Programming and Scaling

tele-TASK Video: Programming and Scaling.

If you’ve heard me talk about DSLs but just haven’t quite been sold on the idea yet, watch this video. In fact, watch it anyway. Dr. Alan Kay gives a very inspirational and interesting speech about the past, present and future of Computer Science, technological innovation and creativity. The grand finale ties all of his ideas together in a beautiful example of the power of domain specific languages.

I found myself nodding throughout this entire presentation and even though I didn’t know where it was going I could see how it applied to my own personal research in meta#. Thank you Dr. Kay, I may never need to spend my time explaining the why’s of DSLs again, I will simply forward them to this presentation.

RE: Delusions of Programming

I read a post by Jonathan Edwards recently called Delusions of Programming. Where he makes a few interesting points about the importance of IDE support. As someone who is a big fan of Boo I can definitely attest to the truth of his words. In my own words I have come to a similar lesson: good tooling can make even a bad language powerful and vice versa. As much as I love Boo and as powerful as it is, I’m still far more productive in C#. If Boo had the same quality of IDE tooling, and error messages it would blow C# out of the water… but it doesn’t. The actual language itself is probably less than 50% of the whole story.

The Moral Vegetarian

I came across a blog post today requesting moral arguments against vegetarianism. There were many interesting points and counter-points, many of which were simplistic. The author gathered the answers as fodder for writing longer rebuttals on her blog.

I have a response which I have been forming for several years, since I find moral vegetarianism to be trite and irrational and I have more than once been confronted with it I have had cause to think about my response more than once. Here was my response to K-Rina.


As far as I know plants don’t feel pain. As far as I know pain is purely an “animal” construct. This doesn’t mean that plants don’t have their own survival strategies however. We place a great deal of concern into pain and suffering, naturally, since we are animals and can empathize with pain and suffering. However pain is simply an adaptation for survival, different from plants but plants have their own similar adaptations. For a very interesting example read about the Acacia tree. When giraffes begin eating it, it will begin to produce a toxin that will make the leaves poisonous to giraffes. Therefore giraffes will approach the trees from down wind and only eat on them for a short period of time. There are many other examples of offensive and defensive mechanisms that plants have evolved as a means of surviving in their various habitats (thorns, poisons, colors, pine cones that open after fires, etc.)

Furthermore some animals have formed a co-evolutionary relationship with humans, where their existence as a species is completely dependent upon humans wanting to eat them. Many breeds of modern cows, for example, would probably not live long if they weren’t also eaten by humans. This is a similar relationship that bees have with orchids, corpse flowers have with flies, dairy ants have with aphids, etc.

The concepts of pain, suffering and personal death all have no meaning evolutionarily other than how it affects the adaptability and ultimately the survival of the entire species.

So plants are just as alive as animals and we humans tend to apply our anthropomorphic bias’ towards animals since we are ourselves animals. I think the moral vegetarian is simply showing a conceit and a overly simplistic understanding of evolution and the circle of life.

If I went into a forest right now and chopped down an old oak tree and left it there to rot would that be immoral? I think so. The moral wrong is the act of unnecessarily killing anything. Humans cannot photosynthesize therefore anytime we eat we must kill for that food. This is totally morally acceptable as long as what we eat improves our long term survival as well as the long term survival of other life forms. It’s ok to eat a few leaves off of a plant in the same way it’s ok to eat a few cows out of a herd.

As the most intelligent species on Earth it’s our duty to understand this and attempt to promote the largest diversity, continual evolution, and maximum habitation of life on this planet.

Pew Research Science Poll

This quiz was surprisingly easy for the results listed below. How much do you know about some of the most current science topics?


These results are very interesting. The question on Stem Cells seems to have the worst success rate overall. I find it interesting that women out score men on questions about over the counter drugs (#1 & #10) but not on any of the other questions except stem cells. Also, I’m really surprised about people Ages 65+ not doing much better than this. The results of #9 are also very surprising, that one sounds like a no-brainer to me but it seems a lot of people have no idea how lasers work.