Nuts, Tough and Otherwise

Volume 6, Issue 16; 15 May 2003

A scratch pad for problems about which to think.

We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.

Richard Feynman

Subjects and Topics

The topic hierarchy and the subject index need to be aligned somehow. There's a natural way to index a reference to John Doe, for example:

John Doe<indexterm><primary>Doe</primary>
<secondary>John</secondary></indexterm>

But John is also uniquely identified by a URI:

http://norman.walsh.name/knows/who#john-doe

There's no clear relationship between these two forms of reference. And it's not obvious to me how such a link should be established.

Karma Shmarma

The FOAF folks tell me that it's bad karma to assign URIs to people. They would argue that I shouldn't identify John Doe by the URI above but instead by some hash of his mailbox: 71682988943badf42945819c0647eab5bc68d86. Bleh. First of all, it's an ugly identifier. Second, I'm just not happy with its qualities of persistence. I want to be able to refer to John in fifty years and know that I'm still talking about the same guy.

Some Updates are More Important than Others

When I tweak an essay because I want to add a new index term or correct a typo, that's not significant to readers. But when I add content because someone gives me useful or interesting feedback, that probably is. So I need some way to distinguish between the two and to publish contentfull "updates" in a sensible way.