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A New Kind of Science

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the want-to-have-read dept.

Science 530

cybrpnk2 writes: "The story is one of epic proportions: Boy genius gets PhD from Cal Tech at age 20, is the youngest recipient ever of the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, writes the Mathematica simulation software used by millions of people, makes millions of dollars in the process, becomes enticed by the seductive lure of the Game of Life, and goes into a decade of seclusion to discover the secrets of the universe. You can catch up on the resulting speculation and hype here. The years of anticipation and publication delays came to an end Tuesday, May 14, 2002 with Stephan Wolfram's release of his opus, A New Kind of Science." Read on for cybrpnk2's review of Wolfram's much-heralded work.

First things first - have I read this book? Hell, no, and if anybody else says THEY have in the next year, they're lying thru their teeth. This book is so dense that if Wolfram had added a single additional page, the whole thing would have imploded into a black hole. That's got to be the only reason he quit writing and finally went to press.

I've been waiting for years for ANKOS to come out. I ordered my copy Tuesday when it was released, got it on Thursday and I've been skimming it like mad since. To give you some idea of how engrossing this book is, I was reading it Friday morning at 4 AM in the bathroom of a Motel 6, curled up in a bedspread on the tile floor to keep from disturbing my wife and stepdaughter during a trip to my stepson's graduation. I've got four college degrees, one in math and two from MIT, and bottom line - this sucker's gonna take a while to digest. However, it's theoretically straightforward enough that anybody with a high enough level of obsession and a few years to stay glued to it can follow it in its entirety. In ANKOS, Wolfram certainly comes across as arrogantly cocky but in the final analysis is he a crank or a revolutionary genius? Who knows, but it's going to be a new nerd pastime for the next decade to argue that point.

ANKOS is 1250+ pages divided into 850 pages of breezy exposition followed by 350 pages of fine-print notes. The exposition is composed of 12 chapters and the notes have about a paragraph per page of topic- and name-dropping technobabble to let you know where to go next for more details on whichever of Wolfram's tangents strike your fancy. Topping the whole thing off is a 60+ page index with thousands of entries in even smaller typeface than the notes.

Despite its length, ANKOS is not a rigorous mathematical proof of anything as much as it is a superficial survey of a vast new intellectual landscape. And what a landscape Wolfram has laid before us. It's all about cellular automations, which have traditionally been relegated to the realm of mathematical recreations. Start with a black square in the center grid square (cell) on the top line of a sheet of graph paper. Think up a few rules about whether a square gets colored black or white on the next line down depending on the colors of its neighbors. Apply these rules to the squares on the next line of the sheet of graph paper. Repeat. Watch what happens. Sounds simple. It isn't.

The first short chapter outlines Wolfram's central thesis: That three hundred years of mathematics based on the equals sign have failed to provide true insight into various complex systems in nature, and that algorithms based on the DO loop can succeed in this endeavor where mathematics has failed. The reason, claims Wolfram, is that deceptively simple algorithms can produce heretofore undreamed of levels of complexity. He claims that while frontier intellectual efforts such as chaos theory, fractals, AI, cybernetics and so forth have hinted at this concept for years, his decade of isolation studying cellular automata has taken the idea of simple algorithms or rules embodying universal complexity to the level of a new paradigm.

The second chapter outlines what Wolfram calls his crucial experiment: the systematic analysis of the 256 simplest rule sets for the most basic cellular automatons. He discovers this "universe" of rules is sufficient to produce his four so-called "classes" of complex systems: order, self-similar nested patterns, structures and most importantly, true randomness. The first two lead to somewhat familiar checkerboard-type patterns and leaf-type fractals; the last two, unforeseen unique shapes and unpredictable sequences. Wolfram stresses that the ability of simple iterative algorithms to produce complex and unique non-fractal shapes as well as truly random sequences of output is in fact a revolutionary new discovery with subtle and profound implications.

The third chapter expands his initial 256-rule-set universe of simple algorithms with many others Wolfram has researched for years in the dead of night while others slept. Rule sets involving multiple colors beyond black-and-white, rule sets that update only one grid square instead of a whole row, rule sets that embody full-blown Turing machines, rule sets that substitute entire sets of patterned blocks into single grid cells, that tag end point grid squares with new patterns, that implement "registers" and "symbols" - Wolfram has examined them all in excruciating detail. And no matter how complex the rule set is he explores, it ends up generating still more and more unexpected complex behavior with many notable features as the rule sets are implemented. This ever-escalating spiral of complexity leads Wolfram to believe that cellular automatons are a viable alternative to mathematics in modeling - in fact, embodying - the inherent complexity of the natural world.

