This month's Monad.Reader has an interesting article by Yaron Minsky on adoption of O'Caml by a Wall Street firm for financial and trading software. Excerpts:
One of the things we noticed very quickly when we started hiring people to
program in OCaml was that the average quality of applicants we saw was
much higher than what we saw when trying to hire, say, Java programmers.
It’s not that there aren’t really talented Java programmers out there;
there are. It’s just that for us, finding them was much harder. The density
of bright people in the OCaml community is impressive, and it shows up in
hiring and when reading the OCaml mailing list and when reading the software
written by people in the community. That pool of talent is probably the single
best thing about OCaml from our point of view.
The Cornelius Cardew Choir's
(belated) May Day concert
happens on May 9.
It has been my experience and the experience of most of the OCaml programmers
I’ve known that the object system in OCaml is basically a mistake. The presence
of objects in OCaml is perhaps best thought of as an attractive nuisance.
Objects in ML should be at best a last resort. Things that other languages
do with objects are in ML better achieved using features like parametric
polymorphism, union types and functors. Unfortunately, programmers coming
in from other languages where objects are the norm tend to use OCaml’s objects
as a matter of course, to their detriment. In the hundreds of thousands of
lines of OCaml at Jane Street, there are only a handful of uses of objects,
and most of those could be eliminated without much pain.
My composition Revolving Door is on the program.
is just unbelievable.
I don't know whether the tower of Babel prose, the bullshit criticism or the
hypernarcissism is the most jaw-dropping.
is a 1954 letter from then-President Eisenhower to his brother. Note
particularly the fourth paragraph:
Now it is true that I believe this country is following a dangerous trend
when it permits too great a degree of centralization of governmental
functions. I oppose this--in some instances the fight is a rather
desperate one. But to attain any success it is quite clear that the
Federal government cannot avoid or escape responsibilities which the mass
of the people firmly believe should be undertaken by it. The political
processes of our country are such that if a rule of reason is not
applied in this effort, we will lose everything--even to a possible and
drastic change in the Constitution. This is what I mean by my constant
insistence upon "moderation" in government. Should any political party
attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate
labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again
in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course,
that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you
possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires,
and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their
number is negligible and they are stupid.
Here's a guide to a little-recognized literary genre.
Just for me, here is the documentation for the function keys on my IBM X30 laptop.
Our new grandson now has a name: Gavin Michael Franklin Evanini.
Susan organized a surprise party
for me on my 50th Birthday (December 8, 2002.)
Tim got me out of the house by begging
a ride over to a friend's house to pick up something he'd left there.
I should have suspected something when Tim & friend shuffled around
the house for 15 minutes and then pulled out a Beach Boys bootleg CD
and started pestering me for stories about growing up with all
that stone age music.
When we got home, the house was packed with friends. Lou Katz
took some pictures.
I received a nice pile of gifts, mostly books:
So I'm set in the reading department for the forseeable future.
Take a look at this.
Apparently it's true, according to this:
- The History of American Classical Music, by John Warthen Struble
- The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff
- Uncle Tungsten, by Oliver Sacks
- Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser
- The Origins of Virtue, by Matt Ridley
- English As She Is Spoke, by Jose La Fonseca and Pedro Carolino
- The Lost Beatles Interviews, by Geoffrey Giuliano & Vrnda Devi
- Constantine's Sword, by Jame Carroll
The Onion AV Club has a decent interview with Ira Glass. Note especially his endorsement of TiVo:
The TiVo is really an amazing machine. Like everyone who has one, I totally recommend it. Just as everyone who's married will tell you to get married, and everyone who has a baby tells you to have a baby, everyone who owns a TiVo will tell you to get a TiVo, and they'll say things like "Your life will be completely different." It's true.
Of course, he has good things to say about public radio as well, particularly about the horror of pledge drives. I hate pledge drives too, to the point that I won't listen to them. Combined with my hypertrophic conscience, that means I don't listen to public radio at all, since I can't contribute and I'm not a freeloader.
a literary appreciation
of Duff's Device at runme.org.
You know, back in 2000 a Republican friend of mine warned me that if I
voted for Al Gore and he won, the stock market would tank, we'd lose millions
of jobs, and our military would be totally overstretched. You know what? I
did vote for Al Gore, he did win, and I'll be damned if all those things
didn't come true.
—James Carville (alleged)
My copy of Let's
Discover F Words (which I heard about at
just arrived. (It's a $0.79 closeout.)
Notwithstanding the hilarious title, it's full of charming ink and
watercolor illustrations in the Little Golden Book style by
which was already amazing, can now display satellite images
as well as conventional maps. Over lunch today, I looked for images
of all the major league ball parks. Here's what I found (there may
be mistakes, some of them were hard to locate):
Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral.
It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for
all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is
immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his
understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is
immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys
community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in
monologue rather than dialogue. It creates bitterness in the survivors
and brutality in the destroyers.
