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digitalmars.D - What can you "new"

reply Steve Teale <steve.teale britseyeview.com> writes:
void str()
{
   auto s = new char[];
}

void main()
{
   str();
}

produces:

str.d(3): Error: new can only create structs, dynamic arrays or class objects,
not char[]'s.

What am I missing here, isn't char[] a dynamic array?
Mar 22 2009
next sibling parent bearophile <bearophileHUGS lycos.com> writes:
Steve Teale:
 What am I missing here, isn't char[] a dynamic array?

I suggest you to post such questions to the "learn" newsgroup. D dynamic arrays aren't objects, they are C-like structs that contain a just length and a pointer (no capacity). The "new" for them is needed only to allocate the memory they point to. So to define an empty dynamic array of chars: char[] ca; In D1 you can also just: string s1; To allocate a non empty array of chars of specified len: auto ca = new char[some_len]; Tale a look at the D docs, where such things are explained. Bye, bearophile
Mar 22 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply "Denis Koroskin" <2korden gmail.com> writes:
On Sun, 22 Mar 2009 21:31:07 +0300, Steve Teale <steve.teale britseyeview.com>
wrote:

 void str()
 {
    auto s = new char[];
 }

 void main()
 {
    str();
 }

 produces:

 str.d(3): Error: new can only create structs, dynamic arrays or class  
 objects, not char[]'s.

 What am I missing here, isn't char[] a dynamic array?

Hmm.. Not a common case, but looks like a bug. Or a clever design decision :P Certainly, you can create an int using new: int* i = new int; Why can't you create 'char[]'? T create(T) { return new T; } int* i = create!(int); // fine char[]* c = create!(char[]); // error
Mar 22 2009
parent BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Denis,

 Hmm.. Not a common case, but looks like a bug. Or a clever design
 decision :P
 
 Certainly, you can create an int using new:
 
 int* i = new int;
 
 Why can't you create 'char[]'?
 
 T create(T) {
 return new T;
 }
 int* i = create!(int); // fine
 char[]* c = create!(char[]); // error

that should be:
 T* create(T)() {
 return new T;
 }

but works (or not) as you said OTOH this works: T* create(T)() { T[] ret = new T[1]; return &ret[0]; } void main() { int* i = create!(int); // fine char[]* c = create!(char[]); // error }
Mar 22 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply "Unknown W. Brackets" <unknown simplemachines.org> writes:
The new construct allocates memory.  You can "new" anything that 
requires a set amount of memory.

This is equivalent to what you want:

auto s = new char[0];

Which creates a new dynamic array with no length (yet.)  You can resize 
it later.  Remember, that is not the same as saying:

char[0] s;

Which creates a static array.  This cannot be resized.

For the sake of people used to other languages (where arrays are 
objects), it is possible "new type_t[]" could be considered the same as 
"new type_t[0]", but that is an RFE not a bug.

-[Unknown]


Steve Teale wrote:
 void str()
 {
    auto s = new char[];
 }
 
 void main()
 {
    str();
 }
 
 produces:
 
 str.d(3): Error: new can only create structs, dynamic arrays or class objects,
not char[]'s.
 
 What am I missing here, isn't char[] a dynamic array?
 

Mar 22 2009
parent reply "Steven Schveighoffer" <schveiguy yahoo.com> writes:
On Sun, 22 Mar 2009 18:43:58 -0400, Unknown W. Brackets  
<unknown simplemachines.org> wrote:

 The new construct allocates memory.  You can "new" anything that  
 requires a set amount of memory.

 This is equivalent to what you want:

 auto s = new char[0];

Also can be: char[] s; Which creates a new array of 0 length also. -Steve
Mar 23 2009
parent "Unknown W. Brackets" <unknown simplemachines.org> writes:
Yes, well, the question was about new not about arrays...

-[Unknown]


Steven Schveighoffer wrote:
 On Sun, 22 Mar 2009 18:43:58 -0400, Unknown W. Brackets 
 <unknown simplemachines.org> wrote:
 
 The new construct allocates memory.  You can "new" anything that 
 requires a set amount of memory.

 This is equivalent to what you want:

 auto s = new char[0];

Also can be: char[] s; Which creates a new array of 0 length also. -Steve

Mar 24 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Derek Parnell <derek psych.ward> writes:
On Sun, 22 Mar 2009 14:31:07 -0400, Steve Teale wrote:

 void str()
 {
    auto s = new char[];
 }
 
 void main()
 {
    str();
 }
 
 produces:
 
 str.d(3): Error: new can only create structs, dynamic arrays or class objects,
not char[]'s.
 
 What am I missing here, isn't char[] a dynamic array?

I believe that the message is wrong, or at least misleading. The 'dynamic' here does not mean variable-length arrays but not 'static' - as in ... address is not known at compile time. The 'new' is supposed to create something on the heap and return a pointer/reference to it. Thus structs, fix-length arrays, and class objects are obvious candidates for that. Variable-length arrays are always created on the heap anyway, so to ask for a 'new char[]' is asking for the 8-byte pseudo-struct for the array to be created on the heap (which would not be initialized to anything) and return a pointer to it. This would give you one more level of indirection that you're probably not expecting. The normal way to create an empty (new, as in never been used yet) char[] is simply ... void str() { char[] s; } But you knew (no pun intended) that already. What you were actually asking for is more like ... struct dynary { size_t len; void *data; } void str() { auto s = cast(char[]*)(new dynary); } void main() { str(); } -- Derek Parnell Melbourne, Australia skype: derek.j.parnell
Mar 22 2009
next sibling parent Derek Parnell <derek psych.ward> writes:
On Mon, 23 Mar 2009 03:30:22 +0300, Denis Koroskin wrote:


 I wouldn't recommend using that to anyone. That's a *dirty* hack!

That goes without saying ;-) TO BE AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS. -- Derek Parnell Melbourne, Australia skype: derek.j.parnell
Mar 22 2009
prev sibling parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Derek Parnell wrote:
 On Sun, 22 Mar 2009 14:31:07 -0400, Steve Teale wrote:
 
 void str()
 {
    auto s = new char[];
 }

 void main()
 {
    str();
 }

 produces:

 str.d(3): Error: new can only create structs, dynamic arrays or class objects,
not char[]'s.

 What am I missing here, isn't char[] a dynamic array?

I believe that the message is wrong, or at least misleading. The 'dynamic' here does not mean variable-length arrays but not 'static' - as in ... address is not known at compile time. The 'new' is supposed to create something on the heap and return a pointer/reference to it. Thus structs, fix-length arrays, and class objects are obvious candidates for that. Variable-length arrays are always created on the heap anyway, so to ask for a 'new char[]' is asking for the 8-byte pseudo-struct for the array to be created on the heap (which would not be initialized to anything) and return a pointer to it. This would give you one more level of indirection that you're probably not expecting. The normal way to create an empty (new, as in never been used yet) char[] is simply ... void str() { char[] s; } But you knew (no pun intended) that already. What you were actually asking for is more like ... struct dynary { size_t len; void *data; } void str() { auto s = cast(char[]*)(new dynary); } void main() { str(); }

I think the question is very legit. char[] is a type like any other type. What if I want to create a pointer to an array? new is a really bad construct. I'm very unhappy that D inherited it. Andrei P.S. The way you create a pointer to an array is: auto weird = (new char[][1]).ptr;
Mar 22 2009
next sibling parent reply Don <nospam nospam.com> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 new is a really bad construct. I'm very unhappy that D inherited it.

Care to elaborate?
Mar 23 2009
parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Don wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 new is a really bad construct. I'm very unhappy that D inherited it.

Care to elaborate?

I just did in the PS :o). New is not uniform: you can't use it easily to allocate a pointer to a dynamic array, or even a fixed-size array. Why? Because new is syntactically ill-conceived. It also allocates two keywords for no good reason. new should disappear and delete should be an unsafe function. Andrei
Mar 23 2009
parent reply Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Don wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 new is a really bad construct. I'm very unhappy that D inherited it.

Care to elaborate?

I just did in the PS :o). New is not uniform: you can't use it easily to allocate a pointer to a dynamic array, or even a fixed-size array. Why? Because new is syntactically ill-conceived. It also allocates two keywords for no good reason. new should disappear and delete should be an unsafe function.

Have I missed a discussion on what to have instead of new?
Mar 23 2009
parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Georg Wrede wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Don wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 new is a really bad construct. I'm very unhappy that D inherited it.

Care to elaborate?

I just did in the PS :o). New is not uniform: you can't use it easily to allocate a pointer to a dynamic array, or even a fixed-size array. Why? Because new is syntactically ill-conceived. It also allocates two keywords for no good reason. new should disappear and delete should be an unsafe function.

Have I missed a discussion on what to have instead of new?

Nothing. auto a = T(args); should create a T, whether T is a class, array, struct, what have you. This "new" business is lame, lame, lame. Andrei
Mar 23 2009
next sibling parent reply Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
== Quote from Andrei Alexandrescu (SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org)'s article
 Georg Wrede wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Don wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 new is a really bad construct. I'm very unhappy that D inherited it.

Care to elaborate?

I just did in the PS :o). New is not uniform: you can't use it easily to allocate a pointer to a dynamic array, or even a fixed-size array. Why? Because new is syntactically ill-conceived. It also allocates two keywords for no good reason. new should disappear and delete should be an unsafe function.

Have I missed a discussion on what to have instead of new?

auto a = T(args); should create a T, whether T is a class, array, struct, what have you. This "new" business is lame, lame, lame.

So it's back to malloc when we want to dynamically allocate a struct, or does calling the ctor this way always perform dynamic allocation?
Mar 23 2009
next sibling parent Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Sean Kelly wrote:
 == Quote from Andrei Alexandrescu (SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org)'s article
 Georg Wrede wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Don wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 new is a really bad construct. I'm very unhappy that D inherited it.


to allocate a pointer to a dynamic array, or even a fixed-size array. Why? Because new is syntactically ill-conceived. It also allocates two keywords for no good reason. new should disappear and delete should be an unsafe function.


auto a = T(args); should create a T, whether T is a class, array, struct, what have you. This "new" business is lame, lame, lame.

So it's back to malloc when we want to dynamically allocate a struct, or does calling the ctor this way always perform dynamic allocation?

To dynamically allocate a struct, the stdlib should provide a function e.g. create!T or allocate!T. struct S { int x; } auto s = S(42); // stack auto ps = allocate!S(42); Andrei
Mar 23 2009
prev sibling parent Christopher Wright <dhasenan gmail.com> writes:
Sean Kelly wrote:
 == Quote from Andrei Alexandrescu (SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org)'s article
 Georg Wrede wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Don wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 new is a really bad construct. I'm very unhappy that D inherited it.


to allocate a pointer to a dynamic array, or even a fixed-size array. Why? Because new is syntactically ill-conceived. It also allocates two keywords for no good reason. new should disappear and delete should be an unsafe function.


auto a = T(args); should create a T, whether T is a class, array, struct, what have you. This "new" business is lame, lame, lame.

So it's back to malloc when we want to dynamically allocate a struct, or does calling the ctor this way always perform dynamic allocation?

auto a = MyStruct*(); ?
Mar 23 2009
prev sibling parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Jarrett Billingsley wrote:
 On Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 2:04 PM, Andrei Alexandrescu
 <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> wrote:
 Nothing.

 auto a = T(args);

 should create a T, whether T is a class, array, struct, what have you. This
 "new" business is lame, lame, lame.

Struct on stack vs. heap?

Allocating a struct on heap should invoke a function a la create!(T). Andrei
Mar 23 2009
parent reply Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
== Quote from Andrei Alexandrescu (SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org)'s article
 Jarrett Billingsley wrote:
 On Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 2:04 PM, Andrei Alexandrescu
 <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> wrote:
 Nothing.

 auto a = T(args);

 should create a T, whether T is a class, array, struct, what have you. This
 "new" business is lame, lame, lame.

Struct on stack vs. heap?


Hm... so I guess we'd need support for placement construction?
Mar 23 2009
parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Sean Kelly wrote:
 == Quote from Andrei Alexandrescu (SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org)'s article
 Jarrett Billingsley wrote:
 On Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 2:04 PM, Andrei Alexandrescu
 <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> wrote:
 Nothing.

 auto a = T(args);

 should create a T, whether T is a class, array, struct, what have you. This
 "new" business is lame, lame, lame.



Hm... so I guess we'd need support for placement construction?

Yah, that (together with explicit destruction) should be in the language anyway to support custom allocation and such. Andrei
Mar 23 2009
next sibling parent reply Steve Teale <steve.teale britseyeview.com> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu Wrote:

 Sean Kelly wrote:
 == Quote from Andrei Alexandrescu (SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org)'s article
 Jarrett Billingsley wrote:
 On Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 2:04 PM, Andrei Alexandrescu
 <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> wrote:
 Nothing.

 auto a = T(args);

 should create a T, whether T is a class, array, struct, what have you. This
 "new" business is lame, lame, lame.



Hm... so I guess we'd need support for placement construction?

Yah, that (together with explicit destruction) should be in the language anyway to support custom allocation and such. Andrei

A bag of worms it would appear!
Mar 24 2009
parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Steve Teale wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu Wrote:
 
 Sean Kelly wrote:
 == Quote from Andrei Alexandrescu (SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org)'s article
 Jarrett Billingsley wrote:
 On Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 2:04 PM, Andrei Alexandrescu
 <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> wrote:
 Nothing.

 auto a = T(args);

 should create a T, whether T is a class, array, struct, what have you. This
 "new" business is lame, lame, lame.




anyway to support custom allocation and such. Andrei

A bag of worms it would appear!

Well yah but you can use them to catch big fish. Andrei
Mar 24 2009
next sibling parent reply Cristian Vlasceanu <cristian zerobugs.org> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu Wrote:

 Steve Teale wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu Wrote:
 
 Sean Kelly wrote:
 == Quote from Andrei Alexandrescu (SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org)'s article
 Jarrett Billingsley wrote:
 On Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 2:04 PM, Andrei Alexandrescu
 <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> wrote:
 Nothing.

 auto a = T(args);

 should create a T, whether T is a class, array, struct, what have you. This
 "new" business is lame, lame, lame.




anyway to support custom allocation and such. Andrei

A bag of worms it would appear!

Well yah but you can use them to catch big fish. Andrei

Do custom-allocated objects live on the GC-ed heap? Cheers, Cristi
Mar 24 2009
parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Cristian Vlasceanu wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu Wrote:
 
 Steve Teale wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu Wrote:

 Sean Kelly wrote:
 == Quote from Andrei Alexandrescu (SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org)'s article
 Jarrett Billingsley wrote:
 On Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 2:04 PM, Andrei Alexandrescu
 <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> wrote:
 Nothing.

 auto a = T(args);

 should create a T, whether T is a class, array, struct, what have you. This
 "new" business is lame, lame, lame.




anyway to support custom allocation and such. Andrei

A bag of worms it would appear!

Andrei

Do custom-allocated objects live on the GC-ed heap?

Not necessarily, e.g. you can malloc some memory and then create an object there. Andrei
Mar 24 2009
parent reply "Cristian Vlasceanu" <cristian zerobugs.org> writes:
 Do custom-allocated objects live on the GC-ed heap?

Not necessarily, e.g. you can malloc some memory and then create an object there.

I was afraid that may be the case, and it is perhaps not a good idea. Early Managed C++ users found it difficult to deal with pointers to both managed and un-managed objects without being able to tell (just by a quick glance at the code) which is which -- the language subsequently changed, now ^ means managed pointer,and * means unmanaged. Managed C++ is a mess IMHO, because it tries to counsel into a happy marriage the GC paradigm with the old control-over-each-and-every-bit school (you can still get projects done in managed C++, but not before you bump into all the legacy boxes in the garage). I find custom allocators being less useful than they used to -- the GC-managed heap plus a "tls" storage class should be sufficient for most needs. D 2.0 should abandon the hope of being THE ULTIMATE language and content itself with being a good-enough, better than others, language. Otherwise it will either succumb into the schizophrenic fate of managed C++, or it will perpetually be a moving target, alienating its users. This is why D .net does not support any of this custom allocator nonsense. My two Global-Currency / 100 Cristi
Mar 25 2009
next sibling parent reply Daniel Keep <daniel.keep.lists gmail.com> writes:
Cristian Vlasceanu wrote:
 Do custom-allocated objects live on the GC-ed heap?

there.

I was afraid that may be the case, and it is perhaps not a good idea. ... This is why D .net does not support any of this custom allocator nonsense. My two Global-Currency / 100 Cristi

It's funny, but I was recently doing some game prototyping and needed a very fast, garbage-free way of allocating lots of small, short-lived objects. I thought "Ha! I have a block allocator mixin for just this purpose!" ...until I remembered I was programming in C# and not D. So now I have to create an array of pre-allocated objects, and have a protocol for assigning and returning them. Plus, I have to have a unique pool for each subclass since I can't use casts to override the type system. Urgh. -- Daniel
Mar 25 2009
parent reply bearophile <bearophileHUGS lycos.com> writes:
Daniel Keep:
 I thought "Ha! I have a block allocator mixin for just this purpose!"

Some of similar stuff may be fit to be added to Phobos too :-) (Because the std lib is supposed to partially help use the powers of a language). Bye, bearophile
Mar 25 2009
parent Daniel Keep <daniel.keep.lists gmail.com> writes:
bearophile wrote:
 Daniel Keep:
 I thought "Ha! I have a block allocator mixin for just this purpose!"

Some of similar stuff may be fit to be added to Phobos too :-) (Because the std lib is supposed to partially help use the powers of a language). Bye, bearophile

Well, the only ones I ever found a use for were block and free list allocators. Although I suppose any of the following would be "nice to have"s: * Block allocator: pre-allocate space for N instances of a class (optionally with a specified amount of extra space for subclasses). Optional growing of the heap. * Free list allocator: allocate on heap, but save collected instances for re-use. * Malloc allocator: wrap malloc/free. This is REALLY dangerous until we get the ability to tell whether a class was deterministically destroyed (via delete or scoped destruction) or non-deterministically (GC'ed). Oh how I've wanted this over the years... * Function allocation: new takes a pair of functions: a custom malloc/free pair. * Placement: new takes a pointer and optionally a free function. I can't think of any other general allocators aside from those. -- Daniel
Mar 25 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent Don <nospam nospam.com> writes:
Cristian Vlasceanu wrote:
 Do custom-allocated objects live on the GC-ed heap?

there.

I was afraid that may be the case, and it is perhaps not a good idea. Early Managed C++ users found it difficult to deal with pointers to both managed and un-managed objects without being able to tell (just by a quick glance at the code) which is which -- the language subsequently changed, now ^ means managed pointer,and * means unmanaged. Managed C++ is a mess IMHO, because it tries to counsel into a happy marriage the GC paradigm with the old control-over-each-and-every-bit school (you can still get projects done in managed C++, but not before you bump into all the legacy boxes in the garage). I find custom allocators being less useful than they used to -- the GC-managed heap plus a "tls" storage class should be sufficient for most needs. D 2.0 should abandon the hope of being THE ULTIMATE language and content itself with being a good-enough, better than others, language. Otherwise it will either succumb into the schizophrenic fate of managed C++, or it will perpetually be a moving target, alienating its users. This is why D .net does not support any of this custom allocator nonsense. My two Global-Currency / 100 Cristi

Given those studies which show that dlmalloc out-performs all custom allocators except in some limited cases, aren't we better just limiting custom allocators to those special cases?
Mar 25 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Cristian Vlasceanu wrote:
 Do custom-allocated objects live on the GC-ed heap?

there.

I was afraid that may be the case, and it is perhaps not a good idea.

I think this is unavoidable if D wants to be a "real" systems language, because shared memory use is pretty common in such apps. D has this now with custom new/delete methods, but if these are eliminated then there would have to be some kind of substitute. They certainly wouldn't be commonly used, but this has to at least be possible.
Mar 25 2009
parent reply "Cristian Vlasceanu" <cristian zerobugs.org> writes:
Hm... how should I put it nicely... wait, I guess I can't: if you guys think 
D is a systems language, you are smelling your own farts!

Because 1) GC magic and deterministic system level behavior are not exactly 
good friends, and 2) YOU DO NOT HAVE A SYSTEMS PROBLEM TO SOLVE. C was 
invented to write an OS in a portable fashion. Now that's a systems 
language. Unless you are designing the next uber OS, D is a solution in 
search of a problem, ergo not a systems language (sorry Walter). It is a 
great application language though, and if people really need custom 
allocation schemes, then they can write that part in C/C++ or even assembler 
(and I guess you can provide a custom run-time too, if you really DO HAVE a 
systems problem to address -- like developing for an embedded platform).

Here go another two pessos.


"Sean Kelly" <sean invisibleduck.org> wrote in message 
news:gqdfse$1l38$1 digitalmars.com...
 Cristian Vlasceanu wrote:
 Do custom-allocated objects live on the GC-ed heap?

object there.

I was afraid that may be the case, and it is perhaps not a good idea.

I think this is unavoidable if D wants to be a "real" systems language, because shared memory use is pretty common in such apps. D has this now with custom new/delete methods, but if these are eliminated then there would have to be some kind of substitute. They certainly wouldn't be commonly used, but this has to at least be possible.

Mar 25 2009
next sibling parent "Unknown W. Brackets" <unknown simplemachines.org> writes:
D is better as a language, imho.  You never know when Apple will scrap 
Mac OS X and do a new operating system.  Who knows, maybe iPhone OS 5.0 
will be written in D?  It's extremely improbable, but it's not impossible.

Allocators have many uses.  When integrating (as with a plugin) into 
other software, you may want/need to use their allocator - e.g. writing 
a Firefox NSPlugin.  Certainly not something I want to lock myself out 
of using D for.

Embedded devices are definitely an interesting realm as well, and it's 
definitely preferable to have one language and one compiler to have to 
deal with in such situations.  Assembly is a definite option, but custom 
allocators are a cleaner way to do the same thing - otherwise I'd just 
be using mov, div, inc, stosb, and the like, no?

-[Unknown]


Cristian Vlasceanu wrote:
 Hm... how should I put it nicely... wait, I guess I can't: if you guys think 
 D is a systems language, you are smelling your own farts!
 
 Because 1) GC magic and deterministic system level behavior are not exactly 
 good friends, and 2) YOU DO NOT HAVE A SYSTEMS PROBLEM TO SOLVE. C was 
 invented to write an OS in a portable fashion. Now that's a systems 
 language. Unless you are designing the next uber OS, D is a solution in 
 search of a problem, ergo not a systems language (sorry Walter). It is a 
 great application language though, and if people really need custom 
 allocation schemes, then they can write that part in C/C++ or even assembler 
 (and I guess you can provide a custom run-time too, if you really DO HAVE a 
 systems problem to address -- like developing for an embedded platform).
 
