“All right . . . all right . . . but apart from better sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health . . . what have the Romans ever done for us?”
—JOHN CLEESE AS REG IN Life of Brian (1979)
I was in a doctoral-level statistics course at the University of Minnesota in the late 1970s when I learned a lesson about the programming habits of academics. At the start of the course, the instructor said, “I don’t care what language you use for assignments, as long as you do your own work.”
I had facility with Fortran but was teaching myself Pascal at the time. I was developing a structured programming style—no more GO TO statements. So, taking the instructor at his word, I ...