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   RE: [xml-dev] Don't Let Architecture Astronauts Scare You

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Thomas M:  where did that quote come from ... please provide props 

It's something I made up.  This same discussion of design 
vs hacking goes on in various lists.  Tim Bray made a comment 
a few weeks ago and that was my description of it's point. 

Mike C:  Something tells me you don't dispute that as an empirical description of the 
Web, eh?  We could argue about it as a normative model, of course.

No. Yes. that's how a lot of engineering gets done.  Engineering is 
about putting together parts to get a job done, not invention.  
One might do both but not under the same budget.   We do have to 
remember that engineering artifacts are disposable and that 
design rationale doesn't have to document historical facts; 
it does have to be rational and reapplicable if one ever 
gets the same requirements (say, the right question) again.

There is a sci-fistory I read many years ago about a message received 
from the inner heart of a gas-giant planet by the humans 
who had colonized the moons of that planet.  The message 
threatened their destruction if they did not leave. All 
of the top human scientists declared it a hollow threat 
as all the mathematical proofs showed that the only way 
to enter or leave the atmosphere of the gas giant was 
to create a sustainable and adjustable force field, and 
that this was also proven mathematically impossible given that 
such a field would explode before it became stable.  As 
they were leaving, a tinkering engineer was demonstrating 
his force-field spacecraft that got around the math by 
turning itself on and off at very high rates such that 
it never reached the point of exploding, but was stable 
enough to sustain an internal atmosphere with acceptable leakage.  
It was noted that the engineer was to be very wealthy and 
despite the missing, eye, ears, and some other injuries 
incurred as a result of his experiments with fields that did 
explode.  And it was indicated that the planetary inhabitants didn't take 
the brush off well and were arming their craft and starting their 
pulse field generators.

The math can be right and irrelevant.  That's engineering.
It's in the way that you use it.  The trick is to measure 
the right thing; the analog to ask the right question.



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