Saturday, October 28, 2006

Creativity, innovation and sharing of ideas.

Excepts from an interesting article (Protecting the Golden Goose by Pamela Jones of groklaw) on the clash between the long-term objectives of freedom and the greed of short-term-oriented businesses:
  • Compatibility is a bedrock [Free and Open Source Software] value, but it goes against corporate thinking. Corporations want to differentiate and lock in customers [through incompatibility].
  • Corporations will naturally be reluctant to share knowledge. Whether it's for competitive reasons, for confidentiality, or most probably, due to time pressure, it appears to me that the flow of testing results and the promptness of getting fixes out to the rest of the world is slowing down a bit.
  • Regressions [to isolationism]: Creativity inevitably springs from large numbers of people experimenting, combined with a low barrier to entry to sharing and contributing. Those are essential ingredients in Linux's success.
  • In code, progress is incremental. [IP] laws that seek ... to keep knowledge out of the pool ... end up [creating] a barrier to learning, preventing the rapid progress you could have had from pooling ideas and skills.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Miracles: How did the sea part?

Many religions mention a miracle of the sea parting to make way for someone to escape from their captors. This article explains the Old Testament's "crossing of the Red Sea". An excerpt:
Many years ago Aristotle wrote about miracles and he said that the “efficient cause” of a miracle could be a natural agent, with the “final cause” being the will of God. The miracle is revealed by the extraordinary timing of the event. I believe that the “efficient cause” in many of the Exodus miracles was a natural agent (a porous rock, a strong wind, a volcano, etc.) and that science can discover this natural agent and give the mechanism of the miracle. Indeed, as we have seen, the Bible is explicit that the crossing of the Red Sea was enabled by a natural agent, a strong east wind.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Excerpt from a recent blog post advising geek entrepreneurs:
One of the ironies of the programming world is that using Lisp is vastly more productive than using pretty much any other programming language, but successful businesses based on Lisp are quite rare. The reason for this, I think, is that Lisp allows you to be so productive that a single person can get things done without having to work together with anyone else, and so Lisp programmers never develop the social skills needed to work effectively as a member of a team. A C programmer, by contrast, can't do anything useful except as a member of a team. So although programming in C hobbles you in some ways, it forces you to form groups whose net effectiveness is greater than the sum of their parts, and who collectively can stomp on all the individual Lisp programmers out there, even though one-on-one a Lisper can run rings around a C programmer.