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Jan 12, 2012                   

Varia: Smalltalk, Squeak, X-Rx, Christian loving awareness

"Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."

As before, I am still not feeling well, what with ME/CFS, but I have some varia items related to several things I wrote before, about programming and about ME/CFS:

1. Smalltalk: Squeak, Amber, Lively
2. New site dr. Deckoff-Jones
3. "She is an ugly, destructive person."

1. Smalltalk: Squeak, Amber, Lively

I wrote rather a lot about Smalltalk, which is a programming language + environment that I discovered 11 years ago, in the form of Squeak, which is an implementation of it by the original developers of Smalltalk, started in 1995.

Smalltalk itself is a nice and beautiful programming language, that was originated in the late sixties and early seventies by Alan Kay, Dan Ingalls and some others at Xerox, and was one of the first and most thorough and fargoing object-oriented programming languages.

It inspired rather a lot of other object-oriented languages, including C++, Self and Javascript (in each case it was not the only influence or inspiration) and is itself special in making (almost) everything in the language and the environment an object, incidentally a concept that is not very easy to get and in being the first environment with a graphical environment with overlapping windows, in the nineteenseventies, which idea was eventually picked up by Steve Jobs, who made a fortune with it.

I have myself concluded that Smalltalk and Squeak are flawed by their design depending on a virtual machine with 'images', which initially, until operating systems became graphical, provided the graphical environment and the windows that made Smalltalk so special, but since then have stood in the way of using the graphical environments of the graphically more powerful operating systems developed since.

This I will not explain or discuss here - the links in the previous paragraph do so - but I still follow Smalltalk and Squeak, and indeed use Squeak regularly for various things, simply because the programming language is very nice, and the environment, even if not as capable as what can be derived from Windows, Apple or Linux as they are now, quite powerful.

In case you're interested, here is some news relating to Smalltalk - where Smalltalk is the original programming language, that got implemented in quite a few similar languages, including Squeak.

- [Smalltalk]
  The world of Smalltalk: a collection of Smalltalk related

This last link is what it says, and seems the best general link for various implementations of Smalltalk, including the commercial Visualworks, the open source and free Squeak, and Dolphin Smalltalk and more. It also provides links to French, Russian and Japanese Smalltalk forums.

As I have mentioned before in Nederlog, since discovering Smalltalk, I have been playing with various assemblers, which was interesting but is time-consuming and not what I really have the health for, and then discovered that Javascript is a nice if flawed programming language.

Javascript is "the language of the web-browser", which is not mere ad-speak, but quite true: For the most part, and for ordinary users, one needs a web-browser to use it in.

It's a bit of an odd language in that its grammar is rather like C and like Java, whereas the main ideas that are implemented in it derive from Smalltalk, Self and Scheme: It's object-oriented, but not in the ways Smalltalk or indeed C++ are; it has various oddities and flaws, and some great strengths, that are best explained - to my knowledge - by Douglas Crockford; and it is an interpreted language that is fairly easy to pick up and program in, and currently is also, because it is "the language of the web-browser", the most popular (most used) programming language.

Interestingly, because Javascript is interpreted, fairly easy to pick up, and quite powerful, it has been used has basis for other programming languages, notably dialects of Smalltalk/Squeak:

- Amber

This is an implementation of Squeak/Smalltalk in Javascript, and therefore in the browser, developed by Nicholas Petton and some others, that looks quite interesting. It started out as Jtalk, but since changed its name. Here is the Wikipedia lemma for it: Amber Smalltalk

It looks rather like Squeak, but is not hampered by a virtual machine or a Smalltalk image, since it uses Javascript and a webbrowser. It looks interesting, is fairly new, and may be helpful if you know Smalltalk. It also is being actively developed, and probably - as is, now - not for people naive to programming or Smalltalk.

One reason I like it is because it is a bit twisted and convoluted: An interpreted programming language, that is itself reflexive (capable of representing itself in itself), in an interpreted programming language, that again is reflexive, running in an internet-browser...

The same applies to an implementation of Squeak by Smalltalk's main programmer Dan Ingalls:

- Lively Kernel

Here is the Wikipedia lemma for it: Lively Kernel

2. New site dr. Deckoff-Jones

Dr. Jamie Deckoff-Jones is an American MD with ME/CFS, who also has a daughter with ME/CFS, who has a blog that I mentioned several times in Nederlog, who started the new year with a new site:

- X-RX net

Her blog was fairly interesting for people with ME/CFS, for several reasons, and also fairly annoying for the more intelligent and rational people with ME/CFS, especially but not only because the very frequent contributions in comments of Anonymous, Anonymous and Anonymous, who were in fact mostly V99, which is an alias of an English person of the female persuasion who just KNOWS ME=XMRV, or as close to that as doesn't matter, and who insisted for more than a year of saying so tens of times a day on the internet on any place she could, usually pretending but not having great understanding of retrovirology and "the scientific method".

