alice maz



this week we announced sylph! it's the systems biology startup I'm cofounding with viv. you can read our full announcement here: announcing sylph

basically, systems biologists model the behavior of biological systems as differential equations, we're making an optimized solver for those equations and providing a public web api plus specialized client software for using it. we've been working hard on this for a while, so it's really exciting to start putting it out into the world! we're in the process of raising seed funding now, expecting to release a v1 early next year. sig and viv will have their own posts soon about the math and the longterm vision, so keep an eye out for those

so, the core mathematics system is all haskell, but we're writing most of the web programming/business logic in scheme. I'd never written a lisp before, but I'm a devotee now. scheme is by far the best language for nonspecialized tasks I've used so far, assuming you're working with a small team you can trust. (in a large org, I'd probably prescribe ocaml for things that are complex in concept and golang for things that are complex in implementation.) at the very least it's now the language I want to use when I can use whatever I want

this does however put us in the position of having to write a lot of our own tooling. and by us I mostly mean me. this is the price I pay for taking "infrastructure" as my title! I literally started in scheme by cramming sicp in a day and a half and then immediately writing a haskell-style build system for it. that I'll release that once I clean it up some! plus a bunch of other things, mostly highly opinionated tools intended to make working between scheme and haskell as seamless as possible. we know what we like at least

more personally... as we approach the end of the year, it's natural to reflect. this was without a doubt the most difficult year of my life, but also the best year of my life. it's impossible to explain to anyone outside our circle, but the three of us were tested, and the bond we share is permanent now. I'm so optimistic for the future, more than I've ever been. we're going to do so much together, we're going to light up the world. I love you. I love you. here's to 2020

I wrote about artificial intelligence, early germanic law codes, distaste for school and cops, my perspective on history, and some personal stories: alien intelligences

my first site at this domain I made when I was still doing twines, and shortly after I started freelance webdev. the background was black festooned with dark gray mojibake. the text was white and yellow and sat in bright pink boxes with rounded corners that floated into different configurations based on the screen dimensions. there was a page with embedded tweets talking about the semiotics of the fav that had buttons to let you fav them. I wrote the whole thing in a ratking of angular and didn't even respect the platform, using various means to break its abstractions for my own convenience. I was very pleased with myself

my second site at this domain I made after I had gotten fed up with the web ecosystem and become enamored with the image of the unix graybeard. I was getting into erlang and c, I switched off debian for freebsd, I had developed philosophical objections to javascript. I wrote a static site generator as a gigantic makefile that performed a three-stage compile using sed and m4 to replace text in blocks and stitch blocks into pages. I used monospaced fonts because computer and had a horrible three-column flexbox layout that was too wide on normal monitors and too narrow on phones. the makefile built a sitemap and atom feed, and a page where it displayed itself, which required contortions to write regex patterns that would not match their own definitions. I was very pleased with myself

this is my third site at this domain. I use arch because it's good enough. I'm switching to void soon so I don't have to depend on gnu and switching to genode later so I don't have to depend on linux. my primary programming languages lately are scheme and email. I generate the site out of templates with a hundred lines of scheme. my stylesheet is seventy lines because most browser defaults are fine. I use generic sans-serif because that's fine. I don't use javascript because why. I make everything one column because I can have a small margin on phones and big margin on not-phones and never have to even think about layout. I use hrs as dividers and don't even style them. I have one page where I need to put two things next to each other and I use a table. my only extravagances are fleurons and em dashes. I am very pleased with myself

I will try to keep this updated this time! but I know my track record is not the best. lots going on lately, very excited. posting something nice in a few days!