Simon Shine's Page

I'm Simon, a programmer in Copenhagen, Denmark. I like functional and esoteric programming, compilers, moral philosophy, surrealist fiction and recreational mathematics.

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death. (Also, Robert Fulghum said this before me.)

Simon Shine


  • Discovering Assumptions (1996) is an essay by Paul Niquette about heuristics, meaning "discovery methods". It is presented as a humourous dialogue between a class of university students and a trickster lecturer.
  • Eigenmorality (2014) is an attempt by Scott Aaronson to quantify morality using linear algebra. Take Google's PageRank algorithm and apply it to a simulation of the prisoner's dilemma. The result is an ability to mathematically divide actions or actors into good and evil. Unfortunately, it appears you need external notions like Eigenjesus or Eigenmoses to make this work.
  • The Theory of Interstellar Trade (1978) is a humourous scientific paper by Paul Krugman documenting the implications that transporting goods at the speed of light will have on economic theory. It is chiefly concerned with the following question: How should interest charges on goods in transit be computed when the goods travel at close to the speed of light?
  • The Man Who Loved Only Numbers (1998) is the story of a homeless man whose biggest accomplishment in a kitchen is cutting a grapefruit with the dull side of a knife, yet managed to be the most published mathematician in the world.
  • 100+ Interesting Data Sets for Statistics (2014) is a vast collection by Robert Seaton.
  • A pair of dice that never roll 7 (2006) is an essay by Simon Tatham about how one can redefine the meaning of dice rolls in such a way that the combined outcome of two six-sided dice is never 7, without affecting the likeliness of other outcomes.
  • The Shadow Scholar (2010) is a pseudonymous essay on professional cheating at graduate levels. He'll write your master's thesis in cognitive psychology or your Ph.D. thesis in sociology. He won't do math, of course.
  • Return on Investment (2004) is a piece of hacker fiction by Fyodor. Hacker fiction as a literary genre relies on references to actual use of security software and thus works both as educational and entertaining.
  • Alien Sensations (2003) is an amateur erotic short story with lesbian aliens in it by Colleen Thomas. It is very well-written and made a big impression on me many years ago on the subject of Pansexuality.
  • Thompson NFAs (2007) by Russ Cox is an article on efficient implementation of regular expression engines and how support for back-references, whether present or not in a given regex, affects the running time exponentially for certain classes of regexes. This is not the most recent research, but it presents a problem currently present in most regex libraries across programming languages.
  • How to Learn Haskell (2014) is an overview of the best learning material available. In particular, it links to Brent Yorgey's CIS 194 course material and Bryan O'Sullivan's CS240h course material (more advanced).