In chapter four, he begins this process, by linking cellular automatons to the natural world concept of numbers. Automatons that multiply and divide, that calculate prime numbers and generate universal constants like pi, that calculate square roots and even more complex numerical functions like partial differential equations - Wolfram details them all. Who needs conscious human minds like those of Pythagoras or Newton to laboriously work out over thousands of years the details of things like trigonometry or calculus? Set up dominos in just the right way, flip the first one and stand back - nature can do such calculations automatically, efficiently and mindlessly.

Chapter five broadens the natural scope of cellular automations from one-dimensional numbers to multi-dimensional entities. Simple X-Y Cartesian coordinates are left behind as Wolfram defines "networks" and "constraints" as the canvas on which updated cellular automatons flourish - always generating the ever-higher levels of complexity. More Turing machines and fractals such as snowflakes and biological cells forming organs spontaneously spring forth. So far we've seen some really neat sleight-of-hand that Martin Gardner or Michael Barnsley might have written. But we're only on page 200 of 850 with seven chapters to go, and Wolfram is just now getting warmed up.

Chapter six is where Wolfram begins to lay the foundation for what he believes is so special about his insights and discoveries. Instead of using rigid and fixed initial conditions as the starting points for the cellular automations he has described, he now explores what happens using random and unknown initial conditions in each of his previously defined four "classes" of systems. He finds that while previously explored checkerboard (Class 1) and fractal (Class 2) systems yield few surprises, his newly-discovered unique (Class 3) and random (Class 4) cellular automaton systems generate still higher levels of complexity and begin to exhibit behavior that can simulate any of the four classes - a telltale hint of universality. Furthermore, their behavior starts to be influenced by "attractors" that guide them to "structure" and self-organization.

With the scent of universality and self-organization in the air, Wolfram begins in chapter seven to compare and contrast his cellular automations to various real-world topics of interest. Billiards, taffy-making, Brownian motion, casino games, the three-body problem, pachinko machines - randomness is obviously a factor in all of these. Yet, Wolfram notes, while randomness is embedded in the initiation and influences the outcomes of each of these processes, none of them actually generate true randomness in the course of running the process itself. The cellular automations he has catalogued, particularly his beloved Rule 30, do. The realization that cellular automations can uniquely serve as an initiator or generator of true randomness is a crucial insight, leading to the difference between continuity and discreteness and ultimately to the origins of simple behaviors. How, you ask? Hey, Wolfram takes most of the chapter to lay it out in a manner that I'm still trying to follow: no way can I summarize it in a sentence or two.

By chapter eight, Wolfram believes he has laid out sufficient rationale for why you, me and everybody else should think cellular automations are indeed the mirror we should be looking in to find true reflections of the world around us. Forget the Navier-Stokes equations - if you want to understand fluid flow, you have to think of it as a cellular automation process. Ditto for crystal growth. Ditto for fracture mechanics. Ditto for Wall Street. Most definitely ditto for biological systems like leaf growth, seashell growth and pigmentation patterns. This is very convincing stuff - tables of Mathematica-generated cellular automation shapes side by side with the photos of corresponding leaves or seashells or pigment patterns found in nature. Yes, you've seen this before in all of the fractals textbooks. The difference between fractals and cellular automations: fractals are a way to mathematically catalog the points that make up the object while cellular automations are a way to actually physically create the object via a growth process. It's a somewhat subtle difference - and a key Wolfram point.

Having established some credibility for his ideas, Wolfram stretches that credibility to the limit in chapter nine, where he applies his cellular automation ideas to fundamental physics. It was practically inevitable he would do this - his first published paper as a teenager was on particle physics, and that's the field he got his PhD in from Cal Tech at age 20 before going on to write the Mathematica software program and make his millions as a young businessman. Despite his solid background in physics, this seems at first blush to be pretty speculative stuff. He shifts his focus on the cellular automations from randomness to reversibility, and describes several rule-sets that both lead to complexity and are reversible. This behavior is an apparent violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. From Wolfram's way of thinking, if the universe is indeed some kind of ongoing cellular automation, then it may well be reversible and the Second Law must not be the whole story, so there must be something more we have yet to learn about the nature of the universe itself. He continues extensive speculations on what this may be, and how space, time, gravity, relativity and quantum mechanics must all be manifestations of this underlying Universal Cellular Automation. The rule set for this ultimate automation, which Wolfram believes might ultimately be expressed as only a few lines of code in Mathematica, takes the place of a mathematically-defined unified field theory in Wolfram's world. This is mind-blowing stuff, but ultimately boils down to Wolfram's opinion. I have great difficulty in comprehending space and time and matter and energy as "mere" manifestations of some cellular automation - if so, what is left to be the "system" on which the automation itself is running? I'm reduced to one of Clarke's Laws: The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we CAN imagine ...