- Safeco Field, Seattle, WA
- SBC Park (Pacific Bell Park), San Francisco, CA
- McAfee Coliseum (Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum), Oakland, CA
- Dodger Stadium (Chavez Ravine), Los Angeles, CA
- Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Anaheim Stadium, Edison International Field), Anaheim, CA
- PETCO Park, San Diego, CA
- Bank One Ballpark, Phoenix, AZ
- Coors Field, Denver, CO
- Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN
- Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, MO
- Ameriquest Field in Arlington, Arlington, TX
- Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
- Busch Stadium, Saint Louis, MO
- Miller Park, Milwaukee, WI Low res map
- Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
- U.S. Cellular Field (New Comiskey Park), Chicago, IL
- Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, OH Low res map
- Comerica Park, Detroit, MI
- Turner Field, Atlanta, GA
- Rogers Centre (SkyDome), Toronto, ON
- Jacobs Field, Cleveland, OH
- PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA
- Tropicana Field, Saint Petersburg, FL
- Dolphins Stadium, Miami, FL
- Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
- Robert F Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Washington, DC
- Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA Is it the one in the upper left, or the under-construction area in the lower right?
- Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
- Shea Stadium, Flushing, NY
- Fenway Park, Boston, MA
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
Last Saturday (December 7, 2002) ACME
Observatory presented a concert of early FLUXUS
works, curated by Gino Robair.
I performed George Brecht's Three
Aqueous Events, by frying ice cubes on an amplified (contact microphone
taped to the bottom) electric griddle, and Dick Higgins's
Music Number Fourteen, both of which appeared to go over very well.
But the real excitement happened off-stage. Morgan
Guberman planned to perform
Ken Friedman's Stamp Act,
which involves rubber stamps and a nude model.
So he put out a query for a model on
craigslist, and got two replies.
The first one sent him a second message the next day saying "what
was I thinking, I just broke up with my boyfriend and wasn't in my
right mind and I'm sorry I led you on", but the second said her
name was Bibiana Padilla Maltos, she
was a big FLUXUS fan, had performed Stamp Act before and would fly up
from Calexico, CA (or Mexicali, MX, I'm not quite clear on that detail)
for the show. As show time approached, she hadn't
shown up and Morgan spent a lot of time pacing anxiously. Several of
us suspected that someone was pulling Morgan's chain, but he kept saying
"she called me a few minutes ago, she just got off the plane, she'll
be right here". Then a couple of people showed up claiming to be her
friends, adding to the suspense. Finally, just as we were getting started,
she appeared! It turns out she's for real, confirmed by a
She and Morgan did a great job of Stamp Act.
Side note: one of the unwritten rules of performance art is you don't
want to follow
the naked lady, so of course, my two pieces were scheduled right
after Stamp Act. (Fortunately, the naked lady effect was diluted by
Also on the program were a couple of La Monte Young compositions
(Composition 1960 #7 and Piano Piece for David Tudor #1.) Saturday
morning, we received the following email:
Dear Tom Duff and Gino Robair,
Of course, we can't afford fees like this at all.
Our grant from Berkeley is $2500, with which we do
about 30 concerts a year, we took in $61 at the door,
and we rent TUVA for $100 a night,
so if we gave Young $200 we'd
be about $150 short on the night, which the aforementioned
"anonymous donors" would have to pick up.
("Anonymous donors" is a euphemism for "you
can't make money doing what we do. On the other hand, you
can't lose that much either, so rather than not do it, we cover
the difference out of our own pockets.")
It has come to our attention that you have programmed one or more works
by La Monte Young on a concert to be hosted by Gino on Saturday, December
7 at 8:15 PM, at TUVA Space, 3192 Adeline at Martin Luther King Jr. Way,
Berkeley, CA, presented by the ACME Observatory.
We would have appreciated being contacted by you in advance of this
presentation. La Monte prefers to work with musicians who are going to
perform his work, which is obviously not now possible in this case.
La Monte Young's works are copyrighted and it is necessary to obtain a
performance license from us. According to the announcement in the Bay
Area NEWMUS-EVENTS digest 1131, you plan to perform "Piano Piece for
David Tudor #1," from 1960, which was announced as: "Feeding hay to the
Please provide us with the titles of any other works of La Monte's on the
program so we can issue a performance license. A licensing fee of $100
is usually required for performances of each of La Monte's compositions
of this type, depending on the circumstances. As Acme Observatory
Contemporary Music Series is supported by grants from the Berkeley Civic
Arts Commission and anonymous donors, we assume this concert has some
We realize this request is reaching you very late in your planning and we
are willing to work with you toward a positive resolution, but we
received the information extremely late also.
With best regards,
La Monte Young Marian Zazeela
MELA Foundation, Inc.
275 Church Street
New York, NY 10013
So probably we should have contacted him (it never occurred to me --
most experimental composers get little enough attention that they're
happy about any sort of performance), and maybe we could have negotiated
an agreeable rate, but there was no time,
so we dropped his pieces from the program. Tough for us (I
blew a couple of weekends programming my laptop, trying to make
an idiomatic, compelling interactive version of Composition 1960 #7), but tougher for La Monte.