 Here go another two pessos.
 
 
 "Sean Kelly" <sean invisibleduck.org> wrote in message 
 news:gqdfse$1l38$1 digitalmars.com...
 Cristian Vlasceanu wrote:
 Do custom-allocated objects live on the GC-ed heap?

object there.


because shared memory use is pretty common in such apps. D has this now with custom new/delete methods, but if these are eliminated then there would have to be some kind of substitute. They certainly wouldn't be commonly used, but this has to at least be possible.


Mar 26 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
Cristian Vlasceanu wrote:
 Hm... how should I put it nicely... wait, I guess I can't: if you guys think 
 D is a systems language, you are smelling your own farts!

However much I'd like to disagree, I can't.
 Because 1) GC magic and deterministic system level behavior are not exactly 
 good friends, and  2) YOU DO NOT HAVE A SYSTEMS PROBLEM TO SOLVE. C was
 invented to write an OS in a portable fashion. Now that's a systems 
 language. Unless you are designing the next uber OS, D is a solution in 
 search of a problem, ergo not a systems language (sorry Walter). It is a 
 great application language though, and if people really need custom 
 allocation schemes, then they can write that part in C/C++ or even assembler 
 (and I guess you can provide a custom run-time too, if you really DO HAVE a 
 systems problem to address -- like developing for an embedded platform).

On larger systems (PC size and up), the window for a new operating system has closed. Windows has a majority of the market (and to top it all, System-7 is the first decent version in years!), and Linux/Unix take care of the rest. One would have to invent a truly compelling story to justify even thinking of creating a new system. I can't imagine developing for an embedded platform in D. First, D doesn't work in 16 bit systems. (Yes, it can be said that in time all systems will be 32 bit, but that will take years. New 16 bit processors are developed as we speak, and, many embedded systems simply don't need 32 bits.) Even on a 32 bit system, one would like to have complete control, and that does mean programming without GC. To do Systems Work on an embedded system, I'd like to see a D subset, without GC, and which would essentially be like C with classes. I've even toyed with the idea of having a D1toC translator for the job. But, I agree, D makes an excellent Application language. Imagine OpenOffice was written in D!!! I'd say those guys would already be a lot further had they ported it to D a few years ago. (Of course, only now D1 is stable enough to even consider it, but you know what I mean.) D does combine the upsides of several other languages, and makes it truly a joy to use. (As far as the language itself is concerned, ignoring other things here, like libraries, and such, of course.) Programming in a language that lets you focus on the task instead of the language, simply makes the applications less buggy, and of higher quality. This is almost too obvious to say. And you have more time for features, too. If we'd collectively recognize that D is an App language, then maybe this would sharpen our understanding of what we need to do.
Mar 26 2009
parent reply Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Georg Wrede wrote:
 
 To do Systems Work on an embedded system, I'd like to see a D subset, 
 without GC, and which would essentially be like C with classes. I've 
 even toyed with the idea of having a D1toC translator for the job.

With D2 you can drop in a different allocator to be used by the runtime -- there's an example implementation that simply calls malloc/free, for example. You'll leak memory if you perform string concatenation or use the AA, but otherwise everything works fine.
Mar 26 2009
parent reply grauzone <none example.net> writes:
Sean Kelly wrote:
 Georg Wrede wrote:
 To do Systems Work on an embedded system, I'd like to see a D subset, 
 without GC, and which would essentially be like C with classes. I've 
 even toyed with the idea of having a D1toC translator for the job.

With D2 you can drop in a different allocator to be used by the runtime -- there's an example implementation that simply calls malloc/free, for example. You'll leak memory if you perform string concatenation or use the AA, but otherwise everything works fine.

You forgot the array literals (which almost look like harmless, non-allocating array initializers), and the full closure delegates, where the compiler will randomly choose to allocate or not to allocate memory ("randomly" from the programmer's point of view). And of course most library functions.
Mar 26 2009
parent Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
grauzone wrote:
 Sean Kelly wrote:
 Georg Wrede wrote:
 To do Systems Work on an embedded system, I'd like to see a D subset, 
 without GC, and which would essentially be like C with classes. I've 
 even toyed with the idea of having a D1toC translator for the job.

With D2 you can drop in a different allocator to be used by the runtime -- there's an example implementation that simply calls malloc/free, for example. You'll leak memory if you perform string concatenation or use the AA, but otherwise everything works fine.

You forgot the array literals (which almost look like harmless, non-allocating array initializers), and the full closure delegates, where the compiler will randomly choose to allocate or not to allocate memory ("randomly" from the programmer's point of view). And of course most library functions.

The array literals should really be fixed :-p But you're right--I forgot about closures. Library functions... that's at least something easily addressable by the user. In all fairness, I agree that it isn't terribly practical to forego a GC in D, but it is possible for a sufficiently motivated user.
Mar 26 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Cristian Vlasceanu wrote:
 Hm... how should I put it nicely... wait, I guess I can't: if you guys think 
 D is a systems language, you are smelling your own farts!

Then I may as well just walk away from D now because this is the only reason I'm using it.
 Because 1) GC magic and deterministic system level behavior are not exactly 
 good friends

malloc is non-deterministic as well, but C/C++ have that. And in instances where determinism is necessary, why not simply avoid dynamic allocation? Sure, things get a bit weird when language features have to be avoided (string concatenation, etc), but at least these are easy to grep for, thanks to Walter providing distinct syntax for this stuff.
 and 2) YOU DO NOT HAVE A SYSTEMS PROBLEM TO SOLVE. C was
 invented to write an OS in a portable fashion. Now that's a systems 
 language. Unless you are designing the next uber OS, D is a solution in 
 search of a problem, ergo not a systems language (sorry Walter).

C/C++ have historically been the only feasible languages for much of the work I do. It's possible that I could write the higher layers of some apps in a language like Erlang (I did used to work for a Telco, after all), but C/C++ would still have been necessary for the underpinnings. The thing is, after having spent a decent amount of time with C/C++ I began to have problems with certain design issues in those languages. Sure, they /can/ do what I need, and they're certainly prevalent which is a huge perk, but the cost of maintenance with both languages is unreasonably high, certain types of bugs are difficult to avoid, etc. So far I've found D to answer many of my issues with C/C++ very well without sacrificing the features I need from these languages: direct system access, unsafe memory manipulation, inline assembler, etc. I'm still using C/C++ at work today, but I would love for D to become sufficiently mature that I could argue for its use instead.
 It is a
 great application language though, and if people really need custom 
 allocation schemes, then they can write that part in C/C++ or even assembler 
 (and I guess you can provide a custom run-time too, if you really DO HAVE a 
 systems problem to address -- like developing for an embedded platform).

There are a lot of application languages out there, most of which have terrific toolset support--something D lacks tremendously. Why would I bother with D if I could use Java or C# for the same thing? I think multiprogramming support may be an answer to this question, but that's not a selling point /today/.
 Here go another two pessos.

And another two as well. :-)
Mar 26 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply "Nick Sabalausky" <a a.a> writes:
"Cristian Vlasceanu" <cristian zerobugs.org> wrote in message 
news:gqf7r3$20of$1 digitalmars.com...
 Hm... how should I put it nicely... wait, I guess I can't: if you guys 
 think D is a systems language, you are smelling your own farts!

 Because 1) GC magic and deterministic system level behavior are not 
 exactly good friends, and 2) YOU DO NOT HAVE A SYSTEMS PROBLEM TO SOLVE.

Ok, that argument is just plain silly. Of course we have a systems problem to solve: Many of us have plenty of reason to write system software (embedded, gaming devices, VM's, drivers, hell, even kernel modules), but we're absolutely fed up with C/C++. So what in the world other choice do we have? Java, C#, Python, Ruby? Granted, D definitely still needs some improvements in the systems-programming area, but never in a million years will any of those other languages even remotely approach the level of feasibility for systems programming that D already has right now. So what are us systems-programmers supposed to do, just stick with that antiquated POS C/C++ for the rest of existence? Or come up with something better (D) that we can eventually migrate to? Besides, I'd think an OS written in D would certainly have the potential to really shake up the current OS market. Not because people would say "Oh, wow, it's written in D", of course, but because the developers would have a far easier time making it, well, good. (And don't knock my farts 'till you've tried them! ;) )
Mar 26 2009
parent reply grauzone <none example.net> writes:
Jarrett Billingsley wrote:
 On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 1:33 PM, Nick Sabalausky <a a.a> wrote:
 
 Besides, I'd think an OS written in D would certainly have the potential to
 really shake up the current OS market. Not because people would say "Oh,
 wow, it's written in D", of course, but because the developers would have a
 far easier time making it, well, good.

*cough*www.xomb.org*cough*

Your point? Yes, we know that D can be used to write hobby kernels.
Mar 26 2009
parent reply grauzone <none example.net> writes:
Jarrett Billingsley wrote:
 On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 2:49 PM, grauzone <none example.net> wrote:
 Jarrett Billingsley wrote:
 On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 1:33 PM, Nick Sabalausky <a a.a> wrote:

 Besides, I'd think an OS written in D would certainly have the potential
 to
 really shake up the current OS market. Not because people would say "Oh,
 wow, it's written in D", of course, but because the developers would have
 a
 far easier time making it, well, good.



No need to be hostile about it. I was just letting Nick know.

It will never "shake up the current OS market", though. Also, I think the programming language is not really relevant for how good an OS is. Linux is doing fine with C. This too should probably go rather towards Nick.
Mar 26 2009
parent reply "Nick Sabalausky" <a a.a> writes:
"grauzone" <none example.net> wrote in message 
news:gqh4su$2cbo$1 digitalmars.com...
 Jarrett Billingsley wrote:
 On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 2:49 PM, grauzone <none example.net> wrote:
 Jarrett Billingsley wrote:
 On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 1:33 PM, Nick Sabalausky <a a.a> wrote:

 Besides, I'd think an OS written in D would certainly have the 
 potential
 to
 really shake up the current OS market. Not because people would say 
 "Oh,
 wow, it's written in D", of course, but because the developers would 
 have
 a
 far easier time making it, well, good.



No need to be hostile about it. I was just letting Nick know.

It will never "shake up the current OS market", though. Also, I think the programming language is not really relevant for how good an OS is. Linux is doing fine with C. This too should probably go rather towards Nick.

Choice of language can certainly make a big difference in a product, OS or otherwise. For instance, (purely hypothetical example that conveniently ignores timeframe and overhead involved in porting to a different language) if Win98 had been written in something like C#, it would have been more reliable, released sooner (probably would have been "Win97" as originally intended), and required more memory and processing power to run. If OSX had been written in pure asm, it would have been leaner, faster, buggier, released later, and probably wouldn't have been ported to x86. If early versions of the PalmOS kernel were written Python, the old PalmPilots probably would have been painfuly slow. Doesn't matter what you're making, OS or not, the choice of language *certainly* carries repercussions throughout a project. Sure Linux is doing fine with C. So what? It could probably be doing a lot better with D. Also, I should emphasize that I never said D would or wouldn't "shake up the OS market", just that the potential was there, whether it be *if* a new OS was built ground-up in D or *if* an existing one was ported. My main point was just that D could certainly improve the overall development process of whatever OS used it, allowing things to advance faster, be more reliable, etc., and thus potentially give it a real leg up. If all the carpenters are building houses with wooden hammers, and Joe Shmoe comes along with his metal hammer, well, he may succeed or he may fail, but he would certainly have that extra advantage, and thus have at least the potential to "shake things up".
Mar 26 2009
next sibling parent grauzone <none example.net> writes:
 Doesn't matter what you're making, OS or not, the choice of language 
 *certainly* carries repercussions throughout a project. Sure Linux is doing 
 fine with C. So what? It could probably be doing a lot better with D.

I'm not saying that the programming language is not relevant at all. Rather, other issues outweigh the choice of the programming language by far. Just take driver support as an example. That's actually what is discouraging most people from using Linux over Window. You can't do anything with an OS that makes parts of your hardware as useful as a brick. I'd only say that there are some "key" features of a language, that actually matter for something like a kernel. For example, as you said, a kernel written in assembler is very hard to port to another architecture. And you wouldn't write a kernel in Visual Basic (although some folks are writing kernels in languages like Java, C# or even Python). But D is as good as C/C++ in this regard. when it comes to real life issues, D is probably even a bit worse, because of tool-chain issues. Would your D-OS ever run on, say, PowerPC?
 Also, I should emphasize that I never said D would or wouldn't "shake up the 
 OS market", just that the potential was there, whether it be *if* a new OS 
 was built ground-up in D or *if* an existing one was ported. My main point 
 was just that D could certainly improve the overall development process of 
 whatever OS used it, allowing things to advance faster, be more reliable, 
 etc., and thus potentially give it a real leg up.

Maybe. Note that the Linux developers refused to use C++, although the C++ advocates came up with similar arguments. Sure, the languages provide some nice features, which make life easier. But again, what would D help when writing device drivers? Or when figuring out a good locking hierarchy? It doesn't matter that much, you have to deal with much larger problems.
 If all the carpenters are building houses with wooden hammers, and Joe Shmoe 
 comes along with his metal hammer, well, he may succeed or he may fail, but 
 he would certainly have that extra advantage, and thus have at least the 
 potential to "shake things up".

That's a bad comparison, because it's very simple to switch a hammer. Also, the metal hammer would be nicer to use than the wooden one, but it'd split in two parts if you strained it too much. Even if you're careful. Some would build complicated, abstract works of art, using a new method called "nail mixin". They'd need at least a dozen hammers until the artwork is finished. The result would blow up in an explosion from time to time for unknown reasons.
Mar 26 2009
prev sibling parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 Doesn't matter what you're making, OS or not, the choice of language 
 *certainly* carries repercussions throughout a project. Sure Linux is doing 
 fine with C. So what? It could probably be doing a lot better with D.

It's like if you gave the Spartan Leonidas a Henry repeating rifle - he still would have lost at Thermopylae. But there is little doubt that one Henry repeating rifle is worth a hundred spear-chucking wicker-armored immortals. I've done enough code in enough languages to know that all though you can (with enough effort) make anything work in any language, there is a vast difference in the effort involved. D cuts down on that effort, substantially, when compared to other languages. As for what is a systems programming language, I regard a SPL as one that gives convenient direct access to the hardware.
Mar 27 2009
parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 Doesn't matter what you're making, OS or not, the choice of language 
 *certainly* carries repercussions throughout a project. Sure Linux is 
 doing fine with C. So what? It could probably be doing a lot better 
 with D.

It's like if you gave the Spartan Leonidas a Henry repeating rifle - he still would have lost at Thermopylae. But there is little doubt that one Henry repeating rifle is worth a hundred spear-chucking wicker-armored immortals.

Sometimes I run these crazy calculations: how much modern firepower would be just enough to turn the odds in a classic battle? At Thermopilae, I think two Vickers with enough ammo would have been just about enough. Also at the Lord of the Rings 2 night castle defense, one machine gun would have sufficed (better protection and fewer assailants). Andrei
Mar 27 2009
next sibling parent reply Daniel Keep <daniel.keep.lists gmail.com> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 ...

 It's like if you gave the Spartan Leonidas a Henry repeating rifle -
 he still would have lost at Thermopylae. But there is little doubt
 that one Henry repeating rifle is worth a hundred spear-chucking
 wicker-armored immortals.

Sometimes I run these crazy calculations: how much modern firepower would be just enough to turn the odds in a classic battle? At Thermopilae, I think two Vickers with enough ammo would have been just about enough. Also at the Lord of the Rings 2 night castle defense, one machine gun would have sufficed (better protection and fewer assailants). Andrei

You mean the battle of Helm's Deep? I think you'd need more than one machine gun. If the wall had held and the orcs had been forced to come up the front ramp, then it might have been enough... but the bomb Saruman gave them took out the wall meaning that you'd have two streams of Orcs coming at you. I reckon a machine gun covering the main entrance and perhaps some razorwire and flamethrowers inside the wall from the breech. That'll learn 'em. -- Daniel
Mar 27 2009
next sibling parent BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Daniel,

 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:

 Sometimes I run these crazy calculations: how much modern firepower
 would be just enough to turn the odds in a classic battle? At
 Thermopilae, I think two Vickers with enough ammo would have been
 just about enough. Also at the Lord of the Rings 2 night castle
 defense, one machine gun would have sufficed (better protection and
 fewer assailants).
 
 Andrei
 

machine gun. If the wall had held and the orcs had been forced to come up the front ramp, then it might have been enough... but the bomb Saruman gave them took out the wall meaning that you'd have two streams of Orcs coming at you. I reckon a machine gun covering the main entrance and perhaps some razorwire and flamethrowers inside the wall from the breech. That'll learn 'em. -- Daniel

My current martial speculation involves David Weber's Honor Harrington series. Frankly either Weber is a paragon of literary restraint or he sucks as a military planner. I can't read his stuff for more than a few hours without spotting stuff that the characters should be doing. That said; the man Can Tell A Good Story!
Mar 27 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Christopher Wright <dhasenan gmail.com> writes:
Daniel Keep wrote:
 
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 ...

 It's like if you gave the Spartan Leonidas a Henry repeating rifle -
 he still would have lost at Thermopylae. But there is little doubt
 that one Henry repeating rifle is worth a hundred spear-chucking
 wicker-armored immortals.

would be just enough to turn the odds in a classic battle? At Thermopilae, I think two Vickers with enough ammo would have been just about enough. Also at the Lord of the Rings 2 night castle defense, one machine gun would have sufficed (better protection and fewer assailants). Andrei

You mean the battle of Helm's Deep? I think you'd need more than one machine gun. If the wall had held and the orcs had been forced to come up the front ramp, then it might have been enough... but the bomb Saruman gave them took out the wall meaning that you'd have two streams of Orcs coming at you.

What bomb? There was no bomb at Helm's Deep. The orcs assaulted the main gate and the walls, and eventually they crawled in through a drainage pipe as well. It's strongly implied that they had to go underwater for a significant way, which is why that route was not at all defended or watched. Once that entrance was discovered, the defending forces blocked it off with boulders. This blocked off the orcs, but it also dammed the flow, so after that they were fighting in a pond. I seem to recall a bomb in the movie, but that was pointless frippery.
Mar 28 2009
parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Christopher Wright wrote:
 Daniel Keep wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 ...

 It's like if you gave the Spartan Leonidas a Henry repeating rifle -
 he still would have lost at Thermopylae. But there is little doubt
 that one Henry repeating rifle is worth a hundred spear-chucking
 wicker-armored immortals.

would be just enough to turn the odds in a classic battle? At Thermopilae, I think two Vickers with enough ammo would have been just about enough. Also at the Lord of the Rings 2 night castle defense, one machine gun would have sufficed (better protection and fewer assailants). Andrei

You mean the battle of Helm's Deep? I think you'd need more than one machine gun. If the wall had held and the orcs had been forced to come up the front ramp, then it might have been enough... but the bomb Saruman gave them took out the wall meaning that you'd have two streams of Orcs coming at you.

What bomb? There was no bomb at Helm's Deep. The orcs assaulted the main gate and the walls, and eventually they crawled in through a drainage pipe as well. It's strongly implied that they had to go underwater for a significant way, which is why that route was not at all defended or watched. Once that entrance was discovered, the defending forces blocked it off with boulders. This blocked off the orcs, but it also dammed the flow, so after that they were fighting in a pond. I seem to recall a bomb in the movie, but that was pointless frippery.

Well I'm not sure we're talking about the same battle. The one I talk about takes place during the night; at the end, as the sun rises, Gandalf rides down the ravine with reinforcements and saves the situation. The bomb created a large breach in the wall and was a turning point in the battle. Without it, I don't think the assailants could have made much progress. Andrei
Mar 28 2009
parent Christopher Wright <dhasenan gmail.com> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Christopher Wright wrote:
 What bomb? There was no bomb at Helm's Deep.

 I seem to recall a bomb in the movie, but that was pointless frippery.

Well I'm not sure we're talking about the same battle. The one I talk about takes place during the night; at the end, as the sun rises, Gandalf rides down the ravine with reinforcements and saves the situation.

Same battle.
 The bomb created a large breach in the wall and was a turning point in 
 the battle. Without it, I don't think the assailants could have made 
 much progress.

In the book, the defenders were doing extremely well, but no matter how well they did, the end result was guaranteed. The orcs going through a culvert is a mark of their ingenuity and ardor. Replacing it with a crude bomb was a disservice to the orcs -- and by extension, to their enemies.
Mar 28 2009
prev sibling parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Daniel Keep wrote:
 
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 ...

 It's like if you gave the Spartan Leonidas a Henry repeating rifle -
 he still would have lost at Thermopylae. But there is little doubt
 that one Henry repeating rifle is worth a hundred spear-chucking
 wicker-armored immortals.

would be just enough to turn the odds in a classic battle? At Thermopilae, I think two Vickers with enough ammo would have been just about enough. Also at the Lord of the Rings 2 night castle defense, one machine gun would have sufficed (better protection and fewer assailants). Andrei

You mean the battle of Helm's Deep? I think you'd need more than one machine gun. If the wall had held and the orcs had been forced to come up the front ramp, then it might have been enough... but the bomb Saruman gave them took out the wall meaning that you'd have two streams of Orcs coming at you.

The thing is, there is this narrow ravine leading to the castle. A well-aimed machine gun would have wreaked havoc at the assailants before any of them would have reached the wall. Indeed, I think none of them would have actually gotten to the wall, including the bomb itself.
 I reckon a machine gun covering the main entrance and perhaps some
 razorwire and flamethrowers inside the wall from the breech.  That'll
 learn 'em.

Oh, yah - I thought barbwire would have been an incredibly effective passive defense. After assailant troops advance through the ravine and go over multiple layers of barbwire, machine gun starts mowing them down. Under fire, the barbwire makes it virtually impossible to either advance or retreat. This exact scenario happened in WWI, e.g. Somme. The Germans were very organized logistically and had planted plenty of barbwire. When the British did the human wave shtick, all Germans had to do was to let them advance a little before opening fire. 57000+ casualties in one day alone... Andrei
Mar 28 2009
parent Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 
 Oh, yah - I thought barbwire would have been an incredibly effective 
 passive defense. After assailant troops advance through the ravine and 
 go over multiple layers of barbwire, machine gun starts mowing them 
 down. Under fire, the barbwire makes it virtually impossible to either 
 advance or retreat.

