• OT: Extended theory of evolution.

    From Anthony William Sloman@21:1/5 to All on Tue Feb 8 17:19:37 2022
    Today's Proceedings of the (US) National Academy of Sciences has an interesting paper

    https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/119/6/e2120037119.full.pdf

    I'm fairly sure that I don't understand all that much of it, but what I can understand strikes me as impressive.

    --
    Bill Sloman, Sydney

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
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  • From Jeff Layman@21:1/5 to Anthony William Sloman on Wed Feb 9 08:46:28 2022
    On 09/02/2022 01:19, Anthony William Sloman wrote:
    Today's Proceedings of the (US) National Academy of Sciences has an interesting paper

    https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/119/6/e2120037119.full.pdf

    I'm fairly sure that I don't understand all that much of it, but what I can understand strikes me as impressive.

    I'm absolutely sure that I don't understand any of it. But in the
    introduction, it mentions NASA's definition of life. This was new to me,
    but on searching for further information I came across an interesting
    page at <https://www.sfu.ca/colloquium/PDC_Top/OoL/whatislife/Vikingmission.html>.
    The creation date of that page doesn't appear, but it's obviously after
    NASA first stated their definition. What amused me was the final
    paragraph (which predates the NASA definition), and perhaps shows the
    sort of pitfalls this area provides even for "experts":

    "What is the definition of life? I remember a conference of the
    scientific elite that sought to answer that question. Is an enzyme
    alive? Is a virus alive? Is a cell alive? After many hours of launching promising balloons that defined life in a sentence, followed by equally conclusive punctures of these balloons, a solution seemed at hand: “The ability to reproduce—that is the essential characteristic of life,” said one statesman of science. Everyone nodded in agreement that the
    essential of a life was the ability to reproduce, until one small voice
    was heard. “Then one rabbit is dead. Two rabbits—a male and female—are alive but either one alone is dead.” - Daniel E Koshland, The Seven
    Pillars of Life
    (NB the link at the end of that ends up at a 404. More info in the wiki
    at <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seven_Pillars_of_Life>)

    --

    Jeff

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
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  • From Don Y@21:1/5 to Jeff Layman on Wed Feb 9 12:40:28 2022
    On 2/9/2022 1:46 AM, Jeff Layman wrote:
    "What is the definition of life? I remember a conference of the scientific elite that sought to answer that question. Is an enzyme alive? Is a virus alive? Is a cell alive? After many hours of launching promising balloons that defined life in a sentence, followed by equally conclusive punctures of these balloons, a solution seemed at hand: “The ability to reproduce—that is the
    essential characteristic of life,” said one statesman of science. Everyone nodded in agreement that the essential of a life was the ability to reproduce,
    until one small voice was heard. “Then one rabbit is dead. Two rabbits—a male
    and female—are alive but either one alone is dead.” - Daniel E Koshland, The
    Seven Pillars of Life

    <https://roaring.earth/all-female-lizard-species/>

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Tom Gardner@21:1/5 to Don Y on Wed Feb 9 20:02:03 2022
    On 09/02/22 19:40, Don Y wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 1:46 AM, Jeff Layman wrote:
    "What is the definition of life? I remember a conference of the scientific >> elite that sought to answer that question. Is an enzyme alive? Is a virus
    alive? Is a cell alive? After many hours of launching promising balloons that
    defined life in a sentence, followed by equally conclusive punctures of these
    balloons, a solution seemed at hand: “The ability to reproduce—that is the
    essential characteristic of life,” said one statesman of science. Everyone >> nodded in agreement that the essential of a life was the ability to reproduce,
    until one small voice was heard. “Then one rabbit is dead. Two rabbits—a male
    and female—are alive but either one alone is dead.” - Daniel E Koshland, The
    Seven Pillars of Life

    <https://roaring.earth/all-female-lizard-species/>

    And, of course, aphids do reproduce asexually to the extent
    that some aphids are born pregnant.

    Then there's Diploscapter Pachys, which hasn’t had sex in roughly
    18 million years, when it parted from its parent species by
    exclusively practicing asexual reproduction.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From bitrex@21:1/5 to Jeff Layman on Wed Feb 9 16:01:32 2022
    On 2/9/2022 3:46 AM, Jeff Layman wrote:
    On 09/02/2022 01:19, Anthony William Sloman wrote:
    Today's Proceedings of the (US) National Academy of Sciences has an
    interesting paper

    https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/119/6/e2120037119.full.pdf

    I'm fairly sure that I don't understand all that much of it, but what
    I can understand strikes me as impressive.

    I'm absolutely sure that I don't understand any of it. But in the introduction, it mentions NASA's definition of life. This was new to me,
    but on searching for further information I came across an interesting
    page at <https://www.sfu.ca/colloquium/PDC_Top/OoL/whatislife/Vikingmission.html>. The creation date of that page doesn't appear, but it's obviously after
    NASA first stated their definition. What amused me was the final
    paragraph (which predates the NASA definition), and perhaps shows the
    sort of pitfalls this area provides even for "experts":

    "What is the definition of life? I remember a conference of the
    scientific elite that sought to answer that question. Is an enzyme
    alive? Is a virus alive? Is a cell alive? After many hours of launching promising balloons that defined life in a sentence, followed by equally conclusive punctures of these balloons, a solution seemed at hand: “The ability to reproduce—that is the essential characteristic of life,” said one statesman of science. Everyone nodded in agreement that the
    essential of a life was the ability to reproduce, until one small voice
    was heard. “Then one rabbit is dead. Two rabbits—a male and female—are alive but either one alone is dead.” - Daniel E Koshland, The Seven
    Pillars of Life
    (NB the link at the end of that ends up at a 404. More info in the wiki
    at <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seven_Pillars_of_Life>)


    And defining what the terms "race" and "gender" mean in an absolute way
    face similar ontological problems to coming up with an unambiguous
    definition of the term "life."

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
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  • From bitrex@21:1/5 to Don Y on Wed Feb 9 16:05:07 2022
    On 2/9/2022 2:40 PM, Don Y wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 1:46 AM, Jeff Layman wrote:
    "What is the definition of life? I remember a conference of the
    scientific elite that sought to answer that question. Is an enzyme
    alive? Is a virus alive? Is a cell alive? After many hours of
    launching promising balloons that defined life in a sentence, followed
    by equally conclusive punctures of these balloons, a solution seemed
    at hand: “The ability to reproduce—that is the essential
    characteristic of life,” said one statesman of science. Everyone
    nodded in agreement that the essential of a life was the ability to
    reproduce, until one small voice was heard. “Then one rabbit is dead.
    Two rabbits—a male and female—are alive but either one alone is dead.” >> - Daniel E Koshland, The Seven Pillars of Life

    <https://roaring.earth/all-female-lizard-species/>

    Humans very much want to know what things "is", and this is a matter of
    great importance to humans. But Nature doesn't care at all what things "is."

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Don Y@21:1/5 to Tom Gardner on Wed Feb 9 15:23:32 2022
    On 2/9/2022 1:02 PM, Tom Gardner wrote:
    On 09/02/22 19:40, Don Y wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 1:46 AM, Jeff Layman wrote:
    "What is the definition of life? I remember a conference of the scientific >>> elite that sought to answer that question. Is an enzyme alive? Is a virus >>> alive? Is a cell alive? After many hours of launching promising balloons >>> that defined life in a sentence, followed by equally conclusive punctures of
    these balloons, a solution seemed at hand: “The ability to reproduce—that is
    the essential characteristic of life,” said one statesman of science.
    Everyone nodded in agreement that the essential of a life was the ability to
    reproduce, until one small voice was heard. “Then one rabbit is dead. Two >>> rabbits—a male and female—are alive but either one alone is dead.” - Daniel
    E Koshland, The Seven Pillars of Life

    <https://roaring.earth/all-female-lizard-species/>

    And, of course, aphids do reproduce asexually to the extent
    that some aphids are born pregnant.

