Subject: Re: Upper limits of CL
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 17:57:52 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Joel Ray Holveck
| Easy, Erik!  The OP made it clear that this was a curiosity thing; he didn't
| indicate that it was an immediate need.  I see no need to get upset.

  Like I need a reason to get upset.  :)

  IMNSHO, we are at a point of technological development where the hardware is
  so extremely underutilized that it is insulting to everybody involved to ask
  for more.  This is like the pampered child who whines for another soft pillow
  to keep from actually moving his body to correct the inevitable pain of _not_
  moving.  Just imagine what the engineers who worked miracles with 16K could
  have done with the gigabyte now wasting away in my computer!  I still have
  only two 600MHz Pentium III processors with that memory, which is slow by
  today's standards, and that means the otherwise great website for the movie
  Minority Report takes real effort for the processors to show and the flash
  animation is jerky and when Mozilla needs that last 200M block of memory and
  the swap disk lamp starts flashing, I am reminded of the stupid ad for some
  German car maker: "The new <car> has more computing power than it took to
  send a man to the moon!" (I think my trusty old HP48GX does, too), and my
  first thought was "and yet you are stuck here on earth?"

  I have to wonder what went wrong and where when I get a 900K message encoded
  with BASE64 and MIME and some HTML crap that only contains a _compressed_
  archive of two Word documents that contains a very nice invitation, but which
  would have been only about 60K of network traffic had it been made into a PNG
  graphic and they had sent me a URL to it, not to mention that it would have
  taken approximately a millionth of the processing power to show it to me that
  way than it took to decrypt the Word idiocy -- and since I do not actually
  have Word, either, it probably looks much less ... inviting.  Then I keep
  thinking that I will be stuck here on earth for a _long_ while.

  Curiosity is not a bad thing.  However, too much idle curiosity and too
  little engineering-style or researcher-style curiosity _is_ a bad thing.
  Idle curiosity makes people lose track of any _purpose_ to their thinking.
  With all the work we have done improve information technology, one would
  think that it should be easier to maintain a sustained focus, but not so.
  Concentration and attention are in short supply all over the Western world,
  mostly because of what I consider the worst plague on mankind ever: rampant
  and uncontrolled information pollution in the form of advertising, but also
  because the energy required to maintain and sustain focus has increased in
  our culture.  Cognitive overload causes a constant stress level that taxes
  people's ability to stay focused even on their conscious purposes.  It is
  like high caffeine "poisoning", except a rambling flow of thought and speech
  is no longer considered a symptom of anything wrong.  Idle curiosity is just
  like that rambling flow of thought that produces exactly nothing worthwhile.
  Guide to non-spammers: If you want to send me a business proposal, please be
  specific and do not put "business proposal" in the Subject header.  If it is
  urgent, do not use the word "urgent".  If you need an immediate answer, give
  me a reason, do not shout "for your immediate attention".  Thank you.