Wolfram shifts from Kubrick-style religion back to mere philosophy in chapter ten, where he explores how cellular automations are perceived by the human mind. Visual image perception, the human perception of complexity and randomness, cryptography, data compression, statistical analysis, and the nature of mathematics as a mental artifact are all explored. The chapter ends on a discussion of language and the mechanics of thinking itself. Wolfram reaches no real concrete conclusions on any of these, except that once again cellular automation is a revolutionary new tool to use in achieving new insights on all of these topics.

Chapter eleven jumps from the human mind to the machine mind by exploring not the nature of consciousness but the nature of computation instead. He goes here into somewhat deeper detail on ideas he has introduced earlier, about how cellular automations can perform mathematical calculations, emulate other computational systems, and act as universal Turing machines. He focuses on the implications of randomness in Class 4 systems and the universality embodied in systems like that of his Rule 110. His arguments lead up to a closing realization, what he does not call but may one day be named Wolfram's Law.

The final chapter, chapter twelve, discusses what all of Wolfram's years of isolation and work have led him to conclude. He calls it the Principle of Computational Equivalence. What follows is an unavoidably oversimplified distillation of Wolfram's thoughts on the PCE. If indeed cellular automations are somehow at the heart of the universe around us, then the human effort to reduce the universe to understandable models and formulas and simulations is ultimately doomed to failure. Because of the nature of cellular automation computation, there is no way to come up with a shortcut method that will deduce the final outcome of a system in advance of it actually running to completion. We can currently compute a rocket trajectory or a lens shape or a skyscraper framework in advance using mathematics merely because these are ridiculously simple human efforts. New technologies based not on mathematics but instead on cellular-automations like wind-tunnel simulators and nanobot devices will be exciting technological advances but will not lead to a fundamentally new understanding of nature. Issues that humans define as undecidability and intractability will always limit the level of understanding we will ultimately achieve, and will always have impacts on philosophical questions such as predestination and free will. To conclude with Wolfram's own final paragraph in the book:

"And indeed in the end the PCE encapsulates both the ultimate power and the ultimate weakness of science. For it implies that all the wonders of the universe can in effect be captured by simple rules, yet it shows that there can be no way to know all the consequences of these rules, except in effect just to watch and see how they unfold."

As noted above, 350+ pages of notes follow this exposition, and trust me, there's no way they can be summarized. To mention one nugget I found amusing as I envisioned Wolfram working towards endless dawns on ANKOS, he thinks sleep has no purpose except to allow removal of built-up brain wastes that cannot be removed while conscious. So much for dreaming.

So what is the bottom line on ANKOS? It is a towering piece of work and an enduring monument to what a focused and disciplined intellect can achieve. It is very thought provoking. It will definitely lead to new work and progress on cellular automation theory and some interesting technological applications we should all look forward to with anticipation. But is it the next Principia, the herald of a new scientific revolution?

Read and decide for yourself. Only time, and a lot of it, will tell.


To read it yourself, you can purchase A New Kind of Science at bn.com. You can read your own book reviews in this space by submitting your reviews after reading the book review guidelines.

cancel ×

530 comments

froszt pist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558286)

it was me.

Haiku! (1)

Haiku_troll (580701) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558615)

A new paradigm
Algorithms and DO loops
Equals sign is out

Feline Poop (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558287)

Fuck all of you motherfucking LambdaMOOers! Fuck you hard and fuck you well! That's right! Fuck y'all!

First (communist) post (-1, Offtopic)

Saloth Sar (559229) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558288)

First (communist) post!

One in math? (2, Funny)

BoyPlankton (93817) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558290)

I've got four college degrees, one in math and two from MIT, and bottom line - this sucker's gonna take a while to digest.

1 + 2 = 4?

