Subject: Re: LISP for Windows
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1998/12/12
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Guilhem de WAILLY <>
| Really, We do not think that a language is powerful because it hashundred
| of specification pages.  See the lambda-calculus theory: Three lines of
| grammar can describe every thing that modern languages can describe.

  there was this group of men who had grown up together and went to school
  together and worked together for their whole life, and now they had been
  placed in a home for the elderly together.  they knew each other so well
  they had decided to number their stories instead of just retelling them
  over and over, which had gotten to be quite tedious.  so they were
  sitting in the living room of this place and telling stories.  "342!",
  said one, and all of them laughed.  "916!", said another, and they
  snickered and looked at one of them who didn't smile at all.  "426!", he
  retorted, and they all laughed out aloud.  another elderly gentleman
  enters the living room and he overhears one of them say "720!".  he
  bursts out laughing, much to the surprise of the other guys.  "what are
  _you_ laughing at?", one asked, almost scornfully.  "it wasn't _that_
  funny!"  "oh, I'm sorry," said the intruder humbly, "it's just that I
  hadn't heard that one before."

  seriously, I have three great sources on Lambda Calculus, all by H. P.
  Barendregt.  one is his seminal work, The Lambda Calculus, Its Syntax and
  Semantics¹, a 622-page book.  another is his chapter on Lambda Calculi
  with Types in the amazingly compact Handbook of Logic in Computer
  Science², a 193-page condensed exposition.  (it ends with a sentence that
  had me laughing real hard when I first encountered it: "Glancing over the
  next few pages, the attentive reader that has worked through the proofs
  in this subsection may experience a free association of the whirling
  details."  the following pages (296-298) are absolutely hilarious.)  the
  third is a 12-page section in his article on Functional Languages and the
  Lambda Calculus in the truly fantastic work Handbook of Theoretical
  Computer Science³.  I'd argue that these decrease in complexity in the
  order I listed them, but now only three lines, huh?

  I'm reminded of one guy who seriously believes that all of Ayn Rand's
  works can be expressed as "A is A", too.  you all know that's Aristotle.

¹ ISBN 0-444-87508-5
² ISBN 0-19-853761-1 for volume 2
² ISBN 0-262-22040-7 for the two-volume set
  man who cooks while hacking eats food that has died twice.