Top 500 trends

Robert G. Brown rgb at
Tue Nov 26 11:07:35 PST 2002

On 26 Nov 2002, Dean Johnson wrote:

> I still like the characterization about whether you would want your
> Oregon-bound wagon pulled by 8 sturdy oxen, or a thousand chickens.

How about one enormous monolithic African elephant that cost more than
your wagon and everything in it including your wife and kids, requires
special food and handlers, tends to trample small children and pets that
play too close to its feet, can easily get sick and die crossing cold
mountain ranges, and is virtually irreplaceable, or 8 sturdy oxen that
eat plains grasses, can be ridden and led by children, can keep you
going even if one or two die along the trail, are available on any
continent you happen to find yourself upon, and can be inexpensively
replaced with this year's new and improved oxen at any neighborhood
farmyard you happen to find near the trail without your having to hock
the wagon?

If we're going to use metaphors, at least use fair ones.  It has been
years since any of the big iron computers could be compared to quality
PCs in speed or most other useful system dimension as oxen to chickens.

Well, maybe in cost...


Robert G. Brown	             
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at

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