August 05, 2007

Emotional code

A typically warm and insightful xkcd from Randall Munroe:

(Title: "I've just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the MIT computer science program permanently.")

If you don't Get It, you may be lacking some of the background that Randall assumes. One crucial piece is what Obi-Wan said to Luke in the first Star Wars movie:

I have something here for you. Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough, but your uncle wouldn't allow it. He feared you might follow old Obi-Wan on some damn fool idealistic crusade like your father did. It's your father's lightsaber. This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or as random as a blaster, but an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times, before the Empire.

For the other piece, you could start with Paul Graham's essay "The Roots of Lisp", and especially the code for the implementation of Lisp in itself. [In case you can't read the .ps file that he provides for the essay, a .pdf version is here.]

Posted by Mark Liberman at August 5, 2007 10:16 AM