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James Iry's "A Brief, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages" had me snorting liquid out of my nose with delight at the contrafactual, geeky, in-jokey whimsy. 1958 - John McCarthy and Paul Graham invent LISP. Due to high costs caused by a post-war depletion of the strategic parentheses reserve LISP never becomes popular. In spite of its lack of popularity, LISP (now "Lisp" or sometimes "Arc") remains an influential language in "key algorithmic techniques such as recursion and condescension". 1959 - After losing a bet with L. Ron Hubbard, Grace Hopper and several other sadists invent the Capitalization Of Boilerplate Oriented Language (COBOL) .