Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

09 Oct 2013, 22:43 p.m.

Programming Jokes

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2013 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

The Hacker School application form asks you to provide some code you've written so the faculty can look at it. I wrote a game: "Where on the Oregon Trail is Carmen Sandiego?" It is a joke of a game and a platform for further jokes. During my first week at Hacker School, I improved my programming skills by improving it. For instance, now multiple villains might have stolen that wagon tongue, including Waldo.

Kat Walsh encouraged me to actually implement the joke I made in August. So I am now working on a toy web app (using Flask) to grab physics article titles from English Wikipedia (via the MediaWiki API, via Pywikibot) and perform Queneau assembly on them to make plausible scifi novel titles, and then display those strings on a web page. So far, fun titles have included:

  • Optical Reluctance
  • Hazard Steel
  • Electrodynamic Hackerman
  • Joule 1584
  • Choke River
  • Nernst Hopping
  • Source Cloaking
  • Joule Summation
  • Waveguide Bearing
  • Capacitance Torus
  • Ionic Agent
  • Tunnel Curve
They make people laugh. With software, I can scale my comedy! I can make more people laugh at more things. I think we could get more people programming if we showed comedians that you can pull better pranks if you can code.