    Then there's Diploscapter Pachys, which hasn’t had sex in roughly
    18 million years, when it parted from its parent species by
    exclusively practicing asexual reproduction.

    I think many (all?) plants can reproduce (propagate) asexually.
    Even though that may not be the "intended" method of reproduction.

    ISTR there is an extreme lack of diversity among banana trees (?)

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Don Y@21:1/5 to bitrex on Wed Feb 9 15:21:28 2022
    On 2/9/2022 2:05 PM, bitrex wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 2:40 PM, Don Y wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 1:46 AM, Jeff Layman wrote:
    "What is the definition of life? I remember a conference of the scientific >>> elite that sought to answer that question. Is an enzyme alive? Is a virus >>> alive? Is a cell alive? After many hours of launching promising balloons >>> that defined life in a sentence, followed by equally conclusive punctures of
    these balloons, a solution seemed at hand: “The ability to reproduce—that is
    the essential characteristic of life,” said one statesman of science.
    Everyone nodded in agreement that the essential of a life was the ability to
    reproduce, until one small voice was heard. “Then one rabbit is dead. Two >>> rabbits—a male and female—are alive but either one alone is dead.” - Daniel
    E Koshland, The Seven Pillars of Life

    <https://roaring.earth/all-female-lizard-species/>

    Humans very much want to know what things "is", and this is a matter of great importance to humans.

    It's of "great importance" to folks who have very rigid notions of
    "how things should be". But, to many (and increasingly more), it's
    just a <shrug>

    But Nature doesn't care at all what things "is."

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From bitrex@21:1/5 to Don Y on Wed Feb 9 18:05:03 2022
    On 2/9/2022 5:21 PM, Don Y wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 2:05 PM, bitrex wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 2:40 PM, Don Y wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 1:46 AM, Jeff Layman wrote:
    "What is the definition of life? I remember a conference of the
    scientific elite that sought to answer that question. Is an enzyme
    alive? Is a virus alive? Is a cell alive? After many hours of
    launching promising balloons that defined life in a sentence,
    followed by equally conclusive punctures of these balloons, a
    solution seemed at hand: “The ability to reproduce—that is the
    essential characteristic of life,” said one statesman of science.
    Everyone nodded in agreement that the essential of a life was the
    ability to reproduce, until one small voice was heard. “Then one
    rabbit is dead. Two rabbits—a male and female—are alive but either >>>> one alone is dead.” - Daniel E Koshland, The Seven Pillars of Life

    <https://roaring.earth/all-female-lizard-species/>

    Humans very much want to know what things "is", and this is a matter
    of great importance to humans.

    It's of "great importance" to folks who have very rigid notions of
    "how things should be".  But, to many (and increasingly more), it's
    just a <shrug>

    It's often easier to say what something isn't than what something "is",
    a cloud is clearly not a person, and a person is clearly not a 1964 Impala.

    Try to define what a person "is" though is more difficult

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Don Y@21:1/5 to bitrex on Wed Feb 9 16:26:16 2022
    On 2/9/2022 4:05 PM, bitrex wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 5:21 PM, Don Y wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 2:05 PM, bitrex wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 2:40 PM, Don Y wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 1:46 AM, Jeff Layman wrote:
    "What is the definition of life? I remember a conference of the scientific
    elite that sought to answer that question. Is an enzyme alive? Is a virus >>>>> alive? Is a cell alive? After many hours of launching promising balloons >>>>> that defined life in a sentence, followed by equally conclusive punctures >>>>> of these balloons, a solution seemed at hand: “The ability to
    reproduce—that is the essential characteristic of life,” said one >>>>> statesman of science. Everyone nodded in agreement that the essential of a
    life was the ability to reproduce, until one small voice was heard. “Then
    one rabbit is dead. Two rabbits—a male and female—are alive but either one
    alone is dead.” - Daniel E Koshland, The Seven Pillars of Life

    <https://roaring.earth/all-female-lizard-species/>

    Humans very much want to know what things "is", and this is a matter of
    great importance to humans.

    It's of "great importance" to folks who have very rigid notions of
    "how things should be". But, to many (and increasingly more), it's
    just a <shrug>

    It's often easier to say what something isn't than what something "is", a cloud
    is clearly not a person, and a person is clearly not a 1964 Impala.

    Try to define what a person "is" though is more difficult

    Their accomplishments + their relationships.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Don Y@21:1/5 to Tom Gardner on Thu Feb 10 00:56:18 2022
    On 2/10/2022 12:51 AM, Tom Gardner wrote:
    On 09/02/22 23:05, bitrex wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 5:21 PM, Don Y wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 2:05 PM, bitrex wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 2:40 PM, Don Y wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 1:46 AM, Jeff Layman wrote:
    "What is the definition of life? I remember a conference of the
    scientific elite that sought to answer that question. Is an enzyme alive?
    Is a virus alive? Is a cell alive? After many hours of launching
    promising balloons that defined life in a sentence, followed by equally >>>>>> conclusive punctures of these balloons, a solution seemed at hand: “The
    ability to reproduce—that is the essential characteristic of life,” said
    one statesman of science. Everyone nodded in agreement that the essential
    of a life was the ability to reproduce, until one small voice was heard. >>>>>> “Then one rabbit is dead. Two rabbits—a male and female—are alive but
    either one alone is dead.” - Daniel E Koshland, The Seven Pillars of Life

    <https://roaring.earth/all-female-lizard-species/>

    Humans very much want to know what things "is", and this is a matter of >>>> great importance to humans.

    It's of "great importance" to folks who have very rigid notions of
    "how things should be". But, to many (and increasingly more), it's
    just a <shrug>

    It's often easier to say what something isn't than what something "is", a
    cloud is clearly not a person, and a person is clearly not a 1964 Impala.

    Try to define what a person "is" though is more difficult

    Human beings have two legs. Is a thalodomide victim or amputee a human being?

    If I rest a cup of coffee on a stool, has it become a table?

    No, it's still a cup of coffee! ;-)

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Tom Gardner@21:1/5 to bitrex on Thu Feb 10 07:51:08 2022
    On 09/02/22 23:05, bitrex wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 5:21 PM, Don Y wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 2:05 PM, bitrex wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 2:40 PM, Don Y wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 1:46 AM, Jeff Layman wrote:
    "What is the definition of life? I remember a conference of the scientific
    elite that sought to answer that question. Is an enzyme alive? Is a virus >>>>> alive? Is a cell alive? After many hours of launching promising balloons >>>>> that defined life in a sentence, followed by equally conclusive punctures >>>>> of these balloons, a solution seemed at hand: “The ability to
    reproduce—that is the essential characteristic of life,” said one statesman
    of science. Everyone nodded in agreement that the essential of a life was >>>>> the ability to reproduce, until one small voice was heard. “Then one rabbit
    is dead. Two rabbits—a male and female—are alive but either one alone is
    dead.” - Daniel E Koshland, The Seven Pillars of Life

    <https://roaring.earth/all-female-lizard-species/>

    Humans very much want to know what things "is", and this is a matter of great
    importance to humans.

    It's of "great importance" to folks who have very rigid notions of
    "how things should be".  But, to many (and increasingly more), it's
    just a <shrug>

    It's often easier to say what something isn't than what something "is", a cloud
    is clearly not a person, and a person is clearly not a 1964 Impala.

    Try to define what a person "is" though is more difficult

    Human beings have two legs. Is a thalodomide victim or amputee a human being?

    If I rest a cup of coffee on a stool, has it become a table?

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Mike Coon@21:1/5 to All on Thu Feb 10 09:47:32 2022
    In article <su1eta$e93$2@dont-email.me>, blockedofcourse@foo.invalid
    says...

    ISTR there is an extreme lack of diversity among banana trees (?)

