16.231 why the #? theory vs practice

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty (w.mccarty@btinternet.com)
Date: Mon Sep 30 2002 - 01:32:59 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 231.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

       [1] From: "De Beer Jennifer <jad@sun.ac.za>" <jad@sun.ac.za> (21)
             Subject: RE: 16.225 theory vs practice

       [2] From: Brian Whatcott <betwys@DIRECTVInternet.com> (21)
             Subject: Re: 16.225 theory vs practice

             Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2002 06:25:45 +0100
             From: "De Beer Jennifer <jad@sun.ac.za>" <jad@sun.ac.za>
             Subject: RE: 16.225 theory vs practice

    Dear Willard & humanists,

    On the theory and practice of encoding. In teaching a course on HTML I
    stumbled across the following: Many reference sources on HTML will insist
    that when encoding a/any color, the RGB color value should be preceded by
    an hash e.g.
    and yet, quite by accident (memory failure), I omitted the hash in numerous
    examples. Even so, the colors were rendered, both in IE5.5 and NN4.7 on
    Win2000. Reminded of the recent anniversary of the :-) I wondered about
    the history of this hash. A cursory glance via Google on this matter
    produced nothing substantive. Out of sheer curiosity I wondered whether
    fellow Humanists had a clue or two as to why one uses the hash when it is
    seemingly not required.

    Advance thanks, Jennifer

    PS: I'm not inclined to think that this is a browser compatibility matter.

    Jennifer De Beer
    * Web Administrator
    * MPhil candidate: Information and Knowledge Management
    Universiteit Stellenbosch University, ZA
    (W3) sun.ac.za

    --[2]------------------------------------------------------------------ Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2002 06:26:39 +0100 From: Brian Whatcott <betwys@DIRECTVInternet.com> Subject: Re: 16.225 theory vs practice

    At 01:14 AM 9/26/02, Wlodzimierz Sobkowiak wrote:

    >Theorie ist, wenn man alles weiss und nichts klappt. >Praxis ist, wenn alles klappt und keiner weiss warum. >Bei uns sind Theorie und Praxis vereint: >nichts klappt und keiner weiss warum!

    If I construe this rather idiomatically as:

    "Theory is, if one knows everything and nothing works. Practice is, if everything works and no one knows why. Around here, theory and practice are united: nothing works and nobody knows why! "

    ...then the natural follow-on is "If it is working, don't fix it."

    The theory/practice couple generates some hand-wringing among physicists, as it happens. For them, a theory is the highest flowering of the modeling activity which constitutes their region of science-space. This topic crops up when they discuss Creation Science (so called) which dismisses Darwin's Evolution as 'just a theory.' (PHYS-L list has an accessible archive on listserv@lists.nau.edu).

    One detects a comparable usage from mechanics and technicians, who can also be heard using the phrase, "In theory,...." dismissively.

    Brian Whatcott Altus OK Eureka!

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