...nothing is left to guesswork.

Recent Work:
An investigation of connected exceptive constructions and scalarity
Except-phrases and "only" presentation notes
Donkey Anaphora and Variable-Free Semantics

Friday, June 30, 2006

Bummer that gre.gario.us is gone.
Suddenly very interested in MAMP (the Mac version of LAMP), which I suppose means I need to jump programming ship yet again. Hrm. I suppose I should learn PHP eventually someday anyways.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Find out who killed the electric car and why

I remember seeing the electric vehicle being introduced onto the market when I was in middle school and seeing it on the news. I also remember seeing news coverage of the EVs about their lack of efficiency and the high cost. At the time, I was impressed by the idea of a car that ran without gas (I was an idealist middle schooler, after all), but the network news did a good job of convincing me that this just wasn't a practical solution.

It's too bad that I wasn't the only one convinced by the naysayers because it appears that in reality, electric vehicles were great, fast, clean; the only thing possibly offensive about the electric car would be that it was a car (vs. mass public transit). But when GM and other automakers were let off the hook by CARB in 2003 and were no longer required to comply with a zero-emissions mandate, they pulled the plug on their entire line...and demande all of their cars back. It turns out that no one ever owned an electric vehicle; the cars were leased (very exclusively, too) and when the time came, none of the leasees were granted the opportunity to extend their leases or purchase the vehicle.

In a time when the nation is embroiled in tensions with the Middle East, at war (though no one will ever admit it, except maybe Rupert Murdoch) with Iraq for cheaper oil, and facing possible environmental doom à la global warming/ever-increasing carbon emissions...shouldn't we be embracing technology that would significantly start a trend to less dependency on oil? And shouldn't the ghost of the electric car be an active reminder of what is possible? Instead, people are trying to sweep the electric car under the rug:

Chelsea Sexton, who loved the EV-1 so much that she became a sales specialist for GM, is seen next to the car, reiterating how great they are and that Peterson is one of few places where the public can see them. Seems innocent enough. But Paine just received word “that I will never be invited to the Peterson Automotive Museum again.” He then mentioned that the Smithsonian recently removed its own EV display—and replaced it with a robotic Hummer SUV. Both museums rely on contributions from corporations like GM. (From the OC Weekly.)

Don't let the EV disappear into obscurity. Go see "Who Killed the Electric Car?" this weekend if you're near LA (at the NuWilshire, 14th & Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica), NY or Orange County (not sure of where else the movie is opening and/or when). And if you really want the "fair and balanced" perspective on the issue, check out GM's response to the film.

And if you're not able to see the film this weekend, then take a look at these groups working to force automakers to build lower-emissions cars:
http://www.pluginamerica.com/
http://www.pluginpartners.com/
http://www.drivingthefuture.com/

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Yet another Common Lisp implementation

OpenMCL is an opensourced version of MCL (Macintosh Common Lisp by Digitool) that runs on ppc hardware under Darwin/Mac OS X, Linux ppc, and also x86-64 hardware under Linux. Supposedly a good pick for OS X Common-Lisp hackers as it "compiles to machine code, supports threads, and has quite good integration with OS X's Carbon and Cocoa toolkits," says Seibel in Chapter 2 of Practical Common Lisp. And I'm sure you're all wondering now what the difference between OpenMCL and MCL is...well, straight from the OpenMCL FAQ, here's the answer:

There are some obvious ways in which the enviornments differ. OpenMCL is essentially a UNIX command-line application: it uses #\LineFeed as the #\NewLine character, believes that file systems are case-sensitive (even though this isn't necessarily the case on OSX) and that physical pathname components are delimited by "/" characters.

