Bardur Arantsson spam at scientician.net
Sun Apr 27 12:22:49 UTC 2014

On 2014-04-27 13:45, Rustom Mody wrote:
>
> 1. I'd like to underscore the 'arbitrary'.  Why is ASCII any less arbitrary
> -- apart from an increasingly irrelevant historical accident -- than
> Arabic, Bengali, Cyrillic, Deseret? [Hint: Whats the A in ASCII?]  By
> contrast math may at least have some pretensions to universality?

The symbols in math are also mostly arbitrary. In effect they should be
considered as "parallel" to the Cyrillic, Latin or Greek alphabets. (Of
course math borrows quite a few symbols from the latter, but I digress.)

>
> 2. Maybe its a good time now to 'revisit'?  Otherwise like klunky-qwerty,
> it may happen that when the technological justifications for an inefficient
> choice are long gone, social inertia will prevent any useful change.
>

Billions of people have QWERTY keyboards. Unless you come up with
something *radically* better then they're not going to change. Inertia
has made anything but incremental change impossible. (I note that
Microsoft actually managed to change the QWERTY keyboard incrementally a