    Yes, the commercial "Cavendish" strain, bred to satisfy supermarket
    customers and could not exist "in the wild". A bit like pedigree dogs
    bred to satisfy some random cosmetic criteria that are then subject to
    all sorts of inbred genetic conditions.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From David Brown@21:1/5 to Don Y on Thu Feb 10 10:37:51 2022
    On 09/02/2022 23:23, Don Y wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 1:02 PM, Tom Gardner wrote:
    On 09/02/22 19:40, Don Y wrote:
    On 2/9/2022 1:46 AM, Jeff Layman wrote:
    "What is the definition of life? I remember a conference of the
    scientific elite that sought to answer that question. Is an enzyme
    alive? Is a virus alive? Is a cell alive? After many hours of
    launching promising balloons that defined life in a sentence,
    followed by equally conclusive punctures of these balloons, a
    solution seemed at hand: “The ability to reproduce—that is the
    essential characteristic of life,” said one statesman of science.
    Everyone nodded in agreement that the essential of a life was the
    ability to reproduce, until one small voice was heard. “Then one
    rabbit is dead. Two rabbits—a male and female—are alive but either >>>> one alone is dead.” - Daniel E Koshland, The Seven Pillars of Life

    <https://roaring.earth/all-female-lizard-species/>

    And, of course, aphids do reproduce asexually to the extent
    that some aphids are born pregnant.

    Then there's Diploscapter Pachys, which hasn’t had sex in roughly
    18 million years, when it parted from its parent species by
    exclusively practicing asexual reproduction.

    I think many (all?) plants can reproduce (propagate) asexually.
    Even though that may not be the "intended" method of reproduction.

    Some plants are exclusively asexual, and some will use both sexual and
    asexual reproduction. But for many, I think it is more accurate to say
    that they are good at re-growing missing parts after injury - growing
    new plants from cuttings is not really "reproduction".


    ISTR there is an extreme lack of diversity among banana trees (?)


    What we call "bananas" (and they are plants, not trees) are artificial
    and human-made - like many of our major crops, they are the result of massive-scale long-running selective breeding. Wild bananas have far
    more genetic diversity. Low genetic diversity within crop plants is a
    major problem, since it means a single virus, fungus, or other pathogen
    can wipe out entire crops.


    If you want a banana-evolution related laugh, have a look here:

    <https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Banana_argument>

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Mike Coon@21:1/5 to All on Thu Feb 10 09:51:12 2022
    In article <su2g5c$ajf$1@dont-email.me>, spamjunk@blueyonder.co.uk
    says...

    If I rest a cup of coffee on a stool, has it become a table?

    I think you have to be a member of Mensa to answer that one!!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensa_International

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Anthony William Sloman@21:1/5 to Mike Coon on Thu Feb 10 03:20:49 2022
    On Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 8:51:29 PM UTC+11, Mike Coon wrote:
    In article <su2g5c$ajf$1...@dont-email.me>, spam...@blueyonder.co.uk
    says...

    If I rest a cup of coffee on a stool, has it become a table?
    I think you have to be a member of Mensa to answer that one!!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensa_International

    And probably a member of Mensa to ask it. Mensa is a society for people who score very well on IQ tests, but don't have any other achievements to boast about.

    The archetypical Mensa member was the late Clive Sinclair, who not only scored well on IQ tests but also did quite a few clever things. Sadly he was also brilliant at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, usually by some feat of mindless penny-
    pinching.

    He was based in Cambridge around the time I worked there, and lots of people had Clive Sinclair stories.

    --
    Bill Sloman, Sydney

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Tom Gardner@21:1/5 to David Brown on Thu Feb 10 11:58:34 2022
    On 10/02/22 11:55, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 12:20, Anthony William Sloman wrote:
    On Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 8:51:29 PM UTC+11, Mike Coon wrote:
    In article <su2g5c$ajf$1...@dont-email.me>, spam...@blueyonder.co.uk
    says...

    If I rest a cup of coffee on a stool, has it become a table?
    I think you have to be a member of Mensa to answer that one!!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensa_International

    And probably a member of Mensa to ask it. Mensa is a society for people who score very well on IQ tests, but don't have any other achievements to boast about.

    The archetypical Mensa member was the late Clive Sinclair, who not only scored well on IQ tests but also did quite a few clever things. Sadly he was also brilliant at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, usually by some feat of mindless penny-
    pinching.

    He was based in Cambridge around the time I worked there, and lots of people had Clive Sinclair stories.


    The late /Sir/ Clive Sinclair was a hugely successful entrepreneur who revolutionised the calculator and home computer market in particular,
    and without whom you would probably not have anything remotely like the computers you have today.

    He did have plenty of failures - some due to a disconnect between making technically good solutions without enough consideration of large
    commercial companies and their power to control markets, and some
    because his ideas were too early and the technology was not ready.

    But you do not earn a knighthood for outstanding services to industry if
    you "don't have any other achievements to boast about" or "did quite a
    few clever things". The guy was responsible for a revolution first in
    the pocket calculator industry, then the home computer industry - making products that were a small fraction of the size and cost of the
    alternatives, outselling everyone else put together, and bringing
    computing to at least an order of magnitude more people than had ever
    heard it before.

    He was eccentric, certainly, but he was a genius whom Britons can
    remember with pride as the UK sinks slowly into oblivion.

    I was in Cambridge in the 80s, and can corroborate what Bill said.

    People there had a /much/ better opinion of Acorn Computers
    (which later morphed into ARM).

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From David Brown@21:1/5 to Anthony William Sloman on Thu Feb 10 12:55:00 2022
    On 10/02/2022 12:20, Anthony William Sloman wrote:
    On Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 8:51:29 PM UTC+11, Mike Coon wrote:
    In article <su2g5c$ajf$1...@dont-email.me>, spam...@blueyonder.co.uk
    says...

    If I rest a cup of coffee on a stool, has it become a table?
    I think you have to be a member of Mensa to answer that one!!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensa_International

    And probably a member of Mensa to ask it. Mensa is a society for people who score very well on IQ tests, but don't have any other achievements to boast about.

    The archetypical Mensa member was the late Clive Sinclair, who not only scored well on IQ tests but also did quite a few clever things. Sadly he was also brilliant at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, usually by some feat of mindless penny-
    pinching.

    He was based in Cambridge around the time I worked there, and lots of people had Clive Sinclair stories.


    The late /Sir/ Clive Sinclair was a hugely successful entrepreneur who revolutionised the calculator and home computer market in particular,
    and without whom you would probably not have anything remotely like the computers you have today.

    He did have plenty of failures - some due to a disconnect between making technically good solutions without enough consideration of large
    commercial companies and their power to control markets, and some
    because his ideas were too early and the technology was not ready.

    But you do not earn a knighthood for outstanding services to industry if
    you "don't have any other achievements to boast about" or "did quite a
    few clever things". The guy was responsible for a revolution first in
    the pocket calculator industry, then the home computer industry - making products that were a small fraction of the size and cost of the
    alternatives, outselling everyone else put together, and bringing
    computing to at least an order of magnitude more people than had ever
    heard it before.

    He was eccentric, certainly, but he was a genius whom Britons can
    remember with pride as the UK sinks slowly into oblivion.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Mike Coon@21:1/5 to All on Thu Feb 10 12:58:19 2022
    In article <992a5b3c-0975-433c-ba5f-3819beb11dfcn@googlegroups.com>, bill.sloman@ieee.org says...

    On Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 8:51:29 PM UTC+11, Mike Coon wrote:
    In article <su2g5c$ajf$1...@dont-email.me>, spam...@blueyonder.co.uk says...

    If I rest a cup of coffee on a stool, has it become a table?
    I think you have to be a member of Mensa to answer that one!!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensa_International

    And probably a member of Mensa to ask it. Mensa is a society for people who score very well on IQ tests, but don't have any other achievements to boast about.

