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Neal Stephenson on Star Wars and Engineering
2005-06-17

Hmm, this article by Neal Stephenson is an interesting counter-point to the earlier article by Ted Rall that I picked on. He basically equates the Jedi with the engineers and scientists who make the world we live in possible. His point is interesting and somewhat accurate, though equating engineers with Jedi would confer on us more power and coolness than we actually have. In reality, engineers and scientists tend to be masters of small domains, and modern society depends on many of these domains working in concert.

On the other hand, as Lazarus Long (no relation) said, specialization is for insects.

Which lead me to an interesting article about how to fix the software complexity problem. His claim is that every part of a system should be able to charge for its use. That is one way of solving the problem. The other is libraries, of course, which developers do exchange, sometimes for money, sometimes to encourage use of the system, and sometimes for free because it also doesn't cost us anything to share something after we've built it.


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