LoLClojure – Land of Lisp In Clojure

I read Conrad Barski’s excellent book Land of Lisp a couple of years ago, and worked through all the examples using CLisp, but I thought it might be fun to go through it again, but use Clojure instead. Other people have done it already, but what’s one more, eh?

As I work through the book, I will be putting all the code on Github at

So, the first example is for a program to guess a number you are thinking of. In Lisp, defparameter allows you to rebind values, but Clojure’s def is immutable. Using a ref gets around this, though it is a bit clunky (since refs are intended for multi-threaded access.) The code is not great, and you wouldn’t write a Clojure program like this (or a Lisp program, really); it’s just to get the discussion moving. Better code is coming.

Anyway, here’s the number-guessing program in non-idiomatic Clojure. To run it, load it into a REPL, then execute (guess-my-number). If you are so enraptured with the game that you want to play it again, execute (start-over) and then (guess-my-number).

(ns lolclojure.guess)

;; Using refs for these is overkill, but the original
;; used mutable global variables.
(def small (ref 1))
(def big (ref 100))

(defn guess-my-number
  "This is, effectively, a binary search between the two extremes."
  (Math/round (Math/floor (double (/ (+ @small @big) 2)))))

(defn smaller
  "The guess was too high, so lower it."
   (ref-set big (dec (guess-my-number)))))

(defn bigger
  "The guess was too low, so raise it."
   (ref-set small (inc (guess-my-number)))))

(defn start-over
  "Reset everything and prepare to start over."
   (ref-set small 1)
   (ref-set big 100)))

Now I Know: Aces High

From today’s edition of the Now I Know newsletter, this bit of interesting stuff:

In ordinal rank, the ace in a deck of playing cards is lower than the two — it’s the one, after all. But in most card games, the ace plays as the high card, trumping the King. Why? According to Wikipedia, this use became popular after the French Revolution, with the ace symbolizing the rise of the commoner over the monarchy.

Are You a Southeast Uker?

Do you play the ukulele? Have you always wanted to? Do you live in or near Atlanta, GA? The Southeast Ukers are a group of ukulele players who get together twice a month to play and sing together. We meet at the Waikikie Hawaiian BBQ restaurant on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been playing for 20 years, 20 minutes, or just played air uke in the shower, we would love for you to join us.

For more details, check out our group

The Southeast Ukers


I Just Voted For Obama

I just voted to kill babies, bankrupt our grandchildren, turn “the greatest healtcare system in the world” into a giant socialst death panel, outlaw the saying of “Merry Christmas,” institute Sharia Law, implement the “Gay Agenda,” and burn the Constitution while dressed as Thomas Jefferson in drag. Or something like that.