One of the more obscure languages I've had reason to program in (indeed, have taken a course in) is Erlang. Erlang is a declarative real-time language, which owes much to Prolog and ML. It was originally developed in the 1980s as a more modern replacement for PLEX, but it never managed to topple the huge installed PLEX codebase, so Ericsson telephone exchanges are still programmed in PLEX, albeit a somewhat more developed and modernised version. On the other hand, Erlang is also still a living language with new releases coming out every few months.

Anyway, I was sent this old demo video, where Bjarne Däcker & Co show off the features of the new language. It's a marvellous document of its time, so if you were involved in CS research twenty years ago, watch and get nostalgic!


Lack of characteristics

My lack of personality is pervasive, I did the gender test at Transtukipiste and was deemed gender neutral.

Olet sukupuolineutraali eli sukupuolisesti sitoutumaton. Et pidä meteliä sukupuolesta, etkä tuo omaa sukupuoltasi mitenkään erityisesti esille. Persoonaasi ei hallitse eikä määritä vahvasti sen enempää mieheys kuin naiseuskaan Sukupuoleen liittyvässä itseilmaisussa olet melko pidättyväinen - jopa sukupuolipihtailija. Tiedostat sukupuolijärjestelmän olemassaolon ja otat siihen mielellään etäisyyttä ja toimit yksilöllisesti, etkä sukupuolimäärittyneesti. Et aina ymmärrä, miksi monet muut ihmiset pitävät sukupuolesta niin kovasti meteliä ja antavat sukupuolensa ohjailla toimintaansa.

Olet hyvin vahvasti sitoutumaton kumpaankaan sukupuoleen- jopa sukupuolipakoilija.


Bitch-slapping with precision

Sigma-6 is a blog that unfortunately has not been updated for a while, yet contains a lot of worthwhile reading, including this long and detailed history of tanks and anti-tank weapons, all for the purpose of demonstrating conclusively why the stated reasons for the invasion of Iraq were drivel.


Mad scientist par excellence

It is my great pleasure to have known Anders Sandberg for many years and all through this time he has always been been coming up with weird and interesting ideas. Of course he has a blog, and among his recent work is a study on the evolution of zombie populations.


”…medan stan av morronsolen fick rosa färg”

The company moved and once again I can walk to work.



In Roger MacBride Allen's short story “Phreak Encounter” aliens run a bulletin board system in order to figure out what humans think is important. Of course, in the mid-1980s, the people frequenting BBSs were not a representative sample of the world's population, so the question was what impression the aliens would get of humans.

Today, the people on web fora, blogs etc are still not a representative sample of the world's population, but perhaps a bit closer to it. We are also seeing the putting online of all human knowledge, something that has been foreseen since at least the 1950s. But, Wikipedia is not Multivac. The cold, objective truths, entered by serious men in white lab coats are not there, instead there are disputed statements, discussed, constantly edited and perhaps not always true.

There has been considerable debate and criticism of the Wikipedia project, primarily centred on the question of whether the information is trustworthy. There is of course much to be said on that, but the thing I think is interesting with Wikipedia is precisely its property of being an encyclopedia of the things the readers think are interesting. Thus we find lots of information that probably never would have found its way into any printed encyclopedia, such as entries on Yeovil Junction railway station, frameservers and Tetraiodothyronine 5'-deiodinase.