    The archetypical Mensa member was the late Clive Sinclair, who not only scored well on IQ tests but also did quite a few clever things. Sadly he was also brilliant at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, usually by some feat of mindless penny-
    pinching.

    He was based in Cambridge around the time I worked there, and lots of people had Clive Sinclair stories.

    But did you get the specific relevance and joke?

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From David Brown@21:1/5 to Tom Gardner on Thu Feb 10 14:45:34 2022
    On 10/02/2022 12:58, Tom Gardner wrote:
    On 10/02/22 11:55, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 12:20, Anthony William Sloman wrote:
    On Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 8:51:29 PM UTC+11, Mike Coon wrote:
    In article <su2g5c$ajf$1...@dont-email.me>, spam...@blueyonder.co.uk
    says...

    If I rest a cup of coffee on a stool, has it become a table?
    I think you have to be a member of Mensa to answer that one!!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensa_International

    And probably a member of Mensa to ask it. Mensa is a society for
    people who score very well on IQ tests, but don't have any other
    achievements to boast about.

    The archetypical  Mensa member was the late Clive Sinclair, who not
    only scored well on IQ tests but also did quite a few clever things.
    Sadly he was also brilliant at snatching defeat from the jaws of
    victory, usually by some feat of mindless penny-pinching.

    He was based in Cambridge around the time I worked there, and lots of
    people had Clive Sinclair stories.


    The late /Sir/ Clive Sinclair was a hugely successful entrepreneur who
    revolutionised the calculator and home computer market in particular,
    and without whom you would probably not have anything remotely like the
    computers you have today.

    He did have plenty of failures - some due to a disconnect between making
    technically good solutions without enough consideration of large
    commercial companies and their power to control markets, and some
    because his ideas were too early and the technology was not ready.

    But you do not earn a knighthood for outstanding services to industry if
    you "don't have any other achievements to boast about" or "did quite a
    few clever things".  The guy was responsible for a revolution first in
    the pocket calculator industry, then the home computer industry - making
    products that were a small fraction of the size and cost of the
    alternatives, outselling everyone else put together, and bringing
    computing to at least an order of magnitude more people than had ever
    heard it before.

    He was eccentric, certainly, but he was a genius whom Britons can
    remember with pride as the UK sinks slowly into oblivion.

    I was in Cambridge in the 80s, and can corroborate what Bill said.

    People there had a /much/ better opinion of Acorn Computers
    (which later morphed into ARM).


    Acorn designed far better computers, both software and hardware - anyone
    who has used a BBC Micro and a ZX Spectrum would be in no doubt which
    was technically superior. But the BBC cost 3 times as much as the
    spectrum - more, when you included buying a monitor instead of using an
    old TV. The Spectrum (and its predecessor the ZX 81) were at least an
    order of magnitude more popular as home computers - the BBC was
    primarily found in schools.

    The engineers at Acorn were also geniuses, and also highly important to
    the British computer industry - but that does not in any way detract
    from Sinclair's achievements.

    And Sinclair had a smarter business strategy - anyone could make
    software (and even hardware) for the Spectrum, while Acorn tried to keep control of everything themselves. If the Acorn folks had been more
    open, we'd be using the descendents of Acorn-compatible computers
    running MOS rather than IBM-compatible computers running DOS.

    There are many reasons why Sinclair's computers are in the past, while
    ARM microcontrollers (but not Acorn computers) are ubiquitous today.
    But one thing you can be /very/ sure about, is that it is not because
    Clive Sinclair was a man with a high IQ and no other achievements!

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Anthony William Sloman@21:1/5 to David Brown on Thu Feb 10 05:45:26 2022
    On Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 10:55:13 PM UTC+11, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 12:20, Anthony William Sloman wrote:
    On Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 8:51:29 PM UTC+11, Mike Coon wrote:
    In article <su2g5c$ajf$1...@dont-email.me>, spam...@blueyonder.co.uk
    says...

    If I rest a cup of coffee on a stool, has it become a table?
    I think you have to be a member of Mensa to answer that one!!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensa_International

    And probably a member of Mensa to ask it. Mensa is a society for people who score very well on IQ tests, but don't have any other achievements to boast about.

    The archetypical Mensa member was the late Clive Sinclair, who not only scored well on IQ tests but also did quite a few clever things. Sadly he was also brilliant at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, usually by some feat of mindless penny-
    pinching.

    He was based in Cambridge around the time I worked there, and lots of people had Clive Sinclair stories.

    The late /Sir/ Clive Sinclair was a hugely successful entrepreneur who revolutionised the calculator and home computer market in particular,
    and without whom you would probably not have anything remotely like the computers you have today.

    Rubbish. He produced cheaper home computer and handheld calculators than anybody else, but they were always at least little bit too cheap.

    I don't see any of his "innovations" as opening up possibilities that weren't obvious to pretty everybody at the time

    He did have plenty of failures - some due to a disconnect between making technically good solutions without enough consideration of large
    commercial companies and their power to control markets, and some
    because his ideas were too early and the technology was not ready.

    But you do not earn a knighthood for outstanding services to industry if
    you "don't have any other achievements to boast about" or "did quite a
    few clever things".

    In Thatcher's Britain there were loads of knighthoods given to equally insignificant twerps.

    The guy was responsible for a revolution first in
    the pocket calculator industry, then the home computer industry - making products that were a small fraction of the size and cost of the alternatives, outselling everyone else put together, and bringing
    computing to at least an order of magnitude more people than had ever
    heard it before.

    He took the idea rather better realised in the Apple computer and made it even cheaper. I was a foundation subscriber to Byte - my wife was doing a post-doc at MIT at the time and thought that it was something that I would like, as indeed it was. Clive
    Sinclair was just one more of the people who latched onto those ideas

    He was eccentric, certainly, but he was a genius whom Britons can remember with pride as the UK sinks slowly into oblivion.

    He wasn't any kind of genius. If there was a genius in that area in the UK in the late 1970's it was Andy Hopper. After Chris Curry fell out with Clive Sinclair , he set up Acorn Computers, which produce a rather better product, but looking at the
    subsequent history the good stuff seems to have come from Andy Hopper.

    When I lived in Cambridge I knew David Johnson-Davies who was their software chief for a while, but got out when he could see one of their cash flow crises was coming up - probably the Christmas 1983 disaster. I was offered a job there when I moved to
    Cambridge, but Cambridge Instruments was prepared to pay my moving expenses and Acorn wasn't. I suspect that I was lucky.

    --
    Bill Sloman, Sydney

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Anthony William Sloman@21:1/5 to Mike Coon on Thu Feb 10 05:50:32 2022
    On Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 11:58:36 PM UTC+11, Mike Coon wrote:
    In article <992a5b3c-0975-433c...@googlegroups.com>,
    bill....@ieee.org says...

    On Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 8:51:29 PM UTC+11, Mike Coon wrote:
    In article <su2g5c$ajf$1...@dont-email.me>, spam...@blueyonder.co.uk says...

    If I rest a cup of coffee on a stool, has it become a table?
    I think you have to be a member of Mensa to answer that one!!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensa_International

    And probably a member of Mensa to ask it. Mensa is a society for people who score very well on IQ tests, but don't have any other achievements to boast about.

    The archetypical Mensa member was the late Clive Sinclair, who not only scored well on IQ tests but also did quite a few clever things. Sadly he was also brilliant at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, usually by some feat of mindless penny-
    pinching.

    He was based in Cambridge around the time I worked there, and lots of people had Clive Sinclair stories.

    But did you get the specific relevance and joke?

    Mensa is Latin for a table, but not a stool. If there's a joke in there, it's not one to get excited about.

