A 1-post collection

Stack Machines and Where To Find Them

Ever tried googling "recursion"?

screenshot of a Google search for "recursion". The results begin with "Did you mean: recursion"

There's something quite peculiar about recursion. Every developer and their dog has heard of it at some point, and most developers seem to have quite a strong opinion about it.

Sometimes, they were taught about it in college. Some old professor with a gray beard and funny words (the hell's a cons cell? why are you asking if I want to have s-expr with you?) made them write Lisp or Caml for a semester, growling at the slightest sign of loops or mutability to the poor student whose only experience with programming yet was Java-like OOP. Months spent writing factorials, linked lists, Fibonacci sequences, depth-first searches, and other algorithms with no real-world use whatsoever.

Other times, it was by misfortune. While writing code in any of their usual C-family enterprise-grade languages, they accidentally made a function call itself, and got greeted by a cryptic error message about something flowing over a stack. They looked it up on Google (or Yahoo? AltaVista? comp.lang.java?) and quickly learned that they had just stumbled upon some sort of arcane magic that, in addition to being a simply inefficient way of doing things was way too complicated for any