Tools for Learning Clojure


As I wrote on Saturday, I'm learning to program in Clojure; and being a tool user at heart I immediately went looking for the right tools for the job. Here's what I wanted:A REPL at which to experiment with Clojure code, with good command-line editing and command history. An editor in which to edit Clojure code, integrated with the REPL. An easy way to build a stand-alone application in Clojure. A solution that works on both Mac and Windows."REPL" stands for "read-eval-print … [Read more...]

Review: Cyador’s Heirs, by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.


Cyador's Heirs is the latest outing in L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s long-running cash cow, the Recluce series. If you've not read the Recluce series, and you like fantasy, you should probably go find The Magic of Recluce (the first book in the series) and see if it is to your taste. I found it strikingly original when I first read it (when it was new), and I've enjoyed it a number of times since.These days, the Recluce novels are among my comfort books. When I'm feeling too sick to do much, I'll … [Read more...]

It’s Worse Than That, It’s Physics, Jim!

I'm taking a short break from St. Thomas Aquinas to talk about the Aristotelian underpinnings of Thomas' philosophy. You can relax, though. All I'm going to be doing is putting words to something that you know so clearly you probably don't even think about it.Newton's physics is about the motion of bodies, and particularly of predicting how they move quantitatively: speed, acceleration, momentum and so forth.  Aristotle's physics has the same name, but Aristotle was asking a different … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: Remounting My Hobby Horse

One of my hobby horses is the relationship between faith and reason in general, and between faith and science in particular. God is truth; the cosmos (the universe, the multiverse, the succession of Big Bangs and Big Crunches, or whatever else it turns out to be in its entirety) is God's creation; God's revelation and our observations of objective reality cannot, in the end, be in conflict. Our scientific theories are not perfect; there is always the possibility of going deeper, of … [Read more...]

Coming to a Clojure


I'm a software engineer at my day job, and I'm a long-time programming language junkie. Every so often I find that I need to spend time learning a new programming language, just to keep my brain working freely. Just recently I've been experimenting with a language called Clojure.Fair warning: the remainder of this post is going to be mondo geeky.Clojure is yet another variant of LISP, which is itself one of the oldest computer languages in the world. I've never written any production … [Read more...]

Celebrating the Full Orchestral Grunt

Or, another chapter in the long-running series, "Odd Things from Pandora". So across Pandora one day came streaming the song "Whatever Lola Wants," recorded by Carmen McRae in the mid 1950's. It's from the show Damn Yankees, in which Lola isn't simply a femme fatale, she's the Devil's assistant. The recording is typical non-rock-n-roll '50's pop: a singer backed by a brass orchestra. Now, I'd never heard the song before; I only recognized the name because once in a while my dad would say, in … [Read more...]

Word I Wish I’d Written: Sweaters

It really was an awful garment, that pullover. It had a queasy zigzag pattern, in many strange, unhappy colors. It looked like something knitted as a present by a colorblind aunt, the sort of thing you wouldn’t dare throw away in case the garbage collectors laughed at you and kicked your trash cans over.— Terry Pratchett, Thud!Now that's an awful sweater! … [Read more...]

The Long and the Short of Infinite Regressions

One of my favorite philosophy bloggers is James Chastek at Just Thomism. I find his posts more challenging than Ed Feser's (one of my other favorites); Feser's usually going out of his to explain Thomism (and Scholastic philosophy in general) to those outside the tradition, while Chastek's posts are more usually reflections or even meditations on something he's been pondering. As such they take longer to read and appreciate, and far too often I don't make the attempt. I've long thought that I … [Read more...]

Review: Killing Rommel, by Steven Pressfield

Field Marshall Rommel

Most of Steven Pressfield's war novels take place in the distant past; Killing Rommel takes place more recently, in the North African desert during the World War II British campaign against the Germans.  Germany's Afrika Korps was commanded by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the "Desert Fox"; a highly decorated veteran of World War I, Rommel was one of the most skilled commanders on either side of the war, and defeating him took the combined efforts of General George S. Patton, Field Marshall Mo … [Read more...]