    --
    Bill Sloman, Sydney

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Anthony William Sloman@21:1/5 to David Brown on Thu Feb 10 06:02:31 2022
    On Friday, February 11, 2022 at 12:45:46 AM UTC+11, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 12:58, Tom Gardner wrote:
    On 10/02/22 11:55, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 12:20, Anthony William Sloman wrote:
    On Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 8:51:29 PM UTC+11, Mike Coon wrote: >>>> In article <su2g5c$ajf$1...@dont-email.me>, spam...@blueyonder.co.uk >>>> says...

    If I rest a cup of coffee on a stool, has it become a table?
    I think you have to be a member of Mensa to answer that one!!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensa_International

    And probably a member of Mensa to ask it. Mensa is a society for
    people who score very well on IQ tests, but don't have any other
    achievements to boast about.

    The archetypical Mensa member was the late Clive Sinclair, who not
    only scored well on IQ tests but also did quite a few clever things.
    Sadly he was also brilliant at snatching defeat from the jaws of
    victory, usually by some feat of mindless penny-pinching.

    He was based in Cambridge around the time I worked there, and lots of
    people had Clive Sinclair stories.

    The late /Sir/ Clive Sinclair was a hugely successful entrepreneur who
    revolutionised the calculator and home computer market in particular,
    and without whom you would probably not have anything remotely like the
    computers you have today.

    He did have plenty of failures - some due to a disconnect between making >> technically good solutions without enough consideration of large
    commercial companies and their power to control markets, and some
    because his ideas were too early and the technology was not ready.

    But mostly because he insisted on the cheapest solution, even when it was much too nasty to serve the intended purpose.

    But you do not earn a knighthood for outstanding services to industry if >> you "don't have any other achievements to boast about" or "did quite a
    few clever things". The guy was responsible for a revolution first in
    the pocket calculator industry, then the home computer industry - making >> products that were a small fraction of the size and cost of the
    alternatives, outselling everyone else put together, and bringing
    computing to at least an order of magnitude more people than had ever
    heard it before.

    He was eccentric, certainly, but he was a genius whom Britons can
    remember with pride as the UK sinks slowly into oblivion.

    I was in Cambridge in the 80s, and can corroborate what Bill said.

    People there had a /much/ better opinion of Acorn Computers
    (which later morphed into ARM).

    Acorn designed far better computers, both software and hardware - anyone
    who has used a BBC Micro and a ZX Spectrum would be in no doubt which
    was technically superior. But the BBC cost 3 times as much as the
    spectrum - more, when you included buying a monitor instead of using an
    old TV. The Spectrum (and its predecessor the ZX 81) were at least an
    order of magnitude more popular as home computers - the BBC was
    primarily found in schools.

    But they were popular because they were cheap, rather than an anything like good.

    The engineers at Acorn were also geniuses, and also highly important to
    the British computer industry - but that does not in any way detract
    from Sinclair's achievements.

    Chris Curry wasn't exactly a genius, but he got out from under Clive Sinclair because Clive was too much of a cheapskate to sell anything good enough to be much use.

    And Sinclair had a smarter business strategy - anyone could make
    software (and even hardware) for the Spectrum, while Acorn tried to keep control of everything themselves. If the Acorn folks had been more
    open, we'd be using the descendants of Acorn-compatible computers
    running MOS rather than IBM-compatible computers running DOS.

    Fat chance.

    There are many reasons why Sinclair's computers are in the past, while
    ARM microcontrollers (but not Acorn computers) are ubiquitous today.
    But one thing you can be /very/ sure about, is that it is not because
    Clive Sinclair was a man with a high IQ and no other achievements!

    Clive's IQ was high, but his judgement sucked. When Chris Curry was working for Clive, he ran for the National Front in Cambridge, subsidised by Clive. That tells you all you need to know about both of them.

    --
    Bill Sloman, Sydney

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Tom Gardner@21:1/5 to David Brown on Thu Feb 10 14:16:04 2022
    On 10/02/22 13:45, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 12:58, Tom Gardner wrote:
    On 10/02/22 11:55, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 12:20, Anthony William Sloman wrote:
    On Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 8:51:29 PM UTC+11, Mike Coon wrote: >>>>> In article <su2g5c$ajf$1...@dont-email.me>, spam...@blueyonder.co.uk >>>>> says...

    If I rest a cup of coffee on a stool, has it become a table?
    I think you have to be a member of Mensa to answer that one!!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensa_International

    And probably a member of Mensa to ask it. Mensa is a society for
    people who score very well on IQ tests, but don't have any other
    achievements to boast about.

    The archetypical  Mensa member was the late Clive Sinclair, who not
    only scored well on IQ tests but also did quite a few clever things.
    Sadly he was also brilliant at snatching defeat from the jaws of
    victory, usually by some feat of mindless penny-pinching.

    He was based in Cambridge around the time I worked there, and lots of
    people had Clive Sinclair stories.


    The late /Sir/ Clive Sinclair was a hugely successful entrepreneur who
    revolutionised the calculator and home computer market in particular,
    and without whom you would probably not have anything remotely like the
    computers you have today.

    He did have plenty of failures - some due to a disconnect between making >>> technically good solutions without enough consideration of large
    commercial companies and their power to control markets, and some
    because his ideas were too early and the technology was not ready.

    But you do not earn a knighthood for outstanding services to industry if >>> you "don't have any other achievements to boast about" or "did quite a
    few clever things".  The guy was responsible for a revolution first in
    the pocket calculator industry, then the home computer industry - making >>> products that were a small fraction of the size and cost of the
    alternatives, outselling everyone else put together, and bringing
    computing to at least an order of magnitude more people than had ever
    heard it before.

    He was eccentric, certainly, but he was a genius whom Britons can
    remember with pride as the UK sinks slowly into oblivion.

    I was in Cambridge in the 80s, and can corroborate what Bill said.

    People there had a /much/ better opinion of Acorn Computers
    (which later morphed into ARM).


    Acorn designed far better computers, both software and hardware - anyone
    who has used a BBC Micro and a ZX Spectrum would be in no doubt which
    was technically superior. But the BBC cost 3 times as much as the
    spectrum - more, when you included buying a monitor instead of using an
    old TV. The Spectrum (and its predecessor the ZX 81) were at least an
    order of magnitude more popular as home computers - the BBC was
    primarily found in schools.

    Agreed.


    The engineers at Acorn were also geniuses, and also highly important to
    the British computer industry - but that does not in any way detract
    from Sinclair's achievements.

    Sinclair's achievements were primarily financial not technical,
    from his first mail-order transistors business onwards.

    Yes, cost is important, but so is quality - ask anyone with one
    of his late 60s audio amps.

    His stuff was /just/ fit for purpose. The C5 wasn't even that,
    unless you lived in a contour-free landscape such as Cambridge.
    Personally I think the C5 might have had a niche future, e.g. on
    large factory sites or tourist destinations. But he grossly
    over-sold its capabilities (shades of Tesla?).


    And Sinclair had a smarter business strategy - anyone could make
    software (and even hardware) for the Spectrum, while Acorn tried to keep control of everything themselves. If the Acorn folks had been more
    open, we'd be using the descendents of Acorn-compatible computers
    running MOS rather than IBM-compatible computers running DOS.

    I doubt that.

    The key point the PC was that IBM backed it, and that moved it
    from the realm of enthusiast tinkerers to corporate purchasers.
    "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM".

    IIRC the first Archimedes file system was /very/ strange;
    suitable for academic purposes but not much more.


    There are many reasons why Sinclair's computers are in the past, while
    ARM microcontrollers (but not Acorn computers) are ubiquitous today.
    But one thing you can be /very/ sure about, is that it is not because
    Clive Sinclair was a man with a high IQ and no other achievements!

