November 3rd, 2009


Another month, another language: pi

The latest programming language to come to my attention is rather neat: in the pi language, the entire focus is on declaring patterns -- EBNF-style declarations of syntax, and their associated meanings. See the linked page for a little more info and some cool (if simple) examples of how easy it is to define new syntax in this language.

My initial reaction is that it's a bit scary, and almost certainly *much* too easy to completely hang yourself (I'd love to see what you could do with an obfuscated-code contest in this language), but also quite powerful for certain sorts of problems. Probably extremely well-suited to defining DSLs and the like, once it gets more mature...

Tim Bray's

I just came across Tim Bray's blog, ongoing -- a neat technical blog from one of the more significant thinkers in the field. I'm adding it to my daily feed: the signal/noise ratio looks good enough to be worth it.

Most interesting right now is his project: basically a personal exploration of the major options currently around for real-world concurrency, and specifically a look at the main contenders that he calls the HECS languages (Haskell, Erlang, Clojure, Scala). It's an interesting, pragmatic, freewheeling discussion, trying to figure out which of these is likeliest to become "the next Java". He's admittedly biased towards Erlang (much as I am towards Scala), but I think he's doing a good job of exploring the issues that will matter going forward...

"Global cooling" hoo-hah doesn't stand up to analysis

Here's a good little article in Ars Technica, taking a look at the increasingly-common rumors that have been spreading about "global cooling" -- basically, the way that a lot of people with a vested interest in fighting the idea of global warming have seized on short-term statistics and ignored the long-term ones. Apparently the AP did a simple little experiment of sending the data, context-free, to some statisticians and asking what trends were seen in the numbers: the result (which won't surprise most people here) is that the pattern of warming is quite clear, and the "cooling" is nothing more than statistical blips and preconceptions...