Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Programming Language Nitpick

Many computer languages sport built-in keywords for logical truth values: .TRUE. and .FALSE. or true and false or whatnot. In every such language I'm aware of, these are used in comparisons: you have a logical expression and you are comparing it to the value TRUE.

The problem is that the English words "true" and "false" are adjectives, not nouns: the semantics of a comparison are that you are taking one thing and comparing it to another thing, but "true" isn't a thing, it's a description of a thing. (This is why an expression like "if (true == a)" looks backwards, despite being perfectly legal.)

Boolean keywords should be named "truth" and "falsehood" to more accurately convey their usage.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Green Teez Nutz

I love Thomas Friedman's green tea party suggestion, which reminds me of Gregg Easterbrook's prediction that Dubya would fix global warming. How do people who follow politics for a living manage to be completely oblivious to what Republicans actually believe?