Things can get pretty weird in fantasy settings though. Trolls could roll through barbed wire like it wasn't even there, even though they're technically infantry units.
Mar 28 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Steve Teale <steve.teale britseyeview.com> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu Wrote:

 Walter Bright wrote:
 Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 Doesn't matter what you're making, OS or not, the choice of language 
 *certainly* carries repercussions throughout a project. Sure Linux is 
 doing fine with C. So what? It could probably be doing a lot better 
 with D.

It's like if you gave the Spartan Leonidas a Henry repeating rifle - he still would have lost at Thermopylae. But there is little doubt that one Henry repeating rifle is worth a hundred spear-chucking wicker-armored immortals.

Sometimes I run these crazy calculations: how much modern firepower would be just enough to turn the odds in a classic battle? At Thermopilae, I think two Vickers with enough ammo would have been just about enough. Also at the Lord of the Rings 2 night castle defense, one machine gun would have sufficed (better protection and fewer assailants). Andrei

I see that my most popular thread has now evolved into something completely different. I should think that 20 men with decent automatic rifles would have been enough for Agincourt. That way more gentlemen could have laid abed in England and not felt so guilty.
Mar 27 2009
parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Steve Teale wrote:
 I should think that 20 men with decent automatic rifles would have
 been enough for Agincourt. That way more gentlemen could have laid
 abed in England and not felt so guilty.

Another battle won by superior technology (longbows).
Mar 27 2009
parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Steve Teale wrote:
 I should think that 20 men with decent automatic rifles would have
 been enough for Agincourt. That way more gentlemen could have laid
 abed in England and not felt so guilty.

Another battle won by superior technology (longbows).

Well that was more like simple-minded tactics on the part of the assailant. Longbowmen can and have been beaten by cavalry; just a little tactics is needed. What the French essentially tried was "let's just run through as fast as we can". :o) Andrei
Mar 28 2009
parent Steve Teale <steve.teale britseyeview.com> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu Wrote:

 Walter Bright wrote:
 Steve Teale wrote:
 I should think that 20 men with decent automatic rifles would have
 been enough for Agincourt. That way more gentlemen could have laid
 abed in England and not felt so guilty.

Another battle won by superior technology (longbows).

Well that was more like simple-minded tactics on the part of the assailant. Longbowmen can and have been beaten by cavalry; just a little tactics is needed. What the French essentially tried was "let's just run through as fast as we can". :o) Andrei

To answer you and Walter at the same time, A) longbows were pretty primitive compared to the bows in Asia, so not superior technology, but used by a crew who were professional and quite bold. B) Tactics require an examination of the ground, which the French clearly didn't do, since they advanced into a funnel and got themselves into a traffic jam where they were easy meat for the arrows. I love military history. All the mistakes we can make now, programming and otherwise, have been made before somewhere on a field of battle.
Mar 28 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 Doesn't matter what you're making, OS or not, the choice of language 
 *certainly* carries repercussions throughout a project. Sure Linux is 
 doing fine with C. So what? It could probably be doing a lot better 
 with D.

It's like if you gave the Spartan Leonidas a Henry repeating rifle - he still would have lost at Thermopylae. But there is little doubt that one Henry repeating rifle is worth a hundred spear-chucking wicker-armored immortals.

Sometimes I run these crazy calculations: how much modern firepower would be just enough to turn the odds in a classic battle? At Thermopilae, I think two Vickers with enough ammo would have been just about enough. Also at the Lord of the Rings 2 night castle defense, one machine gun would have sufficed (better protection and fewer assailants). Andrei

You don't have to look far back to see many examples of superior technology burying a far more powerful foe. For example, there are several cases where a handful of stringbag airplanes sank capital battleships. Stirling's "Island in the Sea of Time" is about bringing modern weapons to bronze-age battlefields.
Mar 27 2009
next sibling parent BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Walter,

 You don't have to look far back to see many examples of superior
 technology burying a far more powerful foe. For example, there are
 several cases where a handful of stringbag airplanes sank capital
 battleships.
 
 Stirling's "Island in the Sea of Time" is about bringing modern
 weapons to bronze-age battlefields.
 

I havn't readit but Harry Turtledove's book also runs that idea around: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Guns_of_the_South
Mar 27 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Don <nospam nospam.com> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 Doesn't matter what you're making, OS or not, the choice of language 
 *certainly* carries repercussions throughout a project. Sure Linux 
 is doing fine with C. So what? It could probably be doing a lot 
 better with D.

It's like if you gave the Spartan Leonidas a Henry repeating rifle - he still would have lost at Thermopylae. But there is little doubt that one Henry repeating rifle is worth a hundred spear-chucking wicker-armored immortals.

Sometimes I run these crazy calculations: how much modern firepower would be just enough to turn the odds in a classic battle? At Thermopilae, I think two Vickers with enough ammo would have been just about enough. Also at the Lord of the Rings 2 night castle defense, one machine gun would have sufficed (better protection and fewer assailants). Andrei

You don't have to look far back to see many examples of superior technology burying a far more powerful foe. For example, there are several cases where a handful of stringbag airplanes sank capital battleships. Stirling's "Island in the Sea of Time" is about bringing modern weapons to bronze-age battlefields.

Curiously though, the Persian composite longbow was deadlier than the rifles used in the Napoleonic wars, so you really have to go up to WWI before you have a clearly superior technology in terms of raw power. The fundamental disadvantage being that it was so difficult to become a proficient longbowman, whereas you can train someone to be dangerous with a rifle in a few weeks. (Kind of like asm vs VB, I reckon).
Mar 27 2009
parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Don wrote:
 Curiously though, the Persian composite longbow was deadlier than the 
 rifles used in the Napoleonic wars, so you really have to go up to WWI 
 before you have a clearly superior technology in terms of raw power. The 
 fundamental disadvantage being that it was so difficult to become a 
 proficient longbowman, whereas you can train someone to be dangerous 
 with a rifle in a few weeks.

During the Civil War, Henry repeating rifles appeared. With breech loading rounds and a high rate of fire, it would be hard to believe that any longbow would be superior. Bullet wounds in the Civil War were also severe as they were high impact. An arrow just penetrates, but a big slug is devastating.
Mar 28 2009
next sibling parent Paul D. Anderson <paul.removethis.d.anderson comcast.andthis.net> writes:
Walter Bright Wrote:

 Don wrote:
 Curiously though, the Persian composite longbow was deadlier than the 
 rifles used in the Napoleonic wars, so you really have to go up to WWI 
 before you have a clearly superior technology in terms of raw power. The 
 fundamental disadvantage being that it was so difficult to become a 
 proficient longbowman, whereas you can train someone to be dangerous 
 with a rifle in a few weeks.

During the Civil War, Henry repeating rifles appeared. With breech loading rounds and a high rate of fire, it would be hard to believe that any longbow would be superior. Bullet wounds in the Civil War were also severe as they were high impact. An arrow just penetrates, but a big slug is devastating.

The Civil War -- military technology was advanced enough to cause devastating wounds, and medical technology was just far enough along to keep you alive until you died of sepsis.
Mar 28 2009
prev sibling parent reply Steve Teale <steve.teale britseyeview.com> writes:
Walter Bright Wrote:

 Don wrote:
 Curiously though, the Persian composite longbow was deadlier than the 
 rifles used in the Napoleonic wars, so you really have to go up to WWI 
 before you have a clearly superior technology in terms of raw power. The 
 fundamental disadvantage being that it was so difficult to become a 
 proficient longbowman, whereas you can train someone to be dangerous 
 with a rifle in a few weeks.

During the Civil War, Henry repeating rifles appeared. With breech loading rounds and a high rate of fire, it would be hard to believe that any longbow would be superior. Bullet wounds in the Civil War were also severe as they were high impact. An arrow just penetrates, but a big slug is devastating.

Walter, I think you understate the arrow. Often they had barbs, and they were not as well sterilized as a bullet that had been propelled by hot gas, so getting them out and surviving was non-trivial. Also the main killer outside artillery was the Minie ball, which was pretty basic technology.
Mar 28 2009
parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Steve Teale wrote:
 Walter, I think you understate the arrow. Often they had barbs, and
 they were not as well sterilized as a bullet that had been propelled
 by hot gas, so getting them out and surviving was non-trivial.

Perhaps I do. I am no expert on either guns or archery, not even close. But I can point out that in practically every case, expert archers were eager to replace them with guns, any guns, even primitive muzzle-loaders. In battles of guns vs archers, the guns nearly always won even when heavily outnumbered.
Mar 28 2009
next sibling parent reply Don <nospam nospam.com> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Steve Teale wrote:
 Walter, I think you understate the arrow. Often they had barbs, and
 they were not as well sterilized as a bullet that had been propelled
 by hot gas, so getting them out and surviving was non-trivial.

Perhaps I do. I am no expert on either guns or archery, not even close. But I can point out that in practically every case, expert archers were eager to replace them with guns, any guns, even primitive muzzle-loaders. In battles of guns vs archers, the guns nearly always won even when heavily outnumbered.

As I understand it, the Persian composite longbow was technologically superior to later bows, eg, the English longbow. (I was told that by a professor who was an expert on ancient technology, but it could nevertheless be incorrect). It was cited as one of those examples (like the Roman's use of concrete) which was a technology which was lost and wasn't matched again until relatively modern times. With the Persian longbow, experts were quick enough to fire 6 arrows before the first hit the ground. I don't think firearms reached a similar firing rate for a long time (for what that's worth -- I'd think I'd rather be hit by several arrows than by one cannonball <g>).
Mar 28 2009
parent reply Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Don wrote:
 
 With the Persian longbow, experts were quick enough to fire 6 arrows 
 before the first hit the ground. I don't think firearms reached a 
 similar firing rate for a long time (for what that's worth -- I'd think 
 I'd rather be hit by several arrows than by one cannonball <g>).

The Winchester repeating rifle was definitely a game-changer, but that was relatively recent (~1875, I believe). Before repeaters, the only thing that guns really seemed to have going for them was penetration power and a comparative lack of skill for use compared to the longbow. I've seen demos of skilled marksmen with old repeaters that were simply astounding as far as rate of fire and accuracy are concerned.
Mar 28 2009
parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Sean Kelly wrote:
 Don wrote:
 With the Persian longbow, experts were quick enough to fire 6 arrows 
 before the first hit the ground. I don't think firearms reached a 
 similar firing rate for a long time (for what that's worth -- I'd 
 think I'd rather be hit by several arrows than by one cannonball <g>).

The Winchester repeating rifle was definitely a game-changer, but that was relatively recent (~1875, I believe). Before repeaters, the only thing that guns really seemed to have going for them was penetration power and a comparative lack of skill for use compared to the longbow. I've seen demos of skilled marksmen with old repeaters that were simply astounding as far as rate of fire and accuracy are concerned.

Oh, I forgot to emphasize one detail: when thinking of the minimal amount of firepower, *effective* rate must be taken into account. That's why I mentioned the Vickers - it had such an effective cooling mechanism, it could essentially be fired relentlessly for a long time. And then it had interchangeable barrels that could be swapped pronto! That works great with the human wave (well, orcs wave) attack in the LoTR movie. Today's machine guns need pauses in between series so as to cool the barrel. That's not a problem if there's plenty of them machine guns AND if the enemy is not attacking openly. So paradoxically I tend to believe that a couple of Vickers would have been doing better with the Orcs than many of today's machine guns. One that I do think would be more lethal is the mounted Gatling M134 (that Terminator made famous), see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minigun. That fires up to 6000 rounds/minute which is pretty crazy. I think a salvo of that would have made a trench through the Orcs, the same bullet killing or maiming several of them. But then M134 requires electricity... so heck, Vickers rules :o). Andrei
Mar 28 2009
next sibling parent reply BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Andrei,

 One that I do think would be more lethal is the mounted Gatling M134
 (that Terminator made famous), see
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minigun. That fires up to 6000
 rounds/minute which is pretty crazy. I think a salvo of that would
 have made a trench through the Orcs, the same bullet killing or
 maiming several of them.

IIRC the 7.62 NATO doesn't have that much penetration (more than the 5.56), enough to do in an Orc, but I don't think it would get the next in line, particularly if the Orc in question has armor on his back.
Mar 28 2009
next sibling parent Christopher Wright <dhasenan gmail.com> writes:
BCS wrote:
 Hello Andrei,
 
 One that I do think would be more lethal is the mounted Gatling M134
 (that Terminator made famous), see
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minigun. That fires up to 6000
 rounds/minute which is pretty crazy. I think a salvo of that would
 have made a trench through the Orcs, the same bullet killing or
 maiming several of them.

IIRC the 7.62 NATO doesn't have that much penetration (more than the 5.56), enough to do in an Orc, but I don't think it would get the next in line, particularly if the Orc in question has armor on his back.

Yeah, you'd really want a Vulcan or something in that range. (Made by General Electric!) The Riders of Rohan would have to ride their bikes pretty hard to generate the necessary electricity. (For reference, a human can generate something like 0.125 horsepower, and similar weapons require on the order of 15hp.)
Mar 28 2009
prev sibling parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
BCS wrote:
 Hello Andrei,
 
 One that I do think would be more lethal is the mounted Gatling M134
 (that Terminator made famous), see
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minigun. That fires up to 6000
 rounds/minute which is pretty crazy. I think a salvo of that would
 have made a trench through the Orcs, the same bullet killing or
 maiming several of them.

IIRC the 7.62 NATO doesn't have that much penetration (more than the 5.56), enough to do in an Orc, but I don't think it would get the next in line, particularly if the Orc in question has armor on his back.

Not enough penetration to do in an Orc? I haven't read the book, but the movie suggested Orcs were rather penetrable by the arrows and swords of the humans. BTW, machine guns do have some impressive penetration. I had to learn the numbers while I was in the military by forgot them. My basic recollection is that the numbers rendered pretty much all improvised cover (wood, brick, thin steel sheet) useless. In a demonstration, a skilled shooter emptied an AKM clip into a car from 25m. It looked very bad afterwards; the trick was that he knew how to sweep such that many bullets hit the car at an angle. Andrei
Mar 28 2009
next sibling parent reply Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 BCS wrote:
 Hello Andrei,

 One that I do think would be more lethal is the mounted Gatling M134
 (that Terminator made famous), see
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minigun. That fires up to 6000
 rounds/minute which is pretty crazy. I think a salvo of that would
 have made a trench through the Orcs, the same bullet killing or
 maiming several of them.

IIRC the 7.62 NATO doesn't have that much penetration (more than the 5.56), enough to do in an Orc, but I don't think it would get the next in line, particularly if the Orc in question has armor on his back.

Not enough penetration to do in an Orc? I haven't read the book, but the movie suggested Orcs were rather penetrable by the arrows and swords of the humans.

Orcs were mutated Elves, basically, and their skin certainly wasn't tougher than, say, Pig skin. A machine gun would make short work of an Orc. By the way, "Goblins" in The Hobbit were actually the same as Orcs in the later books. I don't know why the terms changed, but perhaps it's regional. Some of them also rode Wargs (giant intelligent wolves), which means they had some semblance of cavalry :-) I *think* that made it into the movies at some point, but it was kind of a footnote.
 BTW, machine guns do have some impressive penetration. I had to learn 
 the numbers while I was in the military by forgot them. My basic 
 recollection is that the numbers rendered pretty much all improvised 
 cover (wood, brick, thin steel sheet) useless. In a demonstration, a 
 skilled shooter emptied an AKM clip into a car from 25m. It looked very 
 bad afterwards; the trick was that he knew how to sweep such that many 
 bullets hit the car at an angle.

I've seen a couple shows on bullet penetration through material, and the results were pretty interesting. MythBusters tested the "dive under water to avoid bullets" myth and discovered that the bullets from modern, high-velocity weapons fragmented before penetrating more than a few feet into the water (partially because bullets are designed to fragment in the body, thus doing more damage), confirming that as a viable escape tactic. Older weapons like Muskets had much better penetration, both from the slower velocity and the round, solid ammunition, but still no more than perhaps seven feet. Another show was more "scientific" and tested bullet penetration through wood, stone, walls, and jugs of water. Military weapons went through the wood and such like it wasn't even there, and even did quite well against stone. The wall test was interesting because they spaced their simulated walls a few feet apart, and the bullets would only penetrate two or three walls before disappearing. What would happen is that they'd begin to tumble upon hitting the first wall, and the direction change would be so severe from hitting successive walls at different angles that they'd leave the test area completely. The warning there was that if you fire a weapon in a house the bullet could quite easily go through a wall or two downstairs, change direction and come up through the floor upstairs, potentially hitting an unexpected target. And as with MythBusters, nothing penetrated more than a few jugs of water before coming to a halt. It was far and away the best barrier they could find for high-velocity weapons.
Mar 28 2009
parent Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Sean Kelly wrote:
 I've seen a couple shows on bullet penetration through material, and the 
 results were pretty interesting.  MythBusters tested the "dive under 
 water to avoid bullets" myth and discovered that the bullets from 
 modern, high-velocity weapons fragmented before penetrating more than a 
 few feet into the water (partially because bullets are designed to 
 fragment in the body, thus doing more damage), confirming that as a 
 viable escape tactic.  Older weapons like Muskets had much better 
 penetration, both from the slower velocity and the round, solid 
 ammunition, but still no more than perhaps seven feet.

Yah, they said 1m should be ok and 2m should be perfect. What they failed to mention was how the heck you'll ever get back up with 25kg worth of equipment on you :o).
 Another show was more "scientific" and tested bullet penetration through 
 wood, stone, walls, and jugs of water.  Military weapons went through 
 the wood and such like it wasn't even there, and even did quite well 
 against stone.
 
 The wall test was interesting because they spaced their simulated walls 
 a few feet apart, and the bullets would only penetrate two or three 
 walls before disappearing.  What would happen is that they'd begin to 
 tumble upon hitting the first wall, and the direction change would be so 
 severe from hitting successive walls at different angles that they'd 
 leave the test area completely.  The warning there was that if you fire 
 a weapon in a house the bullet could quite easily go through a wall or 
 two downstairs, change direction and come up through the floor upstairs, 
 potentially hitting an unexpected target.
 
 And as with MythBusters, nothing penetrated more than a few jugs of 
 water before coming to a halt.  It was far and away the best barrier 
 they could find for high-velocity weapons.

No surprise. The physics of bullets is still poorly understood. I haven't seen the shows you mention, but another Mythbusters busted the conspiracy theory about JFK being shot from the opposite direction than the official version. People saw the head bobbing "the wrong way". The Mythbusters folks shot a pumpkin mounted like a head and, surprise - it bobbed in the direction the bullet came from! Andrei
Mar 28 2009
prev sibling parent BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Andrei,

 BCS wrote:
 
 IIRC the 7.62 NATO doesn't have that much penetration (more than the
 5.56), enough to do in an Orc, but I don't think it would get the
 next in line, particularly if the Orc in question has armor on his
 back.
 

the movie suggested Orcs were rather penetrable by the arrows and swords of the humans.

Oh it would penetrate the first orc just fine, but meat is a lot of water and does a dandy job of stopping bullets. I know a guy who retrieved a 30-06 round (same bullet as the 7.62 but with a slightly bigger charge behind it) from a deer after a classic side shoot so a deer is thick enough to stop a bullet and I aspect that an orc is thinker.
Mar 28 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 
 One that I do think would be more lethal is the mounted Gatling M134 
 (that Terminator made famous), see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minigun. 
 That fires up to 6000 rounds/minute which is pretty crazy. I think a 
 salvo of that would have made a trench through the Orcs, the same bullet 
 killing or maiming several of them.

MythBusters did an episode where they chopped down a mesquite tree with a minigun to verify the Predator myth. Very impressive. I also briefly wondered why the defenders didn't use anything like Pitch... other than deference to the Ents :-) But one underlying theme in LotR is that only the bad guys use advanced technology. The good guys were more clinging to the old ways.
Mar 28 2009
prev sibling parent reply "Simen Kjaeraas" <simen.kjaras gmail.com> writes:
On Sun, 29 Mar 2009 00:54:48 +0100, BCS <none anon.com> wrote:

 Hello Andrei,

 One that I do think would be more lethal is the mounted Gatling M134
 (that Terminator made famous), see
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minigun. That fires up to 6000
 rounds/minute which is pretty crazy. I think a salvo of that would
 have made a trench through the Orcs, the same bullet killing or
 maiming several of them.

IIRC the 7.62 NATO doesn't have that much penetration (more than the 5.56), enough to do in an Orc, but I don't think it would get the next in line, particularly if the Orc in question has armor on his back.

At least in the movie, the orcs only had front-facing armor, as they weren't expected to run away from the battlefield.
Mar 29 2009
parent reply BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Simen,

 On Sun, 29 Mar 2009 00:54:48 +0100, BCS <none anon.com> wrote:
 
  
 IIRC the 7.62 NATO doesn't have that much penetration (more than the
 5.56), enough to do in an Orc, but I don't think it would get the
 next  in line, particularly if the Orc in question has armor on his
 back.
 

weren't expected to run away from the battlefield.

that actually was a problem, the orcs were all AI driven CGI and for a while they had an issue if orcs running away from where they were supposed to get slaughtered.
Mar 29 2009
parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
BCS wrote:
 that actually was a problem, the orcs were all AI driven CGI and for a 
 while they had an issue if orcs running away from where they were 
 supposed to get slaughtered.

Skynet 1.0 has some bugs!
Mar 29 2009
parent Daniel Keep <daniel.keep.lists gmail.com> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 BCS wrote:
 that actually was a problem, the orcs were all AI driven CGI and for a
 while they had an issue if orcs running away from where they were
 supposed to get slaughtered.

Skynet 1.0 has some bugs!

Yeah; in 2.0, they changed
 bool runningAway = false;

to this:
 invariant bool runningAway = false;

-- Daniel
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling parent Steve Teale <steve.teale britseyeview.com> writes:
Walter Bright Wrote:

 Steve Teale wrote:
 Walter, I think you understate the arrow. Often they had barbs, and
 they were not as well sterilized as a bullet that had been propelled
 by hot gas, so getting them out and surviving was non-trivial.

Perhaps I do. I am no expert on either guns or archery, not even close. But I can point out that in practically every case, expert archers were eager to replace them with guns, any guns, even primitive muzzle-loaders. In battles of guns vs archers, the guns nearly always won even when heavily outnumbered.

