Joe Jordan

the geek of hearts

Tinker, Tailor, Whistle-blower, Spy

| Comments

John Kerry, and the US government in general, seem to be confused.

When someone is covertly passing State Secrets (details of defense systems, high value business transactions, etc) to another government or company, that’s spying. The information flow is very simple - it goes from one secret HQ to another, and the target isn’t supposed to know, at least initially. The information may then be announced to the world to embarrass the target, usually by the foreign government or company, or they may attack the target militarily using the information to their advantage; either way, the initial part of it, the bit where the information stayed secret, was the spying.

When the supposed spy overtly splatters your state secrets all over the international media, and when that evidence suggests a legitimate case that you broke the law, this is called whistle-blowing, not spying.

One syntax to rule them all

| Comments

Ladies and gentlemen, will someone please go and inform the people flamewarring heroically on the PHP threads, interrupt the Pythonistas from their academic seminars, and the Rubists from their investor meetings, let the C++ purists out of their caves (and let them breathe real air again): We Have Found It. The Winner. The Best Language Ever – they can stop arguing and go home. Who knew? Lisp was the answer all along.

The Post Partisan Agenda

| Comments

Modern politics should be better than the contradictory assumptions of the Democrats and Republicans, the shrill rhetoric of the British Left when Tories take office, or the riots over which people have lived on a particular slab of rock longer.

Having tried lots of political systems, economic strategies, and grand sweeping assumptions, humanity should have gathered enough data to conclude what “the answer” to politics is, or at the very least come up with a guiding theory. This post is a summary of what I think could be that theory - a summary of what we (maybe) know so far, or the start of a new scientific political discourse. Of course it’s not new, though, since political centrists have been doing this for centuries.

Bollywood: cheesy, cliched, unique

| Comments

To give you a reference point as what to expect when you watch your first Bollywood action film, imagine Mission Impossible, with songs. No, not background music, honest hero-stops-to-sing-and-dance-with-the-extras West-end musical songs. Now, add a rambling, almost unending storyline — a will-they-won’t-they epic, often with lengthy out-of-order tangent plots — that lasts at least two and a half hours, explosive pyrotechnic special effects, not forgetting the obligatory wet t-shirt scene. You now have an idea of what to expect, except you still aren’t ready for this much cheese in one serving.

How to be awesome

| Comments

I have spent some time reading about, and trying out, ‘go’ - the google systems language that’s supposed to take the union of solid static typing with the readability of dynamic scripting languages. However, I’ve found the task somewhat laborious. While I can happily read about examples, and indeed fiddle with them to change the results, and while this does lead to a limited understanding of some bits of the language, I can’t say I’m ready claim I “know go”.

Why The Hunger Games’ ending is disappointing (SPOILER ALERT)

| Comments

I’ve just figured out why the ending to the hunger games bugs me. Spoiler alert, obviously - please don’t read any further if you have read the books yet and ever intend to: this article will ruin them!

I got the “aha moment” from reading this article, which is a stream of tweets from Pixar’s Emma Coats about storytelling rules. (If you don’t think storytelling has rules, read this.) They’re gold, in general, but the one I’m interested in here is number 19:

#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

Sustainability: the lazy option

In software development, it is sometimes said that the lazy developer is the best developer. She knows when to code longer in order to reduce future work – making systems that fix themselves, at slightly larger initial cost, saves her time (and therefore money) in the long run. It also reduces “firefighting,” or sloppy fixes made in a rush when a system is noticed to be down at a critical time.

The Black Hat Defence

black hats

What is a black hat?

A black hat is an awkward kind of person. They’re the troll, the class clown, the devil’s advocate. Their job, whether self-appointed or not, is to critique, toy with and interrogate someone from an arbitrary, hostile point of view in order to test how well they understand their own views, actions and decisions.