There are some intentional implementation differences, most notably in the way that CL FLOAT types map to IEEE float types. In MCL, LONG-FLOAT, DOUBLE-FLOAT, and SINGLE-FLOAT all map to (64-bit) IEEE double and SHORT-FLOAT maps to (32-bit) IEEE single; in OpenMCL, LONG-FLOAT and DOUBLE-FLOAT map to IEEE double and SINGLE-FLOAT and SHORT-FLOAT denote IEEE single. Since *READ-DEFAULT-FLOAT-FORMAT* defaults to SINGLE-FLOAT in Common Lisp, unqualified floating-point constants (among other things) denote different IEEE floating-point types in the two implementations.

The implementations began diverging in 1999; there's still a lot of code in common, but there's never been any real effort to keep them in synch. Code that deals with stream internals, network I/O, physical pathnames, threading, etc. is probably not generally much easier to port between MCL and OpenMCL than between any two other CL implementations (though there may be cases where it is.)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Monday, June 26, 2006

Peter Norvig has an interesting comparison of Java v. Lisp when used to solve a programming challenge. The challenge was originally posted by Erann Gat, who published the results of the study in Lisp as an Alterative to Java. Gat has a directory of the supplemental materials to the study; of particular interest might be the raw figures from his study.

Who Killed the Electric Car?

Who Killed the Electric Car?, a documentary about the electric car and its death by big oil and corrupt polititicians, debuted this weekend at the LA Film Festival. It opens this Wednesday in Los Angeles at the Landmark NuWilshire.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Oh nooooo, today is my first zero-hit day. Looks like I need to start posting more regularly as previously promised.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The EFF is cool and funny. See their animated short The Corruptibles here.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Web two-point-oh-no!

I'm starting to toy around a bit with some more aesthetics of the blog...I'd eventually like the blog to be command central for all things me, something sort of similar to Chris's kampers.net. I think the del.icio.us tag map is pretty sweet, but I'm not too sure about the link roll. I'm also not sure if I like any of the layout as it is right now, but I'm just modifying someone's template. Mostly, I'm playing around with what sorts of things I would like on a blog and how things will look. I know it's a little cluttery, and perhaps by the time some of you read this, things will have changed again. Just excuse the mess in the sidebar if it's too much :-)

I was certainly shy as a child . . .

Because shy children appear to be more sensitive to winning and losing, they may experience emotions more strongly than others, putting them at risk for emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression. On the flip side, shy children may experience positive emotions such as success very strongly, helping them succeed, Knutson says.

"The Rewards of Being Shy"

"Use functional programming techniques to write elegant JavaScript"

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Blaaargh.

I somehow managed to install SBCL all on my own (despite my super shoddy knowledge of Unix commands), only to find that Practical Common Lisp offers a number of implementations with its Lisp in a Box packages. The packages also come with the old-school gnu-icon'ed Emacs, so I feel double silly now. Oh well, at least I'm up and running again.

(My first introduction to functional programming–to programming, for that matter–was with Common Lisp, but it only lasted about 2 weeks before I found my way to Scheme. At the time, Scheme was a better language for me because it was so simple. But as there's no Practical Scheme book, it seems like now might be a good time to make the switch back to CL.)

Oh, infix notation...how I have missed thee!

Carbon Emacs Mar 06 package

Wow. It's been so long that I've done anything requiring Emacs that I missed the March 06 update...and the new icon! I miss the old, goofy looking gnu :-( I suppose the new icon is more elegant and simpler...bah.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Michael Bloomberg's address to JHU graduates

One of the things that I've been doing in my spare time is going through the hundreds of articles my aggregator has picked up (mostly from /.) and flagging the ones of interest.

Here's one that I found particularly share-worthy: NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg's address to the graduates of Johns Hopkins' School of Medicine.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Success!

Took about 10 minutes total to fix toolkit.jar and add the appropriate entries to the XML file with all the bindings...and now...wonderful Emacs-y-ness! Even better than Safari! Hooray!
After all that complaining about Custom Keywords, I realize that there's no hassle at all, and so far, nothing but absolute pleasure.

Back to Firefox...waaaaah.

