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30% is an understatement. Think of the productivity gain when you go from assembly to C. Now, consider the fact (I do mean fact) that the jump from assembly to C and the jump from C to LISP are comparable.

The choice of abstraction do matter. If you use weak ones, your productivity is taking a serious hit: your program will be bigger, more complex, and have more errors (squared).

C++ abstractions, for instance, are incredibly weak. Take the function abstraction, which isn't even complete: you have no way to write anonymous functions the way you write literal integers[1]. Higher level concepts, as you call them, aren't more complicated than the "simple" ones. Often, they are just less familiar and more consistent.

[1]: Anonymous functions should actually be called "literal functions":

    (fun x -> 7 x + 42) -- a literal function
    357                 -- a literal integer
    2 + 3               -- expression which yields a integer
    f . g               -- expression which yields a function
Nothing "high order" about that. This is just acknowledging that functions are mathematical objects like any other.



Funny, I went to a talk today on statistical methods for opinion analysis, and in the annotated corpus presented, the only opinion word that was used more often in a subjective frame than an objective frame is the word "fact".




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