Longer range of course. It's more comfortable farther away from the enemy, and if he has bows, you can start killing him before he starts killing you. But it must have been a close run thing with the earlier guns. Archers could fire quite quickly. But I think field artillery was the real change in the way battles were fought.
Mar 28 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent Derek Parnell <derek psych.ward> writes:
On Fri, 27 Mar 2009 22:10:44 -0700, Walter Bright wrote:

 Stirling's "Island in the Sea of Time" is about bringing modern weapons 
 to bronze-age battlefields.

Another in a similar vein is John Birmingham's "Weapons of Choice" trilogy in which some naval vessels from our near future find themselves back in the Pacific war of 1942. -- Derek Parnell Melbourne, Australia skype: derek.j.parnell
Mar 28 2009
prev sibling parent "Joel C. Salomon" <joelcsalomon gmail.com> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 You don't have to look far back to see many examples of superior
 technology burying a far more powerful foe. For example, there are
 several cases where a handful of stringbag airplanes sank capital
 battleships.
 
 Stirling's "Island in the Sea of Time" is about bringing modern weapons
 to bronze-age battlefields.

Then, of course, there’s Arthur C. Clarke’s “Superiority”, that turns this trope on its head. —Joel Salomon
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Sometimes I run these crazy calculations: how much modern firepower 
 would be just enough to turn the odds in a classic battle? At 
 Thermopilae, I think two Vickers with enough ammo would have been just 
 about enough. Also at the Lord of the Rings 2 night castle defense, one 
 machine gun would have sufficed (better protection and fewer assailants).

Sometimes I think what if I were dropped naked back in time 20,000 years ago? Assuming I didn't get promptly cooked for dinner, what technology could I deliver that would have the most impact? I can't decide between iron, agriculture, or writing. I suspect writing. Every time humans got better at communicating, there was a huge increase in the rate of progress. speech writing printing telegraph telephone internet
Mar 28 2009
next sibling parent reply Christopher Wright <dhasenan gmail.com> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Sometimes I run these crazy calculations: how much modern firepower 
 would be just enough to turn the odds in a classic battle? At 
 Thermopilae, I think two Vickers with enough ammo would have been just 
 about enough. Also at the Lord of the Rings 2 night castle defense, 
 one machine gun would have sufficed (better protection and fewer 
 assailants).

Sometimes I think what if I were dropped naked back in time 20,000 years ago? Assuming I didn't get promptly cooked for dinner, what technology could I deliver that would have the most impact? I can't decide between iron, agriculture, or writing. I suspect writing. Every time humans got better at communicating, there was a huge increase in the rate of progress.

Writing allows you to keep solutions to problems that only come about rarely. Disseminating these is very time-consuming, though; copying a manuscript by hand takes months. But 20,000 years? I think basic sanitation comes first. It also doesn't take very long. Once you have writing, though, it becomes *much* easier to approach things scientifically, especially with a bit of arithmetic. So that might be more worthwhile, since they can arrive at sanitation eventually anyway, and sooner if they have writing. Of course, in any case, you need to get around two obstacles: the language barrier and your ignorance of whatever you're trying to teach. I know less about agriculture, probably, than any stone age farmer. I don't know anywhere near enough about ironworking or mining to be able to offer any meaningful advice. But most people know enough about writing to create a writing system for another culture, if they just sit down and consider the problem for a few hours. So in your case, I dare say the only technology that you listed that you could deliver is writing. Even a metallurgist might have significant trouble providing ironworking to a culture without the typical modern tools of that trade.
Mar 28 2009
parent Paul D. Anderson <paul.removethis.d.anderson comcast.andthis.net> writes:
Christopher Wright Wrote:

 Walter Bright wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Sometimes I run these crazy calculations: how much modern firepower 
 would be just enough to turn the odds in a classic battle? At 
 Thermopilae, I think two Vickers with enough ammo would have been just 
 about enough. Also at the Lord of the Rings 2 night castle defense, 
 one machine gun would have sufficed (better protection and fewer 
 assailants).

Sometimes I think what if I were dropped naked back in time 20,000 years ago? Assuming I didn't get promptly cooked for dinner, what technology could I deliver that would have the most impact? I can't decide between iron, agriculture, or writing. I suspect writing. Every time humans got better at communicating, there was a huge increase in the rate of progress.

Writing allows you to keep solutions to problems that only come about rarely. Disseminating these is very time-consuming, though; copying a manuscript by hand takes months. But 20,000 years? I think basic sanitation comes first. It also doesn't take very long. Once you have writing, though, it becomes *much* easier to approach things scientifically, especially with a bit of arithmetic. So that might be more worthwhile, since they can arrive at sanitation eventually anyway, and sooner if they have writing. Of course, in any case, you need to get around two obstacles: the language barrier and your ignorance of whatever you're trying to teach. I know less about agriculture, probably, than any stone age farmer. I don't know anywhere near enough about ironworking or mining to be able to offer any meaningful advice. But most people know enough about writing to create a writing system for another culture, if they just sit down and consider the problem for a few hours. So in your case, I dare say the only technology that you listed that you could deliver is writing. Even a metallurgist might have significant trouble providing ironworking to a culture without the typical modern tools of that trade.

Alan Lightman wrote a short story, "A Modern Day Yankee in a Connecticut Court", describing the difficulty of bringing modern technology into the past. The protagonist couldn't convince the citizens of 19th century Hartford that his technology even existed, much less how to make it work. (The expert in the court was Thomas Edison.) He could name things -- "television", "air conditioning", "TNT", etc., but that was about it.
Mar 28 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Walter,

 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 
 Sometimes I run these crazy calculations: how much modern firepower
 would be just enough to turn the odds in a classic battle? At
 Thermopilae, I think two Vickers with enough ammo would have been
 just about enough. Also at the Lord of the Rings 2 night castle
 defense, one machine gun would have sufficed (better protection and
 fewer assailants).
 

years ago? Assuming I didn't get promptly cooked for dinner, what technology could I deliver that would have the most impact? I can't decide between iron, agriculture, or writing. I suspect

Ag. Up to a little over 100 years ago >90% of man was needed to feed us all. Everything else (including swinging that balance) was done by the <10% left over. If you could swing it just a little bit then you'd get large returns now. OTOH at the rate we are going, you might also speed up Judgment Day (the skynet or inconvenient truth version).
 writing. Every time humans got better at communicating, there was a
 huge increase in the rate of progress.
 
 speech
 writing
 printing
 telegraph
 telephone
 internet

Mar 28 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Sometimes I run these crazy calculations: how much modern firepower 
 would be just enough to turn the odds in a classic battle? At 
 Thermopilae, I think two Vickers with enough ammo would have been just 
 about enough. Also at the Lord of the Rings 2 night castle defense, 
 one machine gun would have sufficed (better protection and fewer 
 assailants).

Sometimes I think what if I were dropped naked back in time 20,000 years ago?

Gosh, that runs through my mind a lot! (Also, I tend to ask myself a lot - what if I were dropped some 100-200 years *from* now?)
 Assuming I didn't get promptly cooked for dinner, what technology 
 could I deliver that would have the most impact?
 
 I can't decide between iron, agriculture, or writing. I suspect writing. 
 Every time humans got better at communicating, there was a huge increase 
 in the rate of progress.
 
 speech
 writing
 printing
 telegraph
 telephone
 internet

My list: - wheel - fire - smelting metals - writing - arithmetic Andrei
Mar 28 2009
parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 My list:
 
 - wheel
 - fire
 - smelting metals
 - writing
 - arithmetic

But humans had fire 20,000 years ago! I think fire goes back a lot longer than that. I also suspect that simple arithmetic is innate, although a numbering system is not (see Mayan and Roman number systems). Wouldn't the wheel be useless to a hunter-gatherer tribe?
Mar 28 2009
next sibling parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 My list:

 - wheel
 - fire
 - smelting metals
 - writing
 - arithmetic

But humans had fire 20,000 years ago!

Well in my fantasies time is a parameter...
 I think fire goes back a lot 
 longer than that. I also suspect that simple arithmetic is innate, 
 although a numbering system is not (see Mayan and Roman number systems).
 
 Wouldn't the wheel be useless to a hunter-gatherer tribe?

Not for transporting the hunt. By and large, such mental exercises are indeed showing how dependent everything in modern life is on infrastructure. Our major achievements (electricity, automobiles, computers) cannot be fathomed absent a major infrastructure. Andrei
Mar 28 2009
parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Wouldn't the wheel be useless to a hunter-gatherer tribe?


Consider making a wheel (and corresponding cart) with nothing but stone tools to work with, and your materials are rope, leather, and wood. No fasteners. A workable cart with wheel would be very heavy. I think it would be fairly useless without a road and oxen to pull it.
 By and large, such mental exercises are indeed showing how dependent 
 everything in modern life is on infrastructure. Our major achievements 
 (electricity, automobiles, computers) cannot be fathomed absent a major 
 infrastructure.

Even writing has its problems. What are you going to write on? Bark? Animal hides? How are you going to make paper? Ink? A hunter-gatherer tribe may find it not worth the effort, and so the writing will not "take".
Mar 28 2009
next sibling parent Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Wouldn't the wheel be useless to a hunter-gatherer tribe?


Consider making a wheel (and corresponding cart) with nothing but stone tools to work with, and your materials are rope, leather, and wood. No fasteners. A workable cart with wheel would be very heavy. I think it would be fairly useless without a road and oxen to pull it.
 By and large, such mental exercises are indeed showing how dependent 
 everything in modern life is on infrastructure. Our major achievements 
 (electricity, automobiles, computers) cannot be fathomed absent a 
 major infrastructure.

Even writing has its problems. What are you going to write on? Bark? Animal hides? How are you going to make paper? Ink? A hunter-gatherer tribe may find it not worth the effort, and so the writing will not "take".

Yah, all the more argument to extend the time traveler an invitation to dinner. In Hamlet's words, not where he eats, but where he is eaten. Andrei
Mar 28 2009
prev sibling parent reply Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 
 Even writing has its problems. What are you going to write on? Bark? 
 Animal hides? How are you going to make paper? Ink? A hunter-gatherer 
 tribe may find it not worth the effort, and so the writing will not "take".

The Maya wrote on treated Birch Bark, which apparently worked great until Spanish Missionaries burned all their libraries :-) Sumerians used fired clay tablets for writing, and treated animal hides were pretty popular until relatively recently (Vellum, for instance). Vegetable dyes would make decent ink, if needed. The bigger problem with writing is the difficulty in transporting the books or whatever, assuming a hunter-gatherer culture. Until agriculture, I can't writing being used much outside of "graffiti" on cave walls, trees, etc. From your date of 20,000 BC, I believe you predate agriculture by at least a few thousand years (I recall hearing speculation about Human settlements in the teens somewhere).
Mar 28 2009
parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Sean Kelly wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Even writing has its problems. What are you going to write on? Bark? 
 Animal hides? How are you going to make paper? Ink? A hunter-gatherer 
 tribe may find it not worth the effort, and so the writing will not 
 "take".

The Maya wrote on treated Birch Bark, which apparently worked great until Spanish Missionaries burned all their libraries :-) Sumerians used fired clay tablets for writing, and treated animal hides were pretty popular until relatively recently (Vellum, for instance). Vegetable dyes would make decent ink, if needed.

It's the "treating" that's the problem. Do you know how to treat animal hides? I sure don't! I saw the process once on TV and it looked rather involved.
 The bigger problem with writing is the difficulty in transporting the 
 books or whatever, assuming a hunter-gatherer culture.  Until 
 agriculture, I can't writing being used much outside of "graffiti" on 
 cave walls, trees, etc.  From your date of 20,000 BC, I believe you 
 predate agriculture by at least a few thousand years (I recall hearing 
 speculation about Human settlements in the teens somewhere).

You're right that a settlement is probably a precursor to viable writing. Even smelting iron has a lot of problems. It may take a lot of trial and error to get it to work, time you may not have :-) before they spit and roasted you for dinner! Could you even recognize iron ore? But all you really need to produce is a serviceable hatchet, because a few of those will give your tribe a distinct advantage. This would all make for a great scifi story!
Mar 28 2009
next sibling parent reply Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Sean Kelly wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Even writing has its problems. What are you going to write on? Bark? 
 Animal hides? How are you going to make paper? Ink? A hunter-gatherer 
 tribe may find it not worth the effort, and so the writing will not 
 "take".

The Maya wrote on treated Birch Bark, which apparently worked great until Spanish Missionaries burned all their libraries :-) Sumerians used fired clay tablets for writing, and treated animal hides were pretty popular until relatively recently (Vellum, for instance). Vegetable dyes would make decent ink, if needed.

It's the "treating" that's the problem. Do you know how to treat animal hides? I sure don't! I saw the process once on TV and it looked rather involved.

I know that hide can be tanned using urine, which I suppose is why tanneries were reputed to smell so horrible. It would have to be scraped clean without wrecking it as well, perhaps with a Clam shell? Either way, charcoal on cave walls would definitely be easier :-)
 Could you even recognize iron ore?

Or dig it up? Some of the earliest chapters in the Bible mention Iron so I imagine the knowledge has been around for some time, but definitely not before agriculture.
 But all you really need to produce is a serviceable hatchet, because a 
 few of those will give your tribe a distinct advantage.

In another MythBusters episode they were asked to try and figure out whether there was any practical benefit to arrows with flint tips vs. simply being sharpened, and their results were surprisingly ambiguous. The flint tipped arrows seemed to penetrate slightly better, but this didn't seem offset by the greatly increased labor to make them. Clearly, stone-tipped weapons were preferred over normal ones if archaeological evidence is any indication, but I'd really like to know why. Stone tools makes complete sense (and therefore hatchets as well), but why add a stone tip to something ostensibly disposable like an arrow unless it provides a substantial benefit in terms of the likelihood that a kill will be successful?
Mar 28 2009
next sibling parent Don <nospam nospam.com> writes:
Sean Kelly wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Sean Kelly wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Even writing has its problems. What are you going to write on? Bark? 
 Animal hides? How are you going to make paper? Ink? A 
 hunter-gatherer tribe may find it not worth the effort, and so the 
 writing will not "take".

The Maya wrote on treated Birch Bark, which apparently worked great until Spanish Missionaries burned all their libraries :-) Sumerians used fired clay tablets for writing, and treated animal hides were pretty popular until relatively recently (Vellum, for instance). Vegetable dyes would make decent ink, if needed.

It's the "treating" that's the problem. Do you know how to treat animal hides? I sure don't! I saw the process once on TV and it looked rather involved.

I know that hide can be tanned using urine, which I suppose is why tanneries were reputed to smell so horrible. It would have to be scraped clean without wrecking it as well, perhaps with a Clam shell? Either way, charcoal on cave walls would definitely be easier :-)
 Could you even recognize iron ore?

Or dig it up? Some of the earliest chapters in the Bible mention Iron so I imagine the knowledge has been around for some time, but definitely not before agriculture.

(EG, Goliath had an iron spear, in the middle of the bronze age). Most of the early iron came from pure-iron meteorites -- they knew about iron, but finding it was pure luck.
Mar 28 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Sean,

 In another MythBusters episode they were asked to try and figure out
 whether there was any practical benefit to arrows with flint tips vs.
 simply being sharpened, and their results were surprisingly ambiguous.
 The flint tipped arrows seemed to penetrate slightly better, but this
 didn't seem offset by the greatly increased labor to make them.
 Clearly, stone-tipped weapons were preferred over normal ones if
 archaeological evidence is any indication, but I'd really like to know
 why.  Stone tools makes complete sense (and therefore hatchets as
 well), but why add a stone tip to something ostensibly disposable like
 an arrow unless it provides a substantial benefit in terms of the
 likelihood that a kill will be successful?
 

After the tip get in the animal, it breaks off, grinds up and does more damage as the animal runs away. Even modern razor edged arrows kill by bleeding the animal out.
Mar 28 2009
parent Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
BCS wrote:
 
 After the tip get in the animal, it breaks off, grinds up and does more 
 damage as the animal runs away. Even modern razor edged arrows kill by 
 bleeding the animal out.

Ah, I was wondering if that might be the case. Thanks for the explanation!
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling parent Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Sean Kelly wrote:
 In another MythBusters episode they were asked to try and figure out 
 whether there was any practical benefit to arrows with flint tips vs. 
 simply being sharpened, and their results were surprisingly ambiguous. 
 The flint tipped arrows seemed to penetrate slightly better, but this 
 didn't seem offset by the greatly increased labor to make them. Clearly, 
 stone-tipped weapons were preferred over normal ones if archaeological 
 evidence is any indication, but I'd really like to know why.  Stone 
 tools makes complete sense (and therefore hatchets as well), but why add 
 a stone tip to something ostensibly disposable like an arrow unless it 
 provides a substantial benefit in terms of the likelihood that a kill 
 will be successful?

Since stone arrowheads, and improvements in them, spread rapidly around the world, the people clearly thought they were substantially better. We often think of cavemen as idiots, but they weren't. They were ignorant of what we know, but they surely had intricate knowledge of their environment and how to survive. There's something that mythbusters was missing.
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Walter,

 
 This would all make for a great scifi story!
 

the story I want to puzzle out is that a group of a few thousand people get dropped on a planet with an indestructible encyclopedic reference, really good geological maps and their birthday suits. I've wondered how long it would take to get into back into space. If they can keep society together, I'd bet it would be under 100 years, it might even be under a generation.
Mar 28 2009
next sibling parent reply Daniel Keep <daniel.keep.lists gmail.com> writes:
BCS wrote:
 Hello Walter,
 
 This would all make for a great scifi story!

the story I want to puzzle out is that a group of a few thousand people get dropped on a planet with an indestructible encyclopedic reference,

You mean a ruggedised Kindle 2 a.k.a. the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy version 0.1?
 really good geological maps

Here's hoping Google Earth has that planet, then. :P
 and their birthday suits. I've wondered how
 long it would take to get into back into space. If they can keep society
 together, I'd bet it would be under 100 years, it might even be under a
 generation.

Without a supply of food, not long, I'd imagine. Assuming your list of materials is complete, they'd have to figure out what's edible, then hunt and gather their food for at least as long as it takes them to figure out what they can grow, and then grow it. Then there's the question of whether these people are skilled, or just a few thousand random people off the street. Not to mention that to get into space they'd need a hell of a lot of things. Even with written knowledge of how to do it, I don't imagine it would be an easy thing to do. -- Daniel
Mar 29 2009
parent BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Daniel,

 BCS wrote:
 
 Hello Walter,
 
 This would all make for a great scifi story!
 

people get dropped on a planet with an indestructible encyclopedic reference,

Galaxy version 0.1?
 really good geological maps
 


That to, but I was thinking of minral maps for finding ore.
 and their birthday suits. I've wondered how
 long it would take to get into back into space. If they can keep
 society
 together, I'd bet it would be under 100 years, it might even be under
 a
 generation.

of materials is complete, they'd have to figure out what's edible, then hunt and gather their food for at least as long as it takes them to figure out what they can grow, and then grow it.

I'd argue that working out the food supply is a prerqueset to keeping society together
 
 Then there's the question of whether these people are skilled, or just
 a few thousand random people off the street.
 

Most of the work would be skilled labor and when know how to teach that fairly well. For the rest it wouldn't take much luck for a sampling of 5000 people to to include several doctors, engineers, some framers, a few scientists and some programmers. Besides, it a story, I can make my own luck.
 Not to mention that to get into space they'd need a hell of a lot of
 things.  Even with written knowledge of how to do it, I don't imagine
 it would be an easy thing to do.
 

If it were easy, it wouldn't make a good story.
 -- Daniel
 

Mar 29 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
BCS wrote:
 the story I want to puzzle out is that a group of a few thousand people 
 get dropped on a planet with an indestructible encyclopedic reference, 
 really good geological maps and their birthday suits. I've wondered how 
 long it would take to get into back into space. If they can keep society 
 together, I'd bet it would be under 100 years, it might even be under a 
 generation.

Most of them would promptly die. The reference will be missing all kinds of woodcraft that is necessary to survive, but nobody found worthwhile to record. (The Firefox series of books is an attempt to record those old techniques before they were lost forever.) Most of the instructions in the encyclopedia will be useless, because they'll require non-existent precursor technology. How to build those precursors probably will not be recorded. Then the people will have to have a very fast attitude adjustment, and many will die in that process. Take a look at the sad history of Jamestown. The Battlestar Galactica finale where they just sent all their tech into the sun and went native is a romantic delusion.
Mar 29 2009
next sibling parent reply Christopher Wright <dhasenan gmail.com> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 BCS wrote:
 the story I want to puzzle out is that a group of a few thousand 
 people get dropped on a planet with an indestructible encyclopedic 
 reference, really good geological maps and their birthday suits. I've 
 wondered how long it would take to get into back into space. If they 
 can keep society together, I'd bet it would be under 100 years, it 
 might even be under a generation.

Most of them would promptly die. The reference will be missing all kinds of woodcraft that is necessary to survive, but nobody found worthwhile to record. (The Firefox series of books is an attempt to record those old techniques before they were lost forever.)

Foxfire, not Firefox. There are about twelve volumes, each roughly as long as a Wheel of Time novel.
 Most of the instructions in the encyclopedia will be useless, because 
 they'll require non-existent precursor technology. How to build those 
 precursors probably will not be recorded.

Assuming that the encyclopedia is not lacking in that regard, building the prerequisite technologies could take quite some time.
 Then the people will have to have a very fast attitude adjustment, and 
 many will die in that process. Take a look at the sad history of Jamestown.
 
 The Battlestar Galactica finale where they just sent all their tech into 
 the sun and went native is a romantic delusion.

Thanks for ruining it for me! (Actually, thanks. I was never going to watch it anyway.)
Mar 29 2009
parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Christopher Wright wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 The Battlestar Galactica finale where they just sent all their tech 
 into the sun and went native is a romantic delusion.

Thanks for ruining it for me! (Actually, thanks. I was never going to watch it anyway.)

You didn't miss anything. I've only watched a handful of episodes. I found it to be so "dark", literally, that I had a hard time seeing what was going on on my TV screen.
Mar 29 2009
next sibling parent Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Christopher Wright wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 The Battlestar Galactica finale where they just sent all their tech 
 into the sun and went native is a romantic delusion.

Thanks for ruining it for me! (Actually, thanks. I was never going to watch it anyway.)

You didn't miss anything. I've only watched a handful of episodes. I found it to be so "dark", literally, that I had a hard time seeing what was going on on my TV screen.

Obvious hint to start a donation campaign for a new plasma ignored. Andrei
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Christopher Wright wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 The Battlestar Galactica finale where they just sent all their tech 
 into the sun and went native is a romantic delusion.