This soon gets as annoying as flat-earthers and reborn Christians, for the same sorts of reasons: Fanatic dogmatism unsweetened and ungraced by wit, style, knowledge or fairness.

Then again, dr. Deckoff-Jones herself and many of her regular commenters are far from sweet and graceful either, if not as dumb, blunt, uneducated and impertinent as V99, which may be illustrated by the following quote and last item of today

3. "She is an ugly, destructive person."

This is Deckoff-Jones MD today on ERV aka Abbie Smith. Here is the full passage filled with sweetness and light:

She is an ugly, destructive person. Dirt, like the mud she slings. Any senior scientist who condones her behavior should be ashamed. I would only consider reading anything she wrote if she issued a public apology to the ME/CFS patient community first. Otherwise, in terms she can understand, kiss my ass, bitch:).

One explanation is that Ms. Deckoff-Jones is a personal friend of dr. Judy Mikovits, who is neither loved nor admired by Ms. Smith, who does not mind calling people names herself.

As it happens, I think the facts so far have born out that Ms. Smith was right about XMRV, while personally I have a weakness for people daring enough to speak the truth in clear terms, that often are not flattering, for which see e.g. these inspiring and inspired items:

     - Should I've been a comedian?  (Bill Maher links)
     - The human (all too human) tragi-comedy (George Carlin links)

As for the quote of Ms. Deckoff-Jones: I disagree on Ms. Smiths degree of unwashedness, and think she is neither ugly nor destructive, if also not a source of Christian good cheer, forgivingness and bland impertinent hypocrisy. Ms Deckoff-Jones MD seems not very well informed about senior scientists and their habits and ways of speech; conveniently forgets she was not asked to write a blog on scienceblogs.com; conveniently forgets the prose habits of many American comedians; speaks for "a community" where most are neither scientifically informed nor particularly intelligent nor fair or able in argument; and does not speak for me.

Then again, I am not aware of Ms. Deckoff-Jones insisting on her own Christianity, like the good Christian Paula Carnes does, who was blessed by Our Lord with ME/CFS, in His Wisdom, no doubt because He saw that she was just the person who deserved that, since The Good Book teaches us all that not a sparrow falls without His knowledge:

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
-- Matthew, 10:29

Ms. Paula Carnes, writing on dr. Deckoff-Jones site, implies she is wise ("I am old"), gifted ("have a brother with a PhD in physics"), with a very gifted child ("a son with a PhD in math") while according to her own site, where her humble facial likeness takes nearly half of my screen, though she is no oil painting, and never was one either, no doubt - I must humbly assume - all thanks to Our Dear Lord. She also tells the world, with true Christian humility, that she herself

has led three lives giving her a rich source of experience for her writing. Educated in theology and religion she has worked as a Bible teacher and Christian education director with published curriculum guides and inspirational articles in this area.

According to this Christian person, who is old (read: "wise"); gifted ("Christian education director"); sister of a gifted brother ("PhD"); mother of a gifted son ("PhD"!), two persons who, she says

would both kindly tell you that wisdom is an outgrowth of knowing what you know and what you don't know

- which is something that surely requires a Ph.D. or two  to KNOW, she also KNOWS, no doubt - or so I must humbly assume - by mediation or inspiration of Our Dear Lord Himself, blessed be His name, that

ERV sounds like NPD to me, but then I don't know her personally.

Moreover, no doubt for the benefit of simpleminded and ignorant persons like myself, she also quotes, I must suppose with humble Christian loving awareness, what Our Dear Lord must have made ERV like, in His Wisdom, according to the wise sayings of the Book of Books, which here just happens to be the DSM-IV - and I quote, from the very religiously learned, very Christian Ms Carnes her very own contribution to the site of dr. Deckoff-Jones:

Diagnostic criteria for 301.81 Narcissistic Personality Disorder
(cautionary statement)

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

(1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

(2) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

(3) believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

(4) requires excessive admiration

(5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

(6) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

(7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

(8) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

(9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

Reprinted with permission from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth Edition. Copyright 1994 American Psychiatric Association

It so happens that this - old, immoral, cynical - psychologist would find it hard to produce a better example of psychological projection - and I will be so kind to quote for the benefit of the naive, from the linked Wikipedia lemma:

(..) projection is a psychological defense mechanism whereby one "projects" one's own undesirable thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings onto someone else. 'Emotions or excitations which the ego tries to ward off are "spit out" and then felt as being outside the ego...perceived in another person'. It is a common process.

Or as The Good Book has it:

1  Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Mk. 4.24
3  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
6  Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later. 
-- Jan 13, 2012: Undid some typos and inserted a few links.


As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):
1.  Anthony Komaroff Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)
3.  Hillary Johnson The Why
4.  Consensus of M.D.s Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5.  Eleanor Stein Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)
6.  William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7.  Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8.  Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
 Maarten Maartensz
ME in Amsterdam - surviving in Amsterdam with ME (Dutch)
 Maarten Maartensz Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Short descriptions of the above:                

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:

7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam/ with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.

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