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Re: Squaring the HTTP-range-14 circle [was Re: Schema.org in RDF ...]

From: Danny Ayers <danny.ayers@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 2011 01:13:18 +0200
Message-ID: <BANLkTinw+Pv8naiENCYGxUhRM7jO1hPikA@mail.gmail.com>
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Cc: Richard Cyganiak <richard@cyganiak.de>, Alan Ruttenberg <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>, Linked Data community <public-lod@w3.org>, Michael Hausenblas <michael.hausenblas@deri.org>
>> (there will be some isomorphism between a thing and a description of a
>> thing, right?
>
> Absolutely not. Descriptions are not in any way isomorphic to the things they describe. (OK, some 'diagrammatic' representations can be claimed to be, eg in cartography, but even those cases don't stand up to careful analysis. in fact.)

Beh! Some isomorphism is all I ask for. Take your height and shoe size
- those numeric descriptions will correspond 1:1 with aspects of the
reality. Keep going to a waxwork model of you, the path you walked in
the park this afternoon - are you suggesting there's no isomorphism?

> ** To illustrate. Someone goes to a website about dogs, likes one of the dogs, and buys it on-line. He goes to collect the dog, the shopkeeper gives him a photograph of the dog. Um, Where is the dog? Right there, says the seller, pointing to the photograph. That isn't good enough. The seller mutters a bit, goes into the back room, comes back with a much larger, crisper, glossier picture, says, is that enough of the dog for you? But the customer still isn't satisfied. The seller finds a flash card with an hour-long HD movie of the dog, and even offers, if the customer is willing to wait a week or two, to have a short novel written by a well-known author entirely about the dog. But the customer still isn't happy. The seller is at his wits end, because he just doesn't know how to satisfy this customer. What else can I do? He asks. I don't have any better representations of the dog than these. So the customer says, look, I want the *actual dog*, not a representation of a dog. Its not a matter of getting me more information about the dog; I want the actual, smelly animal. And the seller says, what do you mean,  an "actual dog"? We just deal in **representations** of dogs. There's no such thing as an actual dog. Surely you knew that when you looked at our website?

Lovely imagery, thanks Pat.

But replace "a novel written by a dog" for "dog" in the above. Why
should the concept of a document be fundamentally any different from
the concept of a dog, hence representations of a document and
representations of a dog? Ok, you can squeeze something over the wire
that represents  "a novel written by a dog" but you (probably) can't
squeeze a "dog" over, but that's just a limitation of the protocol.
There's equally an *actual* document (as a bunch of bits) and an
*actual* dog (as a bunch of cells).

Cheers,
Danny.

-- 
http://danny.ayers.name
Received on Sunday, 12 June 2011 23:13:46 UTC

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