    The principle reason is that hardware cost was continually
    reducing, to the point where you didn't compensate for
    grotty engineering. That removed Sinclair's USP.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From David Brown@21:1/5 to Anthony William Sloman on Thu Feb 10 15:40:54 2022
    On 10/02/2022 15:02, Anthony William Sloman wrote:
    On Friday, February 11, 2022 at 12:45:46 AM UTC+11, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 12:58, Tom Gardner wrote:
    On 10/02/22 11:55, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 12:20, Anthony William Sloman wrote:
    On Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 8:51:29 PM UTC+11, Mike Coon wrote: >>>>>> In article <su2g5c$ajf$1...@dont-email.me>, spam...@blueyonder.co.uk >>>>>> says...

    If I rest a cup of coffee on a stool, has it become a table?
    I think you have to be a member of Mensa to answer that one!!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensa_International

    And probably a member of Mensa to ask it. Mensa is a society for
    people who score very well on IQ tests, but don't have any other
    achievements to boast about.

    The archetypical Mensa member was the late Clive Sinclair, who not
    only scored well on IQ tests but also did quite a few clever things. >>>>> Sadly he was also brilliant at snatching defeat from the jaws of
    victory, usually by some feat of mindless penny-pinching.

    He was based in Cambridge around the time I worked there, and lots of >>>>> people had Clive Sinclair stories.

    The late /Sir/ Clive Sinclair was a hugely successful entrepreneur who >>>> revolutionised the calculator and home computer market in particular,
    and without whom you would probably not have anything remotely like the >>>> computers you have today.

    He did have plenty of failures - some due to a disconnect between making >>>> technically good solutions without enough consideration of large
    commercial companies and their power to control markets, and some
    because his ideas were too early and the technology was not ready.

    But mostly because he insisted on the cheapest solution, even when it was much too nasty to serve the intended purpose.


    The point was to make things cheap, so that many people could afford
    them. It worked for some of his products, not for others.

    But you do not earn a knighthood for outstanding services to industry if >>>> you "don't have any other achievements to boast about" or "did quite a >>>> few clever things". The guy was responsible for a revolution first in >>>> the pocket calculator industry, then the home computer industry - making >>>> products that were a small fraction of the size and cost of the
    alternatives, outselling everyone else put together, and bringing
    computing to at least an order of magnitude more people than had ever
    heard it before.

    He was eccentric, certainly, but he was a genius whom Britons can
    remember with pride as the UK sinks slowly into oblivion.

    I was in Cambridge in the 80s, and can corroborate what Bill said.

    People there had a /much/ better opinion of Acorn Computers
    (which later morphed into ARM).

    Acorn designed far better computers, both software and hardware - anyone
    who has used a BBC Micro and a ZX Spectrum would be in no doubt which
    was technically superior. But the BBC cost 3 times as much as the
    spectrum - more, when you included buying a monitor instead of using an
    old TV. The Spectrum (and its predecessor the ZX 81) were at least an
    order of magnitude more popular as home computers - the BBC was
    primarily found in schools.

    But they were popular because they were cheap, rather than an anything like good.


    Which would you rather have? A home computer that worked well and was
    within budget, but had an unpleasant keyboard, or a dream about one that
    was far better? Most people would choose the one they could afford to
    buy. As a kid I learned a /lot/ working on my ZX Spectrum. If I had
    had the money, I would have bought a BBC Micro. But I didn't have the
    money.

    Your attitude here is incredibly arrogant - you are accusing Sinclair of selling cheap crap to people too miserly to be willing to pay several
    times as much for good (in your not so humble opinion) alternatives.

    The Spectrum (and the ZX81 before it, and Sinclair calculators before
    that) were /good enough/. They were not as technically brilliant as the
    BBC Micro - few machines of that time, cheaper or dearer, were as
    technically good. But the Spectrum was good enough technically, and
    excellent value for money. It opened the market and popularised home computers, as well as bringing important steps to mass-market
    electronics such as the use of a ULA.


    Clive's IQ was high, but his judgement sucked. When Chris Curry was working for Clive, he ran for the National Front in Cambridge, subsidised by Clive. That tells you all you need to know about both of them.


    I have no idea what the people here were like personally. That is not
    the issue. /You/ brought up Clive Sinclair as a prime example of a
    person who has a high IQ and whose only notable achievement was being in
    Mensa. That is complete and absolute shite, and no amount of wild back-peddling, claims of penny-pinching, comparisons to others, or
    personal attacks (however true they might be) will change that.

    Isaac Newton was a nasty, evil, vindictive man and spent a great deal of
    his life sniffing mercury fumes, trying to fabricate gold, and producing
    weird theology writings. Does that mean we should ignore his
    accomplishments in maths and physics?

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Don Y@21:1/5 to Mike Coon on Thu Feb 10 14:50:24 2022
    On 2/10/2022 2:47 AM, Mike Coon wrote:
    In article <su1eta$e93$2@dont-email.me>, blockedofcourse@foo.invalid
    says...

    ISTR there is an extreme lack of diversity among banana trees (?)

    Yes, the commercial "Cavendish" strain, bred to satisfy supermarket
    customers and could not exist "in the wild". A bit like pedigree dogs
    bred to satisfy some random cosmetic criteria that are then subject to
    all sorts of inbred genetic conditions.

    Dunno. I am pretty uninterested in plant life, fruits, etc.

    They are relatively common, here (though require "protected"
    settings to avoid frost damage and wind damage).

    They are magnificent to encounter, for the first time! "Holy
    Shit! That's a banana!!" Likewise for artichokes in bloom
    (I have not been able to grow my own -- and now feel terrible
    whenever I *eat* one... which didn't have an opportunity to
    "show off"!)

    I think many people have very limited exposure to these sorts
    of things growing naturally.

    We had grapes, strawberries, italian plums, bosc pears, some
    sort of apple, peaches (didn't fare well) on our property,
    growing up. Ditto walnuts. Raspberries (black and red) growing
    wild by the roadsides. School in the middle of a corn field.
    And we were surrounded by apple orchards.

    Grandpa grew italian figs. And, (roma) tomatoes were ubiquitous.
    (you mean there are other kinds???)

    My inlaws grew garlic, cantelope, italian parsley and peppers.
    LOTS of peppers! (the hotter, the better)

    Here, we have lemons (there are different types with very different
    tastes!), limes (which turn YELLOW when ripe -- just before they
    start to rot!), three different varieties of oranges, pomegranates,
    and pineapple guava. (and figs are boringly common, *here*!)

    I've encountered pineapple, artichoke, pecans and bamboo "in the wild".

    In each case, it's an OhMiGosh sort of moment. (well, where the
    hell did you THINK these things came from???) Especially for the
    items that weren't commonly encountered in youth. (ever have
    a Sanguinella orange? wicked cool!)

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Don Y@21:1/5 to Tom Gardner on Thu Feb 10 14:30:20 2022
    On 2/10/2022 7:16 AM, Tom Gardner wrote:
    The key point the PC was that IBM backed it, and that moved it
    from the realm of enthusiast tinkerers to corporate purchasers.
    "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM".

    Exactly. Not just the hardware but the availability of software!
    I've got a 512KB Z80 CPM/MPM box that I was using to develop products
    before the PC existed. Speedy (use the RAM as a disk cache),
    small, etc.

    But, finding much software to run on it was a chore.

    Enter IBM and suddenly people were crawling out of the woodwork
    with offerings!

    IIRC the first Archimedes file system was /very/ strange;
    suitable for academic purposes but not much more.

    There are many reasons why Sinclair's computers are in the past, while
    ARM microcontrollers (but not Acorn computers) are ubiquitous today.
    But one thing you can be /very/ sure about, is that it is not because
    Clive Sinclair was a man with a high IQ and no other achievements!

    The principle reason is that hardware cost was continually
    reducing, to the point where you didn't compensate for
    grotty engineering. That removed Sinclair's USP.

    I think he also hacked together really kludgey devices
    (like tape stores) that didn't fare well, over time.

