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...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: Cat Maintenance

After we do the washing-up, I get to spend the rest of the evening reading FAQs on cat maintenance on the web. It takes about half an hour to come to the unwelcome realization that they’re almost as complex as home-brew gaming PCs, and have even more failure modes. (When your gaming PC malfunctions it doesn’t stealthily dump core in your shoes.)— Charles Stross, The Rhesus ChartBob Howard, computer geek, comes to terms with owning a cat. … [Read more...]

Poodle Skirts

I once knew a lady who house-trained poodles for poodle skirts. It's a harder job than you might think, house-training a dog who's going to be hanging on to a skirt for dear life at sock hops and the like, but she was good at it. She took her poodles to competitions and won many prizes.In the end, though, her career ended in sadness. She'd been training a truly promising poodle, almost completely flat from side-to-side, with excellent gripping skills and perfect bladder control, a poodle … [Read more...]

Review: The Rhesus Chart, by Charles Stross


The Rhesus Chart, Charles Stross' latest outing in "The Laundry Files", came out on the 1st of July, and I'd devoured it by midnight on the 3rd.Here's the background, if you're not a hopeless computer/Lovecraft geek. Bob Howard, once a budding British maths student, is now an employee of a shadowy British secret service office called "The Laundry", whose task it is to preserve the British public from having their minds and other body parts devoured by Lovecraftian horrors from other … [Read more...]

Embrace the Cloud—But Not Too Tightly

Sunset clouds over beach

It's summer time, and I'm busy with family things. Thomas Aquinas will return in a week or two.We hear a lot about the "Cloud" these days, and I suspect many readers have only a cloudy idea of what the Cloud is.What the Cloud is, is computer hardware that you don't own that you access over the 'net to do things and store your stuff.The Cloud is incredibly useful; it's a treat to be able to move from my computer to my phone to a friend's computer, and still access my stuff.  But … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: The Crystallized Love of God

In paragraph 40 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis repeats something that cannot be too often said: that Christian faith is not simply assent to a doctrine, but rather knowledge of and trust in the Living God.Faith, in fact, needs a setting in which it can be witnessed to and communicated, a means which is suitable and proportionate to what is communicated. For transmitting a purely doctrinal content, an idea might suffice, or perhaps a book, or the repetition of a spoken message. But what is … [Read more...]

Adventures in Clojure: The World is Mine!


So I'm, in a rather desultory fashion, putting together a simple text adventure in the Clojure programming language. (You can find the code at GitHub, should you be interested.)The first thing you need in a text adventure game is a world to move around in. The world usually consists of a collection of rooms. Each room can have any number of links to other rooms; each link is in a particular direction. Directions include the four cardinal directions (north, south, east, and west) and … [Read more...]

Bertie Wooster Sings the Blues!

Pandora has a way of surprising me...but I was astonished when a blues track called "Six Cold Feet" came streaming by.  It was good, and the singer was one I wasn't familiar with.  I glanced at the Pandora widget on my desktop, and discovered that the singer was...Hugh Laurie.Yup.  Bertie Wooster sings the blues.  Dr. House is in the house. And it turns out he's recorded a couple of albums of material. I'm downloading Let Them Talk as I type; I might have more to share in future. … [Read more...]