Subject: Re: array are constantp ?!?!
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 27 Dec 2002 19:54:39 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Pascal Bourguignon
| I'm just pointing to another problem that does not seem to be known
| yet.

  Thank you.  Without your valiant effort to teach us all, we would
  not know anything.  Could you hurry up the teaching part, though?
  I am so curious to learn what you look like when you have run out
  of things to tell people and arrive at the point when you listen to
  others.  You see, I am so old that I have seen teenagers who know
  everything and think nobody else could possibly have discovered it
  before they did so many times as to have tired of their kind.

  What is so great about the Common Lisp world is that /everything/
  has been discovered before you.  That is to say, to be truly novel
  in the Common Lisp community, you have to do a lot of /work/.  You
  can learn from people for 20 years and still not have learned it
  all.  This is what computer science was supposed to be like but is
  not because of people like you: people who crave /novelty/ for its
  own sake.  I for one am decidely happy to have been born in a fully
  evolved society so that I did not have to walk miles to get fresh
  water or have to invent my own writing system and everything I value
  in modern society.  It probably sounds strange to you, but I /like/
  not having to discover everything for myself, and so do many other
  Common Lisp programmers.  We do not have to start from scratch, we
  do not /like/ to start from scratch every time, we think it is a
  really great thing that somebody else did so much work before we
  entered the scene that we can do our little part to improve our own
  existence (or that of an employer) instead of having to build an
  entire society from scratch to do it.  And to those who do not want
  to build whole societies merely in order to buy a loaf of bread, the
  freedom comes with a responsibility to learn what went before, to
  show a deep gratitude and respect towards those who /did/ build the
  society where we can buy a loaf of bread for a dollar or two instead
  of having to spend /hours/ to make one ourselves from scratch.

  An even older friend of mine published a book almost 18 years ago,
  with an appendix of self-framed slogans suitable for mounting, one
  of which is applicable to this day.  It reads

      Just because you think you need steel-belted radial tires
       and the store only has polyglas-belted ones at present,
is still no excuse for going off in a corner and reinventing the travois.

  (Michael A. Padlipsky: The Elements of Networking Style and other
  essays and animadversions on the art of intercomputer networking,
  originally ISBN 0-13-268111-0, reissued ISBN 0-595-08879-1.)

  A field does not become a /science/ until those who enter it do so
  with the humility of wanting to learn what prior practitioners had
  done both right and wrong, before they want to practice themselves.
  Computer science is still not a real science because of this.

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.