Thanks for ruining it for me! (Actually, thanks. I was never going to watch it anyway.)

You didn't miss anything. I've only watched a handful of episodes. I found it to be so "dark", literally, that I had a hard time seeing what was going on on my TV screen.

The problem I ran into is that the audio is mixed with the music about the same volume as the voices, and it almost seems like they applied so effects to the voice audio to make it sound more like they were talking in a big metal room. In any case, I always had trouble hearing dialog clearly in that show, and often messed with the audio settings on my TV to boost that frequency range in hopes of hearing it better. That's what I get for not wearing ear plugs all those years I spent at loud concerts, I suppose.
Mar 29 2009
parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Sean Kelly wrote:
 The problem I ran into is that the audio is mixed with the music about 
 the same volume as the voices, and it almost seems like they applied so 
 effects to the voice audio to make it sound more like they were talking 
 in a big metal room.  In any case, I always had trouble hearing dialog 
 clearly in that show, and often messed with the audio settings on my TV 
 to boost that frequency range in hopes of hearing it better.  That's 
 what I get for not wearing ear plugs all those years I spent at loud 
 concerts, I suppose.

I've been having increasing problems understanding TV dialog, too. It sounds like they're mumbling their lines.
Mar 29 2009
next sibling parent BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Walter,

 Sean Kelly wrote:
 
 The problem I ran into is that the audio is mixed with the music
 about the same volume as the voices, and it almost seems like they
 applied so effects to the voice audio to make it sound more like they
 were talking in a big metal room.  In any case, I always had trouble
 hearing dialog clearly in that show, and often messed with the audio
 settings on my TV to boost that frequency range in hopes of hearing
 it better.  That's what I get for not wearing ear plugs all those
 years I spent at loud concerts, I suppose.
 

sounds like they're mumbling their lines.

I'm 25, don't like loud music and run movies with subtitles. It's kinda funny how the audio doesn't always track the text.
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Sean Kelly wrote:
 The problem I ran into is that the audio is mixed with the music about 
 the same volume as the voices, and it almost seems like they applied 
 so effects to the voice audio to make it sound more like they were 
 talking in a big metal room.  In any case, I always had trouble 
 hearing dialog clearly in that show, and often messed with the audio 
 settings on my TV to boost that frequency range in hopes of hearing it 
 better.  That's what I get for not wearing ear plugs all those years I 
 spent at loud concerts, I suppose.

I've been having increasing problems understanding TV dialog, too. It sounds like they're mumbling their lines.

It's a conspiracy. You need to turn the volume up to understand, and meanwhile the entire house hears the bangs and shots, and everybody has to come and see. Same with commercials (at least around here) they got the nice idea to send commercials a lot louder than the program, so everybody in the building (including your freaking neighbors) has to hear what detergent to buy. # %! #!!! I'd say that's harrassment and trespassing. Check out any movie from the fifties, and all of a sudden you aren't old anymore: you can actually hear what they say. Without burning the amp or your nerves! I've actually thought of buying a 5.1 sound system, for the sole purpose of turning everything else down, except the dialog speaker. (The one on top of the TV.) But I've been too lazy to go to a store and test if it actually would work. Does anybody know? #$ $#!!! And they used to have this logo screen between commercials and programming, but now they've got rid of it, so when I watch a movie, I literally have to have the remote in my hand so I can be ready to cut the volume before everybody wakes up. Technology advances indeed.
Mar 29 2009
next sibling parent reply Christopher Wright <dhasenan gmail.com> writes:
Georg Wrede wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Sean Kelly wrote:
 The problem I ran into is that the audio is mixed with the music 
 about the same volume as the voices, and it almost seems like they 
 applied so effects to the voice audio to make it sound more like they 
 were talking in a big metal room.  In any case, I always had trouble 
 hearing dialog clearly in that show, and often messed with the audio 
 settings on my TV to boost that frequency range in hopes of hearing 
 it better.  That's what I get for not wearing ear plugs all those 
 years I spent at loud concerts, I suppose.

I've been having increasing problems understanding TV dialog, too. It sounds like they're mumbling their lines.

It's a conspiracy. You need to turn the volume up to understand, and meanwhile the entire house hears the bangs and shots, and everybody has to come and see. Same with commercials (at least around here) they got the nice idea to send commercials a lot louder than the program, so everybody in the building (including your freaking neighbors) has to hear what detergent to buy. # %! #!!! I'd say that's harrassment and trespassing.

It was quite annoying, but I found a solution: don't watch broadcast television. There are friendly people on the internet who have already removed the commercials for me. That said, the only television I regularly watch is Korean starcraft (with fan-made English commentary, usually), and nobody's going to sue me for that.
Mar 29 2009
parent reply BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Christopher,

 It was quite annoying, but I found a solution: don't watch broadcast
 television. There are friendly people on the internet who have already
 removed the commercials for me.

hulu.com grand total of about 2 minutes of non show tops. I don't even own a TV.
Mar 29 2009
parent Daniel Keep <daniel.keep.lists gmail.com> writes:
BCS wrote:
 Hello Christopher,
 
 It was quite annoying, but I found a solution: don't watch broadcast
 television. There are friendly people on the internet who have already
 removed the commercials for me.

hulu.com grand total of about 2 minutes of non show tops. I don't even own a TV.

Only a valid point if you happen to live in the US. -- Daniel
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling parent reply Daniel Keep <daniel.keep.lists gmail.com> writes:
Georg Wrede wrote:
 ...
 
 It's a conspiracy. You need to turn the volume up to understand, and
 meanwhile the entire house hears the bangs and shots, and everybody has
 to come and see. Same with commercials (at least around here) they got
 the nice idea to send commercials a lot louder than the program, so
 everybody in the building (including your freaking neighbors) has to
 hear what detergent to buy. # %! #!!! I'd say that's harrassment and
 trespassing.

I have this long list of "what I'd do if I was made Prime Minister." One of the entries relates to outlawing advertising firms and anything other than plain text ads with maybe a voice at a sensible volume over the top. (Rivers does this, bless 'em, and I always make a point of paying attention to their ads if I happen to see one.) Then, to really bugger 'em up, I'd make it law that if there's anything in an ad that you can't support with concrete evidence, you get hanged. Enough of this "five out of six fluffy ducks love our toilet paper best" or "Australia's favourite" or any of the other bullshit they use. Let's see how eager they are to make stuff up when it's their neck on the line... They can keep the cannes ad awards, though; if only as a hobby.
 Check out any movie from the fifties, and all of a sudden you aren't old
 anymore: you can actually hear what they say. Without burning the amp or
 your nerves!

Probably because it was when they still gave a rats about quality and not annoying the crap out of the viewer. I guess this is all endemic of the media industry these days. I mean, I got so furious with all the bullshit going on that I just completely stopped buying/renting movies and music.
 I've actually thought of buying a 5.1 sound system, for the sole purpose
 of turning everything else down, except the dialog speaker. (The one on
 top of the TV.) But I've been too lazy to go to a store and test if it
 actually would work. Does anybody know?

See, I just turn on subtitles. I guess I got used to them from watching Anime with Japanese language and English subs, so it really doesn't bother me.
  #$ $#!!! And they used to have this logo screen between commercials and
 programming, but now they've got rid of it, so when I watch a movie, I
 literally have to have the remote in my hand so I can be ready to cut
 the volume before everybody wakes up. Technology advances indeed.

I have a great solution to this: I don't watch TV. The only exception I make on any vaguely regular basis is to turn it on to watch TopGear (when someone reminds me, since I have an atrocious memory for this.) Sometimes, I wonder how far above my own the general public's tolerance for being treated like cattle is. Just how far do the media and TV companies have to push people before society at large turns around and hacks their hands off with a blunt spoon... -- Daniel
Mar 29 2009
next sibling parent Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
Daniel Keep wrote:
  Then, to really bugger 'em up, I'd make it law that if there's anything
 in an ad that you can't support with concrete evidence, you get hanged.
  Enough of this "five out of six fluffy ducks love our toilet paper
 best" or "Australia's favourite" or any of the other bullshit they use.
  Let's see how eager they are to make stuff up when it's their neck on
 the line...

Oh yes!! Today, I'm having a hard time telling my kids not to lie, while all the TV ads do is blatant lying.
 They can keep the cannes ad awards, though; if only as a hobby.
 
 Check out any movie from the fifties, and all of a sudden you aren't old
 anymore: you can actually hear what they say. Without burning the amp or
 your nerves!

Probably because it was when they still gave a rats about quality and not annoying the crap out of the viewer. I guess this is all endemic of the media industry these days. I mean, I got so furious with all the bullshit going on that I just completely stopped buying/renting movies and music.
 I've actually thought of buying a 5.1 sound system, for the sole purpose
 of turning everything else down, except the dialog speaker. (The one on
 top of the TV.) But I've been too lazy to go to a store and test if it
 actually would work. Does anybody know?

See, I just turn on subtitles. I guess I got used to them from watching Anime with Japanese language and English subs, so it really doesn't bother me.

Well, I learnt all my English from watching and listening while reading local subtitles. I'd hate to turn off the volume.
 Sometimes, I wonder how far above my own the general public's tolerance
 for being treated like cattle is.  Just how far do the media and TV
 companies have to push people before society at large turns around and
 hacks their hands off with a blunt spoon...

Well, if folks download movies and music, the industry sure makes them have less of a bad conscience. And soon more people will do it, just to get even with the industry. Most of my TV watching is either recordings, or time-shift, where I can skip commercials even when I watch "live".
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling parent Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Daniel Keep wrote:
 I have this long list of "what I'd do if I was made Prime Minister."
 One of the entries relates to outlawing advertising firms and anything
 other than plain text ads with maybe a voice at a sensible volume over
 the top.  (Rivers does this, bless 'em, and I always make a point of
 paying attention to their ads if I happen to see one.)

I'd be happy with removing the stupidest ones for now. I hate the Geico ads with the idiotic wad of cash. Apparently they decided the gecko and the cavemen were too subtle for the public. Andrei
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling parent Gide Nwawudu <gide btinternet.com> writes:
On Sun, 29 Mar 2009 12:17:33 -0700, Walter Bright
<newshound1 digitalmars.com> wrote:

Sean Kelly wrote:
 The problem I ran into is that the audio is mixed with the music about 
 the same volume as the voices, and it almost seems like they applied so 
 effects to the voice audio to make it sound more like they were talking 
 in a big metal room.  In any case, I always had trouble hearing dialog 
 clearly in that show, and often messed with the audio settings on my TV 
 to boost that frequency range in hopes of hearing it better.  That's 
 what I get for not wearing ear plugs all those years I spent at loud 
 concerts, I suppose.

I've been having increasing problems understanding TV dialog, too. It sounds like they're mumbling their lines.

Apparently the sound mixing is causing older audiences difficulties. http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2009/mar/02/john-cleese-film Gide
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling parent Daniel Keep <daniel.keep.lists gmail.com> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Christopher Wright wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 The Battlestar Galactica finale where they just sent all their tech
 into the sun and went native is a romantic delusion.

Thanks for ruining it for me! (Actually, thanks. I was never going to watch it anyway.)

You didn't miss anything. I've only watched a handful of episodes. I found it to be so "dark", literally, that I had a hard time seeing what was going on on my TV screen.

Don't forget that all their camera operators apparently suffer from extreme Parkinson's disease! The one cool thing I ever saw of BG was a clip online where they drop the Galactica through a planet's atmosphere to get their fighters deployed faster, then do a faster-than-light jump split seconds before they hit the ground. Very cool. -- Daniel
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 The Battlestar Galactica finale where they just sent all their tech into 
 the sun and went native is a romantic delusion.

Damn! Thanks for the spoiler, I wanted to watch that! On second thought, maybe I don't :o). Andrei
Mar 29 2009
next sibling parent reply Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 The Battlestar Galactica finale where they just sent all their tech 
 into the sun and went native is a romantic delusion.

Damn! Thanks for the spoiler, I wanted to watch that! On second thought, maybe I don't :o).

It's well worth it, assuming you like space opera.
Mar 29 2009
parent reply Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
Sean Kelly wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 The Battlestar Galactica finale where they just sent all their tech 
 into the sun and went native is a romantic delusion.

Damn! Thanks for the spoiler, I wanted to watch that! On second thought, maybe I don't :o).

It's well worth it, assuming you like space opera.

That's the first series I'd consider buying a box set.
Mar 29 2009
parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Georg Wrede wrote:
 That's the first series I'd consider buying a box set.

Waste of money & time. Buy "Band of Brothers" instead.
Mar 29 2009
parent Daniel Keep <daniel.keep.lists gmail.com> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Georg Wrede wrote:
 That's the first series I'd consider buying a box set.

Waste of money & time. Buy "Band of Brothers" instead.

I actually just broke my "don't buy media" rule and grabbed the Monty Python Boxset. All the movies and the full Flying Circus. Something like 27 hours of Python; the Flying Circus runs for 22 hours alone! Now, if only they'd release all the albums and books on a pair of DVDs... -- Daniel
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling parent Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 The Battlestar Galactica finale where they just sent all their tech 
 into the sun and went native is a romantic delusion.

Damn! Thanks for the spoiler, I wanted to watch that! On second thought, maybe I don't :o).

Sorry, it's been over a week now, so I assumed everyone who cared about it had already seen it.
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling parent reply BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Walter,

 BCS wrote:
 
 the story I want to puzzle out is that a group of a few thousand
 people get dropped on a planet with an indestructible encyclopedic
 reference, really good geological maps and their birthday suits. I've
 wondered how long it would take to get into back into space. If they
 can keep society together, I'd bet it would be under 100 years, it
 might even be under a generation.
 

kinds of woodcraft that is necessary to survive, but nobody found worthwhile to record. (The Firefox series of books is an attempt to record those old techniques before they were lost forever.)

No it does contain that knowledge. Assume, it has the totally recorded knowledge of earth, wikipidia + googel books + gotenberg + dusty tomes in the back of some monetary. The point is what if knowledge is not a limiting factor?
 Most of the instructions in the encyclopedia will be useless, because
 they'll require non-existent precursor technology. How to build those
 precursors probably will not be recorded.
 
 Then the people will have to have a very fast attitude adjustment, and
 many will die in that process. Take a look at the sad history of
 Jamestown.
 

What goods a story without some risk of life and limb? That and a social aspect.
Mar 29 2009
parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
BCS wrote:
 No it does contain that knowledge. Assume, it has the totally recorded 
 knowledge of earth, wikipidia + googel books + gotenberg + dusty tomes 
 in the back of some monetary. The point is what if knowledge is not a 
 limiting factor?

That's *recorded* knowledge. A lot of knowledge never gets recorded. For example, many people have tried to recreate medieval trebuchets. All they've got is a couple of crappy drawings, and so they had to guess and invent to fill in a lot of blanks. Damascus steel is a famous example. Anyone who has tried to recreate medieval or ancient technology from recorded documents has found that an awful lot of fairly crucial information was left out.
Mar 29 2009
parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Remember that old Bill Cosby routine where he plays Moses and God is 
giving him instructions on how to build the ark? The design was all 
given in terms of cubits.

And the end of the long, involved explanation, Moses (Cosby) says:

"What's a cubit?"
Mar 29 2009
parent BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Walter,

 Remember that old Bill Cosby routine where he plays Moses and God is
 giving him instructions on how to build the ark? The design was all
 given in terms of cubits.
 
 And the end of the long, involved explanation, Moses (Cosby) says:
 
 "What's a cubit?"
 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qbit
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
BCS wrote:
 the story I want to puzzle out is that a group of a few thousand people 
 get dropped on a planet with an indestructible encyclopedic reference, 
 really good geological maps and their birthday suits. I've wondered how 
 long it would take to get into back into space. If they can keep society 
 together, I'd bet it would be under 100 years, it might even be under a 
 generation.

Let's say, instead of just birthday suits and an encyclopedia, they'd have a magic box that just doles out any hand tool you can think of wishing you had. Oh, and another box that feeds them all. A third that keeps them clothed, and a fourth to tend to their medical issues. And, they'd be no ordinary rednecks, but all of them belonging to Mensa. But let's say they aren't NASA engineers, just otherwise smart. They'd have to start with some serious reading. They'd have to spend years figuring out the design of the ship, write the computer programs for avionics, fuel control, etc. Then they'd have to design the computers to run them on. And the computer programs to design the microchips. Then they'd have to design a chip factory to make the CPUs and other chips needed. Another factory to make fuel. A couple of mines, too, to get titanium and aluminium alloys, and a few plastics factories to make all the plastic parts. They'd need to either develop synthetic rubber or find rubber trees, or find a substitute, to make hydraulic tubing. They'd need some serious expeditions to find what they need, in great enough quantities. Before all of this, they'd need to find out how to create factories that make bricks for the other factory buildings, build a power plant big enough to run the factories, chemical processes for fuel and stuff, mills and forges. They'd need a few hundred Jeeps just to get around the planet in search of raw materials, and they'd need to build factories for oil well drills, piping, and truck factories for transport of all kinds of crap and raw materials. Oh, and they'd need to not be jealous, adulterous, envious, self-promoting, greedy, bossy, dishonest, delinquent, criminal, etc. and not treat others with disrespect. Or else half their progress will go to all that. (What's -50% compounded annually over, say, 20 years? Get it?) Motorola dominated the world of wireless communications, and was a big chip maker, only ten years ago. Ever wonder what happened? (Yesterday I saw a rerun of Bad Boys. That movie is so true to life in that anytime something is going down, people just start yelling at each other, instead of focusing on the emergency at hand.) And let's say /all/ the circumstances otherwise are perfect (like no earth quakes, no storms, floods, or even thunder). How many parts are there in a rocket? Not to mention a StarTrek kind of spaceship? In the 1970' I was a camera salesman. I saw an exploded view of the Canon FTb (a regular SLR camera). They boasted it had one thousand parts. Say it takes a thousand cameras to build a rocket. That's a million parts. How many rockets would they have to build just for testing various things, and getting it right? Any author in whose book even one of them gets up in space before 500 years, is an idiot, and should be sent back to college. Math, physics, chemistry, at least. Their number one problem is, they're too few compared to the task. Developing things to make things to make things[...], and having the knowledge is fine, but you have to be so many that it actually gets done before doomsday. Hell, if it was that easy to build a rocket, then the guys in Afghanistan and Nigeria would have been a few times to the Moon already. People really underestimate things. "Yeah, this guy I know wrote this OS kernel, and today even mainframes run Linux." If you count the man-hours Linus and thousands of others have done, combined, guess what. Say they'd been a hundred instead. Today Linux is almost 20 years, so we're talking two hundred years, right? You know, if the entire mankind decided to stop fighting, and wanted to build the Enterprise now (forget warp drive), I'd say it would take way more than a generation. Hell, merely sending 2 guys to Mars seems too much. How long does it currently take the world's most powerful nation, from decision to deployment, to make a jet fighter? And these guys already have the factories, infrastructure, CAD programs, expertise, experience, clout, etc.
Mar 29 2009
next sibling parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Georg Wrede wrote:
 BCS wrote:
 the story I want to puzzle out is that a group of a few thousand 
 people get dropped on a planet with an indestructible encyclopedic 
 reference, really good geological maps and their birthday suits. I've 
 wondered how long it would take to get into back into space. If they 
 can keep society together, I'd bet it would be under 100 years, it 
 might even be under a generation.

Let's say, instead of just birthday suits and an encyclopedia, they'd have a magic box that just doles out any hand tool you can think of wishing you had. Oh, and another box that feeds them all. A third that keeps them clothed, and a fourth to tend to their medical issues. And, they'd be no ordinary rednecks, but all of them belonging to Mensa. But let's say they aren't NASA engineers, just otherwise smart. They'd have to start with some serious reading. They'd have to spend years figuring out the design of the ship, write the computer programs for avionics, fuel control, etc. Then they'd have to design the computers to run them on. And the computer programs to design the microchips. Then they'd have to design a chip factory to make the CPUs and other chips needed. Another factory to make fuel. A couple of mines, too, to get titanium and aluminium alloys, and a few plastics factories to make all the plastic parts. They'd need to either develop synthetic rubber or find rubber trees, or find a substitute, to make hydraulic tubing. They'd need some serious expeditions to find what they need, in great enough quantities. Before all of this, they'd need to find out how to create factories that make bricks for the other factory buildings, build a power plant big enough to run the factories, chemical processes for fuel and stuff, mills and forges. They'd need a few hundred Jeeps just to get around the planet in search of raw materials, and they'd need to build factories for oil well drills, piping, and truck factories for transport of all kinds of crap and raw materials. Oh, and they'd need to not be jealous, adulterous, envious, self-promoting, greedy, bossy, dishonest, delinquent, criminal, etc. and not treat others with disrespect. Or else half their progress will go to all that. (What's -50% compounded annually over, say, 20 years? Get it?) Motorola dominated the world of wireless communications, and was a big chip maker, only ten years ago. Ever wonder what happened? (Yesterday I saw a rerun of Bad Boys. That movie is so true to life in that anytime something is going down, people just start yelling at each other, instead of focusing on the emergency at hand.) And let's say /all/ the circumstances otherwise are perfect (like no earth quakes, no storms, floods, or even thunder). How many parts are there in a rocket? Not to mention a StarTrek kind of spaceship? In the 1970' I was a camera salesman. I saw an exploded view of the Canon FTb (a regular SLR camera). They boasted it had one thousand parts. Say it takes a thousand cameras to build a rocket. That's a million parts. How many rockets would they have to build just for testing various things, and getting it right? Any author in whose book even one of them gets up in space before 500 years, is an idiot, and should be sent back to college. Math, physics, chemistry, at least. Their number one problem is, they're too few compared to the task. Developing things to make things to make things[...], and having the knowledge is fine, but you have to be so many that it actually gets done before doomsday. Hell, if it was that easy to build a rocket, then the guys in Afghanistan and Nigeria would have been a few times to the Moon already. People really underestimate things. "Yeah, this guy I know wrote this OS kernel, and today even mainframes run Linux." If you count the man-hours Linus and thousands of others have done, combined, guess what. Say they'd been a hundred instead. Today Linux is almost 20 years, so we're talking two hundred years, right? You know, if the entire mankind decided to stop fighting, and wanted to build the Enterprise now (forget warp drive), I'd say it would take way more than a generation. Hell, merely sending 2 guys to Mars seems too much. How long does it currently take the world's most powerful nation, from decision to deployment, to make a jet fighter? And these guys already have the factories, infrastructure, CAD programs, expertise, experience, clout, etc.

