WHY GET UP?

These two short biographical sketches just depress the hell out of me. They make me feel like it's noon on a weekday, I just woke up, there are beer cans all over the floor of my trailer, Geraldo's interviewing transvestite Boy Scouts on the television, and I'm scratching my butt in my torn underwear. Don't read these if you have a self-image problem.

 

about the translator (from the Sanskrit) of Hindu Myths, Penguin Books:

Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty was born in New York in 1940 and trained as a dancer under George Balanchine and Martha Graham before beginning the study of Sanskrit at Radcliffe College in 1958. She holds doctoral degrees in Indian literature from Harvard and Oxford Universities, and has been Lecturer in the Ancient History of South Asia at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, since 1968. Her publications include Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality (co-author with R. Gordon Wasson), Asceticism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Siva and The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology (in press), as well as numerous articles on Indian history, literature and mythology.

 

about the editor of On War by Carl von Clausewitz, Penguin Books:

Anatol Rapoport has been Professor of Mathematical Biology and Senior Research Mathematician at the Mental Health Research Institute, University of Michigan, since 1955. Born in Lozovaya, Russia, in 1911, he went to the United States in 1922. He studied music in Chicago and, from 1929 to 1934, in Vienna, where he graduated from the State Academy of Music with degrees in composition, piano and conducting. He received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1941. After serving in the U.S. air force during the war he became a member of the Chicago University Committee on Mathematical Biology and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Science, Stanford. He is the author of Science and the Goals of Man (1950), Operational Philosophy (1953), Fights, Games and Debates (1960), Strategy and Conscience (1964), Prisoner's Dilemma: A Study in Conflict and Cooperation (1965), and Two-Person Game Theory: the Essential Ideas (1966). Professor Rapoport is an accomplished concert pianist and has given recitals in Europe and in America. He has made extensive visits to Poland and the U.S.S.R., and in 1968 he was guest professor in Vienna and in Denmark. He is married and has three children.

 

         AMENDMENT I

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment
    of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or
    abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the
    right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition
    the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution has been the law of the land since
15 December 1791. The wording of the first ten Amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, is due most to George Mason (1725-1792), a Virginian who refused to sign the Constitution because it didn't take steps to end slavery. The Bill of Rights is largely a reflection of Mason's Declaration of Rights of Virginia, adopted in 1776. This document made Virginia the first North American territory explicitly to affirm the right to practice all religions without government interference; the declaration of religious freedom was one of three achievements Thomas Jefferson had carved on his tomb.

Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman justice of the United States Supreme Court, used Supreme Court stationery to write a political group in Arizona that it was her firm conviction that the United States was an officially Christian nation. To get that job, you have to swear an oath to uphold the Constitution, but apparently you don't have to have read it.
 

 
 
Elmer Elevator,
CyberSpace Schnorrer!

     Hooray for Captain Spaulding, the African explorer!
      (Did someone call me schnorrer???)
     Hooray Hooray Hooray!
                                                                                  -- "A Night at the Opera"

It took me YEARS to finally get off my butt and make this fekakte Web Page!
But that doesn't mean I had no homes in C-Space! I was Sofa-Surfing all over C-Space, and when I'd finally get evicted, or they'd tear an old site down, I'd leave little Cyberpoop behind, so people could keep finding me hither and yon on my fave search engine, AltaVista.
1. Here's my very favorite freeloading, hitchhiking, schnorring site! I just checked, and I'm still there! Lots of times! It's my favorite 'cause I couldn't just wander in, unroll my sleeping bag and start watching reruns of "Seaquest DSV"
... I had to EARN MY KEEP here! To find me, you have to scroll wayyyyy down, but as you'll see, that's a GREAT THING! here, not a bad thing.

               http://www.peg.apc.org/~grovesc/prime.htm

By the way ... it's in OZ!

I dare you to get your name on this site, even lower than mine! Good luck!

2. Okay okay, this one's my longest-running Free Vanity Sofa in C-Space. To find out anything about ME, naturally you have to go Somewhere Else:
                            Joe clark's homepage
then follow these links:
    Floridiana / Writers / Robert Merkin

Joe Clark is one of many guys named Joe Clark, including a former Premier of Canada, and a guy who wasn't there when the cops came to Joe Clark's house one dawn with a warrant for Joe Clark. The Joe Clark who was there is a Webmaster, author and devotee of the surprisingly rich literature of Florida. So after you check out the real neat photo of Joe's family in a shimmering Lake o' Java, you'll find a document by and partially about moi, and about

   ¯ a Secret U.S. Government Facility in the desert that
               THEY say doesn't exist;

   ¯ a place where I was No. 2 on the Food Chain;

   ¯ kangaroos;

   ¯ homeless shelters; and ... and ... and ...

 
 tHE gAME OF lIFE

... was invented by British mathematician John Horton Conway and first publicized in Martin Gardner's "Mathematical Games" column in Scientific American in October 1970.

TGoL is "played" on a rectangular grid of  x x y  squares called cells.
Each cell either has an automaton in it, or the cell is vacant.
(Actually, the computer does all the "playing.")

An automaton in a cell surrounded by eight neighbor cells.
Whether it lives or dies in the next generation depends on
how many neighboring cells have automata.
 

The initial grid can be populated with automata randomly or by design, and is called Generation 0, or G(0). Thereafter, new grids are designated G(1), G(2) ... G(n).
 
Each cell is surrounded by eight neighbor cells.

The grid is continuous; in other words, cells at the grid's right edge are neighbors of cells at the left edge. Cells at the top are neighbors of cells at the bottom.

What happens in each cell in each new G(n+1) is determined by these rules:

    1. If an automaton has less than 2 or more than 3 neighbors,
        the automaton dies (of loneliness or overcrowding).

    2. If an automaton has 2 or 3 neighbors,
        it survives into the next generation.

    3. If a vacant cell has 3 neighbors,
        an automaton is born in that cell.

TGoL can be played with pencil and graph paper, but obviously it was born to be played automatically by a computer. It was real cool as it gasped and grunted on black and white screens of the first home computers in the 1970s; today, with 486 and Pentium chips and color, it's spectacular!

                   Yes! You could program this very simple game Right Now on this very computer!
                                     It could be running on your screen in less than an hour!
              All you need is QuickBASIC or QBasic (which is probably already in this computer),
                                   and a big bottle of Jolt Cola! Yes. I'm talking to YOU!
                       Especially if you're a Girl! Who told you only Guys could do this stuff?
                            Well, they Lied! To keep all the high-paying jobs for themselves!
           You can write a poem about the clouds and your feelings Later! Program this game Now!

The point is: What will happen? Will all the automata die? Soon, or after a very long and complex process? Or will the population stabilize somehow and survive indefinitely, forever? Can the ultimate future of a particular G(0) be foretold without actually computing thousands of new generations?

The rectangular setup, and the "Lives if This, Dies if That" simplicity of rules, suggest obvious similarities to the game of Go.

There are also suspicions -- by physicists and mathematicians -- that TGoL may be a useful model for the actual way the smallest ultimate processes of the physical universe behave.
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