Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Falsehoods programmers believe

I hope you don't think this is for your benefit, cats and kittens.  I just want to be able to find it again.

I'm in love with these lists of "Falsehoods Programmers Believe About X." In case you haven't had pleasure, I've collected all the ones I know of here. If I missed any, let me know!

Falsehoods programmers believe about names

  • People's names do not change
  • People’s names have an order to them
  • My system will never have to deal with names from China
  • I can safely assume that this dictionary of bad words contains no people’s names in it
  • People have names

Falsehoods programmers believe about time

  • The time zone in which a program has to run will never change
  • The system clock will never be set to a time that is in the distant past or the far future
  • One minute on the system clock has exactly the same duration as one minute on any other clock
  • A time stamp of sufficient precision can safely be considered unique
  • The duration of one minute on the system clock would never be more than an hour

More falsehoods programmers believe about time

  • The local time offset (from UTC) will not change during office hours.
  • My software is only used internally/locally, so I don’t have to worry about timezones
  • I can easily maintain a timezone list myself
  • Time passes at the same speed on top of a mountain and at the bottom of a valley
And there's more, future self. The whole thing here.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

War has not broken out

You may disagree with me: you may see some thread of sensible presidential policy presentation in Trump's speeches. I'll leave that up to you in the privacy of the voting booth (this is Language Log, not Presidential Election Voting Advice Log). But don't imagine that my horror at the incoherent political ranting of this coarse, repellent, insulting, xenophobic, muskrat-coiffed, narcissistic property developer has to entail disagreement with my friend Mark Liberman about the characteristic features of spontaneous, unplanned monologue, because it doesn't.

Geoff Pullum on the incomparable Language Log, which is, needless to say, still bringing joy into our humdrum little lives after all these years. (No, Geoff, no, Mark, your hard work ain't been in vain for nothing.)


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

a leopard?

My train from Vermont was late on Saturday, so I arrived at National Sawdust late and dripping with sweat.  Everyone was very nice about it, and Timo Andres sublimely unperturbed.

Afterwards some of us went off somewhere for drinks.  Timo, Ronen and I snag a booth and talk about music, films, books.  At some point I start talking about how much I like silliness, which the British do better in books.  But Americans are good at silly films, I say - look at Bringing Up Baby!

Timo has never seen it.  Ronen might have seen it, or perhaps has a distant memory of possibly seeing it back in the dawn of time.

Moi: Bringing Up Baby? Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn?

TA shakes his head (a good move, since the place is very loud).

I realize that, to someone unfamiliar with the film, the name may be offputting.

Baby is a leopard, I explain.

A what?  says Timo. (As I say, the place is very loud.)

A leopard!  I say more loudly, but still not loudly enough.   A LEOPARD!  A big cat!

You mean-- like a cheetah?

YES!  EXACTLY!  BIG CAT WITH SPOTS!

This naturally does not convey the full glorious silliness of the film, but presumably dispels hideous visions of supposedly amusing domestic incidents involving an infant.  And does at least make me feel briefly like Katherine Hepburn announcing the arrival of Baby.

Reminder! Launch party tonight in Brooklyn!

Tuesday August 2 7:00 pm
Reading, book signing, PARTY!!!

Community Bookstore
143 7th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

THE LAST SAMURAI : Events

For those in or near New York, the following events have been planned to mark the reissue of The Last Samurai:

Saturday July 30 7:30 pm

Helen DeWitt and Timo Andres,
THE LAST SAMURAI, an evening of music and reading
Tickets $20

National Sawdust
80 N 6th Street
Brooklyn, NY
11249


Sunday July 31 5pm and 9pm

Screenings of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai with brief introduction by Helen DeWitt,
book signing after 5pm showing

The Metrograph
6 Ludlow Street
New York, NY


Tuesday August 2 7:00 pm
Reading, book signing, PARTY!!!

Community Bookstore
143 7th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Hope to see you if you're in town!

I will also be visiting various bookstores to sign copies of the new edition of The Last Samurai; the schedule is roughly as follows:

Monday August 1, NYC

2 pm -- Posman's Books, Chelsea Market
2: 30 pm -- 192 Books
3 pm -- The Strand
3:30 pm -- Three Lives 
4 pm -- McNally Jackson 

Tuesday August 2,  Brooklyn 
Afternoon -- Greenlight Bookstore
6 pm -- Community Bookstore (see above) 

If any other bookstores feel they have been overlooked and would like me to drop by, please contact the New Directions publicist, Mieke Chew (mchew@ndbooks.com).

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Interview with Ilana Teitelbaum on HuffPo

The Last Samurai did have a somewhat storm-tossed passage to publication.  It's possible if the Internet had flourished in something like its current form things would have gone better.  Back in the day, if Tina Brown was tight with Hillary Clinton, a party for Clinton's New York Senate victory could bump the launch party for the book back to a point when the author was no longer capable of public appearances.  Publicity involved dragging the authorial body here and there so that sentences could emerge from the authorial mouth.  And the events had to be set up by a publicist competing for scarce public space.  So if the author cracked up after the oft-deferred launch party and disappeared, if the publicist was in a miff, people who were excited about the book couldn't set up more congenial ways to talk about it. Couldn't unilaterally find venues independent of the whims of the publicist.

Anyhoo, the whole thing here.