Subject: Re: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Encyclopedia
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Mon, 05 Nov 2001 23:31:23 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Kaz Kylheku
| Software is duplicated whenever it is used; the stored representation
| isn't used directly by a data processor.  Ordinary objects are not
| duplicated prior to use.

  Well, if software is duplicated prior to use, a book that is read by a
  human reader is duplicated in that the light reflected from the book is
  a fresh copy, a movie is "performed" by duplication, a TV program or a
  piece of recorded music likewise.

| Bits can have many representations and is easily and automatically
| converted among them.  An ordinary object is usually created by a single
| process, and thereafter keeps its representation.

  Non sequitur.  In between each bit's representation it also keeps its
  representation, exactly the same way everything else does.  Given enough
  time, everything has been and can be everything else.  Being confused by
  the short timespan is as silly as being confused by the low cost.

| Duplication of bits can be done today with very little cost using
| consumer-grade equipment.

  The cost is completely irrelevant to the process.  In fact, it is that it
  is almost cost-less that has led people to confuse cost with process, but
  the fact that people drag in the cost highlights the _existence_ of a
  process by which it is copied, almost for free, so the key must be the
  process, not the cost.

| That kind of duplication of ordinary objects is the subject of Star Trek.

  Only because you think in too short a timeframe.  Think about it.

| If you know of a matter replicator, I'd love to hear about it.

  Quit the stupid game you play.

| Mass production of objects is not duplication; it's an optimized,
| specialized process for making specific kinds of new instances of things
| out of raw materials.

  Non sequitur.

| A given process can't be trivially readjusted to make a completely
| different thing.  But a bit replicator will copy any bit sequence.


| Lastly, when an ordinary object is traded, the value is usually assigned
| to the *instance*.

  Sufficiently many objects are traded based on the same valuation as
  software, yet still exist, that this is completely irrelevant.

| When bits are traded, it's not the concrete representation, or instance
| that is being traded, but rather the *class*: the abstract program which
| all representations are instances of.

  Non sequitur.  The same goes for movies, books, recorded music, etc.

| It's no use denying differences that are real, just because they don't
| agree with your political view.

  Oh, christ, if you have nothing better to dredge up when you have no
  argument to offer, at least admit that you have none.

| Reality must be the starting point of all rational thought.

  Quit the stupid game you play.  Just because you see things in a bogus,
  mythological way, does not mean that have any right to assume that
  reality _is_ only what you want it to be.  Pretending to have a monopoly
  on the proper interpretation of reality is the hallmark of the believers
  in mythology who cannot defend their faith.  Quit the stupid game and get
  back to the rational thought.
  Norway is now run by a priest from the fundamentalist Christian People's
  Party, the fifth largest party representing one eighth of the electorate.
  Carrying a Swiss Army pocket knife in Oslo, Norway, is a criminal offense.