Atheist Voices of Minnesota

I recently contributed a chapter to what I think is a very remarkable anthology of short stories written by fellow Minnesota Atheists. It was a very nice experience to finally be able to write about the unusual path I have taken to both arrive in Minnesota and become and atheist. My contribution was a fairly personal story, partly about my time in a religious cult but also how it felt to loose my faith and the thought process that lead me to the conclusion that there is no God. It felt good to share it publicly and I hope you enjoy it.  The goal of the book was to provide positive and inspirational stories from regular people to show everyone that Atheists are just people too and to help provide some insight into what makes us tick. And maybe you are an atheist too? If so, with this book you may find a community of like minded people waiting for you.

The book is now officially published and available in print or ebook from various book stores. Please head over to the website for more details:

http://www.freethoughthouse.com/atheist-voices-of-mn.html

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Children of Men

Recently, I subscribed to audible.com. My thought was that I could finally listen to all of the books I have been wanting to read but have not had time. I have been listening to my audio books on my phone while driving, while running errands and while waiting for various things. I am a fan of audible and have definitely gotten my moneys worth so far.

I recently finished Children of Men, which was also a fantastic movie from 2006. The movie was both technically and artistically excellent. The most notable attribute of the movie for me was how they would shoot entire scenes several  minutes long without any cuts. It was an excellent sci-fi movie.

 

One other notable aspect of this movie is that it is one of the few book-to-movie translations that I would consider to be better than the actual book. It’s not to say that the book is not good but I think that by taking the movie in a completely different direction it made it both more exciting for the screen and maybe even more provocative; with the various characters and background activities. I did really enjoy the classic British understatement and muted sense of honor in the book, the ending wasn’t quite as bleak either.

In summary watch the movie if you haven’t but the book you should pick up if you really liked the movie and want some more.

DSLs in Boo – Tech Review

The book DSLs in Boo: Domain-Specific Languages in .NET written by Oren Eini writing as Ayende Rahien has finally shipped. The final version is available online at Manning Press and I highly recommend it.

I was one of the technical reviewers so I have already read this book and I can tell you first hand it’s definitely one for your book shelf. The first few chapters describe the generalities of DSLs and Boo then the subsequent chapters describe all of the details you might need to know to implement an internal DSL in your application.

If you’ve been wondering about the whole DSL thing, this book would be a good gateway to the world. It’ll stretch your brain and certainly expose you to some new ideas. In addition the author makes a good case for some practical business applications and introduces a new addition to the open source scene: Rhino DSL.

I also got an honorable mention in the acknowledgments section of the book and a special quote on the Manning Press web site that’s pretty cool! Check out it out!

Pattern Calculus: Computing with Functions and Structures

I haven’t read this book yet but I am putting it to the top of my queue after reading the first couple parts of chapter 1:

http://books.google.com/books?id=Q_J4Lnmfjx4C&lpg=PP1&dq=pattern%20calculus&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=&f=false

 

Here is the abstract:

This book develops a new programming style, based on pattern matching, from pure calculus to typed calculus to programming language. It can be viewed as a sober technical development whose worth will be assessed in time by the programming community. However, it actually makes a far grander claim, that the pattern-matching style subsumes the other main styles within it. This is possible because it is the first to fully resolve the tension between functions and data structures that has limited expressive power till now. This introduction lays out the general argument, and then surveys the contents of the book, at the level of the parts, chapters and results.

*emphasis mine

Based on my understanding of the initial claims it describes the core concepts that OMeta is also based on. I’m not sure of Alessandro Warth has read this book or if this is parallel research but they seem to both come to the same conclusions. It never ceases to amaze me how concepts that seem so new and fresh to me have almost always already been written about in a 200 page book.