297: Lisp Cycles

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Lisp Cycles
I've just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the MIT computer science program permamently.
Title text: I've just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the MIT computer science program permamently.


Lisp is one of the oldest high level programming language. It was ahead of its times. It never got enough traction and is not widely used. But it is considered to be a very powerful language. Quotes on Lisp shows that several big names of computer science field hold Lisp in very high esteem. Eric S. Raymond goes as far as to say

Lisp is worth learning for the profound enlightenment experience you will have when you finally get it; that experience will make you a better programmer for the rest of your days, even if you never actually use Lisp itself a lot.

Lisp is also famous for its use of fully parenthesized Polish prefix notation.

In the first panel of the comic, guy praises Lisp. Though it's an old language but no other language can still match the awe that it strikes. In the second panel, guy wonders that new programmers will continue learning the List art that will make them a better programmer.

Third panel is the reference to the Star Wars: A New Hope. Obi Wan Kenobi said these lines when he gave lightsaber to Luke Skywalker.

Your father's lightsaber. This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as random or as clumsy as a blaster; an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.

The title text is also a reference to Star War lines

The Imperial Senate will no longer be of any concern to us. I've just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.


[Guy sitting at computer. Girl listening]
Guy: Lisp is over half a century old and it still has this perfect, timeless air about it.
Guy: I wonder if the cycles will continue forever.
Guy: A few coders from each new generation rediscovering the Lisp arts.
[Man in Jedi robes carrying an armload of parentheses, speaking to Guy]
Jedi: These are your father's parentheses. Elegant weapons. For a more... civilized age.

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Soon, I shall be one of those new coders. I shall be learning (Racket) Scheme, actually. Greyson (talk) 16:10, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

Georgia Tech's College of Computing did away with Lisp and Smalltalk as of 1999 or 2000. It is now C, or some version thereof, all the way down. This change has its own perils! (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I am a little saddened that this comment section doesn't have at least a few Star Wars quotes with coding/programming references mixed in. -Pennpenn 05:21, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

Do or do not. If except NameError:, then var = 0. Papayaman1000 (talk) 13:09, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

Let's go back to 1986 and learn Scheme in Lecture 1A | MIT 6.001 Structure and Interpretation, 1986! Alex Vong 03:36, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

(after I read title-text) Noooo! That's impossible!!! 21:33, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

The stack of parenthesis looks like the ASCII art version of a lightsaber blade. - Fox 06:50, 9 October 2018 (UTC)