The Ides of March 
2007.03.15 12:46 - Miscellanea, News and Politics
Wokka, wokka, wokka.

Man, I should really post something.

Maybe some news about the dietary habits of Indian bovines. (Link stolen from

Or ... Actually, I got nothing else.
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Language Griping 
2007.02.26 14:04 - Work-related
I was hired into a Java-programming position last May which, almost immediately (and well before I got to do any Java programming) became a .Net programming job. This is mostly okay. .Net is likely to be more saleable down the road, and it's a vast improvement over MFC in most regards. Still, I find myself pining for Java, now and then. (Also for Scheme, but that's not a problem specific to C#.)

C# is, mostly, a nice language. And it does have some nice features that Java really, really ought to have had ages ago. However, I sometimes run into a feature of the language that just gives me screaming fits.0 The one that's most often the bane of my existence is the lack of a throws clause on function declarations. I think I have a fair idea why they did this1, but it's really a major pain. Exception-safe code is a non-trivial enterprise when you know where your exceptions can come from. In C#, exceptions can, basically, be thrown anywhere, at any time (as far as you know). Granted, you're not going to be able to do much about the ones that really can be thrown anywhere, but there's also no way to guaratee that an object implementing an interface will actually behave the way you expect, because an important part of the contract is missing.

And documentation is no substitute, really. Although lots can be done to prevent docs from getting out of date with respect to the source code, there's no guarantee that everything will be documented, or documented correctly.

In any case, contract programming is, really, a no-go. The contract can change and you won't know until the application blows up messily. (In Java, you know at build that something's gone awry.)

0. Not actually. Well, there's no screaming involved. It's usually pretty irritating, though.
1. It allows derived interfaces to throw exceptions not specified above them in the class hierarchy. This allows for more generic interfaces. At least, I think that's the reason.2
2. It's probably also the case that they felt like too many Java programs just threw try { [...] } catch (Exception e) {} blocks in to avoid exception handling entirely. I would submit that making exception handling more difficult is probably not the solution. In practice, I think the C# solution probably encourages more of that, because you no longer have the same degree of certainty about thrown exceptions.

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You'll probably hear about this before the day is out 
2007.02.26 11:02 - News and Politics, Philosophy and Religion
At least, if it's of any significance, anyway.

James Cameron is holding a press conference0 wherein he intends to present claims that a handful of bodies found in a family crypt in Jerusalem in 1980 actually belonged to Jesus of Nazareth; his mother, Mary; his wife, Mary Magdalene; and his son, Judah (amongst others, presumably).

He claims to have DNA evidence to support these claims, but I don't see how that can do anything other than verify that the bodies were related (which is stated by the inscriptions in the tomb, after all). At least, I'm not aware of too many free-floating bits of DNA that can be tied back to any of those figures.


0. Don't read the comments. It's really not worth the IQ points you'll lose.

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I guess I'm going to see a movie this weekend. 
2007.02.20 13:37 - Entertainment, Movies
Apparently, my sister will be home soon, and wishes to go see "Ghost Rider," which is not getting great reviews. (I do have some sympathy with the reviewer from E! Online who offers this: "Seriously, people, if you're going to go see a movie you know is about a biker with a flaming skull and magic chains, you forfeit the right to complain about how the plot isn't logical or realistic." Fair enough.)

That said, it seems that "Pan's Labyrinth" is playing at a theater between home and the office, and I figure that I am somehow obliged to go see that at some point.0

Email's open for comments, if you'd like to offer them on either film, and I think I'll see about re-enabling comments this evening, so you can rant/rave as appropriate.

0. I actually enjoyed "Hellboy" in the theater, enough that I bought a copy of it later, and I'm pretty excited about "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army". All the same, "Hellboy" was not a good movie, however much I enjoy the comics on which it was based. At the moment, I just can't decide if I am owed a good movie by this director, or if I owe a good director the opportunity to show me a good movie in return for showing me one that I really wanted. One or the other, I guess.

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Haikus, off-the-cuff and probably half-baked 
2007.02.05 22:51 - Entertainment, Bad Poetry Corner

Darkling wintersnight:
below, a graveyard silence;
o'erhead, the moon.


And another:

In springtime ever,
she waits: laughing, happy, hale.
I, in winter, strive.


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