[racket] New web pages!

From: Curtis Dutton (curtdutt at gmail.com)
Date: Wed Mar 19 08:18:29 EDT 2014

My only regret with programming was not finding lisp until my late 20's. I
remember having only 1 day of a class in college that went over lisp. It
was a crappy copy of McCarthy's lisp paper, so of course the impression
that an immature 20 year old took was, 'that was history; so interesting
but not relevant to my (c++ ) world.' I think that the oil-changers
metaphor has some truth to it. I wanted to build spaceships before I knew
about "cars". But from where I sat, that was just the only way I could
figure on getting there. What would be different if I had understood lisp
before I got on to the notion of oil-changes as a means to an end?

I think that there is a subset of oil-changers that will always come to
lisp. There is a subset that come to lisp only when they are randomly
adopted by a space engineer. There is a subset that will always change oil.

Not to dehumanize people by comparing them to dogs, but with dogs, if you
get to training them within about the first 1-1/2 years of age, their
temperament, within limits, can be molded. After that, you can still train
them tricks and commands, but their temperament becomes set.

Is their a subset of "future oil-changers" that may be adoptable up until a
certain age but not after they eat semi-colon kibble for too long?

How big of a subset could that be?

I think they are the ones who most need evangelized and are hardest to


On Sun, Mar 16, 2014 at 5:50 PM, Neil Van Dyke <neil at neilvandyke.org> wrote:

> This is the weekend, and I'm off the clock.
> I think there is a balance to be achieved in advocacy/evanglism, but I get
> tired of it, especially when it gets one hung up arguing minutiae that
> people found boring years ago.
> Are we really arguing about slowness, WITH JAVA PROGRAMMERS?  (Do they not
> know their own people's recent history?  Next, will we have client-side Web
> programmers trying to school everyone about computational efficiency?)  And
> do we really have to talk about parentheses?  (Didn't the respectability of
> languages like Python get us past the everything-has-to-look-like-C/Java,
> quite some years ago?)  And who still thinks that Lisp is about AI.
> (Hint: AI changed decades ago, and some Lisp descendants have changed a lot
> since then, too.)
> This is the 21st century, and the smart programmers tend to be conversant
> on topics in software development outside the thinking of corporate
> open-plan office workpods.  I wouldn't want to disturb the workpods that
> don't want to be distracted from their policies and procedures.  I'd rather
> spend my time talking with people who are interested in domain-specific
> languages, multi-paradigm programming, algorithms, software engineering
> process (as opposed to cargo cults), and the various innovations that come
> when people learn lots of things and think about and beyond that.
> A story...
> The bulk of the software programming world is automobile technicians who
> just change oil all day.
> Many of them get really good at changing the oil, and maybe making modest
> repairs to particular series of cars.
> A handful of those people will look beyond that, and become master
> mechanics, but most won't get experience or be able to see beyond oil
> changes and other rote procedures.
> Then there are the people who always wanted to design cars or spaceships.
>  They learn how to change oil and do repairs early on, but they also go off
> and learn a lot more, and possibly end up working for Lamborghini or Tesla
> or their own company.
> These Tesla engineers then reach out to promising young oil-changers they
> see, saying unto them, "Come, hit the books, and join us in searching for
> better ways of doing things."
> But the oil-changers cry out, "Get real, spaceman.  I can't even find the
> oil on your toy car.  And what the hell kind of bolt head is that?  Don't
> you know how the real world works?  Now leave me alone; I've got oil to
> change."
> The Tesla engineers weep for the oil-changers.  Then cheer up themselves
> by checking their stock options.
> Maybe the Tesla engineers should let the children who want to design cars
> and spaceships come to them.
> Neil V.
> ____________________
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>  http://lists.racket-lang.org/users
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