Re: No Singularity?

Lyle Burkhead (
Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:38 -0800

Robert J. Bradbury wrote,

> Well, I suspect "good" is in the eye of the beholder.
> I'd be much more comfortable with people who are
> actually well versed in the various technologies required
> saying what they view can or cannot be done.
> The semiconductor industry is littered with claims,
> by people *well versed* in the technology, about
> "hitting the wall". We haven't yet. If the "experts"
> on a technology can't do a decent analysis,
> I'd say non-experts are in a much worse position.

For the thousandth time, it's not a question of what can or can't be done.

Newton's Third Law doesn't put any limit on how much force can be exerted. Newton doesn't say anything about what can or can't be done. He simply asserts that there will always be an equal and opposite force. That's the kind of point I'm making in Geniebusters. It's a general point about the structure of the situation.

But some people just don't get it.

In the first book of Euclid's Elements, one encounters the proposition that in an isosceles triangle, the angles opposite the equal sides are themselves equal. In the old days before the SAT, this proposition was used to screen students. It was called the pons asinorum, which means "bridge of asses," the point being that a horse will cross a bridge, but a donkey won't (unless you blindfold him). Some students could learn arithmetic, but when you gave them an abstract proposition in geometry, they just didn't get it. They would come to that point and stop, like an ass stops before a bridge.