He missed out on a performance at what turned out to be a
very good show, and there's not much chance we'll
ever program him again. But I guess he needs us as much as
we need him.
Mark, pointed it out, so I tried
it. I guess the result is not surprising:
US Patent #7095409, "Shot shading method and apparatus" issued on August 22, 2006.
The inventors are Rob Cook and Tom Duff.
I was 82 days old when the double-helix structure of DNA was discovered, on Feb 28, 1953.
You can get property tax and assessment information for any address in Alameda County at the county assessor's search page. It's not a very friendly page, and in particular, it gives you no spelling help. This item is mostly to remind me that when looking up addresses on Martin Luther King Junior Way, I should refer to it at "M L King Jr Way", and not some other string that might seem at least as plausible to me.
At my birthday dinner last year, conversation turned at one point
to transcendental numbers and Ramanujan's
constant (which has nothing to do with Ramanujan.) Looking it up
the next morning, I found this page
of wacky math formulas that almost produce integer values.
(And I just rediscovered my reference to the links now and thought I
should preserve it.)
Proseletizer neutralization, pointed out by Tom Lokovic.
Tenser, said the Tensor mentions
a Song Meme. Here's my list:
Long phone messages consisting of background noise & random conversation, presumably from people that accidentally hit the green button on their cell phone & don't even know they're calling anyone. Or maybe it's really a group of minimalist conceptual phone pranksters passing my number around.
|Favorite Beatles song:
||3 way tie!
A Day in The Life
|Favorite solo song by a former Beatle:
||Maybe I'm Amazed
|Favorite Rolling Stones song:
||Sympathy for the Devil
|Favorite Bob Dylan song:
||4 way tie! (all from the same album!)
Highway 61 Revisited
Like a Rolling Stone
Ballad of a Thin Man
|Favorite Pixies song:
|Favorite Prince song:
||Little Red Corvette
|Favorite Michael Jackson song:
|Favorite Metallica song:
|Favorite Public Enemy song:
||Fight the Power
|Favorite Depeche Mode song:
|Favorite Cure song:
|Favorite song that most of your friends haven't heard:
||Kurt Weill's Surabaya Johnny, as performed by Kathy Berberian
|Favorite Beastie Boys song:
||Fight for Your Right
|Favorite Police song:
||Murder by Numbers
|Favorite Sex Pistols song:
||God Save the Queen
|Favorite song from a movie:
||Third Man Theme
|Favorite Blondie song:
||One Way or Another
|Favorite Genesis song:
||The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
|Favorite Led Zeppelin song:
||How Many More Times
|Favorite INXS song:
|Favorite Weird Al song:
||The Saga Begins
|Favorite Pink Floyd song:
||Set the Controls for the Heard of the Sun
|Favorite cover song:
||Music for Airports/Bang on a Can Allstars
|Favorite dance song:
||The Rite of Spring
|Favorite U2 song:
||Pride (In the Name of Love), but many close seconds.
|Favorite disco song:
||Donna Summers' version of MacArthur Park
|Favorite The Who song:
||Won't Get Fooled Again
|Favorite Elton John song:
|Favorite Clash song:
||Should I Stay or Should I Go
|Favorite David Bowie song:
|Favorite Nirvana song:
||Smells Like Teen Spirit
|Favorite Snoop Dogg song:
||Murder was the Case
|Favorite Ice Cube song:
|Favorite Johnny Cash song:
||I Walk The Line
|Favorite R.E.M. song:
||What's the Frequency, Kenneth?
|Favorite Elvis song:
||Tie: Heartbreak Hotel, Suspicious Minds
|Favorite cheesy-ass country song:
||George Jones's Brown to Blue
|Favorite Billy Joel song:
||The Longest Time, many close seconds.
|Favorite Bruce Springsteen song:
||Born to Run, a zillion close seconds.
|Favorite Big Audio Dynamite song:
|Favorite New Order song:
|Favorite Neil Diamond song:
||I'm a Believer
|Favorite Squeeze song:
|Favorite Smiths song:
|Favorite Tragically Hip song:
My patent, Motion blurring implicit surfaces, issued on November 19, 2002. I learned about it, not from the US Patent and Trademark Office, but from US Patent Certificate, Inc., who sent me a letter asking if I'd like to buy a nice commemorative plaque.
There's a scene in Pixar's new movie
that takes place in a courthouse. (This in a world full
of cars -- no human drivers, just sentient cars.) On
the back wall of the courtroom is the Latin motto
JUSTITIAE VIA STRATA VERITATE, which means "The road to justice
is paved with truth." Our family Classics/Linguistics expert,
Keelan provided the
translation. (But he's not mentioned in the credits, unless
I missed it.)
U.S. Patent #7129940, "Shot rendering method and apparatus", issued on October 31, 2006. Inventors are Rob Cook and Tom Duff.
Tim and I were arguing the other day about exactly what constitutes a UNIX beard,
and today I happened upon a picture of Ed Gould,
proprieter of the the original Unix beard,
on Declan McCullagh's web site.