Subject: Re: Difference between LISP and C++ From: Erik Naggum <email@example.com> Date: 17 Oct 2002 00:41:52 +0000 Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> * Wade Humeniuk | We had the perfect example of this in Canada where we officially | converted from English to Metric measurements. Many people still cannot | function (its been almost 25 years) and when they hear temperatures in | Celsius, they still have to convert from Fahrenheit. My tactic was to | hear the temperature, go outside, feel how warm or cold it was and get an | internalized experience of what it meant. I stayed away from converting, | it would not have helped in the end. Interesting. I spent half a year in California in 1993, and found myself flooded with new impressions the first few times I visited the grocery store to buy food. Then I let go of the notion that I should compare things to what I was used to, including prices in various currencies, and that drowning feeling vanished. The interesting thing about the USD is that it is worth a lot compared to the NOK, so when you buy something for RMU 10 (for "random monetary unit"), you get great value for money if the RMU is NOK, but not if RMU is USD. This tends to make tourists overspend in expensive currencies and underspend in inexpensive currencies, relative to their "home currency". However, how many RMUs a thing costs is one of those things you accept without question in your "home" currency and yet fuss endlessly about when somewhere else, for no beter reason than that /you believe you ought know/ because you had it all figured out where you came from. But realizing that you did not know how fast 80 km/h is other than the readout from the speedometer and the speed limit signs along the road, means that you can accept that you have no idea how fast 55 mph is other than the readout from the speedometer and the speed limit signs along the road. The "exchange rate" between mph and km/h is about as interesting as that between USD and NOK when you have to buy the food or get from A to B without invoking the wrath of the state patrol. It seems we share the observation that letting go of the desire to convert or compare relative to what is already known is "more conscious" than giving in to it when the amount of change is sufficiently large. This is supported by the observation on the machine floor when industrial plants wanted to optimize the time a worker would need on a particular task -- that if the change was small enough that it was comfortable, the workers would revert to their old ways very shortly, but if it was uncomfortably large, the cost of going back would be larger than adapting, and workers often fought these changes, but eventually gave in, so it was necessary to cause an uncomfortable conflict in order to make improvements, or the workers would simply defy all changes. I think this goes to show that the ability to deal with change comes with thinking and that we evolved all this capacity because the rate of change was too high for a brain that learned things only once. Despite the enormous high rate of change in our modern society, it appears that many people have not seen the light and figured out how to cope with change. I am reminded of a book that influenced my view on this many, many years ago, and it seems to be in circulation still: DDC 303.49 [301.24]; ISBN 0-553-27737-5; LCCN 67012744; 1970 Alvin Toffler Future Shock It is still well worth a read, 30+ years after its publication and it is still in print an d -- Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder. Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.