Ockham, Machiavelli, Kernighan

Following on previous item with the simple advice DON’T PLAY.

Watching the coiner idiots respond to the total collapse of their project is fun. Instead of running away, they continue arguing about PRECISE DETAILS AND PRECISE NUMBERS.

Side A: This is an opportunity to 12.59347% short XTJIOERJY and long 36.78946859% UUEYHHGNOTC.

Side B: No, FUD dummy! We need to 12.59346% short XTJIOERJY and long 36.78946853% UUEYHHGNOTC!!!! Everyone knows this! It’s blindingly obvious!

Ockham and Machiavelli tried to teach us this lesson 1000 and 500 years ago, and we still haven’t learned.

When you find yourself arguing the details of Question A, you can be PERFECTLY SURE that Question A is not the right question. Question A has been provided for you by the rulers and robber barons, to keep you nastily divided so you don’t notice that Question A simply DOES NOT FUCKING EXIST.

Question A is NULL.

Why is this error so persistent? Natural language doesn’t have a grammatical representation of nullity, but it’s easy to express in sentence form. This issue is meaningless. The emperor has no clothes. Just don’t go there.

The problem with coiners isn’t natural language because they don’t speak natural language. They speak math. They are Platonists. Math is the only language, math made the universe, math is God, math is immutable and unarguable.

And math has no way to express nullity. The empty set is just another expression for zero. It means we have a corral which could easily hold 36 cows or 15 cows, but at the moment it holds 0 cows.

Kernighan and Ritchie gave us a massively important gift at the heart of C. For the first time in any math-type language, C can express NULL.


This does NOT mean that V is a bank account which could contain 36 dollars or an overdraft of -25 dollars, but currently contains 0 dollars. This means that V has no representation in the computer. V is a name that might be used to represent a variable, but at the moment it does not represent anything. (You may assign it a value later in the program.) V is not a box or an account or a memory location or a register. If you try to use V as a number before assigning it a value, the compiler will urp all over you.

Earlier languages like Basic and Fortran didn’t have NULL. Later languages like Python and Java adopted NULL. Obviously the concept still hasn’t penetrated the minds of math freaks.

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