SFPC: Day 51 - Radical Computer Science: Compilers, SFPC Salon

Make-up class for Ramsey’s Radical Computer Science class today. Our sixth of eight classes with Ramsey. We talked about building a parser using Javascript.

Ramsey's class

Rain Today

Ramsey's Class

Was a little lost this class since I’d missed Ramsey’s previous class due to having to finish some freelance work. I appreciated him taking the time to walk through the code with me after class so that I’d be able to do the homework due this Friday.

In class, and afterwards, we talked about creating a parser in Mal. I don’t completely understand it, but basically we’re building the nuts and bolts of our own programming language. More specifically, a Lisp which is a family of computer programming languages.

Basically, we get to create our own rules for what-means-what in each of our own programming languages. Heady stuff, but very, very interesting with regards to thinking about semantics, logic, and textual meaning.

Ramsey was really nice to sit down with me and go through the material after class ended. He answered all of my questions and allowed exploration of any tangent or aside, always coming back to the material at hand. By the end of it, I had a pretty good learning buzz and was ready for lunch!

SFPC Salon

At around 5pm, we began to set up the space for the SFPC salon scheduled that night at 7pm. Four speakers were scheduled: Georgia Lupi, Leona, Amit Pitaru, and Jürg Lehni(huge fan of his work with X-Y drawing plotters).

I helped Robbie and Taeyoon set up the space, putting away beer and sweeping, and then Taeyoon rallied a bunch of us to carry up chairs from the dusty and spacious basement below our space.

It was raining steadily. At around 630pm the crowd started to pour in. Lots of warm hellos, smiling, reminiscing. SFPC draws a kind, cool, friendly crowd. I wasn’t feeling especially social but I was glad to see some friends and a have a couple of chats(and beers) before the event started. Robbie had tasked me with taking pictures of the event. I was glad to because that meant I didn’t have to talk to people unless I wanted to and that I was free to move around during the talks.

Ramsey's class

I’ll tell the rest of the evening in pictures.

Zach and Taeyoon introducing the speakers

Ramsey's class

We did a “get to know your neighbor” exercise

Ramsey's class

Georgina Lupi started the night with a talk about her work and “design-driven data”.

Georgina Lupi

Amit gave a version of his Eyeo talk, addressing how and where art production might meet user experience(UX)

Amit Pitaru

Next, we had Leona (last name), who is a blind artist, writer, and performer. She gave a reading from her play, …, which is about Helen Keller’s time in vaudeville. I’ll never think about “Yes, We Have No Bananas” the same.


Jürg Lehni finished the night with a talk about his automated wall-drawing machines. All of the speakers were great but I was especially glad to hear Jürg speak. I’ve been a fan of his work for a while.


For Lunch:

Beef stew. Good on a rainy day.

For Dinner:

Honey Nut Cheerios.

Dropbox Paper notes

Class audio

Written on November 30, 2016