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mr_bean (3802)

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Journal of mr_bean (3802)

Saturday December 30, 2006
03:28 AM

state of onion joke

[ #32023 ]

Larry Wall joked in the 10th state of the onion address at

"In the Scientific American that just came out, there's an article on chess experts, written by an expert, on what makes experts so expert. This expert claims that you can become an expert in just about anything if you study it persistently for ten years or so. So, since this is my tenth State of the Onion, maybe I'm about to become an expert in giving strange talks. One can only hope (not)."

The August 2006 Scientific American article is at: c=I100322

Leaving aside whether Larry Wall is an expert in giving talks or not, I think the message of the article is not that message. Rather, it is that if there is anything we learn after 10 years' studying experts, it is that experts know more than we know.

Here's the ancient Chinese philosopher, ChuangZi's reaction to the address, which was about raising children and programming languages and balancing competing tensions and irreconcilable desires. ChuangZi was puzzled. He asked, Is this a programmer talking about his family? Or a family man talking about programming?

A Larry Wall story: Larry Wall leaves the podium, in an altered state of consciousness, asking, "Was I a man dreaming I was a butterfly? Or am I now a butterfly dreaming I am a man?"

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