[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: learning languages [Was: Re: Y Store now C++]

On Friday, Mar 14, 2003, at 17:25 US/Eastern, Neil W. Van Dyke wrote:
> Some percentage has more raw wetware horsepower than some others,
> but I recall a credible result that the extreme high end of learning
> rate is no more than twice "normal."

15+ years ago, a friend was trying to convince me I should apply to be 
a grad student and study under Marvin Minsky.  He introduced me to him, 
and I admitted, I just don't think I'm smart enough.  Minsky was nice, 
he replied that he'd looked into things, and no one was more than twice 
as smart as anyone else.  I really doubted that, and I'm very sorry to 
say I didn't learning more from Minsky, though I still have Society of 
Mind and I should read it again now that I'm slightly less foolish.

A few years later, a supervisor supported my doubts about this "twice 
normal" metric by stating that genius was not a matter of mental 
horsepower as much as it was perspective, the ability to look at 
something from a slightly different viewpoint and then suddenly see the 

That's an argument for Lisp--it certainly gives a different 
perspective, and there's even hope the whole picture will fit on a 
small screen.