Sorry for the long quote, I quoted this in full because I liked it this much. It's the best post I've read in a long time. One thing I'd like to emphasize is that building complex technology is hard for a small core of people because it's hard to get specialized in multiple things at once. Think of how long it takes to become expert in any serious domain... I'm not sure most of us could get up-to-speed in more than a couple major technologies fast enough to also use them creatively. We benefit of many generations who worked before us and created technology. Even before the exponential elbow of recent times, there was plenty of technology that we afforded to take for granted. Speaking of which (damn ranting and subject changing!) I think the Medieval Ages were a stain on our history. I read somewhere how at the beginning of that dark time there was actual *loss* of technology: they had these aquaducts and pumps and mechanisms and whatnot from the Romans and didn't know how to repair them anymore, so they just let them go decrepit. Very scary. When I'll see loss of technology happening, I'll now we're in big trouble. I hope it won't happen in my lifetime, or ever. Andrei
Mar 29 2009
next sibling parent Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Georg Wrede wrote:

....
 How long does it currently take the world's most powerful 
 nation, from decision to deployment, to make a jet fighter? And these 
 guys already have the factories, infrastructure, CAD programs, 
 expertise, experience, clout, etc.

Sorry for the long quote, I quoted this in full because I liked it this much. It's the best post I've read in a long time.

Cool!
 One thing I'd like to emphasize is that building complex technology is 
 hard for a small core of people because it's hard to get specialized in 
 multiple things at once. Think of how long it takes to become expert in 
 any serious domain... I'm not sure most of us could get up-to-speed in 
 more than a couple major technologies fast enough to also use them 
 creatively.

For the society, this is the problem with longevity. Exteding peoples' lives should really extend their productive years, which means keeping the brain young and "spongy", sucking info and applying it effortlessly. Just adding retirement years is a burden no nation can soon afford to even try.
 We benefit of many generations who worked before us and created 
 technology. Even before the exponential elbow of recent times, there was 
 plenty of technology that we afforded to take for granted.

Yes. It takes much thinking to even begin to appreciate how much we've got from earlier generations. It's all too easy to say that there was nothing we need before the telegraph and the steam engine.
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply "Joel C. Salomon" <joelcsalomon gmail.com> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Speaking of which (damn ranting and subject changing!) I think the
 Medieval Ages were a stain on our history. I read somewhere how at the
 beginning of that dark time there was actual *loss* of technology: they
 had these aquaducts and pumps and mechanisms and whatnot from the Romans
 and didn't know how to repair them anymore, so they just let them go
 decrepit. Very scary.

Jerry Pournelle defines a Dark Age as a time when not only is the knowledge of how to do things forgotten, but even that these things are possible. Usually folks’d ascribe some large construction (like the pyramids, the walls of Crete, &c.) to magic or the gods or some such. —Joel Salomon
Mar 29 2009
next sibling parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Joel C. Salomon wrote:
 Jerry Pournelle defines a Dark Age as a time when not only is the
 knowledge of how to do things forgotten, but even that these things are
 possible.  Usually folks’d ascribe some large construction (like the
 pyramids, the walls of Crete, &c.) to magic or the gods or some such.

I remember one of those idiot "In Search Of..." type shows in the 70's saying that the fit of stones in South America was so tight you couldn't put a knife blade between them. Therefore, the stone walls must have been made by aliens. Never mind why would aliens with such advanced tech would build a crooked lumpy stone wall like that anyway. But a few years later, some archeologist demonstrated how to make such a fit by banging a couple stones together. Took him 30 minutes per surface. No aliens or even tools were required.
Mar 29 2009
parent reply Ellery Newcomer <ellery-newcomer utulsa.edu> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Joel C. Salomon wrote:
 Jerry Pournelle defines a Dark Age as a time when not only is the
 knowledge of how to do things forgotten, but even that these things are
 possible.  Usually folks’d ascribe some large construction (like the
 pyramids, the walls of Crete, &c.) to magic or the gods or some such.

I remember one of those idiot "In Search Of..." type shows in the 70's saying that the fit of stones in South America was so tight you couldn't put a knife blade between them. Therefore, the stone walls must have been made by aliens. Never mind why would aliens with such advanced tech would build a crooked lumpy stone wall like that anyway. But a few years later, some archeologist demonstrated how to make such a fit by banging a couple stones together. Took him 30 minutes per surface. No aliens or even tools were required.

I've not heard about that, any good links on the subject? Some of the rocks at Sacsayhuaman were pretty dang huge, though.
Mar 29 2009
parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Ellery Newcomer wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 I remember one of those idiot "In Search Of..." type shows in the 70's 
 saying that the fit of stones in South America was so tight you 
 couldn't  put a knife blade between them. Therefore, the stone walls 
 must have been made by aliens.

 Never mind why would aliens with such advanced tech would build a 
 crooked lumpy stone wall like that anyway.

 But a few years later, some archeologist demonstrated how to make such 
 a fit by banging a couple stones together. Took him 30 minutes per 
 surface. No aliens or even tools were required.

I've not heard about that, any good links on the subject?

Sorry, saw it on TV long ago.
 Some of the rocks at Sacsayhuaman were pretty dang huge, though.

The same principle should work.
Mar 29 2009
parent reply Ellery Newcomer <ellery-newcomer utulsa.edu> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Ellery Newcomer wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 I remember one of those idiot "In Search Of..." type shows in the 
 70's saying that the fit of stones in South America was so tight you 
 couldn't  put a knife blade between them. Therefore, the stone walls 
 must have been made by aliens.

 Never mind why would aliens with such advanced tech would build a 
 crooked lumpy stone wall like that anyway.

 But a few years later, some archeologist demonstrated how to make 
 such a fit by banging a couple stones together. Took him 30 minutes 
 per surface. No aliens or even tools were required.

I've not heard about that, any good links on the subject?

Sorry, saw it on TV long ago.
 Some of the rocks at Sacsayhuaman were pretty dang huge, though.

The same principle should work.

Probably. But I bet they squished quite a few peasants transporting them. Off the top of my head, it seems the largest of the stones was said to weigh around 20 000 tons.
Mar 29 2009
parent reply Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
Ellery Newcomer wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Ellery Newcomer wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 I remember one of those idiot "In Search Of..." type shows in the 
 70's saying that the fit of stones in South America was so tight you 
 couldn't  put a knife blade between them. Therefore, the stone walls 
 must have been made by aliens.

 Never mind why would aliens with such advanced tech would build a 
 crooked lumpy stone wall like that anyway.

 But a few years later, some archeologist demonstrated how to make 
 such a fit by banging a couple stones together. Took him 30 minutes 
 per surface. No aliens or even tools were required.

I've not heard about that, any good links on the subject?

Sorry, saw it on TV long ago.
 Some of the rocks at Sacsayhuaman were pretty dang huge, though.

The same principle should work.

Probably. But I bet they squished quite a few peasants transporting them. Off the top of my head, it seems the largest of the stones was said to weigh around 20 000 tons.

Let's just say 20 tons.
Mar 30 2009
parent Christopher Wright <dhasenan gmail.com> writes:
Georg Wrede wrote:
 Ellery Newcomer wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Ellery Newcomer wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 I remember one of those idiot "In Search Of..." type shows in the 
 70's saying that the fit of stones in South America was so tight 
 you couldn't  put a knife blade between them. Therefore, the stone 
 walls must have been made by aliens.

 Never mind why would aliens with such advanced tech would build a 
 crooked lumpy stone wall like that anyway.

 But a few years later, some archeologist demonstrated how to make 
 such a fit by banging a couple stones together. Took him 30 minutes 
 per surface. No aliens or even tools were required.

I've not heard about that, any good links on the subject?

Sorry, saw it on TV long ago.
 Some of the rocks at Sacsayhuaman were pretty dang huge, though.

The same principle should work.

Probably. But I bet they squished quite a few peasants transporting them. Off the top of my head, it seems the largest of the stones was said to weigh around 20 000 tons.

Let's just say 20 tons.

*My* peasants go up to 20,000!
Mar 30 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent Max Samukha <samukha voliacable.com.removethis> writes:
On Sun, 29 Mar 2009 18:27:56 -0400, Jarrett Billingsley
<jarrett.billingsley gmail.com> wrote:

On Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 5:57 PM, Joel C. Salomon <joelcsalomon gmail.com> wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Speaking of which (damn ranting and subject changing!) I think the
 Medieval Ages were a stain on our history. I read somewhere how at the
 beginning of that dark time there was actual *loss* of technology: they
 had these aquaducts and pumps and mechanisms and whatnot from the Romans
 and didn't know how to repair them anymore, so they just let them go
 decrepit. Very scary.

Jerry Pournelle defines a Dark Age as a time when not only is the knowledge of how to do things forgotten, but even that these things are possible.  Usually folks’d ascribe some large construction (like the pyramids, the walls of Crete, &c.) to magic or the gods or some such.

Indeed. The European Dark Ages were dominated by views that humans were inherently flawed; that everyone was born a sinner; that you were predestined to go to either heaven or hell and there was nothing you could do to change that. There was pretty much a complete loss of faith in the capabilities of humanity itself.

The problem with capabilities of humanity is that humans are mortal. At least their bodies are. This is the evidence of a fatal flaw in humanity that is hard for me to deny. You may do your worst at convincing yourself that it's other people who will die, not you, because you don't believe in your death, or don't want to die, or drink little beer and jog regularly, or are hoping that they will find the gene of aging and remove it from you, whatever. But the scientific evidence (your dying relatives, the current looks of Arnold Schwarzenegger, your aging reflection in the mirror in the bathroom, etc) suggests that the odds of your death are very high. When you are no longer young and cool, you are starting to loose your faith in technology, progress, renaissances in this world, because it's becoming more and more clear that you are going to leave this world some day (no matter how hard Dayle Carnegie's writings try to persuade you not to worry and get busy - Dayle Carnegie's dead). What will be next? I dunno. It seems like science, technology and rationalism can't give me an answer to this fundumental question. Science even can't give a proof of God's non-existance. How can I trust it when it comes to more important things? :)
It wasn't until the
renaissance that humanistic thought made a return and caused politics,
science, and technology to simply explode in development.  Heck, even
most of the work of the ancient Greeks and Romans was lost, either
unavailable to the public at large due to a lack of printing
technology and literacy, or simply disregarded as heresy.  Some
incredible writings had the ink stripped off the pages and were reused
in copying the Bible or other liturgical works.  Incredible.

Mar 30 2009
prev sibling parent "Joel C. Salomon" <joelcsalomon gmail.com> writes:
Jarrett Billingsley wrote:
 Indeed.  The European Dark Ages were dominated by views that humans
 were inherently flawed; that everyone was born a sinner; that you were
 predestined to go to either heaven or hell and there was nothing you
 could do to change that.

I believe that bit of doctrine about predestination is Calvinist, not Roman Catholic, and so would not have been common in the Second (i.e., the European) Dark Age. —Joel Salomon
Mar 30 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 When I'll see loss of technology happening, I'll now we're in big 
 trouble. I hope it won't happen in my lifetime, or ever.

Hi-tech export restrictions are a good start. Forbidding teaching Darwin in schools. Forbidden encryption software. Forbidden stem cell research. It's here. There are better examples, but this is not a Politically Incorrect Forum... Although it seems to be getting a lot better now, with the change in power. And nobody can guarantee that the EU and US will outlast us. The USSR didn't. And simply nobody believed it would disappear within our lifetime. (One day I stood in the cafe at the top of the WTC, looking at the sunset. I still remember thinking "I'll be long gone in 50 years, but this building will probably be here for a thousand years." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Manhattan_from_helicopter_edit1.jpg) Once the big change comes, you can bet your last cent that those who take over will have a whole new idea of what is good an bad for you. (Technology-wise, the demise of the USSR or East Germany was no loss, but that was an exception compared to the US or the EU.) I really hope nothing will happen while my kids are around.
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling parent reply "Rioshin an'Harthen" <rharth75 hotmail.com> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:

 Speaking of which (damn ranting and subject changing!) I think the 
 Medieval Ages were a stain on our history. I read somewhere how at the 
 beginning of that dark time there was actual *loss* of technology: they 
 had these aquaducts and pumps and mechanisms and whatnot from the Romans 
 and didn't know how to repair them anymore, so they just let them go 
 decrepit. Very scary.

I seem to remember reading from science mags that the ancient Greeks were close to building, if they hadn't already succeeded to, mechanical calculators. I also remember reading about some kind of batteries, but can't remember which ancient civilization it was that had discovered them. Scientists are only now managing to piece out pre-Dark Ages technology and how advanced it really was. Now, if only the ancient times had continued to develop scientifically... who knows where we'd be now? It's not hard to imagine the computer being invented around 500 AD or so, if the current theories of ancient times hold up. For some reason, the scientific development seems to have halted and even taken steps back in areas christianity spread to in ancient times, and only in the last about half a millenia has technological progress resumed.
Mar 29 2009
parent reply Daniel Keep <daniel.keep.lists gmail.com> writes:
Rioshin an'Harthen wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 
 Speaking of which (damn ranting and subject changing!) I think the
 Medieval Ages were a stain on our history. I read somewhere how at the
 beginning of that dark time there was actual *loss* of technology:
 they had these aquaducts and pumps and mechanisms and whatnot from the
 Romans and didn't know how to repair them anymore, so they just let
 them go decrepit. Very scary.

I seem to remember reading from science mags that the ancient Greeks were close to building, if they hadn't already succeeded to, mechanical calculators. I also remember reading about some kind of batteries, but can't remember which ancient civilization it was that had discovered them. Scientists are only now managing to piece out pre-Dark Ages technology and how advanced it really was. Now, if only the ancient times had continued to develop scientifically... who knows where we'd be now? It's not hard to imagine the computer being invented around 500 AD or so, if the current theories of ancient times hold up. For some reason, the scientific development seems to have halted and even taken steps back in areas christianity spread to in ancient times, and only in the last about half a millenia has technological progress resumed.

It seems the major purpose of religion is to retard the progress of science [1]. Just look at the "intelligent design" movement. Or hell, Scientology. Every time I can begin to hope that humanity has reached the point where everyone is free to believe whatever they choose without being set upon by people who believe differently, some group of insane gits comes along and just has to spoil it. Disclaimer: I'm an atheist who believes everyone should be free to believe whatever they like. -- Daniel [1] Which is a diplomatic way of saying "to keep people stupid and gullible." No offence to any religious people on the NG; it's not individuals I have problems with, it's *institutionalised* belief.
Mar 29 2009
next sibling parent reply BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Daniel,

 
 [1] Which is a diplomatic way of saying "to keep people stupid and
 gullible."  No offence to any religious people on the NG; it's not
 individuals I have problems with, it's *institutionalised* belief.

I'm a cristian, but even so I'll *almost* go with you there. it's not institutionalised belief that is the problem but where faiths systems get the *power to force* people to beleave and not to question. And it's not just in theology that I find this a problem; take a look at the (not unbiased) documetery Expelled (http://www.expelledthemovie.com), people are getting ostrosized for questionig the party line on evolution. Some of these people aren't even getting past "maybe" without getting shot down. Faith done right is the greatest power for good man will ever see. Faith done wrong is the greatest power for evil that can ever be.
Mar 29 2009
parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
BCS wrote:
 And it's not just in theology that I find this a problem; take a look at 
 the (not unbiased) documetery Expelled 
 (http://www.expelledthemovie.com), people are getting ostrosized for 
 questionig the party line on evolution. Some of these people aren't even 
 getting past "maybe" without getting shot down.

This is hardly limited to religious beliefs. It happens with political correctness, too. Look at the recent slashdot article where Dyson dares to question global warming: http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/03/28/1558225 My own theory is that the shriller a person cries to suppress "wrong" beliefs, the more that person fears their own beliefs might be the ones that are wrong. Or perhaps everyone just enjoys a public stoning now and then :-(
Mar 29 2009
next sibling parent reply BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Walter,

 This is hardly limited to religious beliefs. It happens with political
 correctness, too. Look at the recent slashdot article where Dyson
 dares to question global warming:
 http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/03/28/1558225
 
 My own theory is that the shriller a person cries to suppress "wrong"
 beliefs, the more that person fears their own beliefs might be the
 ones that are wrong.
 
 Or perhaps everyone just enjoys a public stoning now and then :-(
 

I think the answers is to always be willing to entertain /rational/ debate on anything. The thought being that truth will always stand up to reason, so unless you *want* to believe something false, you have nothing to fear in reason
Mar 29 2009
parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
BCS wrote:
 I think the answers is to always be willing to entertain /rational/ 
 debate on anything. The thought being that truth will always stand up to 
 reason, so unless you *want* to believe something false, you have 
 nothing to fear in reason

But that's not the way people work. People have a vested interest in their beliefs. If you built your life around X being true, and someone drops by with evidence that X is false, what's your reaction going to be? Stone the guy.
Mar 29 2009
next sibling parent reply Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 BCS wrote:
 I think the answers is to always be willing to entertain /rational/ 
 debate on anything. The thought being that truth will always stand up 
 to reason, so unless you *want* to believe something false, you have 
 nothing to fear in reason

But that's not the way people work. People have a vested interest in their beliefs. If you built your life around X being true, and someone drops by with evidence that X is false, what's your reaction going to be? Stone the guy.

D bashing by the C++ crowd.
Mar 30 2009
parent Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Georg Wrede wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 But that's not the way people work. People have a vested interest in 
 their beliefs. If you built your life around X being true, and someone 
 drops by with evidence that X is false, what's your reaction going to be?

 Stone the guy.

D bashing by the C++ crowd.

The thought crossed my mind <g>.
Mar 30 2009
prev sibling parent BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Walter,

 BCS wrote:
 
 I think the answers is to always be willing to entertain /rational/
 debate on anything. The thought being that truth will always stand up
 to reason, so unless you *want* to believe something false, you have
 nothing to fear in reason
 

their beliefs. If you built your life around X being true, and someone drops by with evidence that X is false, what's your reaction going to be?

Rigorous debate, I hope.
 
 Stone the guy.
 

When that happens, you have an problem (and that was what I was asserting) OTOH when someone shows up and starts saying your whole society is bogus *and can't support his clams* I'm just fine with getting rid of them (preferably leaving them the option of changing there mind at some later date).
Mar 30 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent Daniel Keep <daniel.keep.lists gmail.com> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 BCS wrote:
 And it's not just in theology that I find this a problem; take a look
 at the (not unbiased) documetery Expelled
 (http://www.expelledthemovie.com), people are getting ostrosized for
 questionig the party line on evolution. Some of these people aren't
 even getting past "maybe" without getting shot down.

This is hardly limited to religious beliefs. It happens with political correctness, too. Look at the recent slashdot article where Dyson dares to question global warming: http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/03/28/1558225 My own theory is that the shriller a person cries to suppress "wrong" beliefs, the more that person fears their own beliefs might be the ones that are wrong. Or perhaps everyone just enjoys a public stoning now and then :-(

All I said was that piece of fish was good enough for Jehovah... -- Daniel
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 BCS wrote:
 And it's not just in theology that I find this a problem; take a look 
 at the (not unbiased) documetery Expelled 
 (http://www.expelledthemovie.com), people are getting ostrosized for 
 questionig the party line on evolution. Some of these people aren't 
 even getting past "maybe" without getting shot down.

This is hardly limited to religious beliefs. It happens with political correctness, too. Look at the recent slashdot article where Dyson dares to question global warming: http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/03/28/1558225 My own theory is that the shriller a person cries to suppress "wrong" beliefs, the more that person fears their own beliefs might be the ones that are wrong. Or perhaps everyone just enjoys a public stoning now and then :-(

There was another Slashdot article a while back about conspiracy theories. The crux of the issue was that if evidence is presented that contradicts the conspiracy theory, this actually serves to strengthen a person's belief in the conspiracy theory. This was all based on some scientific study investigating the psychology behind such things. It seems reasonable that the same psychological motivator that encourages people's conviction in their unreasonable conspiracy theories should work for other ostensibly unreasonable beliefs as well.
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling parent Christopher Wright <dhasenan gmail.com> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 BCS wrote:
 And it's not just in theology that I find this a problem; take a look 
 at the (not unbiased) documetery Expelled 
 (http://www.expelledthemovie.com), people are getting ostrosized for 
 questionig the party line on evolution. Some of these people aren't 
 even getting past "maybe" without getting shot down.

This is hardly limited to religious beliefs. It happens with political correctness, too. Look at the recent slashdot article where Dyson dares to question global warming: http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/03/28/1558225

I'm waiting to see him publish on the subject. Until then, it's only a matter of his personal opinion, and not sufficient for debate.
 My own theory is that the shriller a person cries to suppress "wrong" 
 beliefs, the more that person fears their own beliefs might be the ones 
 that are wrong.

Also the more assiduously one tries to convert others to their belief.
Mar 30 2009
prev sibling parent reply Jarrett Billingsley <jarrett.billingsley gmail.com> writes:
On Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 11:04 PM, BCS <none anon.com> wrote:

 I'm a cristian

Jesus Crist! ;)
 Faith done right is the greatest power for good man will ever see. Faith
 done wrong is the greatest power for evil that can ever be.

Please, let's separate the ideas of "general consensus" and "assuming the truth of propositions without any logical arguments for them." You could replace "faith" in your statement with pretty much any other system of forming a consensus and still end up with a true statement. Faith is definitely not the only detriment to progress, but it is by no means the only means to it.
Mar 29 2009
parent BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Jarrett,

 On Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 11:04 PM, BCS <none anon.com> wrote:
 
 I'm a cristian
 

 Faith done right is the greatest power for good man will ever see.
 Faith done wrong is the greatest power for evil that can ever be.
 

the truth of propositions without any logical arguments for them." You could replace "faith" in your statement with pretty much any other system of forming a consensus and still end up with a true statement. Faith is definitely not the only detriment to progress, but it is by no means the only means to it.

In my context, faith is referring to a belief in a theological world view* without proof**. I guess I should have used "Faith" rather than "faith". *not including provable wrong world views. **Note that I hold all theological world view (including whichever one is correct) to be not provable.
Mar 30 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Georg Wrede wrote:
 Any author in whose book even one of them gets up in space before 500 
 years, is an idiot, and should be sent back to college. Math, physics, 
 chemistry, at least.

