Saturday, 11 October 2008

(defun perspective (person) ( … ))

Dan Bikel has written a nice statistical CYK parser for Java, and it reads and writes Lisp syntax, namely Sexps. While I was coding on a project today, I was being watched and supported by a colleague. When I used Dan Bikel's Sexp class, hilarity ensued.
I countered her chuckles with an explanation of basic Lisp syntax. This prompted a curious reply of hers:
The inventors must have been lonely people.
Well, contracting 'symbolic expressions' to a word reminiscent of what computer freaks stereotypically lack may seem an awkward coincidence to some, but drawing a connection may seem like a stretch to others. Sadly, there probably is a grain of truth in such… assumptions.
Upon demonstrating to her some real world examples of Lisp code, and after the inevitable "all those parens!", she uttered
The inventors really must have been lonely people. And bored ones at that.
Poor Lisp. Is that what people think of you today?
Lisp is old. Very old. But just as Prolog, it is still around, and that alone justifies its use. In fact, most of what people use XML for nowadays should rather be done in Lisp syntax.

4 comments:

ke said...

The connection between parens and loneliness is an interesting one, since the former are usually used to express (((hugging))). By the way, this post got you a "Blogger content warning". ;-)

adimit said...

Marharhar. I'm now proudly wearing the badge of obscenity. -3 on Charisma, +2 on Vitality


I never made the connection between parens and hugging, but it's interesting there is one. If so, Lisp is nothing more but Gruppenkuscheln encoded.

Musipher said...

Hmm, if () is hugging, then <> is poking, {} is tickling, and [] is squishing...

Believe me, I know it from my personal experience!

=^^=

Musipher said...
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