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RE: Parens Shock

On Friday, August 22, 2003 10:31 AM, Peter J. Wasilko, Esq. 
[SMTP:futurist@cloud9.net] wrote:
> > It isn't superficial. When you're 15 or 16, you can learn any new
> > programming language in hours. When you're, say, 25 or 35 or 45,
> > the
> > brain starts to slow down, habits become entrenched, and things are
> > not remembered with the sponge-like rapidity that you used to
> > have.

>     What an excellent analysis!

But I'm not sure if it's really true.  Obviously, it's pretty 
subjective, but I don't think that the analogy to natural languages 
hold up.

That is, I am much more able to learn new programming languages *now* 
that I have more programming "maturity", than I would have been at 15, 
before I really understood the lambda nature.  I don't think that I 
could have really learned Icon or Haskell or Forth or Prolog in a few 
hours when I was still in high school, though I did learn several of 
those languages in nearly a few hours in my late twenties.

I was exposed to Scheme and Lisp a couple of times before I was twenty, 
and it just didn't take.  Then, I got to grad school a dyed in the wool 
C++ programmer, and finally figured out how things really work.  It 
helped that I had instructors named Friedman and Dybvig, and that I was 
surrounded by colleagues doing cool things with Scheme.  The real 
difference, though, was that I was more mature---more prepared to 
understand radical ideas than I would have been when I was younger and 
more able to see a good thing because of so much prolonged exposure to 
all those bad things.

(Also, though the thirty-something has the wife, friends, and kids; the 
teen has his or her own distractions.)

Kevin S. Millikin           Architecture Technology Corporation
Research Scientist          Specialists in Computer Architecture
(952)829-5864 x162          http://www.atcorp.com