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July 18, 2005

Posted by Patrick at 10:16 PM * 38 comments

Lisa Goldstein, commenting on The Coming Race, reports on one:

I had this feeling recently, when I went to a convention masquerade. I don’t usually go to masquerades, but in this case I was urged to go by a friend, and I have to say I was pretty bored. Then, after the program, a DJ started playing music, and everyone started dancing, including the people in costumes. Cartman from South Park danced with Johnny Depp’s character from Pirates of the Caribbean, someone from a Lois McMaster Bujold book danced with a large shaggy dog. It was one of the most enchanting things I’d ever seen. It reminded me of a bit from The Man Who Was Thursday (another trait of geeks, I guess, is that they’re always being reminded of parts of books)—“Syme seemed to see every shape in Nature imitated in some crazy costume. There was a man dressed as an elephant, a man dressed as a balloon…There was a dancing lamp-post, a dancing apple tree, a dancing ship…And long afterwards, when Syme was middle-aged and at rest, he could never see one of those particular objects—a lamp-post, or an apple tree, or a windmill—without thinking that it was a strayed reveller from that revel of masquerade.”

Any group of people that can make me feel as if I’m in a Chesterton book is all right with me.

Comments on Epiphany:
#1 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 01:00 AM:

I have a dreadful time finding costumes - so many things just seem normal.

#2 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 09:05 AM:

Back in the early Eighties, Silverberg wrote an editorial in Amazing's incarnation of the day about Masquerades where he decried that they didn't belong at worldcons, that they took away from the literature aspect of things. It's been a long time so I don't remember his exact words, but I think that was the gist of it. Putting aside that many costumes were based on works of literatures... He probably was embarassed about the fact that, whenever the outside world paid attention to us, grownups in costumes were what wound up on the evening news. Of course, one of my favorite memories of Baltimore's worldcon of 1983 was, after the Masquerade, seeing Catherine and Sprague de Camp walking around in full fantasy costumes.

#3 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 11:25 AM:

Mine was seeing 4e at Magicon, in the same costume, with a dashing bright green cape, that he wore at the original Worldcon.

#4 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 11:55 AM:

Forry Ackerman wearing a cape? I can picture that. On the other hand, one look at Sprague de Camp and one would have thought he belonged among the Kaiser's officers, not with a worldcon's costumed crowd. I guess the latter was his true self.

#5 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 12:40 PM:

We each worship in our own way.

#7 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 02:42 PM:


L. Sprague de Camp was a far more brilliant and complex person than you credit him, in your (possibly facetious) hypothesis about "his true self."

His ghost does not need me to defend him, but, as a coauthor of his, and fellow Caltech alumnus, I do politely urge you to find out more about this amazingly educated and multivalent giant who once walked amongst us, and whose prose may never die.

#8 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 03:26 PM:

Huh, Jonathan, where did you get the idea that I was putting down L. Sprague de Camp?

Yes, my comment about his true self was facetious. What I was trying to convey - and obviously miserably failed at - was how awed I was that someone so brilliant wasn't afraid of having fun, no matter what the Silverbergs of the world could say.

Hell, I grew up having to feel self-conscious because of the reaction of others to my own interests. Why should I inflict that attitude to others? As for going around in fantasy costumes, I was IN that worldcon's masquerade.

#9 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 03:42 PM:


I was pretty sure that this was the case. Apologies if I overreacted. This was my problem, with sometimes being tonedeaf to an email or blog posting, perhaps from a combination of the nature of the medium, plus my own social deficiencies.

As to brilliant people having fun, it's hard to top my mentor Richard Feynman. A particularly good review of his latest posthumous book: Perfectly Readable Deviations from the Beaten Path.

#10 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 04:19 PM:

Well, Jonathan, I'm not always good at expressing myself.

Feynman... I thought I had all his books. Glad to find out there's one more out there. By the way, did you ever see Matthew Broderick as Feynman in the movie "infinity" ? The movie, directed by Broderick himself, didn't quite capture the whimsical image one got from reading Feynman's memoirs. Still, this is THE movie that Broderick decided to make when he had the chance to finally work from behind the camera.

#11 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 04:50 PM:


Not a bad film, but intentionally serious. Alan Alda played the funny Feynman on stage so well as to have later been a graduation speaker at Caltech. Feynman himself was screwed on the publication contract of his Lecture Notes in Physics, surely the bestselling Physics book of all time, pre-Hawking, because it never occurred to him that there might someday be paperback editions.

