[foaf-protocols] WebID - mandated syntax or market solution? was WebID Incubator Charter draft

Henry Story henry.story at bblfish.net
Sat Dec 18 17:22:16 CET 2010

On 18 Dec 2010, at 17:10, peter williams wrote:

> You may need to explain the babelfish, and its hidden-ness. I don’t get it,
> and Ive been recognizing the rigor (vs the religion) for a few years now...


   `The Babel fish,' said The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy quietly,
`is small, yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the
Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier
but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies
from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into
the brain of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed  by combining the
conscious thought frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the
speech centres of the brain which has supplied them. The practical upshot
of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can 
instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. The
speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has
been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.
    `Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything
so mindbogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some
thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the
non-existance of God.
    `The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I
exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am
    `"But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It
could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore,
by your own arguments, you don't. QED."
    `"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly
vanishes in a puff of logic.
    `"Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove
that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.
    `Most leading theologians claim that this argument is a load of
dingo's kidneys, but that didn't stop Oolon Colluphid making a small
fortune when he used it as the central theme of his best-selling book
"Well That About Wraps It Up For God".
    `Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all
barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has
caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of

> Any chance we could get more elements of the better half of humanity to join
> us in this quest? I'm already beginning to drown in the testosterone
> molecules floating over the ether.
>>> Ok, so I hope that shows that Peter Williams as wrong when he says 
>>> that I am absolutist. Far from it. Don't forget that on every e-mail 
>>> I write the symbol of the babel fish is hidden.  :-)

Social Web Architect

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