prog math sci summary may 2016

May 27, 2016   #monthly 

May’s list of interesting prog/math/sci stuff:

  • To start off with, a post on being a programmer in your 40s, full of good tips (“forget the hype”, “learn about software history”, “teach”, “don’t take a job just for the money”, and other good stuff)

  • In the era of “leftpad”, someone asks, half-joking, half-despairing, whether software developers have given up

  • Bots are Hot! Yawn, right? Everyone knows this, right? Except this article is from twenty years ago, from the April 1996 issue of Wired magazine.

  • If we need software to be modular, to reuse and “plug in” parts from libraries and so on, some concept of Objects are inevitable

  • Clojure and Python aren’t so different after all (shown via a side-by-side Sudoku solving programs)

  • An old Minsky paper from 1970, on The limitations of using languages for description

  • This article inspired me to try Spacemacs, and it really was quite good. I just happen to have a large .emacs, so after a few days change aversion kicked in and I moved back to “plain old Emacs”, but it’s definitely very well done, recommended for newbies, and something to keep an eye on.

  • If you have time to watch one YouTube video, let it be THIS. The one and only Matthias Felleisen gives a keynote lecture at Clojure West 2016: “Types are like the weather, Type Systems are like weathermen”

  • My “to read” list keeps growing, but it doesn’t stop me from adding to it. This month’s entry: “Clever Algorithms: Nature-inspired Programming Recipes” (uses Ruby, but I’m sure it’s easily translatable to your favorite language)

  • Finally, a contrarian open-source opinion, by Bill Joy in an interview from a bit over a decade ago:

Most people are bad programmers,” says Joy. “The honest truth is that having a lot of people staring at the code does not find the really nasty bugs. The really nasty bugs are found by a couple of really smart people who just kill themselves. Most people looking at the code won’t see anything … You can’t have thousands of people contributing and achieve a high standard.”

(Make of that what you will)