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Re: Functional Paradigm popularity and Maths (Was: XML as a transition to s-expr)

   > So why should I "always" need to hire a person with a "solid/formal"
   > foundation in computer science for working on a given software
   > problem.
   Because you would not hire a nurse whose only experience with medicine
   is anecdotal.  Because you would not hire a cook that did not
   understand that incorrectly prepared food can be fatal.

Thanks for an excellent parable.  Let's explore it further.

Rather than hiring an expert chef who has been trained and
certified in the art of removing the poisonous parts from
a blowfish (fugu), leaving only enough toxin in the flesh
that I (probably) won't die from it, I think I'd rather hire
the guy who's just a basic short-order cook who doesn't try
to get fancy.

If I *had* to eat fugu for some exotic reason, I'd want the expert.
But for everyday breakfasts, I'm willing to settle for an omelet,
hash browns, and OJ.  Getting the eggs to be fully cooked isn't
that hard, and (more to the point) I can easily tell when it hasn't
been done right.

Sometimes I compare computer scientists to physicists.

A physicist knows that electricity can be made to oscillate
in a wire pair, and that there is less inductance between
nearby wire pairs if the wires of each pair are kept
close together.

An engineer knows *how much* crosstalk you'll get between pairs
at a given voltage and freqency; consequently, he knows that
CAT5 is adequate for 100BaseT Ethernet.

The technician knows that CAT5 is adequate for 100BaseT Ethernet,
and moreover he knows which color wire goes to which pin on an
RJ45 jack.

Which guy do you want wiring your office building?