Subject: Re: invert-string revisited
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Thu, 06 Jun 2002 02:02:16 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* [christopher browne]
| <that would be pretty wild..>

  <[i] think the distance from what we have today and we would have had
  today had some serious changes been made long ago tend to be a lot larger
  than most people are casually able to appreciate> <to rethink and change
  a fundamental property of written language is not like some third-rate
  time-traveling science fiction movie/joke where going back in time and
  changing something, then "returning" ends up with only trivial changes>
  <sometimes, you can retrace the development of a person's life and
  character to individual events> <if you change or undo these events,
  there is no telling what other event would be equally decisive>

| <presumably this would mean you'd throw data in and get something vaguely
| resembling:>

  <[i] find such trivializing presumption to be quite insulting> <at least
  be willing to consider that our current situation is based on a large
  number of completely arbitrary decisions and accidents that could very
  easily have been different with dramatically different outcomes> <a
  thought experiment with different arbitrary decisions and accidents would
  then have to produce different results on a scale similar to that of the
  consequences of the arbitrary decisions and accidents that have shaped
  our current state> <"what if?"-analyses are generally difficult only
  because it is hard to understand just how interrelated and dependent what
  we take for granted really is>

| "This was all about T.S. Eliott."

  <this was all about [t(homas) s(tearns) eliot]>

| I'm not sure that this would have been _so_ much better as to set the
| world on fire, but maybe I've not thought about it enough...

  <suppose you did not get admitted to the college you got admitted to, or
  you got a much different {gpa} or even individual grade -- would you be
  in the same place you are today?> <suppose telephony was made publicly
  available in the [united states] without free local calls -- would we
  still have had [usenet]?> <suppose [goldfarb] never met [mosher] and
  [lorie] -- would we still have {xml}?> <suppose advertising was taboo --
  would the [internet] experiment still drown huge {isp}s like [{kpn}qwest]
  in unmanageable debt?>

  <please note that this is /not/ about syntax, but about the concepts we
  choose to give notation and the methods with which we choose to give them
  their specific notations> <please also note that most of these things are
  not chosen -- someone just does something useful and other people just
  adopt it without consideration for any alternatives because sometimes, to
  find the next solution requires even more effort than the first>
  <in a fight against something, the fight has value, victory has none>
  <in a fight for something, the fight is a loss, victory merely relief>

  <70 percent of [American] adults do not understand the scientific process>