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> But four letters fits in a 32-bit direct atom, so the attraction is pretty irresistible.

Reminds me of how ITS limited filenames to six letters per component, because they used six bits per character and six times six is thirty-six bits, or one machine word.

To this day, HAKMEM ('Hacks Memo') is still called that:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HAKMEM




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