Friday, March 31, 2023

I Left Ceausescu's Romania for AI Algorithms??? At Least Him I Understood!!

 I just received the following email from Quora:


Your answer has been deleted

Your answer has been deleted as it was found to be in violation of our Spam policy. To learn more about Quora's policy, click here. If you think this is an error, you can appeal here.  


What?????????? I had just posted my first answer on Quora:

They don't mention, of course, that they bombard me several times a day with spam, including asking me to answer random questions on the platform!!!!

I left Facebook, I am practically off Twitter -- so why the hell did I bother to engage on any new platform? Serves me right.

UPDATE: I appealed and the post was reinstated with apologies. Aside from the insult and the hassle to complain, corrections will become practically impossible as "AI" algorithms take over everything. You will have to appeal to these algorithms too and that will be talking to the wall.

Sunday, March 26, 2023


with David McGoveran


Note: This a multi-part re-write of a previous series intended, when completed, to replace it. In the meantime you can consult the old version -- there is nothing wrong with it.

No matter how much I demonstrate the absence of foundation knowledge in the IT industry, the mountain of evidence and reasoning is dismissed -- how can everybody be wrong and only Fabian Pascal be right?

Well, consider the following (from a college prof no less):
“... we are not modeling objects/entities/attribute ... at all in the relational model, [but] a bunch of relationships ... hence perhaps Codd was correct in calling it a "relation", a bunch of relationships ... Interesting that most people think of relationships as being the distinguishing characteristic of a relational model and it is not ... [it] has no relationships since Codd decreed that all relationships must be represented by foreign keys, which are exactly the same as "attributes ... What [other] type(s) of relationships can be explicitly and formally defined in a relational data model? Of course there are many other relationships which can be inferred, such as between an attribute and an entity identifier. Please give me a precise reference to where Codd spoke of relationships [differently than i]n his 1985 piece published in ComputerWorld, [where] he said that the only way to represent a relationship (between relations) was through explicitly stored values (i.e., attributes, foreign keys) ... In my personal understanding, a relation is defined as a set of tuples. Then ... "in the relational model every relation represents a relationship". And then a quote from Chen: "each tuple of entities ... is a relationship". If I use the first and the second statements - I can say that a relationship is a set of tuples. The third statement says that a relationship is a tuple. So far, is a relationship a set of an element of a set? (Or may be a set of sets?) ... I argue that there is essentially no difference between relationships between entities of distinct classes and between properties of the same class. They both represent relationships. A property can represent a relationship between entities of distinct classes. If such relationships are represented by foreign keys and the relations representing the classes must be in 1NF, then relational databases can represent only M:1 relationships, a very unnecessary limitation when modeling some reality of interest ... The entity-relationship model is essentially a directed graph model, where relationships are prominent residents. Not so in the relational model (despite the name), where relationships (between relations, mind you) are not visible and in the SQL implementations is reduced to constraints. Relationships are about structure, which is as important as meaning (the semantics of the terms used in the universe being modeled).”

The amount of nonsense squeezed into this rambling is mind boggling. No understanding of the RDM, confusion, abysmal reasoning and misuse of terms -- debunking it in its entirety would be practically impossible (believe me, I tried). Instead, I focus on a critical aspect of the RDM of which there is little grasp in the industry: I convey the fundamentals and leave it to the motivated reader to try their own debunking -- the most effective way I know to learn.

Sunday, March 19, 2023


Note: Reader mail (rm) posts are exchanges with my readers that raise fundamental issues. I may improve language for clarity and amplify with Ed. Notes for the benefit of readers.

“Your post Understanding Conceptual vs. Data Modeling Part 1: Data Model - The RDM Is, the E/RM Isn't is well done. However, concepts and relationships can be perceived and modeled without formulating or specifying properties. Chen did that in his ER diagrams. And informally, everyone does it as a mental model every day. I suppose anyone can define conceptual modeling however they wish to.  But at its minimum and most abstract, which is what conceptual modelling is usually understood to be, it can be done without formulating or specifying properties.” --GR

Saturday, March 4, 2023


(originally published August 2002)

Note: "Then & Now" (T&N) is a new version of what used to be the "Oldies but Goodies" (OBG) series. To demonstrate the superiority of a sound theoretical foundation relative to the industry's fad-driven "cookbook" practices, as well as the evolution/progress of RDM, I am re-visiting my 2000-06 debunkings, bringing them up to my with my knowledge and understanding of today. This will enable you to judge how well my arguments have held up and appreciate the increasing gap between scientific progress and the industry’s stagnation, if not outright regress.

Then ...

Email exchange with a reader:
“I find [your article in DM Review] to contradict your stated devotion to scientific methods and the value of theory. You present a single example of denormalization, then proceed to draw a conclusion about denormalization in general. In addition, the example chosen is not typical of real world denormalizations.” In order to be half-way consistent with your own ideals, you would need to present at a minimum an exhaustive list of the types of denormalizations used in practice, along with an objective list of the pros and cons of each.  I would expect that if this were undertaken, you would end up with a more balanced view, and some exceptions to your black-and-white conclusions. Of course, to prove your point scientifically would require far more effort than this, if indeed it were at all possible to prove or disprove your statements. This brings me to my key point: if your contention is not falsifiable, it does not belong in the realm of true science at all, instead it belongs in the domain of mere opinion and belief. Please tell us how you have proved your propositions, or else refrain from claiming that you are working from a sound scientific foundation and everyone else is somehow misguided. Relational algebra has nothing to say about real-world performance.”
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