Of vocabulary and contracts

I was asked why one should prefer map over for.

Here’s an analogy: why do we, as a talking species, use different layers of vocabulary? Why do we have abstract terms in our language, as opposed to only concrete terms drawn from tangible things from our physical world? I mean, the Romans did fine without abstract language, right? Or were they limited by Latin? Wasn’t the incredible boom of philosophical thought during the Enlightenment facilitated by the abstraction powers of the German language?

Continue reading “Of vocabulary and contracts”

Nerve endings

The reason behind “how did we get here” […] is that the people who are regulating the Internet have mistaken the Internet — in this case — for a newspaper delivery service. And sometimes we get really dumb policies that mistake the Internet for a video-on-demand service, and sometimes for a jihadi recruiting tool, and sometimes for a pornography distribution system — and it is all of those things, because the Internet is the nervous system of the 21st century.

— Cory Doctorow at a #SaveTheLink live Q&A.

Television-Internet

Hossein Derakhshan, known as Iran’s Blogfather, warns of the ongoing cultural changes regarding the Web:

The stream, mobile applications, and moving images all show a departure from a books-internet toward a television-internet. We seem to have gone from a non-linear mode of communication – nodes and networks and links – toward one that is linear, passive, programmed and inward-looking.

Sometimes I think maybe I’m becoming too strict as I age. Maybe this is all a natural evolution of a technology. But I can’t close my eyes to what’s happening: a loss of intellectual power and diversity. In the past, the web was powerful and serious enough to land me in jail. Today it feels like little more than entertainment. So much that even Iran doesn’t take some – Instagram, for instance – serious enough to block.

Formalizing the intuitive

“You might think, well that’s just common sense. But last I checked, computers don’t have common sense. Indeed, they must have a formal way to automate these kind of code optimizations. Maths has a way of formalizing the intuitive, which is helpful amidst the rigid terrain of computer logic.”

Mostly Adequate Guide to Functional Programming on Wadler’s free theorems