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Latin 90 (David Rabson)
(original, smirk, computers)

Professor Kard has been at the university for as long as anyone can
remember, going back indeed to when everyone in the department spoke
Latin on a daily basis.  It is Kard's unshakable belief that things
have gone down-hill ever since.  "1H ,30HSMALL LETTERS ARE A
NEOLOGISM," he always Hollers in faculty meetings, pointing out that
classical writers couldn't possibly have used them.  In our
department, you can't say that the rules aren't carved in stone, as
it is in stone that Kard did his best work thirty-five years ago,
continues to do his work, and intends to go on doing his work.

The academic journals have grown in the last thirty-five years.
While it is hard to believe, Kard used to carve out his fluid-
dynamics calculations on tiny 4-kilobyte stone tablets.  Now he
thinks nothing of allocating half a gigabyte (statically, since
that's the only way he knows how), but he still does everything in
Latin.  Latin, in case you think I'm prejudiced, is a fine language
for talking about gladiators and chariots and even for discussing
Spinoza, but it stretches the vocabulary to solve differential
equations in it, let alone write operating systems or look at
chaotic trajectories.  Kard's papers are unreadable by anyone else.

Things got a little better around 1977, when a few (then) junior
professors bullied him into structuring his DO loops and adding a
few modern words.  His code, however, still looked like Latin.

Just the other day, Kard met me in the hallway (ave!) and started
talking excitedly (forgive the free translation).  "I'm finally
going to get the rest of you to go back to talking Latin," he said.
"How's that, Kard?" "I've thought about your objections, about the
missing vocabulary and syntax" -- a few of us had recently been
pestering him over structures and classes, although at the time none
of it seemed to be sinking in, except to elicit the occasional
comment about how anything worth doing could be done in the ablative
-- "and I think I can meet your objections, on your own terms.

"While strictly speaking it has no classical precedent, I've spent
the last ten months building on the language, adding four new cases,
five tenses, six conjugations, three-hundred-sixty new verbs, and
1144 new nouns.  The grammar book, alas, no longer fits in the
pocket, but at least you and the rest can stop complaining about the
lack of flexibility.  I call the modified language 'Latin-90'."

He was true to his word.  Latin-90 had all the structure and object
orientation a writer could ask for.  It accepted lower case letters
(translating them internally to upper case), allowed for recursive
argumentation, and discarded any special meaning column 72 might
once have had.  Julius Caesar wouldn't have been able to distinguish
it from Gallic.

To the rest of us, unfortunately, it still looks like Latin.  It
doesn't help that Kard has yet to produce a working set of chisels
for it, and that the only papers written in Latin-90 still sit in
Kard's brain.  At least he put Holleramus constants to rest and no
longer requires six spaces before each genitive.  He'll probably be
able to get some better work done in Latin-90, if he ever implements
it.  In the meantime, I shall continue to write in the vernacular.

(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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