Sci/Math/Prog Summary: September 2017

Fun stuff from the past month …

The 59 digits of the Babylonian number system used in ancient Mesopotamia.
The 59 digits of the Babylonian number system used in ancient Mesopotamia.
  • Blast from the past: a “Unix logo contest”, twenty years ago, that was in turn celebration thirty years of Unix.
  • A “less massive” black hole right next to the supermassive one at the Milky Way’s center.
  • An excellent talk by Bryan Cantrill: the Oral Tradition in Software Engineering
  • This, from almost twenty years ago, is the result of an internal Microsoft satire competition. I feel like copy-pasting the whole damn thing here, but maybe I’ll make a separate post for it, it’s that good.
  • “How does a database work?”: an excellent series of posts re-inventing a simple SQLite clone
  • Might have posted this before, but so what, it’s a classic: Gerald Sussman (the talk is six years ago now) on We really don’t know how to compute
  • 2048 ruined many hours of many people’s time, so someone went and did a detailed combinatoric analysis.
  • I wish I understood this better, for now I’ve just shelved it on my “to-read” list: one of those “how is everything really connected” pieces. I’ve stalked blog posts by John Shutt for a long time now, love all the insights in the past.
  • I’ve started and stopped reading The Elements of Programming a few times, but here’s someone who’s demonstrating the concepts (pun intended) in there.
  • Connecting programming language design to architecture.
  • I just don’t have time these days, but I do want to watch “The Orville”; here’s Seth McFarlane discussing it, and the possibilities for science fiction today.
  • I don’t always read Hacker News, but when I do, it’s for Alan Kay’s comments.
  • Urbit has been (IMHO) a strange thing, either crap or the holy grail, nothing in between, and it seems to have shifted over to Ethereum, so we’ll see how that goes.
  • Finally, (weekend casual reading!) a Scientific American article on The joy of sexagesimal floating-point arithmetic (related image on top).
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