[Techtalk] The Internet is my functional programming language

Kelly Jones kelly.terry.jones at gmail.com
Mon Nov 24 15:35:04 UTC 2008

For example, can I get the following information in machine readable format?:

 % Current right ascension/declination of Mars.

 % Image (map) representing given latitude/longitude coordinates.

 % The mathematical constant Gamma to 10 decimal places.

 % The current temperature in Alice Springs, Australia.

 % The value of the US dollar vs the British pound.

 % Numerical approximations to the solutions for x^5+x+1=0

and so on.

I know much of this information is available in human-readable format
(Horizons, TIGER map, MathWorld, Weather Underground, OandA, etc), but is it
available in consistent, machine-readable format?

I also realize I could write a script to convert the human readable
info to machine-readable, but that's tedious + seems silly.

The obvious extension would be to create a minimal programming
language that just knows XML + how to make socket connections. A
sample line of code might be:

@res = http://www.foo.com/function/NSolve.xml("x^5+x+1=0");

In other words, all the function calls would be "URLs" or something.

Has anyone done this?

The language would be slow/inefficient (one socket connection per
function call), but would be unlimited in some sense.

Of course, people could implement some of the more common functions


We're just a Bunch Of Regular Guys, a collective group that's trying
to understand and assimilate technology. We feel that resistance to
new ideas and technology is unwise and ultimately futile.

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