To amplify your point a bit with a real life example, during WW2 a B-29 landed in the USSR, intact. It was decades ahead of Soviet aerospace tech at the time. Stalin had to essentially redirect his entire aerospace industry to simply copy it. A propeller driven, 4 engine bomber. I saw a documentary on this, it took maybe 10 years and 10,000 engineers who had to recreate every part on it. It was a monumental task. They had all the information needed, but no infrastructure to make the parts.
 People really underestimate things. "Yeah, this guy I know wrote this OS 
 kernel, and today even mainframes run Linux." If you count the man-hours 
 Linus and thousands of others have done, combined, guess what. Say 
 they'd been a hundred instead. Today Linux is almost 20 years, so we're 
 talking two hundred years, right?

People sometimes remark about how many thousands of programming languages are invented, and how few ever get anywhere. Part of the reason is that 99.99% of the work is not inventing it, it's debugging it, tuning it, deploying it, writing manuals, smoothing out all the rough edges, etc. That's what defeats all those language projects, the creators quit on them.
 You know, if the entire mankind decided to stop fighting, and wanted to 
 build the Enterprise now (forget warp drive), I'd say it would take way 
 more than a generation. Hell, merely sending 2 guys to Mars seems too 
 much. How long does it currently take the world's most powerful nation, 
 from decision to deployment, to make a jet fighter? And these guys 
 already have the factories, infrastructure, CAD programs, expertise, 
 experience, clout, etc.

You're right. You'll need *millions* of people to create a starship, even starting with blueprints.
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling parent reply BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Georg,

[...]


I'll grant it's a hard job, but look at WW-II, throw in some large ugly
unifying 
force and Stuff Gets Done! Heck, look at 1900-2009. I'd say that most of 
the tech that existed in 1900 could be built from the ground up in under 
50 years if the people didn't needed to do any R&D and are motivated enough. 
As for some hard numbers, I recall a NOVA show where a construction planner 
was asked to set up a time line for the pyramids using period tech. The time 
line was under 3 years (2.5 IIRC).

With the best assumptions you can reasonably expect to get I think the timeline 
would surprise most everyone.
Mar 29 2009
parent reply Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
BCS wrote:
 Hello Georg,
 
 [...]
 
 
 I'll grant it's a hard job, but look at WW-II, throw in some large ugly 
 unifying force and Stuff Gets Done!

Well, for example, when the Allied ganged up against Hitler, there were more than a hundred million people /focused/ on one single thing: to get him out before he gets us. /Nothing/ else had priority. Even housewives did the best they could to help, including nursing each others kids so the others could go to work making bombs. So, _one_hundred_million_ really determined people, a few years, and they made some simple airplanes and war boats, some explosives, and guns. (OK, I'm putting this down a little... They also trained some guys to walk across France with assault rifles. :-) ) But the whole point is, they were a lot more than a couple of thousand, they had the infrastructure all in place, a ready society, and a common enemy! And it *still* took a couple of years to get up to D-day.
 Heck, look at 1900-2009. I'd say 
 that most of the tech that existed in 1900 could be built from the 
 ground up in under 50 years if the people didn't needed to do any R&D 
 and are motivated enough. 

Reread my post. It's easier for the whole world than for a couple of thousand guys. There's simply too much to do. And, like Andrei said, too much expertise needed [for the nontrivial things] to have time to learn it all by that number of guys.
 As for some hard numbers, I recall a NOVA show 
 where a construction planner was asked to set up a time line for the 
 pyramids using period tech. The time line was under 3 years (2.5 IIRC).

Say 2000 men and 3 years. But stacking stones is a bit easier than doing rocket science, right? Building rockets is not just stacking iron, most of it is the rocket science, and that takes reading, thinking, and asking each other. A lot. And even if they had full blueprints, there's an awful lot of parts to make, and a crapload of fuel to make. And the fuel factory, with or without blueprints. Just to get a measure, write on a piece of paper how many hours you would need to write a Monopoly (the board game) server that servers 10000 players, on a PC. One honest and careful estimate, according to your own programming skills. Then, do that many hours of work on it, and see how many percent of the work you got done in that time. (If that's too big a project, then do a TicTacToe server.) I don't want the answer. It's for yourself.
Mar 29 2009
parent BCS <none anon.com> writes:
Hello Georg,

 As for some hard numbers, I recall a NOVA show where a construction
 planner was asked to set up a time line for the pyramids using period
 tech. The time line was under 3 years (2.5 IIRC).
 

doing rocket science, right? Building rockets is not just stacking iron, most of it is the rocket science, and that takes reading, thinking, and asking each other. A lot.

My poit is that most people (might even have been all bedfor that job) thought more in terms of 10-40 years.
 Just to get a measure, write on a piece of paper how many hours you
 would need to write a Monopoly (the board game) server that servers
 10000 players, on a PC. One honest and careful estimate, according to
 your own programming skills. Then, do that many hours of work on it,
 and see how many percent of the work you got done in that time. (If
 that's too big a project, then do a TicTacToe server.)

If you are questioning the reliability of the numbers, keep in mind the guy who ran out that timeline did the same thing for multi-million dollar projects as his day job. If he got that kind of numbers wrong, it could cost millions in real money.
 
 I don't want the answer. It's for yourself.
 

inf.
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling parent reply Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
BCS wrote:
 Hello Walter,
 
 This would all make for a great scifi story!

the story I want to puzzle out is that a group of a few thousand people get dropped on a planet with an indestructible encyclopedic reference, really good geological maps and their birthday suits. I've wondered how long it would take to get into back into space. If they can keep society together, I'd bet it would be under 100 years, it might even be under a generation.

I'd bet it takes longer. Even with incredible knowledge, they'd have to build the technology from scratch, starting with improvised tools.
Mar 29 2009
parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Sean Kelly wrote:
 I'd bet it takes longer.  Even with incredible knowledge, they'd have to 
 build the technology from scratch, starting with improvised tools.

Huh, 99% of the people will be full time engaged just in food production.
Mar 29 2009
next sibling parent Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Sean Kelly wrote:
 I'd bet it takes longer.  Even with incredible knowledge, they'd have 
 to build the technology from scratch, starting with improvised tools.

Huh, 99% of the people will be full time engaged just in food production.

If the people were dropped on another planet, there's not even any guarantee that it would have the same mineral resources. And food, forget it. People would have to experiment with local plants and animals to find out what was edible, could be domesticated, had medicinal use, etc. There's a lot of really basic knowledge that we take for granted because our ancestors spent thousands of years experimenting and dying to find this stuff out. A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy would be about the only truly useful text in such a scenario.
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Sean Kelly wrote:
 I'd bet it takes longer.  Even with incredible knowledge, they'd have 
 to build the technology from scratch, starting with improvised tools.

Huh, 99% of the people will be full time engaged just in food production.

Well at some point it was said that a McDuff device provides food. Andrei
Mar 29 2009
parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Sean Kelly wrote:
 I'd bet it takes longer.  Even with incredible knowledge, they'd have 
 to build the technology from scratch, starting with improvised tools.

Huh, 99% of the people will be full time engaged just in food production.

Well at some point it was said that a McDuff device provides food.

McDuff is right. Trying to get enough food to eat has been the bane of human existence for essentially our entire existence. The current obesity epidemic is a startling anomaly. Even now, I hear the siren call of the poptarts from the kitchen!
Mar 29 2009
parent Daniel Keep <daniel.keep.lists gmail.com> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Sean Kelly wrote:
 I'd bet it takes longer.  Even with incredible knowledge, they'd
 have to build the technology from scratch, starting with improvised
 tools.

Huh, 99% of the people will be full time engaged just in food production.

Well at some point it was said that a McDuff device provides food.

McDuff is right. Trying to get enough food to eat has been the bane of human existence for essentially our entire existence. The current obesity epidemic is a startling anomaly.

Aye... except, of course, for all the people starving to death. I get the sneaking suspicion that it's less a problem of too much food and more of too much of the food in too few places. We seemingly have the same problem with money, too. :P -- Daniel
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent Jarrett Billingsley <jarrett.billingsley gmail.com> writes:
On Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 4:01 PM, Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> wrote:

 It's a conspiracy. You need to turn the volume up to understand, and
 meanwhile the entire house hears the bangs and shots, and everybody has to
 come and see. Same with commercials (at least around here) they got the nice
 idea to send commercials a lot louder than the program, so everybody in the
 building (including your freaking neighbors) has to hear what detergent to
 buy. # %! #!!! I'd say that's harrassment and trespassing.

It's not just there :P some commercials are, no kidding, about twice as loud as the program.
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent Jarrett Billingsley <jarrett.billingsley gmail.com> writes:
On Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 5:57 PM, Joel C. Salomon <joelcsalomon gmail.com> w=
rote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Speaking of which (damn ranting and subject changing!) I think the
 Medieval Ages were a stain on our history. I read somewhere how at the
 beginning of that dark time there was actual *loss* of technology: they
 had these aquaducts and pumps and mechanisms and whatnot from the Romans
 and didn't know how to repair them anymore, so they just let them go
 decrepit. Very scary.

Jerry Pournelle defines a Dark Age as a time when not only is the knowledge of how to do things forgotten, but even that these things are possible. =A0Usually folks=92d ascribe some large construction (like the pyramids, the walls of Crete, &c.) to magic or the gods or some such.

Indeed. The European Dark Ages were dominated by views that humans were inherently flawed; that everyone was born a sinner; that you were predestined to go to either heaven or hell and there was nothing you could do to change that. There was pretty much a complete loss of faith in the capabilities of humanity itself. It wasn't until the renaissance that humanistic thought made a return and caused politics, science, and technology to simply explode in development. Heck, even most of the work of the ancient Greeks and Romans was lost, either unavailable to the public at large due to a lack of printing technology and literacy, or simply disregarded as heresy. Some incredible writings had the ink stripped off the pages and were reused in copying the Bible or other liturgical works. Incredible.
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent Jarrett Billingsley <jarrett.billingsley gmail.com> writes:
On Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 4:51 AM, Max Samukha
<samukha voliacable.com.removethis> wrote:
 What will be
 next? I dunno. It seems like science, technology and rationalism can't
 give me an answer to this fundumental question. Science even can't
 give a proof of God's non-existance. How can I trust it when it comes
 to more important things? :)

If science can't give you a proof of His (and an afterlife's) nonexistence, why do you assume the opposite? Because it's comforting? Personally I don't care about the answer to this question. There is no evidence for or against the existence of an afterlife. Therefore there is no reason to dread or anticipate death. It's just there. I'm more than happy to be alive now, and always try my hardest to make the most out of each day. And if there's an afterlife? Cool, sure. There are at least some religions in the world that say I'll go to the good one, no matter what I believe. ;)
Mar 30 2009
prev sibling parent Jarrett Billingsley <jarrett.billingsley gmail.com> writes:
On Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 4:51 AM, Max Samukha
<samukha voliacable.com.removethis> wrote:
 The problem with capabilities of humanity is that humans are mortal.
 At least their bodies are. This is the evidence of a fatal flaw in
 humanity that is hard for me to deny.

I meant to reply to this part too. We also have the abilities to teach and learn. So even if some brilliant engineer, artist, scientist etc. passes away, there will always be someone who tries to pick up the slack. Individuals are more than flesh. Beneath the flesh are ideas, Mr. Samukha, and ideas are bulletproof ;)
Mar 30 2009
prev sibling parent reply Christopher Wright <dhasenan gmail.com> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 My list:

 - wheel
 - fire
 - smelting metals
 - writing
 - arithmetic

But humans had fire 20,000 years ago! I think fire goes back a lot longer than that. I also suspect that simple arithmetic is innate, although a numbering system is not (see Mayan and Roman number systems). Wouldn't the wheel be useless to a hunter-gatherer tribe?

If they are nomadic, wheels allow an individual to carry much more equipment. This allows them to store up surplus food more easily and safely. This in turn safeguards them from famine and allows for excess food to diversify roles in the community to a greater degree. Additionally, it means that the writing equipment that you supplied gets used, and the texts don't get tossed as soon as they move. This does require a lightweight wheel, but you might be able to make do with wicker on fair terrain with light loads, or with bent wood. In a sedentary society, it's much more efficient to move things using a wheelbarrow than by hand. It means that your gatherers can stay out longer, it doesn't take so many hunters to bring back an animal, fewer people are needed to fetch wood to build or burn... For a lot of tasks, it doesn't matter. For some, it's a small optimization. For a few, it's huge.
Mar 28 2009
parent reply Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Christopher Wright wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 My list:

 - wheel
 - fire
 - smelting metals
 - writing
 - arithmetic

But humans had fire 20,000 years ago! I think fire goes back a lot longer than that. I also suspect that simple arithmetic is innate, although a numbering system is not (see Mayan and Roman number systems). Wouldn't the wheel be useless to a hunter-gatherer tribe?

If they are nomadic, wheels allow an individual to carry much more equipment. This allows them to store up surplus food more easily and safely. This in turn safeguards them from famine and allows for excess food to diversify roles in the community to a greater degree. Additionally, it means that the writing equipment that you supplied gets used, and the texts don't get tossed as soon as they move.

I don't buy it. Most foods would spoil too quickly for this to matter, the wagons would be slow, wheels would need repair, etc. If I were in a nomadic tribe I wouldn't do more than pile stuff on the back of a Mule.
Mar 28 2009
next sibling parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Sean Kelly wrote:
 Christopher Wright wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 My list:

 - wheel
 - fire
 - smelting metals
 - writing
 - arithmetic

But humans had fire 20,000 years ago! I think fire goes back a lot longer than that. I also suspect that simple arithmetic is innate, although a numbering system is not (see Mayan and Roman number systems). Wouldn't the wheel be useless to a hunter-gatherer tribe?

If they are nomadic, wheels allow an individual to carry much more equipment. This allows them to store up surplus food more easily and safely. This in turn safeguards them from famine and allows for excess food to diversify roles in the community to a greater degree. Additionally, it means that the writing equipment that you supplied gets used, and the texts don't get tossed as soon as they move.

I don't buy it. Most foods would spoil too quickly for this to matter, the wagons would be slow, wheels would need repair, etc. If I were in a nomadic tribe I wouldn't do more than pile stuff on the back of a Mule.

When did you tame the mule??? :o) Andrei
Mar 28 2009
next sibling parent Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Sean Kelly wrote:
 Christopher Wright wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 My list:

 - wheel
 - fire
 - smelting metals
 - writing
 - arithmetic

But humans had fire 20,000 years ago! I think fire goes back a lot longer than that. I also suspect that simple arithmetic is innate, although a numbering system is not (see Mayan and Roman number systems). Wouldn't the wheel be useless to a hunter-gatherer tribe?

If they are nomadic, wheels allow an individual to carry much more equipment. This allows them to store up surplus food more easily and safely. This in turn safeguards them from famine and allows for excess food to diversify roles in the community to a greater degree. Additionally, it means that the writing equipment that you supplied gets used, and the texts don't get tossed as soon as they move.

I don't buy it. Most foods would spoil too quickly for this to matter, the wagons would be slow, wheels would need repair, etc. If I were in a nomadic tribe I wouldn't do more than pile stuff on the back of a Mule.

When did you tame the mule??? :o)

Hey, you'd need one to pull the wagon anyway :-) I'm just ditching the slow, easily breakable heavy thing.
Mar 28 2009
prev sibling parent reply =?ISO-8859-1?Q?=22J=E9r=F4me_M=2E_Berger=22?= <jeberger free.fr> writes:
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
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Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Sean Kelly wrote:
 Christopher Wright wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 My list:

 - wheel
 - fire
 - smelting metals
 - writing
 - arithmetic

But humans had fire 20,000 years ago! I think fire goes back a lot longer than that. I also suspect that simple arithmetic is innate, although a numbering system is not (see Mayan and Roman number systems). Wouldn't the wheel be useless to a hunter-gatherer tribe?

If they are nomadic, wheels allow an individual to carry much more equipment. This allows them to store up surplus food more easily and safely. This in turn safeguards them from famine and allows for excess food to diversify roles in the community to a greater degree. Additionally, it means that the writing equipment that you supplied gets used, and the texts don't get tossed as soon as they move.

I don't buy it. Most foods would spoil too quickly for this to matter, the wagons would be slow, wheels would need repair, etc. If I were in a nomadic tribe I wouldn't do more than pile stuff on the back of a Mule.

When did you tame the mule??? :o)

Mules are the result of breeding a horse with a donkey (one way or the other although using a male donkey and a female horse has more chance of success) and they are exceedingly rare in nature. So what you actually need to do is first to tame the horse and the donkey, *then* you can breed them to get a mule. Jerome - -- mailto:jeberger free.fr http://jeberger.free.fr Jabber: jeberger jabber.fr -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (GNU/Linux) iEYEARECAAYFAknPHeoACgkQd0kWM4JG3k+37ACcCLEl7sLLm5xpUUdMnwllMG6m UMoAoITlDrp6PvHWh0FAEbmsvFhv+DOk =hIRx -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
Mar 29 2009
next sibling parent reply Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
Jrme M. Berger wrote:
 -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
 Hash: SHA1
 
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Sean Kelly wrote:
 Christopher Wright wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 My list:

 - wheel
 - fire
 - smelting metals
 - writing
 - arithmetic

longer than that. I also suspect that simple arithmetic is innate, although a numbering system is not (see Mayan and Roman number systems). Wouldn't the wheel be useless to a hunter-gatherer tribe?

equipment. This allows them to store up surplus food more easily and safely. This in turn safeguards them from famine and allows for excess food to diversify roles in the community to a greater degree. Additionally, it means that the writing equipment that you supplied gets used, and the texts don't get tossed as soon as they move.

matter, the wagons would be slow, wheels would need repair, etc. If I were in a nomadic tribe I wouldn't do more than pile stuff on the back of a Mule.


Mules are the result of breeding a horse with a donkey (one way or the other although using a male donkey and a female horse has more chance of success) and they are exceedingly rare in nature.

You'd need an elevated donkey... or shorten the mare's legs.
 	So what you actually need to do is first to tame the horse and the
 donkey, *then* you can breed them to get a mule.
 
 		Jerome
 - --
 mailto:jeberger free.fr
 http://jeberger.free.fr
 Jabber: jeberger jabber.fr
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 UMoAoITlDrp6PvHWh0FAEbmsvFhv+DOk
 =hIRx
 -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

Mar 29 2009
parent =?ISO-8859-1?Q?=22J=E9r=F4me_M=2E_Berger=22?= <jeberger free.fr> writes:
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Hash: SHA1

Georg Wrede wrote:
 Jrme M. Berger wrote:
     AFAIK, it's more a question of "when did you *breed* the mule?" ;)
 Mules are the result of breeding a horse with a donkey (one way or
 the other although using a male donkey and a female horse has more
 chance of success) and they are exceedingly rare in nature.
 
 You'd need an elevated donkey... or shorten the mare's legs.


offspring of a male donkey and a female horse." Jerome - -- mailto:jeberger free.fr http://jeberger.free.fr Jabber: jeberger jabber.fr -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (GNU/Linux) iEYEARECAAYFAknPtskACgkQd0kWM4JG3k+JaQCfY4qHqPyhEKDXAw8JBdCn30aD kF0An1P2GN8ZkCYNTlkSOL2MOL1919Nc =x5L4 -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling parent reply Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Jrme M. Berger wrote:
 When did you tame the mule??? :o)

Mules are the result of breeding a horse with a donkey (one way or the other although using a male donkey and a female horse has more chance of success) and they are exceedingly rare in nature.

I always mix up "mule" and "donkey." I suppose I should have done a web search to make sure I had it right. That, or gone with my first inclination and said Zedonk!
Mar 29 2009
parent =?ISO-8859-1?Q?=22J=E9r=F4me_M=2E_Berger=22?= <jeberger free.fr> writes:
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Sean Kelly wrote:
 Jrme M. Berger wrote:
 When did you tame the mule??? :o)

Mules are the result of breeding a horse with a donkey (one way or the other although using a male donkey and a female horse has more chance of success) and they are exceedingly rare in nature.

I always mix up "mule" and "donkey." I suppose I should have done a web search to make sure I had it right. That, or gone with my first inclination and said Zedonk!

Well, mules are a much better choice than donkeys for carrying things: stronger, with more endurance, more docile and less aggressive... Jerome - -- mailto:jeberger free.fr http://jeberger.free.fr Jabber: jeberger jabber.fr -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (GNU/Linux) iEYEARECAAYFAknPt00ACgkQd0kWM4JG3k8tJACeN3qkM5qPFKRP69o80k0F5gh7 6iEAn2iU5OgcjQKbhV7WDaF+9+41hlr4 =sJBa -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling parent reply Christopher Wright <dhasenan gmail.com> writes:
Sean Kelly wrote:
 I don't buy it.  Most foods would spoil too quickly for this to matter, 
 the wagons would be slow, wheels would need repair, etc.  If I were in a 
 nomadic tribe I wouldn't do more than pile stuff on the back of a Mule.

It depends on whether you'd domesticated some sort of pack animal first. I'm talking about hand carts. As for spoiling...well, trial and error would get you to some reasonable system for storing food within a few hundred years, without much food loss. If you're willing to lose more food, you can get there sooner.
Mar 28 2009
parent reply Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Christopher Wright wrote:
 
 As for spoiling...well, trial and error would get you to some reasonable 
 system for storing food within a few hundred years, without much food 
 loss. If you're willing to lose more food, you can get there sooner.

Grain lasts for a reasonable time, but that requires agriculture to produce. I guess they could dig tubers. But I think there's a reason even modern hunter-gatherer societies don't use wagons, even in ostensibly flat regions like Africa. If nothing else, hand carts would dramatically increase the calorie expenditure for travel, which means they'd need more food than otherwise.
Mar 29 2009
parent Steve Teale <steve.teale britseyeview.com> writes:
Sean Kelly Wrote:

 Christopher Wright wrote:
 
 As for spoiling...well, trial and error would get you to some reasonable 
 system for storing food within a few hundred years, without much food 
 loss. If you're willing to lose more food, you can get there sooner.

Grain lasts for a reasonable time, but that requires agriculture to produce. I guess they could dig tubers. But I think there's a reason even modern hunter-gatherer societies don't use wagons, even in ostensibly flat regions like Africa. If nothing else, hand carts would dramatically increase the calorie expenditure for travel, which means they'd need more food than otherwise.

