Being almost as old as yourself, jdtoronto, and having a similar background (without the engineering & physics) I find myself agreeing with most of what you say here.
I got into computers via a 'backdoor' and have only just recently acquired an interest in Perl. I find Perlmonks to be quite informative and well laidout, although I spend most of my time here observing the CB (it can be quite entertaining and somewhat distracting :-).
Personally, I wouldn't want anything changed ATM.
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