thanks lex for that.
Im going to search for "ruby program design principles" or patterns 
/best practices with regards to functions. When i learnt C (10 years ago 
so its rusty) I was told to use pass by reference only when necessary. I 
think the reason being bug tracking etc maybe the reasoning was similiar 
ot that of not to over/misuse global variables.

So switching to ruby where pass by reference is the only choice seems to 
be making my programming a little less smooth. Im just used to knowing 
that the original value wont be changed. Sure I could dup or clone 
everything but that seems to go against what ruby intends.

if anyone has a good link or book regarding such differences, their 
implications and how to design along them rather than against (i.e. best 
practice) please give us a shout. In the meantime ill go away and do 
some searching and rejig my code.

thanks
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