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Bitcoin Mints New Words

The digital currency is at the center of linguistic, as well as financial, innovation

3 min read
Illustration by Brad Yeo
Illustration: Brad Yeo
What is needed is an electronic payment system...allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party.

—Satoshi Nakamoto, inventor of Bitcoin

Is Bitcoin destined to become the Facebook of money, or the Second Life? That is, will Bitcoin become universal, a medium of exchange used by just about everyone, or will it remain a curiosity, a tool used only by a dedicated fringe (in Bitcoin’s case, criminals and privacy extremists)? As a mere language columnist, I haven’t the foggiest, but I can tell you that, no matter what its fate, Bitcoin is generating new words and phrases at an inflationary rate. Is this profusion of new terms undermining (that’s a pun, as you’ll see) Bitcoin’s quest for universality?

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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