Ben Crowder /blog

#learning

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Confession: I’ve recently taken up the habit of studying textbooks for fun. (Well, for knowledge and enlightenment, but it also happens to be fun.) While I work at a library and have access to a considerate number of textbooks there, for now I’m sticking with open educational resources, the better to see where things are at in 2019.

For the first round, I chose economics and criminal law, since my knowledge of both is meager at best. Via the Open Textbook Library, I found Economics: Theory Through Applications and UMN’s criminal law textbook.

I’ve been working through both books at a moderate pace, and so far, they’re good. It’s slower going than regular nonfiction, of course, but studying topics methodically like this is something I’ve missed. (Outside of my CS coursework for my master’s, that is.)

Also, thanks to a reference in the criminal law textbook, I’m now also reading Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. While it too is slower going (it was published in 1765), it’s surprisingly readable, and learning about England’s common law of yore is a delight.

Learning Haskell, day 1

I’ve missed learning new programming languages, so I’m now teaching myself Haskell for fun. I’ll post my progress as I go along.

Initial impressions based off what I know at this point: Haskell is very functional. The code looks different to my imperative-language eyes, though I’m intrigued by how short Haskell code often seems to be. Oh, and there are monads, though right now I have no idea what those are.

I’m excited to delve deeper into a pure functional language — I’ve done some limited functional programming in Python, and I have a cursory knowledge of Lisp, but I haven’t written anything real in a functional language before. (And I do plan to write a real project in Haskell. Not sure what it’ll be yet.)

At this point, I’ve installed the Haskell Platform (I would have done it via Homebrew but it looks like there are issues with the recipe), and I’m planning to work through Learn You a Haskell for Great Good! and possibly Write Yourself a Scheme in 48 Hours.