be master-That id all.'

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Mat Cauthon
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Postby Mat Cauthon » Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:36 am UTC

... Lisp is elegant now?

I kid... I have a friend who swears by CAR and CDR.

Me, I've only had a little exposure to LISP and I hated it; that said, the context (it was the most basic elements crammed in a very short time period) and the very slight exposure means its not a totally fair assessment. I'm sure with some time to properly adjust I'd be okay with it.

... then again I've yet to appreciate JAPHs, so...

((note: Python for life!))

martineno
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Number of (s

Postby martineno » Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:08 am UTC

I am surprised that nobody posted this yet, but I just had to count up all the parentheses in the comic. There are exactly 50. So half of them could be lefts and half rights. After all you wouldn't want to have unequal number of left and right ones.

On the other hand, perhaps they don't come in kinds, but are reversible. Hmmm...

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Postby Spot » Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:23 am UTC

Lisp is not over half a century old, it's just under. Also, I liked the Star Wars reference even though I know nothing about code or any of that.

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Postby mezz » Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:58 am UTC

LordLandon wrote:Check the latest bash quotes o.O;
That's the first thing I thought when I saw the comic!

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Postby evilbeanfiend » Wed Aug 01, 2007 8:13 am UTC

Mat Cauthon wrote:I have a friend who swears by CAR and CDR.



they spell them first and rest now
in ur beanz makin u eveel

htometh
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Postby htometh » Wed Aug 01, 2007 8:54 am UTC

Well that is just plain wrong.

evilbeanfiend wrote:
Mat Cauthon wrote:I have a friend who swears by CAR and CDR.



they spell them first and rest now

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Jach
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Postby Jach » Wed Aug 01, 2007 9:19 am UTC

Ah, Scheme... I'm slowly trudging through that big MIT Computer Science book. I now hate parenthesis, and Guile doesn't show me which ones I'm opening and closing, and I don't want to use vi to make separate files for short things.

This is one of the funnier comics I've seen in a while! Even if I am a Python guy.
I love reading quotes.

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Postby toysbfun » Wed Aug 01, 2007 10:47 am UTC

plunkettt wrote:
Qabach wrote:I always thought that he said "From a more civilized age."
If anyone happens to be watching it right now, can they confirm either one?


That was the first thing I noticed about this strip.
That last panel felt so wrong with "for a more civilized age".
It's definitely "from".


But "Star Wars" is set in the past, making our current Lisp a re-iteration of ancient Jedi Lisp. Our era could be the "more civilized age."

Scarblac
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Postby Scarblac » Wed Aug 01, 2007 11:15 am UTC

suso wrote:I'm not sure whether with this comic you are making reference to Star Wars or Wagner or both. Maybe something else entirely.

Star Wars, I suppose.

But it could even be a Nethack reference!

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suso
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Postby suso » Wed Aug 01, 2007 11:54 am UTC

I saw a bumper sticker once that said

My other car is a cdr


I felt like I was the only one on the road laughing about it.

Scarblac wrote:
suso wrote:I'm not sure whether with this comic you are making reference to Star Wars or Wagner or both. Maybe something else entirely.

Star Wars, I suppose.

But it could even be a Nethack reference!


I was refering to Wagner's "Ring Cycle", Der Ring des Nibelungen, which is a set of 4 operas that become a cycle. Plus it took him 26 years to write it so the whole generation thing plays in. Otherwise I'm not sure why he would have used the word cycle in today's comic. You could probably read into the themes of the operas too and also that John Williams's score to Star Wars are a bunch of small well arranged rip offs of composers like Wagner.

Why do I suddenly feel like I'm analyzing The Red Badge of Courage. Its just a fucking wafer in the sky, who gives a damn.

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Hawknc
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Postby Hawknc » Wed Aug 01, 2007 12:15 pm UTC

He's more machine code now than man, twisted and evil.

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jc
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Postby jc » Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:16 pm UTC

Mat Cauthon wrote:... Lisp is elegant now?
...
((note: Python for life!))

Well, I was hoping someone would juxtapose lisp and python. My first thought, after seeing the pile of parens, was that we're only partway through the evolution of bracketing chars.

First we had Fortran and Lisp, which used only parens. Then more and more bracketing chars were introduced, to the point that we started seeing web pages with embedded Javascript, using <>, {}, [], (), and two-level brackets like <html>...</html>, to produce truly unreadable jumbles of syntax whose rules change with every level of grouping.

But the Python folks have started the next stage of the evolution, by eliminating the outer level of bracketing chars, {}, and replacing them with whitespace. Perhaps now we'll see this approach adopted by other languages.

And eventually, people will start to discover that the endpoint of this process has already been realized, in the Whitespace programming language. Eventually the most advanced will adopt Whitespace, and all other characters will be merely commentary.

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Postby frezik » Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:29 pm UTC

Devilsaur wrote:(if lisp (language (reads hideously)))

I'm part of the new generation of coders and beware, for I value absurd things like readability and the ease of coding. But yeah, even I have to admire lisp for it's awesomeness (just not it's practicality :P).


Languages you don't understand are difficult to read. News at 11.

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Postby EvanED » Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:29 pm UTC

evilbeanfiend wrote:
Mat Cauthon wrote:I have a friend who swears by CAR and CDR.



they spell them first and rest now


Except then you can't do cadar using that. (Well, you can -- (first (rest (first l))) -- but I think it's worse. (second (first l)) is probably best.)

Also, R4RS doesn't have first and rest. ;-) Actually, neither does R5RS apparently.


suso wrote:You could probably read into the themes of the operas too and also that John Williams's score to Star Wars are a bunch of small well arranged rip offs of composers like Wagner.


Oh, that's a bunch of hooey. I don't think that's true of Williams much more than any other composer.

frezik wrote:
Devilsaur wrote:(if lisp (language (reads hideously)))

I'm part of the new generation of coders and beware, for I value absurd things like readability and the ease of coding. But yeah, even I have to admire lisp for it's awesomeness (just not it's practicality :P).


Languages you don't understand are difficult to read. News at 11.


I agree with Devilsaur; see my earlier post. Are you going to accuse me of not understanding it? Or is "liking the syntax and typical style" a prerequisite to understanding in your mind?

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hendusoone
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Postby hendusoone » Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:32 pm UTC

I have only programmed in lisp once, and that was as part of a course where we did a new language every two weeks. The lisp project was to build a lego mindstorms robot (the old yellow kind), and program it to find its way through a simple maze.

I finished my program early, so I also programmed the little guy to play the Mission Impossible theme while finding its way through the maze. Writing music in XS: Lisp is not an easy task!

It was worth it, though... the look on my prof's face when the bot navigated the maze almost perfectly while humming Mission Impossible was priceless!

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Postby space_raptor » Wed Aug 01, 2007 2:01 pm UTC

Holy SHIT this was a nerdy comic.
The drinking will continue until morale improves.

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suso
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Postby suso » Wed Aug 01, 2007 2:12 pm UTC

Languages you don't understand are difficult to read. News at 11.


You mean like assembly?


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