New Blog

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Contribute to the Higgs JS Compiler

Pointers Gone Wild

Higgs is an open source JIT compiler for JavaScript targeting x86-64 platforms. It’s also the main piece of infrastructure I’m working on as part of my PhD in compiler design at the Université de Montréal. I’ve been working on Higgs for about a year now, and it’s gotten to the point where most of JavaScript ES5 is supported. Along the way, I received help, notably from Tommy Everett, who implemented a user-friendly FFI library to interface with C code, along with proxies for standard C libraries. I’d like to keep making Higgs more complete and useful. This post is an invitation: we’re looking looking for contributors.

The Higgs Roadmap

In the long run, I’d like for Higgs to become useful both inside and outside of the academic community. It’s probably not going to be able to compete on performance with commercial JS engines like V8 and IonMonkey, at least…

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Conversations with a time traveler



Spring Cleaning (in the Wintertime)

I’ve been going through a lot of my old disks and drives lately trying to get a handle on my digital clutter. It’s been an interesting experience, finding lots of old stuff I forgot about. Years ago I used to frequent a BBS called “The Church of Potent IP” (get it?). It was one of the many proto-4chans of the time, and the content was about what you would expect; a few different sections mostly covering technology and pop culture but also other hobbies/interests. Sometimes the exchanges were quite humorous or thought provoking and I would save them as txt files on floppy disk. I found quite a few of these in my archives, but the following post to “The Pit” (a general discussion area) stood out.

It’s really long (100+ forum “pages”) so I’m reposting it here for posterity in heavily abridged and edited form – with potentially personal information and irrelevent bits trimmed out. I’ve also tried to move the comments around so the answers directly follow the questions and follow a more coherent flow. I don’t seem to have posted in the thread myself; my copy of it ends with a bunch of unanswered posts so I probably arrived after the poster left. As far as I know they never posted again. My editors notes and comments are interspersed.

Post:  So..I’m a time traveler.

TT (op):

Hey guys. It’s friday and I’m bored so I figured I’d tell you.

I’m a young male living in the United States. From my point of view this is the past but I’ve been here so long I’m starting to think of it as my time. I was told the trip would be one way probably so I will probably never go home but its possible I might.

Ask me any questions if you want but you probably won’t be happy with my answers. I can’t tell you the lottery numbers or crap like that.

I’ve removed many predictable “kill yourself”, “yea right”, and “lol” replies here and elsewhere…


When are you from?


I can’t tell you exactly because I can’t give too much information. It’s pretty far though. More than 200 years.

The poster ignored a lot of questions. It seems anything too open ended like “what’s the future like?” or too specific like “how do I die?” was skipped. They also ignored the many very angry posts calling them out on not answering questions, so I’m just cutting them all out.


Was titor for real?

They’re asking about John Titor, as was clarified in some posts I’m cutting out. He was also brought up a lot in later posts but this is the OP’s only comment on it.


He wasn’t that I know of but he could be I guess. I seriously doubt it though because I never heard of him before now and things he said. The scientist guys explained to me that “time travel” is the wrong thing to say. They told me they were going to project or translate me into the past and that was what it felt like. They drugged me and then I just kind of woke up here. I didn’t come in a truck lol.

This sparked a pretty big and occasionally heated discussion, but it was ignored by OP.


“scientist guys”?


Ya the guys who sent me back. They are scientists lol. Its hard to explain but they are kind of like a click or maybe a cult. All scientists are like that in my time. They are really annoying. There are a lot of cults in my time but they’re not really religious. It’s hard to explain.

I believe they meant “clique”…


You live in the US now? Did you live there in the future? What’s your native language?


Yea I live in the US. That’s where I woke up and I’ve stayed here. I’m an illegal alien lol. In my time people move around alot and you wouldn’t understand our maps. We don’t have countries like you do, they’re different. The last question is hard to explain. People mostly speak creole so my native language is mostly english and spanish but also some cantonese and hindustani. I also know some slang from a bunch of other languages from talking to other kids. Really people in my time mostly don’t speak. It’s hard to explain but with technology we don’t need to.

There was some interesting discussion about language that followed, but it’s spread out over a lot of posts so I’ll just include the gist. It seems in the future language is very fragmented. Mandarin Chinese is almost entirely obsolete. Japanese, Korean, and Russian will merge somewhat as well as Spanish, English, and German. OP made a reference to some people speaking a hybrid of Farsi, Arabic, and Portuguese as well as one of Afrikaans, Cantonese, and French. They also mentioned that “only small groups of people can understand eachother”, but did not elaborate on that. The OP didn’t give specific reasons for any of this but implied it was mostly due to gradual cultural/policitcal shifts with a few major global events.


you keep saying “hard to explain”… seems like a cop out


lol it is! Try talking to someone from long ago. There’s so much you need to explain for one thing then you need to explain a bunch of others. On top of that there’s a bunch of stuff you can’t tell them. I don’t feel like doing it.


