Re: What databases have taught me

From: Bob Badour <>
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 15:31:46 GMT
Message-ID: <C5Tng.2513$>

Bob Badour wrote:

> Frans Bouma wrote:

>> Bob Badour wrote:
>>> topmind wrote:
>>>>>> I can't think of a single statement that would be more
>>>>>> antithetical to what the OO paradigm is about.
>>>>> Thank you for stepping forward to exemplify my recent statement
>>>>> that use of the word 'paradigm' is the surest sign of a
>>>>> self-aggrandizing ignorant. After all, 'paradigm' has many
>>>>> meanings where for each meaning a better word exists.
>>>>> OO is a computational model and not a paradigm unless by
>>>>> 'paradigm' one means an example of a computational model. Idiot.
>>>>> Further, it is a computational model comprising a collection of
>>>>> features useful for constructing large unpredictable state
>>>>> machines from small predictable state machines or otherwise
>>>>> picked arbitrarily in the mid to late 1960's for what seemed
>>>>> expedient at the time.
>>>> Lighten up, guys. "Paradigm" might not be precise, but few words
>>>> are in software design.
>>> Bullshit. Most of the words used have very precise definitions if one
>>> bothers to learn them. See ISO/IEC 2382 for instance.
>>> The end product of design is necessarily precise. Can you imagine
>>> someone designing a building around having "some of those electric
>>> plug in thingies and some sort of light bulb thingie or other in
>>> every room" ? I can see the estimate from the builder for that design
>>> coming back: "That'll cost you some money--you know some of those
>>> colorful pieces of paper they let you exchange for thingies down at
>>> the store."
>>     Though it's also a language thing. In my native language, Dutch, we
>> have the same word for Relation and Relationship. This is common in a
>> lot of the european languages. This gives problems when you discuss
>> elements of a relational model: one would use the same word for two
>> fundamental different elements in the relational model.

> Relationship has no particular meaning in the relational model--other
> than perhaps as an artificial distinction in one or another of Codd's
> early papers and now of interest only as an historical footnote.
> My Wolter's is packed up somewhere. Is 'association' the same word too?
> Is 'reference' the same word too?
> If a person
>> who's native language contains one word for Relation and Relationship
>> has to write an english text, like a newsposting, it can be that the
>> person uses the wrong word, as the person just knows one word for both:
>> to do it correctly, you have to know that in English there are two
>> words, not one.

> With all due respect, Dijkstra shared your mother tongue and he noted
> exactly the opposite:
> From _My Hopes of Computing Science_ EWD 709
> "One more remark about language that seems relevant. With English being
> computing science's Esperanto, colleagues with English as their native
> tongue often feel somewhat guilty about what they regard as their
> undeserved advantage over most foreigners. Their feeling of guilt is
> misplaced, because the advantage is ours. It is very helpful to have to
> do your work in what always remains a foreign language, as it forces you
> to express yourself more consciously. (About the most excellent prose
> written in our field that I can think of, is to be found in
> aforementioned ALGOL 60 Report: its editor had the great advantage of
> being, besides brilliant, a Dane. I have always felt that much of the
> stability and well-deserved fame of ALGOL 60 could be traced down
> directly to the inexorable accuracy of Peter Naur's English.)"
> April 1979
>>     This just as an example how a person could end up choosing the wrong
>> word for a term where a person would have picked a different word if
>> the person would have been a native speaker of the target language.

> That's not the case here. Besides, someone who learns a technical term
> from a foreign perspective is far more likely to learn its precise
> meaning than a native speaker who grew their understanding of the term
> organically when still a toddler.
> I
>> agree that definitions, if set in stone, should be followed, but I also
>> find that if both parties in a discussion know from eachother what the
>> other means by a given word W, bickering over definitions is IMHO
>> making the discussion impossible.

> That's my whole point, though. I don't know what the hell the ignorant
> was trying to say. You don't either. Not really. The fuzzy imprecise
> bullshit has a specific meaning to you, and you project that meaning
> onto those words. However, there is no evidence to suggest that any two
> people will project the same meaning.
> Because you project the meaning, whatever meaning you project will seem
> self-evident and true to you. This works out great for the
> self-aggrandizing ignorants because they don't have to think or deliver
> anything of value. They need only spout important-sounding gibberish to
> leave an impression of profound insight and near infallibility. They are
> almost guaranteed a response of "Yeah! That's right!" because the
> meaning actually comes from the listener himself.
> What the self-aggrandizing ignorants write is nonsense: on its face, it
> is nonsense.

I found another (and much earlier) EWD relevant to the last point:

 From _Some Comments on the Aims of MIRFAC_ EWD 68

"Of course he can check it, but the crucial point is whether he will find the errors! And of course he will not find them: for in human communication one is constantly trained to try to understand the others intentions and not to notice the nonsense."

Probably from 1963 or 1964 -- before I was born! Received on Mon Jun 26 2006 - 17:31:46 CEST

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