Understanding the Y-Combinator with Racket

Understanding the Y-Combinator seems to be one of the functional programming right-of-passage things, and for good reason, it is fun. Not all of the articles out there spoke to me, so I took notes while coding it up in a way that I understood it.
My notes are attached in the form of a Scribble here How the Y Works, viewable here, and the source code version here y.
It is Racket, but it is really close to Scheme and if you wrote a couple of macros it would probably run on Clojure pretty easily.
The goal is for there to be no gaps in the code, it should be pretty obvious how each step was taken. Hand-coding it made it clear what was happening. This is what worked for me :).

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) is one of the most ambitious and influential surveys in the history of astronomy. Over eight years of operations (SDSS-I, 2000-2005; SDSS-II, 2005-2008), it obtained deep, multi-color images covering more than a quarter of the sky and created 3-dimensional maps containing more than 930,000 galaxies and more than 120,000 quasars.

It is hard not to dream about exploring space when you see what Sloan has to offer.

EiffelStudio: A Contract for Success

A while back Eiffel Software (formerly ISE) held a contest to come up with a slogan for one of their products, EiffelStudio.
I submitted:

EiffelStudio: A Contract for Success

— Grant Rettke
And won!
They gave me a one-year license for EiffelStudio in return for signing away the slogan.
It was worth it… it is a great language!

A Philosophy of Cool for Non-Living Things

Cool can come from what a [thing] is or what it does. But at the core, Cool is about purity of expression, of material objects being infused with human energy, creativity and insight to make them more than just the sum of their parts.

— Mark Hoyer, WHAT IS COOL?, Cycle World 2/2010
I love Mark’s take on cool; from motorcycles to programming languages, it still makes sense. It makes me think about how great it is to be alive, living, in the present. It is a gift.