About a month ago, as school was winding down, I switched from Firefox to Safari as my default browser. There was really only one motivation for this: Safari, as a native Cocoa application, has the cool perk of coming with the basic Emacs keybindings. Emacs keybindings, of course, are not impossible to achieve with Firefox, but involve more tweaking of XML and JAR files than I felt comfortable (or patient) with at the time. At the time, Emacs keybindings for free was all I wanted...

A month later, and now I'm ready to switch back. For one, Safari is slow. So slow that within a week, I made a habit of opening up Firefox when I needed to get something from EasyNews or when I wanted to watch something on Google Video. Second reason: I might as well get used to tweaking things, and getting Emacs keybindings in Firefox (or whatever keybindings I want, for that matter) will not be all that hard. The only remaining grievance is that I will have to update toolkit.jar with every update of Firefox. But considering how much time I spend on other silly things, like sitting in my bathrobe reading /., I think I can manage that. Yet another motivation to switch back is that very occasionally, a site will have been designed without keeping Safari in mind. Rarely do I have that problem with Firefox (and while it is still rare that I have that problem with Safari, it is significantly enough more of a problem with Safari than Firefox). (Amtrak's site, for example, freaks out when I use Safari. And many of Blogger's HTML editing tools (by many, it's at most 4) are unavailable for Safari. That's fairly ignorable since I don't use Blogger to update unless I'm away from my computer or I need to do some super fancy HTML (which reminds me, I should look into switching to something much more robust than MacJournal)).

Thankfully, I don't expect switching back to take more than an hour, but one annoyance remains...custom keywords! I had been loving Safari Search in Address Bar, though I knew it wasn't a Safari-specific ability. In fact, Mozilla Custom Keywords does exactly the same thing, but my annoyance is that to modify or add a custom keyword, I'll have to do it through the bookmarks manager in Firefox. Safari just kept a little list of those keywords that I wanted to use without requiring the bookmarking part. I suppose it's a minor difference that I will eventually get used to, and it does make it nice that I will have access to all my bookmarks (something that I could do in SIA but would have had to add each one manually myself) in the address bar via keyword now.

And, I should remember that I went through the pain of switching to the Dvorak keyboard layout when I was in Germany and had recently had my laptop stolen. If I can do that, I think I can deal with toolkit.jar and Bookmark Manager.
I want an Oink's Pink Palace account. Anyone have a free invite?

Web2.0

I am slowly doing all the silly Web2.0 things that I have always wanted to do but never got a chance to before because I had been so busy. Finally fixed my del.icio.us so that most things are tagged appropriately. I must do a better job of del.icio.us-ing now that everything is tidy. A few weeks ago, Chris Kampmeier mentioned Yahoo's MyWeb to me and said that he liked it a lot better. I am not sure what I think about this quite yet, but since I have the time to pansy about a little bit, I'll be reporting back thoughts about del.icio.us v. MyWeb. Speaking of, although this is way outdated, I want del.icio.us velour pants.

Yes, very good that Emma is now well-rested and unemployed so that she can try out bookmark-tagging services and blog about such activities 'round the clock!

I promise promise promise that there will be something about Frege...TOMORROW! (Or at least by Wednesday ;-))

More Lisp.

Perhaps I don't need Mr. Graham! David Lamkins has his book, Successful Lisp, and customized tracks for learning up on the web. Having worked quite a bit with Scheme, I guessed that I could call myself a former acquaintance and take the Former User Track. Add that to the stack of summer activities...Although, the summer activities belong more to some sort of crazy heap...aww.

Thanks, Amazon!

I just got a recommendation for Practical Common Lisp, which tickles my interest just a wee bit as one of the things that I have never done, always wanted to, but just didn't know how...was write useful programs with Lisp. Of course, this probably would require me transitioning from the world of Scheme to Common Lisp...at least there's Paul Graham for that!

I hate that I am moving so soon so that I have to wait to buy more books (so that I am not shipping things twice within a month).
Net Neutrality

I never post things like this here, so it must be a sign that this is really important! And anyways, it's less than two minutes long.
CRAIGSLIST IS DOWN?!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

To all the Google China naysayers...ha!