Installing and running clojure and Leiningen on windows 8

I’ve played around a little with Clojure on several occasions before, but never really done anything serious with it. I’ve decided to give it another try now, and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it has gotten to install it on windows 8.

Earlier, I’ve run it in different ways, such as through emacs, directly on a command line, and from within the Eclipse IDE. I tried to get Leiningen to work too, some time ago, but had some problems getting it to run, which I never got round to solving.

This time, I followed these simple steps to get Clojure running via Leiningen, from a powershell console:

  • Open a powershell window in administrator mode (this is important – you won’t be able to install Leiningen if you’re not in admin mode).
  • Downlolad the .bat- file for windows available directly from the main page at leiningen.org (new window). For simplicity, I chose to place this right under a new catalog at c:\lein\
  • Install leiningen directly from the command line:

    ./lein self-install

    That should download Leiningen, Clojure, and all the other stuff you need automatically.

  • Now you should be able to start the REPL and start coding via Leiningen using:

    lein repl

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Book review: “Influencer”, by Patterson et. al.

I’m currently reading “Influencer: The power to change anything” by Patterson, et.al. Despite the somewhat corny title with it’s grandiose promise, I’m finding the book quite interesting. It describes a set of factors or forces that affect how people behave, and which should be taken into consideration when trying to change behavior. The two main forces are motivation (“is changing this habit worth the trouble?”), and belief in ones ability (“will I be able to change this habit?”), and these are further subdivided into personal, structural, and social factors. This results in six target areas for incentives, each of which is discussed in detail in the book. When enough effort is put into each of them, change will, according to the authors, be inevitable.

The book includes many and various real-world examples and case-studies, ranging from fighting the spread of diseases such as Aids or the Guinea worm parasite in Africa, to increasing effectiveness in an American car factory, or rehabilitating life-long criminals and helping them integrate into society. Each case describes how the six factors have been targeted in order to make unwanted behavior unappealing or difficult, and new/positive behavior easy and attractive.

I’m about half way through the book at this point, and the theories and strategies provided have been quite plausible and interesting. Beyond the title, the book does not promise change to be easy. It does, however, provide a framework in which to understand a lot of human behavior and the motivation behind it, and a set of tools and strategies for influencing it. All in all, a good read so far, with a nice mix of theories and strategies, and stories to back them up and make them memorable.

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Reactions in Norway after 22.07.2011

As a Norwegian, I’d like to share some thoughts I’ve had since the terrorist attacks in Oslo and on Utøya last Friday. First of all I would like to extend my condolences and sympathy to all those affected directly by the attacks. These have been horrible, tragic events that are difficult to comprehend, and which have shocked us all.

One country
What has happened is terrible, and it is bound to affect us for a long time to come. The way the Norwegian leaders and people have met this however, makes me proud. Our values will remain unchanged or strengthened. To say that we will not be pushed or manipulated into fear or violence by one deluded man with a perverted ideology is to state the obvious. The last few days have been filled with hundreds of thousands of candles and flowers, moving words and songs, interspersed with quiet moments for reflection. A record number of people have been out in the streets day after day to pay their respects and share the pain, and a solemn calm has rested over the entire country in a way we have ever experienced before.

Shame, but also relief
It may sound like a strange sentiment, but I’ve heard it from many different people, and I feel it myself too: We are ashamed that the terrorist was “one of our own”, seemingly a typical, normal young Norwegian man. It disgusts us and his actions go against everything we stand for. At the same time, many of us are relieved that this was not a plot by fundamentalist Muslim terrorists, for who knows what reactions we would have seen here and in the rest of the world then? The attacks were horrible, no matter who carried them out, but as a group, the Muslims are exceptionally easy to heap together and blame these days. Thankfully the fear and anger that might then have been directed towards innocent people never materialized, since the terrorist did not live up to the stereotype so many had expected.

I think this is a subtle point that needs to be made abundantly clear: We were attacked, not in protest or retaliation by fundamental Muslims, but by a paranoid and deluded Norwegian who fears the open, friendly, multicultural society we are striving to create. In my view, the attacks themselves and the reactions following them can only confirm and strengthen our commitment to that society.

Reactions towards Muslims and our responsibilities
If some ethnic Norwegians were relieved, many Muslims were all the more so. For many, the night following the attacks had been sleepless and filled with fear of blame and repercussions. Instead Muslims are now showing their support along with everyone else. Summer Ejaz is the spokesperson for the Islamic Council in Norway, an organization that tries to help form a Norwegian-Muslim identity that can integrate well into Norwegian society, and to create dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims. In an interview with the newspaper Aftenbladet he says (my own translation):

I think it [the attack] will strengthen the ties between Norwegians and immigrants. The attack has shown that the enemy can be found among all groups, and that evil can only be met with fellowship.
(Original article in Norwegian)

Given the new situation in the wake of these attacks, is there anything we can do to improve the ties between Muslims and non-Muslims? There will always to be challenges as we try to build a better society, but I believe this is an opportunity that we ought to make use of. These last few days have brought all who live in Norway closer together. Continuing this, especially with regard to that one group of people which is often eyed with such suspicion, would be the perfect protest against the man and the ideas behind the attacks on Oslo and Utøya.

Parts of the Muslim population itself has been trying to reach out to the rest of us for some time now. Take the “Tea Time”-initiative for instance, wherein Muslims are encouraged to invite their neighbors or others over for tea. Commercials aired on TV and radio encourage us to get together, for as one girl in the ad (posted below) states, those who know any Muslims do not seem to be afraid of them.

I think this is a admirable initiative, and one that deserves more attention. You can find more information (unfortunately only in Norwegian) at facebook.com/teatime, or see the commercial below.

If you are a Muslim living in Norway, what would it take for you to invite someone you don’t know over for tea? If you are a non-Muslim, would you accept? I’d like to think that I would; Who knows where such a small first step may lead in time?

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