There is an avalanche of posthumous Feynman books and tapes, including the forthcoming Definitive Lecture Notes in Physics, itself a sequel of sorts to the Corrected Lecture Notes in Physics.

I'm peeved that my correspondance with Feynman about poetry, which led to our often anthologized sonnet, was (through malpractice by a permissions editor) left out of the new collection of letters edited by daughter Michelle Feynman. So I'll write more than one of my own Feynman books, starting with my novel-in-progress Axiomatic Magic, which stars Feynman in a sort of Harry Potter meets A Beautiful Mind.

There will also be a book about the question of whether or not Feynman was the great-grandfather of Nanotechnology. My input to that book is colored by my assertyion that I was one of the Grandfathers, whom passed the torch from Feynman to K. Eric Drexler, who agrees (except that his wife, now ex-wife, worked very hard to make me an unperson in the History of Nanotechnology).

This would seem to be the usual tempest in an academic teapot, except that nanotechnology is an industry already exceeding a billion dollars a year, and growing very fast, inclduing its being a national goal by legislation in several countries ncluding the USA.

If I live long enough, I'll be able to make a living by merely retelling my experiences with the people whose names I drop on Making Light. patrick and Teresa have kindly suggested that I wait a few more years.

#12 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 06:12 PM:

I am impressed. I didn't realize you knew Feynman.

About nanotechnology... I've been trying to figure out its earliest use in a movie or TV show. Any suggestion? I myself have been leaning toward 1978's "Superman", what with that green crystal that builds the Fortress of Solitude out of the Arctic ices.

#13 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 06:18 PM:

Back to Feynman... He's the first person who got me to understand what math is about. Math in high school and in college was mostly a matter of learning this or that tool, but not what it was for. Rote learning, no true understanding. Then he and his memoirs came along and it finally clicked.

#14 ::: Andrew Gray ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 06:50 PM:

JvP: Every now and again I hear a Feynman story, often with the names lost or the details slightly confused, from the most unexpected sources - I first heard the story about Tuva from, of all people, a local policeman here. There's been many books written on Feynman; there would seem to be room for one dealing with Feynman-as-folk-myth.

I ran across the commencement address about a year ago, which was a delight. "Whatever you do, help us love science the way you do. Like the young man so head over heels about his sweetheart he can't stop talking about her, like the young woman so in love with her young man she wants everyone to know how wonderful he is... show us pictures, tell us stories, make us crave to meet your beloved."

But there's a problem; my parents watched MASH religiously at university, in the 1970s, and then when I was young, in the 80s, and then the reruns... and as a result, I grew up with it regularly watched in the background. The effect is that I now read the commencement address, and imagine it being given as a half-hour monologue in a 1970s television program, because I have a familiar construct of Alda's voice, a strongly correlating visual, that sort of thing.

But then, for some reason, my brain remembered the play, and linked "Alda acting" to "Feynman". And so, now, when I listen to the recordings I have of Feynman himself lecturing, the same visual image, of Alda striding around a tent shouting at the world, springs unbidden into my mind...

#15 ::: Bill Humphries ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 01:45 AM:

JvP: Feynman's having an interesting 'afterlife' in Elizabeth Bear's first two novels. A hell of a guy who I only know from James Glick's biography. I'm a bit jealous that you knew the actual man as a friend. :)

#16 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 10:16 AM:

Andrew: Feynman as an avatar of the Trickster God? Works for me.

#17 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 10:38 AM:

Is it foolish to ask if that Alda-as-Feynman show is available in some recorded form?

#18 ::: Andrew Gray ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 10:57 AM:

Serge: If it is I'd love to be shown wrong, but I don't believe so. (There's a few photographs floating around, not that that really helps much)

#19 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 11:06 AM:

Thanks, Andrew. I didn't really expect there'd be some video of Alda-as-Feynman, but I had to ask. Well, I still have the tape of that TV special about Feynman, with its interview of the man himself.

(On the subject of it's-foolish-to-hope-for-it videos, I never wasable to catch again PBS's special on a re-enactement of the original choreography of "the Rites of Spring".)

