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[DPRG] Re: A modest proposal

Subject: [DPRG] Re: A modest proposal
From: David P. Anderson dpa at io.isem.smu.edu
Date: Fri Nov 1 10:44:01 CST 2002


Jim Frye writes:

> I found your comments rude, vulgar, and wish there was some way I could get 
> back the few moments I spent reading this nonsense. Unfortunately they are 
> gone forever... Pete put a great deal of work into his e-mail. It was well 
> thought out and presented. What you have done is inexcusable. Jim

Hey now!  

I put a great deal of thought and work into my email as well.  I like Pete
and I think he does a great job.  I happen to disagree with him on this issue.

The arguments Pete put forth in his posting are based on the axiom that the
design and execution of robot competitions should be driven by what makes
them most entertaining to a lay audience.  

I believe that is an error.  I have posted many emails to this list over the
years as to why such an assumption drives robot clubs away from designs and
techniques that are valuable to the robot builders; the actual folks who
put their time and energy and money into the clubs.  The ones who, as I say,
might take their joy from nurturing a clever design in the quiet of their

This time rather than rehash those same observations I chose to respond in the
time-honored tradition of satire: A Modest Proposal.  Remember Jonathan Swifts's
famous modest proposal, to reduce both the over population and hunger problems
in England by eating the children of poor people?  Rude and vulgar.

Some folks find satire humorous and are able to read between the lines the
larger meaning, in this case that catering to the roar of the crowd is not
the best metric of successful robotic achievement.  Others have trouble with
satire, or even view it as inexcusable.  And some just need a gentle nudge. 
I'm hopeful that you are in the latter category, Jim Frye of Lynx Motion.

Chacun a son gout.


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