Adventures in Clojure: Nearly Constant Data


As I noted last week, the Clojure way is to keep immutable (unchanging) data separate from the mutable data. Thus, you keep the network of rooms distinct from the data structure that indicates where the player and other things are at the present time. The latter changes while the game runs, and the former doesn't.At least, that's the theory. As I showed a couple of weeks ago, you can define the world map as a single, immutable data structure, and never change it thereafter. But there are … [Read more...]

My, My, This Here Anakin Guy…


We were on vacation last week, and during the week the kids managed to watch all six movies in the Star Wars saga. (It was that kind of vacation.) The best part of the whole film fest was this video, from the extras disk: "Star Wars: The Saga Begins", by Weird Al Yankovic. (Full disclosure: I own the vinyl of Weird Al's first album. I was given it by my best friend's mom out of a clear blue sky when I was in high school, because it seemed like my kind of thing.)And having played … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: On Murder

Monkey Typing

“You mean you knew there was going to be a murder before it even happened?” Ribaud said in disbelief. “Didn’t somebody do something?”“Son, around here, you always know about a murder ahead of time,” Parry replied calmly. He drained the rest of his soda in a great swallow. “That don’t mean it’s healthy to mix in another man’s quarrel.”— David Drake, Night & Demons … [Read more...]

Active Contemplation—Wait, What?

Dripping Shower Head

I've sometimes thought that Dominican contemplation is very active contemplation, because Dominicans are active contemplatives.Religious orders are often described as being "active," working in the world, or "contemplative", praying behind walls. Dominicans, by contrast, are said to be "active contemplatives", embracing the activity of preaching, where preaching flows from contemplation. Somewhere (I cannot find it at the moment) I read that St. Thomas Aquinas looked at the merits of the … [Read more...]

Review: Night and Demons, by David Drake


Night and Demons is a collection of some of David Drake's short stories. Each story has a brief introduction by the author, and though this is nowhere made explicit I gather from them that this is a collection of Drake's early work. Whether that was the intent or no, it's certainly a showcase of Drake's influences, from H.P Lovecraft to Robert Howard to Fritz Leiber to L. Sprague de Camp to Manly Wade Wellman—and that list should give you a good notion of what you're likely to find h … [Read more...]

Signs That You’re Not With It

Coffee splash

That moment when you discover that there was more than one cup of coffee left in the pot because the excess is spreading across the counter and burning your fingers.I usually write my Thomas Aquinas pieces a couple of days in advance, but between family vacation and catching a cold it didn't happen. (Really, the vacation would have been sufficient. The cold is just gravy.) I hope to do better by next Monday.____ photo credit: dongga BS via photopin cc … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: The Gift of Baptism

Baptism of Christ

 In chapter 3 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis is talking about the role of the sacraments in the life of faith. In paragraphs 41 through 43, he talks specifically about the sacrament of baptism, and makes several salient points.First, baptism is a communal thing: it is how the faith is passed on: Baptism makes us see, then, that faith is not the achievement of isolated individuals; it is not an act which someone can perform on his own, but rather something which must be received by … [Read more...]

Adventures in Clojure: Saving the Day


See the previous installment here.It's a big part of the philosophy of Clojure programming that you keep mutable state (data that can change) separate from immutable state (data that cannot change). There are a number of good reasons for doing this; the one that the Clojure books usually trot out is that it makes supporting concurrency easier because you don't need to synchronize reads and writes to data that never changes.Concurrency isn't all that important to a single-user text … [Read more...]

Bertie Fit the Battle of Jericho!


Because I enjoyed it so much last week, here's another track from Hugh Laurie's album Let Them Talk: "The Battle of Jericho". Give it a little bit; it starts slow and then builds. … [Read more...]