#20 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 11:46 AM:

My mother's brother used to play cards with Feynman, back in Brooklyn, and I had a teacher in common with Feynman. He and I took a class together, in Lithography (the old kind, with a big flat stone). There is also a triangulat friendship the vertices of which were myself, Feynman, and Feynman's art guru Jiryar Zorthian. We discussed many things at Caltech 1968-1973, and then more when I moved back to Pasadena to work at JPL.

To explain my connection with nanotechnology, which overlaps Science Fiction, please allow me to provide some background on my research in Systems Biology, and author of the world's first nanotechnology PhD dissertation (1977) as a protege of Feynman, WHO EXPLICITLY LED TO ME TO MY NANOTECHNOLOGY RESEARCH (1975-1977), and in my having a kind of priority over Drexler.

After my Honorable Mention in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search for research in Physical Chemistry, I arrived at Caltech in 1968, age 16, on a full scholarship, and worked with Richard Feynman. He is the acknowledged great-grandfather of Nanotechnology, of course, from two lectures on the field (the well-known 1959 "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom," and a lesser known talk at JPL on the same subject).

There are on the order of a dozen Grandfathers of Nanotechnology, including me (see some citations
below), and I helped get the acknowledged "Father of Nanotechnology" K. Eric Drexler on the path, by (for example) personally introducing him face-to-face with Dr. Stanley Schmidt, the editor of Analog Science Fiction Magazine, an early booster; and getting OMNI Magazine (for whom I wrote cover articles at the time) to do a piece. [I can tell you about how Drexler's ex-wife diligently worked to rewrite history, but only if promised that this will be kept off the record]

My most recent publication in this area is an extensively referenced historical survey:

"Vision of Nanotechnology Teaching and Research in the year 2020"
American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)
Pacific Southwest (PSW) Regional Conference
April 7-8, 2005
Loyola Marymount University [LMU],
College of Science & Engineering, Los Angeles, CA

Last year, at the 5th International Conference of Complex Systems, where one of the 4 papers that I
presented or co-presented was a previously unpublished chapter from the 1977 PhD Dissertation on "Molecular Cybernetics." [That's the one discussed in an earlier thread where I gave some background on how the plagiarist Chairman and then an incompetent Chairman formed the environment that prevented my dissertation from either being accepted or rejeted, but technically still listed as an "incomplete"). My papers there included:

"The Evolution of Controllability in Enzyme System
Dynamics" [Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Complexity Science, 17-21 May 2004]

"Adaptation and Coevolution on an Emergent Global
Competitive Landscape"
[Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Complexity Science, 17-21 May 2004]
Author #1 = Professor Philip V. Fellman, Southern New
Hampshire University
Author #2 = Professor Jonathan Vos Post, Woodbury
Author #3 = Roxana Wright, Southern New Hampshire

The below are some of my papers and presentations back at the dawn of Nanotechnology [the indices are from my listing of 210 Ways to Space, because the Drexlers and Science Fiction folks made a big overlap between the Nanotechnology community and the Space Activist Community]:

[97] Jonathan V. Post, "Analysis of Enzyme Waves:
Success through Simulation",
Proceedings of the Summer Computer Simulation
Conference, Seattle, WA, 25-27 August 1980, pp.691-695, AFIPS Press, 1815 North Lynn
Street, Suite 800, Arlington, VA 22209

[98] Jonathan V. Post, "Simulation of Metabolic
Dynamics", Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Symposium on Computer Applications in Medical Care, Washington, DC, 2-5 November 1980

[99] Jonathan V. Post, "Enzyme System Cybernetics", Proceedings of the International
Conference on Applied Systems Research and
Cybernetics, Acapulco, Mexico, 12-15 December 1980

[100] Jonathan V. Post, "Enzyme System Cybernetics", Applied Systems Research and
Cybernetics, ed. G.E. Lasker, Pergamon Press, 1981, Vol.IV, pp.1883-1888, ISBN:
0-08-027196-0 (set), ISBN: 0-08-0271201 (Vol.IV)

[101] Jonathan V. Post, "Alternating Current
Chemistry, Enzyme Waves, and Metabolic
Chaos", NATO Workshop on Coherent and Emergent
Phenomena in Biomolecular Systems,
Tucson, AZ 15-19 January 1991

