Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I was recently explaining to Someone (he knows who he is) that Captain Picard's directive "Tea, Earl Grey, hot," is not nonsensical simply because no-one would drink Earl Grey cold.

It's clear that he's talking to a computer, and "Earl Grey" is a subset of "tea", and "hot/cold" is a subset of whatever tea flavor it is (Earl Grey).

(My conversation partner muttered something to the effect that I should have gone into programming.)

Anyway, much in the spirit of that exchange, I found this great site. The thing I like most about it is the graphic representation of the different cooking activities and which parts of the food are involved. Very comprehensible!

Cooking for Engineers


argotnaut said...

[GASP!] I *love* the recipe tables! It makes everything so clear! Too bad I don't like to cook.

Now [pushes up glasses], I could have sworn that it was "Tea, hot, Earl Grey," which would have made more sense with the subsets and all:

All teas
Teas served hot
Earl Grey

General to specific, you know.

But you must be right, because I found this:

Now it bugs me -- I don't think that order makes any sense at all!

Andrew said...

Hey, it's the 24th century...maybe some folks DO drink their Earl Gray tea cold! Although I'm sure cap'n Picard would cluck his tongue and shake his head if they did.

D said...

I'm pretty sure that by the 24th Century they will have been able to make a computer program with suitable temperature defaults for varying types of tea. In fact, I'm pretty sure I could do that now. Forget Zefram Cochrane, I'll be the legend of the 24th Century! Jean Luc would never have to specify hot again, in fact, I might program in a few customizations.

Make it so - Earl Grey Tea (Hot)
Engage - Romulan Ale

I think perhaps it's time for me to get a life. :-)

liz said...

Now I'm all confused...*is* it in the order I thought? I hear it that way in my mind's...ear.

(However, that doesn't always mean it's reality.)

Engage pastry. Full speed ahead!

liz said...

I don't know, anyway. It looks good to me like this:

-All teas
-Variety of tea
-Method of preparation
-Condiments (though Picard doesn't specify any, so the default would have to be "none")

That seems like general-to-specific to me.

The Limey said...

After giving this a little more thought I stand by my first conclusion that the Enterprise Beverage System is crap.

Earl Grey is a type of tea. Stating “Earl Grey” to the ship’s computer by definition Picard is asking for tea. Earl Grey has no relationship with say Meatballs or a Veggie burger. By asking for “Tea, Earl Grey” he is using redundant words.

Also, Earl Grey is usually drank hot with milk. It was invented by an Englishman after all!
Therefore all Picard should need to say is “Earl Grey” – this will make the perfect cup of tea. He should have the ability to give parameters to override the default. For Example:
“Earl Grey, 95.67 degrees, no milk”.

Below is couple of simple classes to illustrate the Tea/Earl Grey relationship. One will note that Earl Grey inherits from Tea.

Feel free to Add/Change and generally improve upon the Tea-Earl Grey Enterprise Beverage System classes

namespace EnterpriseBeverageSystem
public class Tea
// Class variables
private float _temp;
private bool _milk;

// Class Constants
private const float PERFECT_TEA_TEMP = 98.64;


public Tea()
_temp = PERFECT_TEA_TEMP; //Probably better stored in the app //web.config
// as user may need to alter perfect temp for own
// preference.

_milk = true; // Milk is the default as everybody knows
// its the proper way to drink tea.

public Tea(float temp, bool milk)
_temp = temp;
_milk = milk;


//Other code goes here. Properties, Methods, Events... etc.


namespace EnterpriseBeverageSystem
/// Summary description for EarlGrey.
/// This is just a basic class to illustrate the
/// relationship between EarlGrey and Tea

public class EarlGrey : Tea


// Makes Earl Grey at the perfect temp and with milk
public EarlGrey() :base()

// Makes Earl Grey at a specified temp
public EarlGrey(float tmp, bool milk) : base(tmp, milk)


//Other Properties, Methods, Events

Picard should not have to explicitly state the relationship between Tea and Earl Grey. The relationship is implicit.

The programmers in the 24th century are crap.

What do you expect from a Yank built Star Ship.

liz said...

Oh, who the heck drinks tea at body temperature anyway?! (I mean, besides me, but I'm weird.) I know for a fact *you* don't.

Hmph. Smartypants.

(PS: I'll be expecting this tea program up and running for, say, Christmastime.)

liz said...

Oh yeah--duh. C/F degrees.

To adapt a phrase from, I guess I get the asshat on that one.

However, just because I want to be right about *something*: one would not say "Earl Grey is drank hot with milk" but rather "Earl Grey is drunk hot with milk." (Though that does make it sound like a derisive comment on the earl himself.)

Mark said...

Just a second...

I sort of agree on the temparature bit but perhaps Picard was tired of the ship's computer spewing out slightly decomposed British noblemen which is why he used the "Tea" qualifier.

Michael Chu said...

Perhaps Picard is a control freak and uses inefficient computer commands. He is a high-level manager after all...

liz said...

Good lord, I can't imagine a flame war revolving around tea AND programming semantics happening anywhere else but on my site.

So far.

argotnaut said...


Geez, and I was all excited because I drew a little Venn diagram of this today. [missed-the-bucket sound]

Now you programming types know how I feel about ST's representation of what a linguist is (i.e., Hoshi). "Boneheads! Just learning a bunch of languages isn't linguistics!" Plus she's not NEARLY sexy enough to be a linguist.

Andrew said...

I would guess that each Enterprise crewperson has his/her/its own defaults set up in the food replicator. A quick voice analysis would automatically call up a particular individual's preferences. Jean-Luc could just say "tea" and the replicator would produce his favorite tea served at his favored temperature with his prescribed condiments. Of course, if you had a cold, you'd be screwed. Um, maybe a retinal scan. But then Picard in his "Locutus of Borg" incarnation would be problematic. ("snort", push taped glasses up bridge of nose).

liz said...

Then couldn't it equally well be programmed to respond to *anything* said with his voice?


[receives hot cuppa Earl Grey WITH milk in thank you very much]

D said...

Maybe you should vacuum seal this post before it gets ever more out of control. :-D