12.0214 mystery explained, apologies offered

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Mon, 21 Sep 1998 21:13:36 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 12, No. 214.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 21:17:30 +0100
From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk>
Subject: hair shirt doesn't itch

Dear Colleagues:

For some months now strange events have dogged Humanist: members suddenly
being deleted (not by us, honest), members not receiving their postings
despite not having been deleted. For a time I suspected the software -- it
has been so often GUILTY AS CHARGED, and I have always been carrying the can
for it and so have been morally compelled to apologise for something not
even alive. Unless one is very clever about defining what is life (see
Schroedinger's essay). But I was wrong, so I am now in the position of
contemplating whether I should apologise to Listproc. Then of course there's
the problem of HOW I apologise to it, should I decide to purge my guilt in
that way.

However, thanks to Chris Dietrich of Computing and Information Technology,
Princeton, who did the detective work, it seems that I'm the probable
culprit, and that the software is simply rather lax in checking what I tell
it to do before it follows orders. Chris has cleaned up the mess, I am
chastened and now even hopeful that a slight change to the code will keep me
from inadvertently sinning in the future.

In the darkness of the Starr Report, however, I wonder if anyone will notice
my sins. I'm more than happy to say that I'm too busy rejoicing (and I don't
mean in Mr. Clinton's troubles) to notice them, but I do promise to pay
closer attention in the future to what I tell obedient software to do.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dr. Willard McCarty, Senior Lecturer, King's College London
voice: +44 (0)171 873 2784 fax: +44 (0)171 873 5801
<Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk> <http://ilex.cc.kcl.ac.uk/wlm/>
maui gratia

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