[102] Jonathan V. Post, "Nonlinear Enzyme Waves,
Simulated Metabolism Dynamics, and Protein Nanotechnology", poster session, 2nd
Artificial Life Workshop, 5-9 Feb 1990, Sana Fe, NM

[103] Jonathan V. Post, "Continuous Semigroups,
Nonlinear Enzyme Waves, and Simulated Metabolism Dynamics", accepted for Semigroup Forum (Mathematics journal), 15 May 1990 [never published as Rockwell International wiped out my files with reformatted equations for publication][this was a side-effect of the damage caused by plagiarist Ron Jones and the Rockwell management who sided with him over me, while they avoided fixing the Space Shuttle problems that I reported]

[104] Jonathan V. Post, "Is Functional Identity of
Products a Necessary Condition for the Selective Neutrality of Structural Gene Allele?", Population Biologists of New England (PBONE), Brown University, Providence, RI, June 1976

[105] Jonathan V. Post, "Enzyme Kinetics and Selection of Structural Gene Products -- A Theoretical Consideration", Society for the Study
of Evolution, Ithaca, NY, June 1977

[106] Jonathan V. Post, "Birth of the Biocomputer", color-videotaped lecture to
audience of 200, at opening of A.P.P.L.E.'s new world headquarters, Kent, WA, 15 Mar 1983

[107] Jonathan V. Post, "Part Human, Part
Machine", panel discussion on cyborgs, prosthesis, robots, nanotechnology, Westercon
37, Portland Marriott, Portland, OR, 30 Jun 1984

[108] Jonathan V. Post (moderator), Prof. Vernor
Vinge, Paul Preuss, Greg Bear, F. Eugene Yates (Director, Crump Institute for Medical
Engineering, UCLA), "New Machines, New Life Forms", UCLA Extension's Symposium on Science and Science Fiction, Westwood, CA, 9 Nov 1986

[109] Jonathan V. Post, Dean R. Lambe, Laura Mixon, Walter John Williams, "Nanotechnology", panel discussion, Nolacon: 46th World Science Fiction Convention, Sheraton Grand B, New Orleans, LA, 4 Sep 1988

I could go on, but this is more bandwidth than I should normally use, on someone else's site. But what a tangled web, with exploding Space Shuttles, Westercons, a Worldcon, a Nobel Laureate, and a technology that can transform or destroy life on Earth.

#21 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 08:45 PM:

I was thrilled when my post was pulled out and displayed on Making Light, and I eagerly checked the comments to see what other people had to say. Unfortunately it looks like the thread has been hijacked by Richard Feynman. Ah, well -- Feynman was reportedly a great guy, one who never suffered fools gladly.

#22 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 09:05 PM:


I dunno. He suffered me gladly...

But I did have some response for you, and sorry for not posting it earlier. It turned up on Michael Bérubé's blog, as Comment 219 on the "Arbitrary. Fun" thread about First Lines in novels:

“The men at work at the corner of the street had made a kind of camp for themselves, where, marked out by tripods hung with red hurricane-lamps, an abyss in the road led down to a network of subterranean drain-pipes. Gathered round the bucket of coke that burned in front of the shelter, several figures were swinging arms against bodies and rubbing hands together with large, pantomimic gestures: like comedians giving formal expression to the concept of extreme cold.”

Anthony Powell, A Question of Upbringing (A Dance to the Music of Time).

The truly stunning lines come one paragraph later, though, in Powell’s madeleine moment:

“For some reason, the sight of snow descending on fire always makes me think of the ancient world--legionaries in sheepskin warming themselves at a brazier; mountain altars where offerings glow between wintry pillars; centaurs with torches cantering beside a frozen sea--scattered, unco-ordinated shapes from a fabulous past, infinitely removed from life; and yet bringing with them memories of things real and imagined. These classical projections, and something in the physical attitudes of the men themselves as they turned from the fire, suddenly suggested Poussin’s scene in which the Seasons, hand in hand and facing outward, tread in rhythm to the notes of the lyre that the winged and naked greybeard plays. The image of Time brought thoughts of mortality: of human beings, facing outward like the Seasons, moving hand in hand in intricate measure, stepping slowly, methodically, sometimes a trifle awkwardly, in evolutions that take recognisable shape: or breaking into seemingly meaningless gyrations, while partners disappear only to reappear again, once more giving pattern to the spectacle: unable to control the melody, unable, perhaps, to control the steps of the dance. Classical associations made me think, too, of days at school, where so many forces, hitherto unfamiliar, had become in due course uncompromisingly clear.”

