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Here's the best comment I've seen so far on the wikileaks stuff:

(You might want to look at as well to see what it's referring to.)


The UN has weighed in on the side of wikileaks! Fantastic! See


"My favorite composer is Mahler, which should surprise no one."

Larry Wall, quoted at


Ola Bini says pretty much what I'd say about the attacks on Wikileaks, if I wasn't too lazy. Go and read it.



"The survey was sent to 100 programmers working at Microsoft, 19 responded, and of these only 14 were familiar with the term functional programming."

- Ehud Lamm,, commenting on the Microsoft research paper at 


"I did not marry the first girl I fell in love with, because there was a tremendous religious conflict. She was an atheist, and I was an agnostic."

- Woody Allen, N.Y.U. 

See quotations for more snibbets.


An anonymous source writes:

[[orange Hi Jason!

Long time no stuff!
Just thought I'd write to say hello and the following additional things:

a) I still read your blog!
b) I would prefer that you continued to update it!
c) I am having a lovely time in London, with awesome people doing awesome things!
d) I will be back in Sydney over Christmas so if you happen to be around there between the 19th December & the 2nd of January please let me know so we can talk about silly things!
e) I want another option so I can use another exclamation mark!

Big hugs to you & Ali and the aminals! ]]

And I say:

[[blue Hi, anonymous source! Great to hear from you!

b) Your wish is my command. (Do people still say that?)

c) Fantastic! When I lived in London I particularly liked the fact that there were great concerts and plays and art things on every single day. Still, my favourite place to live in England was Cambdridge.

Has Nicholas got a job? (Not that he should unless he wants one.)

d) Great! Yes, see you then. Do we need to plan in advance?

e) Who needs an excuse?!

Thanks heaps for the hugs. I'll pass them on to the guinea pigs. The alpacas don't really like hugs but I'll give them an extra grape for you. Better yet, visit and give it to them yourself. ]]


You'd have thought that a full Smalltalk image would be slow to start up, and compared to a scripting program it is, but it turns out to be fast enough on a modern computer to be very useable.

Here's Visual Works Smalltalk on a two-year-old Macbook:

jason@bob ~/Desktop> time ~/version/vw/[scripter im](scripter im) -nogui -evaluate """ 

0.31 real 0.21 user 0.06 sys

Once it's loaded, actually evaluating your script is nice and fast. Plenty has been written about this elsewhere, but here's how long it takes it to evaluate factorial(10,000), including the slow startup:

{jason@bob ~/Desktop> time ~/version/vw/scripter im -nogui -evaluate "10000 factorial. ""
0.52 real 0.44 user 0.06 sys}

Instructions for setting up a Visual Works image to do this are at (text) and (video).

By comparison:

jason@bob ~/Desktop> time bash -c "" 

0.00 real 0.00 user 0.00 sys

But that just shows how fast computers are these days.


The slow news movement:


And on the subject of blogs that not many people read, you might like this one: At least, one of you might. I do.


Apparently at least two people read this blog. And they're not just any two people!


I've just fixed this server, after a few weeks offline.

I wonder whether anyone reads this little blog. I really doubt it. Oh well.



Everyone knows that Lisp files look weird until you're used to them, but that eventually you stop being irritated by all the brackets. I may once have been in that state of enlightenment, when I did some Lisp programming professionally in 1985, but since then I've dropped back to the irritated state. Until today, when I looked at a Lisp file and thought it looked pretty. Breakthrough!



My new recipe for dropped pizza:
- Make one pizza.
- Drop it so almost all the toppings slide onto the kitchen floor.
- Serve the remaining pizza. With its reduced topping it's now pretty much Vera Pizza Napoli … except vegan, of course.



Citing usage from 1949, the OED calls this mark the dog's bollocks, which it defines as, 'typogr. a colon followed by a dash, regarded as forming a shape resembling the male sexual organs.' This is why I love scrounging around the linguistic scrap heap that is the OED. I always come across a little gold. And by 'gold,' I mean, 'vulgar, 60-year-old emoticons.'

Nick Martens,, 20/1/2010


When life doesn't seem worth living, Deus Ex Machina cheers me up. That's the Italian band (there are at least two other bands with the same name). And I've just noticed that they've got two tracks publicly available, at I recommend starting with the second one, Dove non pu' esserci contraddizione.



Is Google really the best search engine? Try out your searches on three engines at once at

And if you really do prefer Google, consider doing your Google searches via Scroogle: