Subject: Re: Why lisp failed in the marketplace
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1997/02/15
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp,comp.lang.scheme
Message-ID: <>

* Sin-Yaw Wang
| I think fundamentally, Lisp syntax is not natural for human being.

I think, fundamentally, human beings differ a great deal in very many
respects.  some find infix natural.  others find that infix is not so
natural as to be worth their cost (such as very complex syntaxes).  these
may not be the majority, but there are enough of them to keep Hewlett-
Packard's calculator division alive and well.

| From grade school, you are taught 10 = 8 + 2, not 10 = (+ 8 2).  From
| high school, you learn how to prove mathematical theorems procedually.

how much of what you learned in grade and high school do you use as an
argument against other seemingly contradictory developments?  what you
learn first is only evidence that you can't learn everything at once.  the
order chosen today should not be considered proof of a particular order as
being more natural than others.
| If it is less natural, it is less productive, statistically speaking. 

on the face of it, the reverse seems to be true.  if what is natural to the
_untrained_ is a measure of anything, all of society should have been
_less_ productive than living off what can be gathered and hunted.

I think education, learning, training is _precisely_ what is natural for a
human being, and much of what we learn goes to disprove earlier teachings,
especially if we make unwarranted assumptions from those earlier teachings.

| Companies lose using a less productive tool.  It is a Darwinian selective
| process.

I always wondered how large companies came to be.  thank you for this lead.
I did some research on Darwin's theories of natural selection, and here's
what I found: millions of years ago, much smaller companies than today gave
birth to many small companies, some of them mutants that were better fit
for survival in the intensely competitive underbrush of the ancient world.
the natural selection favored companies that could breed early and mutate
faster, but some species of companies had found a stable breeding cycle and
grew to very large sizes and lived for a very long time.  these were the
elephantine companies.  to this day, Wall Street, their secret breeding
ground, will honor their age-old breeding rituals that have completely lost
their meaning in the modern world, but they were probably beneficial to the
early elephantines.  contrary to popular belief, Darwinian selection is not
just an historic process -- the smaller company species still mutate and
develop in new directions, but even though they do so much faster than the
elephantines, it is difficult to spot it when it happens.  if you watch a
company carefully, you might be so lucky to find that it eats more pizza
and take-out food right before it spawns a new company.

much research has gone into the Darwinian selective process as it applies
to companies.  of popular interest are Sir Richard Attenborough's excellent
TV series (on PBS) that documents the slow, but steady migration and growth
of companies.  Dr. Richard Dawkins has written several books, including The
Blind Stockbroker and The Selfish Meme that both argue strongly for natural
selection and against creationism that says that companies were created out
of nothing by a higher intelligence.  however, there are also critics of
Darwin's work on The Origin of the Companies.  Erich von Danicken contends
that today's companies are the result of protocompanies planted on earth by
the split-infinitive voyages of Star Trek, The Previous Generation.

now, they don't teach these things in high schools, do they?  this goes to
show something, I'm sure.

my other car is a cdr