Posted by Zed on 07/20 at 12:42 AM

#23 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 09:11 PM:

Lisa, maybe it would help to imagine Feynman, channelling Newton, playing the bongos under a dancing apple tree. Or, since Fenman is dead, the apple tree, the street lamp, the ship and the elephant taking the subway to Colma to visit him. I'm sure that subway goes to Kyzyl. It must, it simply must.

#24 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 09:23 PM:


"The Subway to Kyzyl" would be a good title for that story, which I urge you to write! Big smile on reading your post.

#25 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 01:10 AM:

TomB -- Bongos! I knew there was a connection.

#26 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 01:27 AM:

You mean... G. K. Chesterton was NOT an amateur safecracker?

#27 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 01:48 AM:

I thought he was famous for the Chesterton diagram, which shows the probabilities of who did what until the mystery function collapses into a solution at the end.

#28 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 02:05 AM:

The Blunderbuss Archive
Friday, July 02, 2004
Conspiracy Theories

"... In a commencement speech he have in 1974 to the California Institute of Technology, the great physicist, the late Dr. Richard Feynman told the students to cultivate:

'...a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty--a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid--not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain the results; and things you thought of that you've eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked--to make sure the other fellow can tell that they have been eliminated. . . . In summary, the idea is to try to give all the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.'

'The first principle is that you must not fool yourself--and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you've not fooled yourself, it's easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.'

'I would like to add something that's not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the laymen when you're talking as a scientist. . . . I'm talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is [more than] not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you're maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.'"

"Just as gossip may be logically complete and factually consistent and still be wrong, the explanatory power of a Conspiracy Theory does not necessarily indicate truth. In applying Dr. Feynman's 'Don't fool yourself--and you are the easiest one to fool' principle we may look to the observations of G.K. Chesterton in his book 'Orthodoxy....'"

"'The last thing that can be said of a lunatic is that his actions are causeless. If any human acts may loosely be called causeless, they are the minor acts of a healthy man; whistling as he walks; slashing the grass with a stick; kicking his heels or rubbing his hands. It is the happy man who does the useless things; the sick man is not strong enough to be idle. It is exactly such careless and causeless actions that the madman could never understand; for the madman (like the determinist) generally sees too much cause in everything. The madman would read a conspiratorial significance into those empty activities. He would think that the lopping of the grass was an attack on private property. He would think that the kicking of the heels was a signal to an accomplice. If the madman could for an instant become careless, he would become sane.'"

#29 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 07:19 AM:

Considering the turn that this thread has taken... Guess who is on the cover of this week's issue of "Science News". And it is the famous photo of Him playing the bongos.

#30 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 09:30 PM:

I saw the Alda as Feynman play. Jordin had a conference in the NY area and I bought tickets to some shows for while we were there and, of course, that one was a must. While we were on our way to the airport to fly to NY Jordin got a call on his cell phone and subsequently informed me he was going to have to leave NY earlier than planned because Danny Hillis was sponsoring a meeting between Freeman Dyson and some people Jordin was working with and hoping to do more with and the meeting was to include discussion of his laser launch scheme. So he was going to have to miss the QED show. (I called and offered the spare ticket to either our host or hostess but they passed. It was the only empty seat in the house.) At one point the onstage Feynman places a call to his grad student Danny Hillis. Whose home Jordin was at talking to one of the other big names in QED, Dyson. It was a Very Weird Moment.


#31 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 09:39 PM:

Mary Kay:

Good anecdote. However "Feynman places a call to his grad student Danny Hillis" should be corrected in light of the fact that Danny Hillis was, for the summer, actually Feynman's EMPLOYER.

True, Danny had aked Feynman to recommend a grad student for a summer internship at Thinking Machines, Inc., and Feynman phoned back. He said "I know someone who's not so great at Math, but has good intuition," and then recommended himself.

Once someone visited Thinking Machines during renovations and said "that carpenter there," pointing to Someone in bluejeans and t-shirt hefting a hammer, "you know, he looks like Feynman." Feynman's son Carl worked for Danny Hillis for some time. Danny was on the VIP panel at a Feynman memorial event at Caltech.

