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Not an April Fool

This can only be construed as an April Fool jape in the broadest sense, but I am reliably informed that Release 1.-94.-3 of the CLC-INTERCAL compiler (for the INTERCAL programming language) has escaped from captivity and can be downloaded here. If you want to get a flavour of the language without trying it, all you need to know is that INTERCAL is an acronym for "Computer Programming Language with No Readily Pronounceable Acronym".

If you want to know more, here's the Necronomicon reference manual.



Happy birthday, CLC-INTERCAL! 8 years old today and going strong. :-)


I am also reliably informed that a new version of C-INTERCAL (0.26) has also escaped today. You can find it right on the same place as CLC-INTERCAL.


Do they use INTERCAL at the Laundry? No wonder they always have so much trouble with monstrosities :-)


AAAARHGGH! That has to be the funniest reference manual I've ever read. I'm going to suggest to my boss we write our new commercial website using INTERCAL - that way we don't need to worry about industrial espionage or reverse-engineering since the source code is self-encrypting.


I'm afraid there are several programming languages more insane than Intercal. (My personal favourites are Unlambda, Befunge and Matisse, the latter being artistic as well!)

It's true that nobody has ever written a reference manual for any other pathological language that's anywhere near as good as INTERCAL's. (Plus, INTERCAL's operators have a reassuring social message, that mingling is good! But don't mingle with strangers for the black lagoon awaits.)


The acronym for these bodies, the 88 Largest Objects in the Solar System, in order of decreasing diameter, breaks down when names do not yet exist [*], but begins [Sun, Jupiter, Saturn, ...] =


This is hard to pronounce, although the substring: “CIMETEP��? is pronouncible for Callisto, Io, Moon, Europa, Triton, Eris, Pluto.

This is exactly the sort of thing about which Isaac Asimov used to write delightful essays.

Of course, I find part of the Periodic Table to be prouncible, sort of:

ScTiVCrMnFeCoNiCuZn is rendered as: Scatty Vickerman Feconey Cousin.

So, kids, start memorizing “SJSUNEVMGTMCIMETEP...��? because it WILL be on the final exam.


Nix, yes, those other programming languages are crazier that INTERCAL. But all of them grew from a kernel that is not insane, however mad the flowering. INTERCAL was designed from the bottom up for no other purpose than to shatter the fragile minds of programmers.


I defy anyone to explain the kernel of sanity from which Unlambda emerged and still not sound completely bugfuck mad him- or herself.

Try it. I double-dog dare you.


But but but... Unlambda is simply lambda calculus hidden behind some obfuscated syntax. It's not just a kernel of sanity, rather a thin veneer of insanity at the surface.



There is a great post on The Carpetbagger Report from a few days ago about the mainstream media's (specifically Time magazine's) ignoring the prosecutor purge scandal.

What explains the failure of the mainstream media to cover the purge scandal for so long, and so many other scandals? Do you think somebody just set up newspaper editors to cheat on their wives, and threatened to tell if the editors wouldn�t play ball when they come back some day and ask for something?

It wouldn�t be that hard to do, when you think about it. People wouldn�t talk about it.


I'm intrigued by this notion that the lambda calculus is sane. Please, tell me more.

[I'm mostly joking here, of course. But not completely. If you'd had the week I've had, you'd be a little jumpy about what people around you regard as "sane" too. It is really not clear to me that any sort of mathematical knowledge is regarded as "sane" by the people I encounter on regular basis.]


For the authors among us :-) , there's "". I do like Brainfuck "", too. But when "bash" is a serious language

function fileext { shopt -s extglob echo "${1##"${1%.+([^./])*(.)}"?(.)}" }

(from my .profile) the bar is pretty high ...

By the way, I've been meaning to ask ...

(SPOILER WARNING for MissileGap_)

In MissileGap_, near the beginning, the Milky Way is below the horizon; but further through, it's visible. So does that mean the disc is spinning like a flipped coin? That would lead to a sideways component to gravity. A calculation showed me that it could spin with a period of about 30 days, with gravity being 5% sideways at 1AU from the centre (at 2 opposite points). And more as you go further out.

Is this intentional? I was kinda guessing that something like that wouldn't need to rotate.

And, creepy story! AtrocityArchive_ still makes me queasy inside when I think of it. "They did it to themselves"! Brrr-rr!! This has some of that to it.

Looking forward to HaltingState_ and Merchants'War_ ...

... J


Out of this topic, but I see no way to leave here a message other then write a comment to some blog post...

...and I think I find something, that will enjoy Charles and other people here. :) The picture that looks like a pretty illustration to some "Singularity Sky" characters

The text on the picture is, in transcription "Gorzhus Rossiej" (on top) "540 let voenno-kosmicheskomu flotu" (at bottom), in translation "Proud for Russia" - "540 years of space Navy".

(actually this is an illustration to the novel of Russian SF author Zorich)

P.S. Sorry for any misgrammar, English is not my native language...


Like #14 this is also out of this topic. Here's a link to the Rudy Rucker lecture that he'll be giving in Amsterdam tonight. Considering just how much Rudy has claimed to be influenced by Charles in his recent novels I thought that it might be of interest.


From the Rucker link:

"... Why are we distributing bit-built music files? Why not have a music player that just holds links? Why not have the one platonic music file for each song and let people link into it with a micropayment structure? This was Ted Nelson’s Xanadu dream back when I was working with him at Autodesk in the 1990s...."

This remnds me that Rudy's worked with Ted Nelson, building on the infrastructure I implemented for Xanadu in 1975-78 and demo'd at the world's first Personal Computer Con. Somewhere in there Rudy and I would meet at venues suuch as the first Artificial Life conferences.

Rudy Rucker is one of the 3 leading Mathematician Science Fiction authors (along with Greg Egan, whose novel "Incandescence" is due in 2008, a story in its universe "Riding the Crocodile" is online at Egan's site), Vernor Vinge, and Ian Stewart. I'm stuck in 4th place.

Rudy Rucker's CS credentials are gnarly. So he's some sort of virtual uncle to the Stross-Doctorow axis on one side of the family, with the Gibson-Sterling axis on another side of the family, and the Lovecraft-Ian Fleming axis on the 3rd side.

This IS the Golden Age of Science Fiction!



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on April 1, 2007 5:41 PM.

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