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Re: [xml-dev] Roles and functions [was: many-to-many]

From: John Cowan <jcowan@-------------.--->
To: wperry@---------.--- (-. -. -----)
Date: 1/30/2003 9:59:00 PM
I am glad to say that I understand almost this whole post and actually
agree with most of it.

W. E. Perry scripsit:

> There are means other than http by which an
> equivalent entity body might be conveyed--not just to me but to a host of
> recipients, interested for their own idiosyncratic reasons:  email, instant
> messaging, diskettes delivered by sneakernet all deliver bits processable by
> software into a domain [...]

Bits shorn of their metadata are indistinguishable from patterned noise.

> The internetwork architecture must assure that the bits survive the
> journey intact, but it also indicates why the assumptions should not:

If you do not know the encoding or format of bits, then you have no method
other than cryptanalysis for determining their content.

> To process whatever of use might be available in the bits I receive,
> I must first instantiate a data structure particularly suited to my
> own processing. It would be as foolish for me to assume that the bits I
> receive are noticeably related to the form in which I must instantiate
> data for my own use as it would be for the creator and publisher of
> those bits to assume that I should follow the, to me, accidental form
> of their format or presentation in my independent instantiation of my
> own data.

True and fundamental, in fact so fundamental that most people believe it false.

> The server offers a selection of various presentations of particular
> data, but from that we must not infer some platonic form of which
> those choices are the instance manifestations.

Why "must not"?  Platonism is as reasonable a worldview as any other,
if you don't try to chop off the heads of non-Platonists while you're at it.

-- 
First known example of political correctness:   John Cowan
"After Nurhachi had united all the other        http://www.reutershealth.com
Jurchen tribes under the leadership of the      http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
Manchus, his successor Abahai (1592-1643)       jcowan@r...
issued an order that the name Jurchen should       --S. Robert Ramsey,
be banned, and from then on, they were all         _The Languages of China_
to be called Manchus."

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