Comma Chameleon

I’ve shown something like this before on my blog, but because I think it’s funny (and because it’s salient to something which happened today at work), I just have to revive the image:

comma chameleon

Credit to Bobbi Jo Woods.

Well, as it turns out, the post might be about Comma Karma.

Human language is often very forgiving about punctuation marks when you are not a militant grammarian. The use of a comma when you want a semicolon will usually be forgiven, and similarly the use of a colon when you need a dash or a semicolon.

However, computers are NOT forgiving. If you forget a comma in a line of code, it will often spit out an error message, and that one stupid little comma can be easy to miss. Or, if you use a parenthesis when you mean to use a square bracket, things will often not turn out correctly for you.

Sometimes, the worst parts of programming is not when you receive error messages, but when you receive unexpected results without errors. This happened to me today, because I used the name of the wrong variable.

In my bridge programming, this caused the program to think that I should respond 3NT to my partner’s 1NT opening with the following dung-hill:

Spades: Kxx

Hearts: xxx

Diamonds: Txxx

Clubs: Qxx

Well, I guess that a likely down-three is good bridge! :p


MathFest: 16 days

Nebraska Regional: 27 days

Semester Kickoff: 58 days

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