My dogs have ticks!
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling parent reply dsimcha <dsimcha yahoo.com> writes:
== Quote from Walter Bright (newshound1 digitalmars.com)'s article
 Sometimes I think what if I were dropped naked back in time 20,000 years
 ago? Assuming I didn't get promptly cooked for dinner, what technology
 could I deliver that would have the most impact?
 I can't decide between iron, agriculture, or writing. I suspect writing.
 Every time humans got better at communicating, there was a huge increase
 in the rate of progress.
 speech
 writing
 printing
 telegraph
 telephone
 internet

One that noone seems to mention, not only on this NG but in general, is birth control. I think a pretty good argument can be made that a major reason for recent social advances is that, by only having 2-4 children per set of parents instead of 10-20, parents are able to invest much more in each child than they otherwise would be. The end result is a much more educated society and one with enough surplus resources to look beyond its mere collective survival to actually improving its state of knowledge, comfort, etc.
Mar 28 2009
next sibling parent Paul D. Anderson <paul.removethis.d.anderson comcast.andthis.net> writes:
dsimcha Wrote:

 == Quote from Walter Bright (newshound1 digitalmars.com)'s article
 Sometimes I think what if I were dropped naked back in time 20,000 years
 ago? Assuming I didn't get promptly cooked for dinner, what technology
 could I deliver that would have the most impact?
 I can't decide between iron, agriculture, or writing. I suspect writing.
 Every time humans got better at communicating, there was a huge increase
 in the rate of progress.
 speech
 writing
 printing
 telegraph
 telephone
 internet

One that noone seems to mention, not only on this NG but in general, is birth control. I think a pretty good argument can be made that a major reason for recent social advances is that, by only having 2-4 children per set of parents instead of 10-20, parents are able to invest much more in each child than they otherwise would be. The end result is a much more educated society and one with enough surplus resources to look beyond its mere collective survival to actually improving its state of knowledge, comfort, etc.

That may be a reasonable argument from a modern standpoint, but for much of human history infant and childhood mortality was so high that the number of children born was much higher than the number that reached adulthood. Oversimplifying, of course, but it was necessary to have a lot of children to have a reasonable expectation that there would be enough adults to provide for the family.
Mar 28 2009
prev sibling parent reply Steve Teale <steve.teale britseyeview.com> writes:
dsimcha Wrote:

 == Quote from Walter Bright (newshound1 digitalmars.com)'s article
 Sometimes I think what if I were dropped naked back in time 20,000 years
 ago? Assuming I didn't get promptly cooked for dinner, what technology
 could I deliver that would have the most impact?
 I can't decide between iron, agriculture, or writing. I suspect writing.
 Every time humans got better at communicating, there was a huge increase
 in the rate of progress.
 speech
 writing
 printing
 telegraph
 telephone
 internet

One that noone seems to mention, not only on this NG but in general, is birth control. I think a pretty good argument can be made that a major reason for recent social advances is that, by only having 2-4 children per set of parents instead of 10-20, parents are able to invest much more in each child than they otherwise would be. The end result is a much more educated society and one with enough surplus resources to look beyond its mere collective survival to actually improving its state of knowledge, comfort, etc.

But how the hell would you have delivered that. First of all you have to deliver chemistry and latex!
Mar 28 2009
next sibling parent reply Yigal Chripun <yigal100 gmail.com> writes:
On 28/03/2009 22:12, Steve Teale wrote:
 dsimcha Wrote:

 == Quote from Walter Bright (newshound1 digitalmars.com)'s article
 Sometimes I think what if I were dropped naked back in time 20,000 years
 ago? Assuming I didn't get promptly cooked for dinner, what technology
 could I deliver that would have the most impact?
 I can't decide between iron, agriculture, or writing. I suspect writing.
 Every time humans got better at communicating, there was a huge increase
 in the rate of progress.
 speech
 writing
 printing
 telegraph
 telephone
 internet

control. I think a pretty good argument can be made that a major reason for recent social advances is that, by only having 2-4 children per set of parents instead of 10-20, parents are able to invest much more in each child than they otherwise would be. The end result is a much more educated society and one with enough surplus resources to look beyond its mere collective survival to actually improving its state of knowledge, comfort, etc.

But how the hell would you have delivered that. First of all you have to deliver chemistry and latex!

Condoms were first invented in ancient Egypt 3 Milena or so ago. they were made out of lamb intestines and were very efficient. Of course, the modern extra thin optionally flavored condoms need more advanced technology than lamb intestines... Isn't it funny that this age old method of birth control known to work in ancient times is considered today by the US school system as inefficient and wrong. They teach instead abstinence as a better method...
Mar 28 2009
parent "Nick Sabalausky" <a a.a> writes:
"Yigal Chripun" <yigal100 gmail.com> wrote in message 
news:gqm0p8$1dtd$1 digitalmars.com...
 Condoms were first invented in ancient Egypt 3 Milena or so ago. they were 
 made out of lamb intestines and were very efficient. Of course, the modern 
 extra thin optionally flavored condoms need more advanced technology than 
 lamb intestines...
 Isn't it funny that this age old method of birth control known to work in 
 ancient times is considered today by the US school system as inefficient 
 and wrong. They teach instead abstinence as a better method...

That's a huge overgeneralization. Maybe some school systems do that, but I know for a fact there are ones that don't. The high school I went to taught about all of the major non-abstinence methods and the only ones they discouraged were were ones that really are known to be vastly less effective (like "pulling out" or the rhythm (time of month) method). They did point out that abstinence is *more effective* at preventing pregnancies than pills, condoms, etc., but that's a blatantly obvious fact anyway and they certainly didn't discourage the use of pills/condoms/etc or teach them to be wrong.
Mar 28 2009
prev sibling parent Ellery Newcomer <ellery-newcomer utulsa.edu> writes:
Steve Teale wrote:
 dsimcha Wrote:
 
 == Quote from Walter Bright (newshound1 digitalmars.com)'s article
 Sometimes I think what if I were dropped naked back in time 20,000 years
 ago? Assuming I didn't get promptly cooked for dinner, what technology
 could I deliver that would have the most impact?
 I can't decide between iron, agriculture, or writing. I suspect writing.
 Every time humans got better at communicating, there was a huge increase
 in the rate of progress.
 speech
 writing
 printing
 telegraph
 telephone
 internet

control. I think a pretty good argument can be made that a major reason for recent social advances is that, by only having 2-4 children per set of parents instead of 10-20, parents are able to invest much more in each child than they otherwise would be. The end result is a much more educated society and one with enough surplus resources to look beyond its mere collective survival to actually improving its state of knowledge, comfort, etc.

But how the hell would you have delivered that. First of all you have to deliver chemistry and latex!

There actually was an herb that apparently provided effective birth control in ages past. It eventually went extinct due to overharvesting. http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=851
Mar 28 2009
prev sibling parent reply =?ISO-8859-1?Q?=22J=E9r=F4me_M=2E_Berger=22?= <jeberger free.fr> writes:
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Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 Doesn't matter what you're making, OS or not, the choice of language
 *certainly* carries repercussions throughout a project. Sure Linux is
 doing fine with C. So what? It could probably be doing a lot better
 with D.

It's like if you gave the Spartan Leonidas a Henry repeating rifle - he still would have lost at Thermopylae. But there is little doubt that one Henry repeating rifle is worth a hundred spear-chucking wicker-armored immortals.

Sometimes I run these crazy calculations: how much modern firepower would be just enough to turn the odds in a classic battle? At Thermopilae, I think two Vickers with enough ammo would have been just about enough. Also at the Lord of the Rings 2 night castle defense, one machine gun would have sufficed (better protection and fewer assailants).

series by Eric Flint and others. Jerome - -- mailto:jeberger free.fr http://jeberger.free.fr Jabber: jeberger jabber.fr -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (GNU/Linux) iEYEARECAAYFAknN718ACgkQd0kWM4JG3k9FwACfcac1Ksy7taWzPw4m+mAlY4n4 tlkAnR6wd7ODysCUByOnZsLIApTl34KJ =wHu8 -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
Mar 28 2009
parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Jrme M. Berger wrote:
 	Since we're on the subject, I suppose you all have read the 1632
 series by Eric Flint and others.

Natch!
Mar 28 2009
parent =?ISO-8859-1?Q?=22J=E9r=F4me_M=2E_Berger=22?= <jeberger free.fr> writes:
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Walter Bright wrote:
 Jrme M. Berger wrote:
     Since we're on the subject, I suppose you all have read the 1632
 series by Eric Flint and others.

Natch!

middle Europe in the middle of the 30 years war when small skirmishes, let alone full blown battles, routinely killed several times the population of the town. The story is all about how they survive. Despite their vastly superior weapons and knowledge, it's not so easy. Sure they can kick the cr*p out of any army they engage, at least so long as their ammo lasts, but they are *vastly* outnumbered and military might won't feed them or prevent them from being outflanked. Moreover, most of their technical knowledge proves to be either too theoretical to use directly or to need some tools or resources that they can't make out of what's available to them now. In addition to fiction, the rest of the series includes several very interesting technical essays about the problems involved in bringing technical advances to the 17th century: what can be done immediately out of the available industrial base and how does that industrial base need to be improved for other technological advances. A must read if you are interested in this kind of things (which from the discussion here, you seem to be). Jerome - -- mailto:jeberger free.fr http://jeberger.free.fr Jabber: jeberger jabber.fr -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (GNU/Linux) iEYEARECAAYFAknPIjMACgkQd0kWM4JG3k8cWQCfQUNvHchyYiIp4b+K9ZTFp0Yh GzsAniFkw1/bUoZ+k38YRXVpMvXsYxGX =Nmpq -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Don <nospam nospam.com> writes:
Cristian Vlasceanu wrote:
 Hm... how should I put it nicely... wait, I guess I can't: if you guys think 
 D is a systems language, you are smelling your own farts!
 
 Because 1) GC magic and deterministic system level behavior are not exactly 
 good friends, and 2) YOU DO NOT HAVE A SYSTEMS PROBLEM TO SOLVE. C was 
 invented to write an OS in a portable fashion. Now that's a systems 
 language. Unless you are designing the next uber OS, D is a solution in 
 search of a problem, ergo not a systems language (sorry Walter). It is a 
 great application language though, and if people really need custom 
 allocation schemes, then they can write that part in C/C++ or even assembler 
 (and I guess you can provide a custom run-time too, if you really DO HAVE a 
 systems problem to address -- like developing for an embedded platform).

You're equating "systems language" with "language intended for writing a complete operating system". That's not what's intended. AFAIK there are no operating systems written solely in C++. Probably, D being a "systems language" actually means "D is competing with C++".
Mar 26 2009
parent Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Don wrote:
 Cristian Vlasceanu wrote:
 Hm... how should I put it nicely... wait, I guess I can't: if you guys 
 think D is a systems language, you are smelling your own farts!

 Because 1) GC magic and deterministic system level behavior are not 
 exactly good friends, and 2) YOU DO NOT HAVE A SYSTEMS PROBLEM TO 
 SOLVE. C was invented to write an OS in a portable fashion. Now that's 
 a systems language. Unless you are designing the next uber OS, D is a 
 solution in search of a problem, ergo not a systems language (sorry 
 Walter). It is a great application language though, and if people 
 really need custom allocation schemes, then they can write that part 
 in C/C++ or even assembler (and I guess you can provide a custom 
 run-time too, if you really DO HAVE a systems problem to address -- 
 like developing for an embedded platform).

You're equating "systems language" with "language intended for writing a complete operating system". That's not what's intended. AFAIK there are no operating systems written solely in C++. Probably, D being a "systems language" actually means "D is competing with C++".

I'm surprised at how many people misunderstand the "systems language" or "systems-level programming" terms. Only a couple of months ago, a good friend whom I thought would know a lot better, mentioned that he thought a "systems-level language" is one that can be used to build large systems. Andrei
Mar 26 2009
prev sibling parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Cristian Vlasceanu wrote:
 Hm... how should I put it nicely... wait, I guess I can't: if you guys think 
 D is a systems language, you are smelling your own farts!
 
 Because 1) GC magic and deterministic system level behavior are not exactly 
 good friends, and 2) YOU DO NOT HAVE A SYSTEMS PROBLEM TO SOLVE. C was 
 invented to write an OS in a portable fashion. Now that's a systems 
 language. Unless you are designing the next uber OS, D is a solution in 
 search of a problem, ergo not a systems language (sorry Walter). It is a 
 great application language though, and if people really need custom 
 allocation schemes, then they can write that part in C/C++ or even assembler 
 (and I guess you can provide a custom run-time too, if you really DO HAVE a 
 systems problem to address -- like developing for an embedded platform).

Although D has gc support, it is possible (and rather easy) to write programs that do not rely at all on the gc. My port of Empire from C to D does exactly that. It is quite possible and practical to write an OS in D, and it has been done.
Mar 26 2009
parent "Cristian Vlasceanu" <cristian zerobugs.org> writes:
 It is quite possible and practical to write an OS in D, and it has been
 done.

This is not what I am arguing. What I dislike is allowing both GC and non-GC allocation styles mixed within the same program. The D + GC runtime support is for user apps; D + non-GC is a SPL When I say "D is not a SPL" I mean the default D + GC configuration.
Mar 29 2009
prev sibling parent Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Denis Koroskin wrote:
 
 Having a custom memory pool is usually a good idea. At work, our game 
 engine is split into a few separate sub-systems (particle system, 
 physics, animations etc). Since most of them are completely independent 
 (we keep track on their dependencies and trying to cut them as much as 
 possible), it makes sense to have custom memory pools for each of them.

Have you looked into HOARD? It uses per-process pools, but it's roughly the same concept. Still, for games I can see it being useful to ration the memory a subsystem has available via a fixed-size pool.
 More over, if object references don't escape that pool we could have a 
 custom per-pool garbage collector!

We should be able to have the same for D, though a general solution would be reliant on the type system to determine which pool to allocate from.
Mar 25 2009
prev sibling parent Jarrett Billingsley <jarrett.billingsley gmail.com> writes:
On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 2:49 PM, grauzone <none example.net> wrote:
 Jarrett Billingsley wrote:
 On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 1:33 PM, Nick Sabalausky <a a.a> wrote:

 Besides, I'd think an OS written in D would certainly have the potential
 to
 really shake up the current OS market. Not because people would say "Oh,
 wow, it's written in D", of course, but because the developers would have
 a
 far easier time making it, well, good.

*cough*www.xomb.org*cough*

Your point? Yes, we know that D can be used to write hobby kernels.

No need to be hostile about it. I was just letting Nick know.
Mar 26 2009
prev sibling parent Jarrett Billingsley <jarrett.billingsley gmail.com> writes:
On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 1:33 PM, Nick Sabalausky <a a.a> wrote:

 Besides, I'd think an OS written in D would certainly have the potential to
 really shake up the current OS market. Not because people would say "Oh,
 wow, it's written in D", of course, but because the developers would have a
 far easier time making it, well, good.

*cough*www.xomb.org*cough*
Mar 26 2009
prev sibling parent "Denis Koroskin" <2korden gmail.com> writes:
On Thu, 26 Mar 2009 18:20:02 +0300, grauzone <none example.net> wrote:

 Sean Kelly wrote:
 Georg Wrede wrote:
 To do Systems Work on an embedded system, I'd like to see a D subset,
 without GC, and which would essentially be like C with classes. I've
 even toyed with the idea of having a D1toC translator for the job.

With D2 you can drop in a different allocator to be used by the runtime -- there's an example implementation that simply calls malloc/free, for example. You'll leak memory if you perform string concatenation or use the AA, but otherwise everything works fine.

You forgot the array literals (which almost look like harmless, non-allocating array initializers), and the full closure delegates, where the compiler will randomly choose to allocate or not to allocate memory ("randomly" from the programmer's point of view). And of course most library functions.

Tango is designed in a way to avoid any hidden allocations.
Mar 26 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent "Denis Koroskin" <2korden gmail.com> writes:
On Mon, 23 Mar 2009 03:28:09 +0300, Derek Parnell <derek psych.ward> wrote:

 On Sun, 22 Mar 2009 14:31:07 -0400, Steve Teale wrote:

 void str()
 {
    auto s = new char[];
 }

 void main()
 {
    str();
 }

 produces:

 str.d(3): Error: new can only create structs, dynamic arrays or class  
 objects, not char[]'s.

 What am I missing here, isn't char[] a dynamic array?

I believe that the message is wrong, or at least misleading. The 'dynamic' here does not mean variable-length arrays but not 'static' - as in ... address is not known at compile time. The 'new' is supposed to create something on the heap and return a pointer/reference to it. Thus structs, fix-length arrays, and class objects are obvious candidates for that. Variable-length arrays are always created on the heap anyway, so to ask for a 'new char[]' is asking for the 8-byte pseudo-struct for the array to be created on the heap (which would not be initialized to anything) and return a pointer to it. This would give you one more level of indirection that you're probably not expecting. The normal way to create an empty (new, as in never been used yet) char[] is simply ... void str() { char[] s; } But you knew (no pun intended) that already. What you were actually asking for is more like ... struct dynary { size_t len; void *data; } void str() { auto s = cast(char[]*)(new dynary); } void main() { str(); }

I wouldn't recommend using that to anyone. That's a *dirty* hack!
Mar 22 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent Jarrett Billingsley <jarrett.billingsley gmail.com> writes:
On Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 2:04 PM, Andrei Alexandrescu
<SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> wrote:
 Nothing.

 auto a = T(args);

 should create a T, whether T is a class, array, struct, what have you. This
 "new" business is lame, lame, lame.

Struct on stack vs. heap?
Mar 23 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent downs <default_357-line yahoo.de> writes:
struct Temp(T) {
  T t;
}

T* allocate(T)() {
  auto wrap = new Temp!(T);
  return &wrap.t;
}
Mar 23 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent "Denis Koroskin" <2korden gmail.com> writes:
On Wed, 25 M9ar 2009 11:55:14 +0300, Cristian Vlasceanu <cristian zerobugs.org>
wrote:

 Do custom-allocated objects live on the GC-ed heap?

Not necessarily, e.g. you can malloc some memory and then create an object there.

I was afraid that may be the case, and it is perhaps not a good idea. Early Managed C++ users found it difficult to deal with pointers to both managed and un-managed objects without being able to tell (just by a quick glance at the code) which is which -- the language subsequently changed, now ^ means managed pointer,and * means unmanaged. Managed C++ is a mess IMHO, because it tries to counsel into a happy marriage the GC paradigm with the old control-over-each-and-every-bit school (you can still get projects done in managed C++, but not before you bump into all the legacy boxes in the garage). I find custom allocators being less useful than they used to -- the GC-managed heap plus a "tls" storage class should be sufficient for most needs. D 2.0 should abandon the hope of being THE ULTIMATE language and content itself with being a good-enough, better than others, language. Otherwise it will either succumb into the schizophrenic fate of managed C++, or it will perpetually be a moving target, alienating its users. This is why D .net does not support any of this custom allocator nonsense. My two Global-Currency / 100 Cristi

Having a custom memory pool is usually a good idea. At work, our game engine is split into a few separate sub-systems (particle system, physics, animations etc). Since most of them are completely independent (we keep track on their dependencies and trying to cut them as much as possible), it makes sense to have custom memory pools for each of them. More over, if object references don't escape that pool we could have a custom per-pool garbage collector! For example, I am responsible for a sound system in our company. In the system I designed, all the allocations made inside sound system are done through a custom memory pool (so that our sound designer don't go mad and uses all of the memory available for SFXs :)). Although it can't be statically proven (in C++), none of the object references escape that pool ever. That's because all the communication is done via a value type called SoundSource, which is struct wrapper around an "int id;". This ensures that all the object references are kept internal to that pool and thus an independent garbage collector is possible for this pool.
Mar 25 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent "Steven Schveighoffer" <schveiguy yahoo.com> writes:
On Thu, 26 Mar 2009 16:33:09 -0400, Andrei Alexandrescu  
<SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> wrote:

 Don wrote:
 Cristian Vlasceanu wrote:
 Hm... how should I put it nicely... wait, I guess I can't: if you guys  
 think D is a systems language, you are smelling your own farts!

 Because 1) GC magic and deterministic system level behavior are not  
 exactly good friends, and 2) YOU DO NOT HAVE A SYSTEMS PROBLEM TO  
 SOLVE. C was invented to write an OS in a portable fashion. Now that's  
 a systems language. Unless you are designing the next uber OS, D is a  
 solution in search of a problem, ergo not a systems language (sorry  
 Walter). It is a great application language though, and if people  
 really need custom allocation schemes, then they can write that part  
 in C/C++ or even assembler (and I guess you can provide a custom  
 run-time too, if you really DO HAVE a systems problem to address --  
 like developing for an embedded platform).

a complete operating system". That's not what's intended. AFAIK there are no operating systems written solely in C++. Probably, D being a "systems language" actually means "D is competing with C++".

I'm surprised at how many people misunderstand the "systems language" or "systems-level programming" terms. Only a couple of months ago, a good friend whom I thought would know a lot better, mentioned that he thought a "systems-level language" is one that can be used to build large systems.

wikipedia to the rescue! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_programming_language http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_software -Steve
Mar 26 2009
prev sibling parent Tomas Lindquist Olsen <tomas.l.olsen gmail.com> writes:
On Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 2:22 PM, Christopher Wright <dhasenan gmail.com> wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Sometimes I run these crazy calculations: how much modern firepower would
 be just enough to turn the odds in a classic battle? At Thermopilae, I think
 two Vickers with enough ammo would have been just about enough. Also at the
 Lord of the Rings 2 night castle defense, one machine gun would have
 sufficed (better protection and fewer assailants).

Sometimes I think what if I were dropped naked back in time 20,000 years ago? Assuming I didn't get promptly cooked for dinner, what technology could I deliver that would have the most impact? I can't decide between iron, agriculture, or writing. I suspect writing. Every time humans got better at communicating, there was a huge increase in the rate of progress.

Writing allows you to keep solutions to problems that only come about rarely. Disseminating these is very time-consuming, though; copying a manuscript by hand takes months. But 20,000 years? I think basic sanitation comes first. It also doesn't take very long. Once you have writing, though, it becomes *much* easier to approach things scientifically, especially with a bit of arithmetic. So that might be more worthwhile, since they can arrive at sanitation eventually anyway, and sooner if they have writing. Of course, in any case, you need to get around two obstacles: the language barrier and your ignorance of whatever you're trying to teach. I know less about agriculture, probably, than any stone age farmer. I don't know anywhere near enough about ironworking or mining to be able to offer any meaningful advice. But most people know enough about writing to create a writing system for another culture, if they just sit down and consider the problem for a few hours. So in your case, I dare say the only technology that you listed that you could deliver is writing. Even a metallurgist might have significant trouble providing ironworking to a culture without the typical modern tools of that trade.

Are we playing some newsgroup based version of Civilization now?
Mar 28 2009