I've already exceeded my namedropping quota, so won't go into HOW me and Danny Hillis are connected. I am VERY lucky to have known so many amazing people; your husband parallels me in the chutzpah that stacks the odds in our favor.

#32 ::: David Goldfarb spots comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 05:00 AM:

Some fairly clumsy spam noodles there in the post that I hope will be deleted quickly....

#33 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 01:51 PM:

Also, speaking of Feynman and Ted Nelson, here's something that I put on my magicdragon2 livejournal this morning, in hopes that someone could enlighten me on the matter.

I remember 1975 as clearly as if it happened yesterday. Ted Nelson, the mad genius who invented Hypertext and Hypermedia, spake his Revelation from a waterbed, whereon he had been noddling with an electric banjo.


In context, I knew exactly what he meant. But, today, I lightly investigated his neologism.

Eric Raymond's Jargon Database says:
adj. [Invented by Theodor Holm Nelson, prob. a blend of 'mingled' and 'intertwined'.] Connected together in a complex way; specifically, composed of one another's components."

By blend, of course, ESR means "a portmanteau word" in the sense of Lewis Carroll.

On the other hand, we have the dynamics of the:

Twingle engine on Wikipedia.

It's interesting to think of the Web as a prototype Intertwingle Engine. Several software developers have products in early versions that replicate this vision to some extent.

Life in a TEXTAREA in a blog apparently called "Everything is deeply intertwingled."

"Eric Anderson said to me, 'Relax, Adam, Everything is Deeply Intertwingled.' Good advice, I know I've heard that somewhere before."

"It's hard to relax when you're living in a box. I'd estimate that I spend between 10% and 20% of my life in a browser, and half of that time is spent in a TEXTAREA like the one I'm typing in right at this moment to flesh out this post. The reason I cannot relax is that Web forms have not evolved in fifteen years -- there's still so few text editting [sic] features that I find myself manually searching and replacing sometimes. There aren't many activities more useless than eyeballing a TEXTAREA looking for text sequences when I know this is what computers were friggin' invented to do."

What set me off was that I was squinting in semibaffled concentration at "Superspace: or, One Thousand and One Lessons in Supersymmetry" by S. J. Gates et al., Reading MA: Benjamin/Cummings, 1983.

On page 363, Supergraph Rules, there are some Feynman Graphs, and the passage: "There are other tricks that one can use to simplify the manipulations. We give the following 'twingling' rule which is often useful...."

#34 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 06:58 PM:

Jonathan (yes! Jonathan!) writes:

I've already exceeded my namedropping quota...

My jaw has dropped. Words fail me.

#35 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 07:22 PM:

Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey :

Would that words would fail me, too, eh?

You may now return to your dayjob, toting packets of leptons, and querying quivering quantities of quarks, and return your jaw to default position;)

#36 ::: David Cake ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2005, 01:23 AM:

Like Lisa Goldstein, I was interested to see what people thought about convention masquerades, interesting as Feynman was. At conventions in Australia we have been dedicatedly trying to change con masquerade culture from the costume parade to the crazed costume party dance thing, and its always one of my favourite moments. That moment with everyone dancing, many of them in costumes that no one outside the community would even recognise, a range of ages, professionals and young fans, in our case often a best selling author doing the DJing, is remarkable for its combination of a sense of surrealism and community. It is the all the contradictions of fandom and SF culture confronted in a shared sense of sheer enjoyment.

#37 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2005, 01:35 AM:

David Cake:

I've been in con masquerades, as has my son.

Sorry to have disrupted Lisa Goldstein's thread, so splendidly begun, but I did have in mind several connection between Feynman and dancing. He scored a ballet. He led Carnivale in Rio. And David Brin has a very funny story about Dave and Feynman competing for the attentions of an attractive young woman on the dance floor.

To make a long story short, Brin finally tapped Feynman and the lady on the shoulder, saying "mind if I cut in?"

Unfortunately for Dave's stamina, the next song was "Inna Gadda Davida."

Feynman was wearing a turtleneck shirt, with a large gold thingie on a necklace. A closer look revealed it to be his actual Nobel Prize medallion.

Of course, Dave tells the story so much better. But he's actually writing novels right now, while I'm blogging.

#38 ::: Spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2011, 07:42 AM:

Post #38 links to F*b**k

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