Many thanks to Tristan Morris for creating a beautiful illustrated hardcover print edition of the site

moderately geeky  moderately geeky

Case 149

The First Finger

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The nun Satou found master Kaimu and said, “From wry master Bawan I learned that caching is an iron cannon: seductive to touch, easy to load, difficult to aim, and deadly to mishandle.”

Kaimu replied, “Our ten fingers are flint and steel, and the keyboard is our fuse.”

The nun continued, “From unhappy master Banzen I learned that such weapons should only be used reluctantly: after long study if possible, after ignominious defeat if not.”

Kaimu replied, “The soldier who has lost two fingers will not misplace the other eight so quickly. It is his comrade with a full set of digits that will soonest lack a limb.”

The young nun shivered and said, “Thus I fear caching. And having no time for careful study, I wish to avoid it and all tools that use it. How can this best be done?”

Kaimu replied, “Store no data: not in a file, nor a database, nor in the most transient of variables. For what is each datum but a single frozen echo of the Unceasing Chorus of the Outside World? When we chip a note from the ice, what proof do we have that it is still being sung beyond our silicon walls? Even the most inconsequential User Preference should be obtained from the User directly whenever needed, to be certain we have divined their will.”

The nun arched an eyebrow. “I sought Kaimu’s help because I wished to avoid error. Why does the master mock me?”

Kaimu grasped her thumb and said, “You sought Kaimu’s help because you wished to avoid losing an arm. Yet take heart, soldier! One of your two fingers is already gone.”