Subject: Re: Difference between LISP and C++
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 17 Oct 2002 00:41:52 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* 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.