mgr's weblog

No tweet for you!

December 20, 2020, Miscellaneous
Last edited on December 21, 2020

Twitter restricted my new account lisp_mgr after not even five minutes. Guess I rather write here in my good old weblog then.

I thought the web was supposed to be decentralized so that each user can also be an author. The so called web 2.0 with its wikis and weblogs, later blogs, went a bit into that direction. But why is it these days reduced to just a few huge "community" web services?

Well, if you wondered why I got my old blog running again: This is the reason. Welcome to 2004!

Physical dimensions of ANSI Common Lisp

December 20, 2020, Lisp
Last edited on December 20, 2020

If you ever wondered what a unit of ANSI Common Lisp weights: It's 3.1 kg!

ANSI Common Lisp on a scale; click for a larger version (238 kB).

And duplex printed on ANSI(sic!) letter paper, it's a stack of 7 cm height.

Measuring the height of ANSI Common Lisp; click for a larger version (2908 kB).

Still beautiful:

Printout of ANSI INCITS 226-1994 (R2004) (formerly ANSI X3.226-1994 (R1999)); click for a larger version (3028 kB).

By the way, this is the "American National Standard for Information Technology – Programming Language Common Lisp", "ANSI INCITS 226-1994 (R2004) (formerly ANSI X3.226-1994 (R1999))", but more on the different revisions in a separate post.

I've got CLtL2 for years and use the Common Lisp HyperSpec for, puh, 16 years?, still I am surprised by the sheer volume and weight of this printed copy!

Next question: Where do I get a three 3-ring binder for US letter pages in Germany?

But what sort of science?

June 13, 2016, Literature

'Yes,' Mustapha Mond was saying, 'that's another item in the cost of stability. It isn't only art that's incompatible with happiness; it's also science. Science is dangerous; we have to keep it most carefully chaned and muzzled.'

'What?' said Helmholtz, in astonishment. 'But we're always saying that science is everything. It's a hypnopaedic platitude.'

'Three times a week between thirteen and seventeen,' put in Bernard.

'And all the science propaganda we do at the College…'

'Yes; but what sort of science?' asked Mustapha Mond sarcastically. 'You've had no scientific training, so you can't judge. I was a pretty good physicist in my time. Too good—good enough to realize that all our science is just a cookery book, with an orthodox theory of cooking that nobody's allowed to question, and a list of recipes that mustn't be added to except by special permission from the head cook. I'm the head cook now. But I was an inquisitive young scullion once. I started doing a bit of cooking on my own. Unorthodox cooking, illict cooking. A bit of real science in fact.' He was silent.

'What happened?' asked Helmholtz Watson.

The Controller sighed. 'Very nearly what's going to happen to you young men. I was on the point of being sent to an island.'

Aldous Huxley, Brave new world, 1932, p. 171.

The optimum population

June 13, 2016, Literature

'The optimum population,' said Mustapha Mond, 'is modelled on the iceberg—eight-ninth below the water line, one-ninth above.'

'And they're happy below the water line?'

'Happier than above it. Happier than your friends here, for example.' He pointed.

'In spite of that awful work?'

'Awful? They don't find it so. On the contrary, they like it. It's light, it's childishly simple. No strain on the mind or the muscles. Seven and a half hours of mild, unexhausting labour, and then the soma ration and games and unrestricted copulation and the feelies. What more can they ask for? True,' he added, 'they might ask for shorter hours. And of course we could give them shorter hours. Technically, it would be perfectly simple to reduce all lower-caste working hours to three or four a day. But would they be any the happier for that? No, they wouldn't. The experiment was tried, more than a century and a half ago. The whole of Ireland was put on to the four-hour day. What was the result? Unrest and a large increase in the consumption of soma; that was all. Those three and a half hours of extra leisure were so far from being a source of happiness, that people felt constrained to take a holiday from them. The Inventions Office is stuffed with plans for labour-saving processes. Thousands of them,' Mustapha Mond made a lavish gesture. 'And why don't we put them into execution? For the sake of the labourers; it would be sheer cruelty to afflict them with excessive leisure. It's the same with agriculture. We could synthesize every morsel of food, if we wanted to. But we don't We prefer to keep a third of the population on the land. For their own sake—because it takes longer to get food out of the land than out of a factory. Besides, we have our stability to think of. We don't want to change. Every change is a menace to stability. That's another reason why we're so chary of applying new inventions. Every discovery in pure science is potentially subversive; even science must sometimes be treated as a possible enemy. Yes, even science.'

Aldous Huxley, Brave new world, 1932, pp. 170–171.

Happiness is never grand

June 13, 2016, Literature
Last edited on June 13, 2016

'Actual happiness always looks pretty qualid in comparison with the over-compensation for misery. And, of course, stability isn't nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.'

Aldous Huxley, Brave new world, 1932, p. 168.


May 30, 2016, Literature
Last edited on May 30, 2016

Feeling lurks in that interval of time between desire and its consummation.

Aldous Huxley, Brave new world, 1932, p. 34.

Lose the world for a glance

May 27, 2016, Literature

Yet I had quite underestimated Orfeo, the opera most immaculately targeted at the griefstruck; and in the cinema the miraculous trickery of art happened again. Of course Orfeo would turn to look at the pleading Euridice – how could he not? Because, while 'no one in his senses' would do so, he is quite out of his senses with love and grief and hope. You lose the world for a glance? Of course you do. That is what the world is for: to lose under the right circumstances. How could anyone hold to their vow with Euridice's voice at their back?

Julian Barnes, Levels of Life, 2013, p. 93.

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