Feb 24, 2007

In my Government Myths post, posted June of 2005, I said:

Things seem right on track so that by the 2012 election, 2016 at the latest, the campaign for the next [Presidential] election will immediately start after the swearing-in ceremony.

I think I can say that we are officially halfway there. The political news, at least in the blogs, has been abuzz about Clinton v. Obama, as they jockey for the Presidential nomination. I don't know if it's gotten into the mainstream news, but clearly, Clinton and Obama see themselves as in campaign mode already.

(I can't stand TV news not for the usual reasons, but because it's just so slow, an unavoidable characteristic of the medium, not any particular show on it.)

To be honest, at the time I thought I was being cynical, but with the 2008 campaign well underway in Feb. 2006, maybe I wasn't being cynical enough.

Big Haskell Projects List
Feb 19, 2007

On, I have referred to a list of Big Haskell Projects I'm keeping. I've been keeping it in my head, because it's been short, but I thought I should go ahead and start actually keeping one.

Haskell as a language intrigues me, but I can't help but notice that there aren't a lot of large projects that use it. My intuition suggests that this could be difficult, because I suspect the type system may become increasingly unwieldy. I once asked about this directly, and the results were less than impressive. I'm asking for examples of large projects because concrete results trump my intuition.

In the interests of honesty and transparency, I'm actually going to keep this list in a public place and try to keep it updated as people suggest things until either A: It satisfies me and I start trying to learn Haskell or B: It becomes too much of a time sink, which would basically mean that there are a lot of large projects. That is, my goal is not to keep a list in perpetuity, but just until the point is made.

Update March 8, 2007: This has been up for three weeks now and attracted some attention from some people who really ought to know. I'm willing to say now that pending further updates, I see no compelling reason to believe that Haskell is practical for larger projects. Furthermore, Haskell arrogance is totally unjustified by evidence. It may someday be proven a compelling choice for Real Programming, but there isn't even any significant evidence of that, let alone enough to justify arrogance.

Read the rest...

My New Favorite Spam
Feb 17, 2007

I've seen this sort of spam before, but never with such purity, usually only with the Subject or something left unprocessed.

Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2007 16:42:06 -0500
Received: from 192.168.0.%RND_DIGIT (203-219-%DIGSTAT2-%STATDIG.%RND_FROM_DOMAIN [203.219.%DIGSTAT2.%STATDIG]) by mail%SINGSTAT.%RND_FROM_DOMAIN (envelope-from %FROM_EMAIL) (8.13.6/8.13.6) with SMTP id %STATWORD for <%TO_EMAIL>; %CURRENT_DATE_TIME

Subject: %SUBJECT
Mime-Version: 1.0 
Content-Type: text/html


Also note that the bit starting with %TO_CC_DEFAULT_HANDLER was the beginning of the messaged body, which is also wrong.

I'm actually a little surprised this was detailed enough for me to get it.

Feb 16, 2007

All the talk of benchmarks for American performance in Iraq makes me wonder if we shouldn't reverse them.

Tell the Iraqis as a nation, for every week that goes by without a (well-defined) terrorist incident, we will pull out 1,000 troops. (We need at least one fine-grained condition that is likely to happen, so we can actually do it, and show that we are serious.) Serious terrorist events may pull troops back or delay our leaving.

For every project for some period of time that you take on, we'll kick in $X million matching dollars, as long as such projects are completed safely and to, say, Washington D.C. city building code, suitably modified.

You want us out? Stop blowing each other up, and stop supporting other people blowing you up.

This is a raw idea. Perhaps this would be useful as a component of a plan going forward. (This ties in nicely to the oil trust idea, too; "You want the oil trust money? Don't let terrorists operate.")

Is there an element of unfairness to this? Some; the actions of a few could cut off benefits for the many. But terrorism still requires some degree of cultural acceptance for it to work; we don't have very many home-grown terrorists in the United States because we don't have people who wouldn't do it if they could, but because such people don't have a critical mass of support. I think the "unfairness" of this idea is simply a direct reflection of the fact that it's completely unfair to live in a society together; it's unfair for me to benefit from the efforts of the society around me, and unfair for me to suffer from the shortcomings of the society around me. However, it is simply a fact that I do, and nothing can change that, least of all calling it "unfair". I'm not sure "fairness" really enters into this discussion.

(Interesting: What is your emotional reaction to the idea of holding the Iraqis to a benchmark? Why is it that only Americans are expected to hold to benchmarks? Is it because the Iraqis are presumed incapable? Is there a soft bigotry of low expectations in play here?)

Feb 14, 2007

Via dangerousmeta: How Not to Talk To Your Kids (The Inverse Power of Praise). Self-esteem uber alles as mortal menace.

This strikes me as one of the most important lines of research into education I've ever seen.

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