What if you change history or something?


I don’t think I can. I asked the scientist guys about it and they said “why are you planning on it” and laughed at me. I said I was worried about accidents but they didn’t seem worried about it. One said “you can’t fall from the top of a mountain to the bottom” and they laughed at me some more. They always talk all zen like that and it’s really annoying. I’m not gonna take any chances though and just keep my head down. It can’t be totally right because I was sort of sent here to change history.


Wait, your here to change history? Also keeping your head down? wtf do you call getting online and telling the world your a time traveler?


I’m supposed to do this lol. Technically I was sent back as a test I guess but also this famous guy asked me to do something. He’s pretty powerful. He wanted me to make sure a certain part he needed ended up in a certain spot. It was kind of hard because I had to steal it from man airport but I did it. I don’t know why he wanted that one because we can make anything
in our time so he didn’t really need it. He’s kind of crazy though and was obsessed with having an original one. Most people in my time are pretty crazy I think but he’s out there. He’s like a celebrity for us I guess. You guys actually know him in your time lol. He’s dead but someone in my time reconstructed him and people went nuts for it. I don’t know why tho he just kind of babbles a lot and complains about his ex wives, he is pretty funny sometimes though.

I’m removing a lot of questions such as “what was the part?” and “who is it?” that the poster ignored. They also refused to comment further on their motivations for posting besides that they were “bored”.


tell us who really killed JFK!

I should note that a lot of these questions/answers drew speculation and heated debate from other posters. I’m cutting it all out along with basically anything that’s not a question. There’s just too much of it, and most of it is fairly predictable. It’s also important that there was a section of the BBS devoted to conspiracy theories so there were a lot of questions like this.
I imagine a lot of the participants were from that section, hence the surprising amount of credulity in the face of a pretty silly claim.


lol that one I actually know. Before I came here I did a little research on this time so I wasn’t totally ignorant. I also learned about it in the school I go to here. It was the Oswald guy. He did the killing pretty much alone but he had some help with other stuff. There was a conspiracy but it’s not like you guys seem to think. It’s just that a lot of stuff was covered up because it was embaressing to some people. Think something kind of like patty hearst not the cia killing him or anything.


What is neurocam?

As I recall neurocam was some website a lot of conspiracy forums of the time were speculating about. I think it was some kind of RPG or ARG that they were convinced was real.


How should I know. From the webpage I think it’s an art project. lol

I’m removing a lot of speculation about it and I’m gonna cut out any further conspiracy-related questions since the OP didn’t comment on them.


How does your time machine work?


I don’t know lol. Whenever I asked about it the scientist guys got kind of weird. I kept asking and finally they just kind of flipped and said only an idiot would send someone who actually understands it back. I think they felt bad though because they did tell me a bit about it. They just said a bunch of stuff about fractional dimensions and zeno and something about wei’s work on heisenburg and I didn’t really get it. Then when they saw I didn’t get it they laughed at me some more. Those guys are dicks.

There was some interesting discussion that followed this, but most of the OPs comments were along the lines of “I don’t know” or “I can’t tell you”. I wouldn’t be able to judge whether most of the questions/posts were cogent or intelligent anyway to be honest, so I’m just goint to cut them out. As far as I know they were pretty standard re: discussions about the physics of time travel. The main upshot of the exchange was that the OP was very emphatic about gravity not being involved in the process “per say” (sic); but that tremendous amounts of energy were.


This is nuts. YOu go to school?


Yea. I live a pretty normal life now lol. One of the reasons they sent me is because I’m young and it was easy to just slip in somewhere and say I ran away from home because they beat me. Working on getting a ssn but that’s hard lol.


I gotta know…do you have sex robots?


lol yea. It’s hard to explain tho because it depends on what you mean by robot. You would probably think alot of the people from my time are robots. We do have robots that are just for sex though.


…in which I give up

It’s getting rather tedious to try and edit this big discussion down into something digestible. I’m going to pack it in here and consider just posting the raw logs or maybe posting more selections at another time. It’s just all fascinating to me because it reminds me of all the exchanges on old BBS and such that have probably been lost forever, or are perhaps still sitting gathering dust somewhere on diskettes in a closet. Even in a society with a great capacity for storing massive amounts of information, we lose so much of it. It makes me wonder about all the events and people just totally lost to history throughout the ages. I’ll consider posting some of the other threads I saved as well, but this is probably the most interesting one.