Variables Aren’t

Functional programming – what is it? Wikipedia’s got the goods: In computer science, functional programming is a programming paradigm – a style of building the structure and elements of computer programs – that treats computation as the evaluation of mathematical functions and avoids changing-state and mutable data. "Avoids mutable data." That’s the one that always…

The UK Election Result is Actually an Opportunity

One and a half things to say about the UK general election. First, it’s hillarious watching everyone scratch their heads about how wrong the polls got it. This is silly for a number of reasons. Polls in the UK are usually wrong, because there aren’t really enough polls taken to pull Nate Silver’s magic trick…

Blakes 7 – Seek-Locate-Destroy (Review)

The only interesting thing about Seek-Locate-Destory is its title. There was a lot of seeking, and also some locating, but comparatively little destroying. In some ways, actually, the opposite of destroying. Blake deliberately doesn’t kill Travis, for example, even though he has the opportunity. Blake’s explosive charges fail to do enough damage to cover up…

Obergefell Might be an Equal Protection Case After All

I read the oral arguments, and I read the general media opinion that Obergefell v. Hodges is too close to call. But I think Dale Carpenter has it right that, pace almost every other commenter, we can make a good guess right now that Obergefell will end up requiring all states to recognize same sex…

Blakes 7 – The Web (Review)

The Web is an odd little episode. We haven’t quite settled down into the funk of middle Season One yet, but major characters are already being sidelined. It has a decidedly creepy atmosphere that is seriously undercut by the fact that the special effects need to be at least passable to make it work, and…

Blakes 7 – Time Squad (Review)

Time Squad is a masterpiece of establishing characterization, overlooked as one of the gems of the Blakes 7 canon. It is the episode where the show finally establishes its (not-so-)stable regular lineup of 7 – if you count "that machine" – and moves from the three setup episodes (The Way Back, Space Fall and Cygnus…

STTNG – Mind’s Eye (Review)

Once upon a time, Star Trek tried to do an homage to Rashomon, and the results were not great, but they were better than the writers are generally given credit for. It wasn’t a very good Rashomon, but then Rashomon isn’t a very good Star Trek either, and so leaving aside the question of whether…

Welfare State Triptych

Back when Will Wilkinson still found it convenient for people to think of him as a libertarian, Todd Seavey, perhaps sensing that the Dark Side was strong in that one, noted that his "shtick" was "arguing that libertarians ought to accept elements of the welfare state". Wilkinson surprised a lot of people when he eventually…

The Minimum Wage Distraction

Via a link in a comment on one of Noah’s Facebook posts, I came across this very stupid article on the Minimum Wage by Kevin Drum. Not that it’s being stupid distinguishes it from most articles one reads about the minimum wage. As political issues go, minimum wage laws are among the most pointless to…