    You want a device to be *easy* to use, not a chore!
    (imagine what driving would be like if you still had to turn
    it over by hand?)

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Anthony William Sloman@21:1/5 to David Brown on Thu Feb 10 18:45:11 2022
    On Friday, February 11, 2022 at 1:41:06 AM UTC+11, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 15:02, Anthony William Sloman wrote:
    On Friday, February 11, 2022 at 12:45:46 AM UTC+11, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 12:58, Tom Gardner wrote:
    On 10/02/22 11:55, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 12:20, Anthony William Sloman wrote:
    On Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 8:51:29 PM UTC+11, Mike Coon wrote: >>>>>> In article <su2g5c$ajf$1...@dont-email.me>, spam...@blueyonder.co.uk >>>>>> says...

    If I rest a cup of coffee on a stool, has it become a table?
    I think you have to be a member of Mensa to answer that one!!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensa_International

    And probably a member of Mensa to ask it. Mensa is a society for
    people who score very well on IQ tests, but don't have any other
    achievements to boast about.

    The archetypical Mensa member was the late Clive Sinclair, who not >>>>> only scored well on IQ tests but also did quite a few clever things. >>>>> Sadly he was also brilliant at snatching defeat from the jaws of
    victory, usually by some feat of mindless penny-pinching.

    He was based in Cambridge around the time I worked there, and lots of >>>>> people had Clive Sinclair stories.

    The late /Sir/ Clive Sinclair was a hugely successful entrepreneur who >>>> revolutionised the calculator and home computer market in particular, >>>> and without whom you would probably not have anything remotely like the >>>> computers you have today.

    He did have plenty of failures - some due to a disconnect between making
    technically good solutions without enough consideration of large
    commercial companies and their power to control markets, and some
    because his ideas were too early and the technology was not ready.

    But mostly because he insisted on the cheapest solution, even when it was much too nasty to serve the intended purpose.

    The point was to make things cheap, so that many people could afford them. It worked for some of his products, not for others.

    Unfortunately Clive made them too cheap to work all that well. They may have worked well enough to to clue people into the fact that a slightly more expensive system could have been much more useful, and the world now uses rather more powerful machines.

    But you do not earn a knighthood for outstanding services to industry if
    you "don't have any other achievements to boast about" or "did quite a >>>> few clever things". The guy was responsible for a revolution first in >>>> the pocket calculator industry, then the home computer industry - making
    products that were a small fraction of the size and cost of the
    alternatives, outselling everyone else put together, and bringing
    computing to at least an order of magnitude more people than had ever >>>> heard it before.

    He was eccentric, certainly, but he was a genius whom Britons can
    remember with pride as the UK sinks slowly into oblivion.

    I was in Cambridge in the 80s, and can corroborate what Bill said.

    People there had a /much/ better opinion of Acorn Computers
    (which later morphed into ARM).

    Acorn designed far better computers, both software and hardware - anyone >> who has used a BBC Micro and a ZX Spectrum would be in no doubt which
    was technically superior. But the BBC cost 3 times as much as the
    spectrum - more, when you included buying a monitor instead of using an >> old TV. The Spectrum (and its predecessor the ZX 81) were at least an
    order of magnitude more popular as home computers - the BBC was
    primarily found in schools.

    But they were popular because they were cheap, rather than an anything like good.

    Which would you rather have? A home computer that worked well and was
    within budget, but had an unpleasant keyboard, or a dream about one that
    was far better? Most people would choose the one they could afford to
    buy.

    They did. And moved on to something a great deal better as son as it got to be affordable.

    As a kid I learned a /lot/ working on my ZX Spectrum. If I had had the money, I would have bought a BBC Micro. But I didn't have the money.

    A lot of what you learn as a kind has to be unlearned when you get older and have different and better tools to lay with. I suspect the ZX Spectrum encoruage a lot of bad habits.

    Your attitude here is incredibly arrogant - you are accusing Sinclair of selling cheap crap to people too miserly to be willing to pay several times as much for good (in your not so humble opinion) alternatives.

    There were certainly better alternatives around that did cost more money. Cost-benefit analysis will probably show that money spent on Sinclair hardware didn't pay off as well as a bit more money spent on better hardware. His machines may have sucked a
    generation of twelve-year-olds into computing, but they would probably have done as well (or better) if they'd been sucked in a bit later by the better-performing machines that had then become cheap enouhg to be accessible.

    The Spectrum (and the ZX81 before it, and Sinclair calculators before
    that) were /good enough/. They were not as technically brilliant as the
    BBC Micro - few machines of that time, cheaper or dearer, were as technically good. But the Spectrum was good enough technically, and excellent value for money. It opened the market and popularised home computers, as well as bringing important steps to mass-market
    electronics such as the use of a ULA.

    Clive's IQ was high, but his judgement sucked. When Chris Curry was working for Clive, he ran for the National Front in Cambridge, subsidised by Clive. That tells you all you need to know about both of them.

    I have no idea what the people here were like personally. That is not
    the issue. /You/ brought up Clive Sinclair as a prime example of a
    person who has a high IQ and whose only notable achievement was being in Mensa. That is complete and absolute shite, and no amount of wild back-peddling, claims of penny-pinching, comparisons to others, or
    personal attacks (however true they might be) will change that.

    Alan Sugar made a lot more money out of Amstrad computers than Clive Sinclair ever did.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Sugar

    His products were cheap, but good enough to be useful. My first two home computers were Amstrad's.
    Clive Sinclair got a lot of publicity, but never hit the price-value sweet spot.

    Isaac Newton was a nasty, evil, vindictive man and spent a great deal of his life sniffing mercury fumes, trying to fabricate gold, and producing weird theology writings. Does that mean we should ignore his accomplishments in maths and physics?

    He spent the last half of his life trying to prove that he - and not Leibniz - had invented calculus. He was a capable man and his self-glorification worked pretty effectively. His crack about standing on the shoulders of giants sounds slightly different
    when you realise that he applied his mathematical skills to the ideas generated by Hooke and Wren - Hooke was remarkably short (and twisted by a curvature of the spine) and Wren wasn't above average height - and turned them into Newtonian gravitation.

    --
    Bill Sloman, Sydney

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From David Brown@21:1/5 to Tom Gardner on Fri Feb 11 13:47:24 2022
    On 10/02/2022 15:16, Tom Gardner wrote:
    On 10/02/22 13:45, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 12:58, Tom Gardner wrote:
    On 10/02/22 11:55, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 12:20, Anthony William Sloman wrote:


    The original claim I found contentious was:


    And probably a member of Mensa to ask it. Mensa is a society for
    people who score very well on IQ tests, but don't have any other
    achievements to boast about.

    The archetypical  Mensa member was the late Clive Sinclair, who not >>>>> only scored well on IQ tests but also did quite a few clever things. >>>>> Sadly he was also brilliant at snatching defeat from the jaws of
    victory, usually by some feat of mindless penny-pinching.



    Can we at least all agree that Sinclair /did/ have many achievements to
    boast about? No one disagrees that he had plenty of failures too. And
    I have no idea what he was like as a person. But /millions/ of people -
    many tens of millions - had access to computers because of what he made.
    Most, of course, used their home computers for games - but many got an introduction to programming from them. (Vastly more kids learned to
    program with home computers running BASIC than learn from modern computers.)


    There can be no doubts that the ZX Spectrum was a massive success.
    There can be no doubts that is was a massive /achievement/.

    It had far more functionality for its cost in comparison to alternatives
    of the era, such as the Commodore 64 or the BBC Micro. As well as being
    a lot cheaper, it was faster. But it also had a hideous keyboard,
    poorer hardware expansion support, and did not have anything like the
    wonderful architecture and software of the BBC.


    Most people, I think, would consider it an engineering marvel to get so
    much into such a small space and low cost. Of course that meant other compromises were made - that's what engineering is about, finding ways
    to achieve your needs without other aspects suffering more than you can
    live with. Being good enough for the task required is good engineering
    - being better, is a waste of money. The Spectrum was good enough for
    its purpose.


