[r-t] Yorkshire Surprise Minor, etc

Don Morrison dfm at ringing.org
Sun Mar 19 13:29:12 UTC 2017

On Sun, Mar 19, 2017 at 7:09 AM, Iain Anderson <iain at 13to8.co.uk> wrote:
> At the current rate, when do you think we will run out of method names?

In law or in practice?

In law, there is no limit on the length of a name, so there are a countably
infinite number of them available. So, "never".

In practice, we appear to be going through them on the order of about 200
per year. There are on the order of 170,000 words in the English language.
Method names are, of course, more frequently proper names, which I'm
guessing greatly extends this, but let's say we have 200,000 total words
available, which I think is probably conservative. If we limit names to no
more than five words that gets us to a million. Leaving out the 20,000 that
have already been consumed, if we don't have name spaces that says we run
out in just under five millennia. But we probably start to get frustrated
with the choices available to us in just one or two. Sooner than I would
have guessed, but still perhaps twenty times longer than method ringing has
existed to date.

A possibly more interesting question might be "how many distinct names to
we need to have used before we find assigning each method its own name
becomes so unwieldy the ringing community decides to abandon the practice?"

Don Morrison <dfm at ringing.org>
"The name that can be named is not the enduring and
unchanging name."
  -- Lau Tzu, _Tao Te Ching_, tr J Legge
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