    I have no idea about his audio stuff - that was before I was old enough
    to care. And I know why his later computer stuff failed - there was no
    real possibility of functionally expanding the Spectrum, and so no way
    to give customers the features they could get from others without
    starting from scratch.

    As for the C5, it was too little, too early, too hyped, and unsuitable
    for most of his imagined uses at the time. It fell between the gaps -
    it was too big and heavy to be an electric bike, too small and slow to
    be an electric car, and was seriously dangerous on roads. Does it count
    as an "achievement" ? In its own special way, yes.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Anthony William Sloman@21:1/5 to David Brown on Fri Feb 11 08:02:50 2022
    On Friday, February 11, 2022 at 11:47:35 PM UTC+11, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 15:16, Tom Gardner wrote:
    On 10/02/22 13:45, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 12:58, Tom Gardner wrote:
    On 10/02/22 11:55, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 12:20, Anthony William Sloman wrote:
    The original claim I found contentious was:

    And probably a member of Mensa to ask it. Mensa is a society for
    people who score very well on IQ tests, but don't have any other
    achievements to boast about.

    The archetypical Mensa member was the late Clive Sinclair, who not >>>>> only scored well on IQ tests but also did quite a few clever things. >>>>> Sadly he was also brilliant at snatching defeat from the jaws of
    victory, usually by some feat of mindless penny-pinching.

    Can we at least all agree that Sinclair /did/ have many achievements to boast about? No one disagrees that he had plenty of failures too. And
    I have no idea what he was like as a person. But /millions/ of people -
    many tens of millions - had access to computers because of what he made.

    Computers of a sort. A whole lot more had access to better computers made by other people, and did a a great deal more with them because they worked better.

    Most, of course, used their home computers for games - but many got an introduction to programming from them. (Vastly more kids learned to
    program with home computers running BASIC than learn from modern computers.)

    Again, programming of a sort. My approach to programing was severely distorted by the very expensive computer I started out on a million dollar IBM 7040/44. The compiler was on magnetic tape, and each subroutine added a couple of minutes to the
    compile time.

    There can be no doubts that the ZX Spectrum was a massive success.

    Clive sold a lot of them, and to that extent it was a success.

    There can be no doubts that is was a massive /achievement/.

    It probably set back the computerisation of British society by years. Once exposed to the ZX you ended up a very low opinion of a what a computer could do, and how fast it could do it

    It had far more functionality for its cost in comparison to alternatives of the era, such as the Commodore 64 or the BBC Micro.

    It didn't cost much, and it didn't do much. You needed a PC clone to do anything worth doing. Apple ran Visicalc, which meant that you could use to keep simple accounts, and that sold a lot of Apples . I don't recall anything equivalent for the ZX.

    As well as being a lot cheaper, it was faster. But it also had a hideous keyboard, poorer hardware expansion support, and did not have anything like the wonderful architecture and software of the BBC.

    In other words it was cheap crap.

    Most people, I think, would consider it an engineering marvel to get so much into such a small space and low cost.

    The process of getting more functionality into a small number of integrated circuits kept a lot of people busy from the time integrated circuits were invented.

    The ZX was just one species in a rapidly evolving universe of things you could make from tolerably complicated integrated circuits. Clive Sincleiar just bought the bits he could get his hands on and put them together. Noe of them were all that marvellous.

    Of course that meant other compromises were made - that's what engineering is about, finding ways to achieve your needs without other aspects suffering more than you can live with. Being good enough for the task required is good engineering - being
    better, is a waste of money. The Spectrum was good enough for its purpose.

    Which was to make money for Clive Sinclair. Like most of his products, it would have been quite a lot better if he'd spent a little more money on making it better. It was decidedly sub-optimal.

    I have no idea about his audio stuff - that was before I was old enough to care.

    When I was working for Plessey in Australia (1979 - 1981) Clive was selling the Plessey 2.5 W audio integrated circuit as a 10 Watt device - which it was for few months, until the aluminium tracks on the integrated circuit migrated across silicon and
    it stopped working. Apparently he'd been repeatedly told that this would happen, and ignored the advice. I knew enough about audio to get the occasional letter published in HiFi News and Record Review, and Clive's audio offering were all under-designed
    and "optimistically" rated.

    And I know why his later computer stuff failed - there was no real possibility of functionally expanding the Spectrum, and so no way to give customers the features they could get from others without starting from scratch.

    Cheap crap.

    As for the C5, it was too little, too early, too hyped, and unsuitable for most of his imagined uses at the time. It fell between the gaps - it was too big and heavy to be an electric bike, too small and slow to> be an electric car, and was seriously
    dangerous on roads.

    Too cheap and nasty to be useful - typical Clive.

    Does it count as an "achievement" ? In its own special way, yes.

    It epitomised his "too cheap to be useful" design style.

    --
    Bill Sloman, Sydney

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Tom Gardner@21:1/5 to David Brown on Fri Feb 11 16:36:08 2022
    On 11/02/22 12:47, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 15:16, Tom Gardner wrote:
    On 10/02/22 13:45, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 12:58, Tom Gardner wrote:
    On 10/02/22 11:55, David Brown wrote:
    On 10/02/2022 12:20, Anthony William Sloman wrote:


    The original claim I found contentious was:


    And probably a member of Mensa to ask it. Mensa is a society for
    people who score very well on IQ tests, but don't have any other
    achievements to boast about.

    The archetypical  Mensa member was the late Clive Sinclair, who not >>>>>> only scored well on IQ tests but also did quite a few clever things. >>>>>> Sadly he was also brilliant at snatching defeat from the jaws of
    victory, usually by some feat of mindless penny-pinching.



    Can we at least all agree that Sinclair /did/ have many achievements to
    boast about? No one disagrees that he had plenty of failures too. And
    I have no idea what he was like as a person. But /millions/ of people -
    many tens of millions - had access to computers because of what he made.
    Most, of course, used their home computers for games - but many got an introduction to programming from them. (Vastly more kids learned to
    program with home computers running BASIC than learn from modern computers.)


    There can be no doubts that the ZX Spectrum was a massive success.
    There can be no doubts that is was a massive /achievement/.

    It had far more functionality for its cost in comparison to alternatives
    of the era, such as the Commodore 64 or the BBC Micro. As well as being
    a lot cheaper, it was faster. But it also had a hideous keyboard,
    poorer hardware expansion support, and did not have anything like the wonderful architecture and software of the BBC.


    Most people, I think, would consider it an engineering marvel to get so
    much into such a small space and low cost. Of course that meant other compromises were made - that's what engineering is about, finding ways
    to achieve your needs without other aspects suffering more than you can
    live with. Being good enough for the task required is good engineering
    - being better, is a waste of money. The Spectrum was good enough for
    its purpose.

    The spectrum was a commercial success, and some have
    credited it (and the Beeb) with laying the foundations
    for people being interested in creating computer games.

    Let's not consider the QL and microdrives :)

    To me more of an achievement was the Sinclair Scientific
    calculator a decade earlier. Everything from keyboard
    scanning to display driving and trig routines shoehorned
    into just 320 instructions. http://files.righto.com/calculator/sinclair_scientific_simulator.html


    I have no idea about his audio stuff - that was before I was old enough
    to care. And I know why his later computer stuff failed - there was no
    real possibility of functionally expanding the Spectrum, and so no way
    to give customers the features they could get from others without
    starting from scratch.

    As for the C5, it was too little, too early, too hyped, and unsuitable
    for most of his imagined uses at the time. It fell between the gaps -
    it was too big and heavy to be an electric bike, too small and slow to
    be an electric car, and was seriously dangerous on roads. Does it count
    as an "achievement" ? In its own special way, yes.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)