Re:One in math? (2, Redundant)

kryzx (178628) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558357)

The degree in math was from Enron Community College. The actual degree name is "Baccalaureate of the Fine Arts in The Flexible New Math of the Quasi-Legal Gray Areas". At MIT he only studied history and phys. ed.

Re:One in math? (2, Informative)

cybrpnk2 (579066) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558364)

Ahem....and one non-math, non-MIT degree...

Re:One in math? (0, Redundant)

BoyPlankton (93817) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558407)

Ahem....and one non-math, non-MIT degree...

I kinda figured ...

Re:One in math? (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558446)

I assume you were too embarised to admit that huh :-)

Re:One in math? (2, Funny)

skroz (7870) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558634)

It was Sociology, wasn't it. Nobody wants to admit to a sociology degree. Stupid, stupid social science majors.

Re:One in math? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558370)

Don't use "=" and it is all ok.

Re:One in math? (1, Redundant)

Changer2002 (577488) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558409)

He's obviously saying his math degree wasn't from MIT.

Re:One in math? (2, Funny)

gila_monster (544999) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558429)

Hey, if you had four degrees, you'd understand that math....

Re:One in math? (2)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558438)

"... one in math and two from MIT" is -- obviously, I think -- not a complete description/list of his degrees. He's just making the point that the degrees that he has probably aren't shallow, and by implication neither is the book.

Re:One in math? (2)

OblongPlatypus (233746) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558470)

How can the degrees of the reviewer implicate anything about the book? If that's a consequence of this new kind of science, I'm a bit dubious to the whole thing :)

Re:One in math? (2)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558524)

The degrees of a reviewer don't prove but do imply a certain level of intellectual ability. Combined with the admission that the reviewer that the book will "take a while to digest", this doesn't not prove but does imply that it's a challenging book.

Re:One in math? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558582)

I've got four college degrees, one in math and two from MIT, and bottom line - this sucker's gonna take a while to digest.

I've got four sandwiches, one is ham, and the other two are from the store.

Re:One in math? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558647)

what kind of tard gets four undergrad degrees.

Suddenly (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558291)

My 30 page paper due in 7 hours dosen't seem that bad.

I have read this book (-1)

Ratface (21117) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558294)

no, really! From page to page :-D

Stuff about genius being recluses (5, Informative)

phwiffo (139975) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558295)

I suggest seeing pi [pithemovie.com] if you like this story.

Great soundtrack too.

Re:Stuff about genius being recluses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558612)

Well, it would be like Wolfram if the movie didn't have anything to do with pi, and the guy was weird just because he was weird.

for the karmicly whoringly inclined (0, Offtopic)

kryzx (178628) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558300)

Go here [slashdot.org] , pick goodies, and karma whore to your hearts content.

New Science (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558306)

Does anybody know if NetBSD has been ported to this yet?

Please: 420 Lewis !! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558325)

Give us a break. This story is a repeat of
the earlier one:
(the 420 Hemp Fest); Ann Arbor, MI (the Hash Bash); and
Washington, D.C. (buildup towards the July 4th Smoke-In).

Original Source(s)

Conventional wisdom: The most common tale is that 420 is the
police radio code or criminal code (and therefore the police call)
in certain part(s) of California (e.g. in Los Angeles or San
Francisco) for having spotted someone consuming cannabis
publicly, i.e. pot smoking in progress; that local cannabis users
picked up on the code and began celebrating the number temporally
(esp. 4:20 a.m., 4:20 p.m., and April 20); that the number became
nationally popularized in the late 1980s and, more ferverently, in
the early- to mid-1990s; and is colloquially applied to a variety of
relaxed and/or inspired contexts, including not only pot
consumption but also a good time more generally (in contrast to
the drug war surrounding).

Conventions are legends: 420 is not police radio code for
anything, anywhere. Checks of criminal codes (including those of
the City of San Francisco, the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles
County, the State of California, and the federal penal code) suggest
that the origin is neither Californian nor federal (the two best
guesses). For instance, California Penal Code 420 defines as a
misdemeanor the hindrance of use (obstructing entry) of public
lands, and California Family Code 420 defines what constitutes a
wedding ceremony (Marco). One state does come close: The
Illinois Department of Revenue classifies the Alcoholic Liquor Act
under Part 420, and the Cannabis and Controlled Substances Tax
Act are next, under Part 428. (RB 5/19/99)

True story?: According to Steven Hager, editor of High Times,
the term 420 originated at San Rafael High School, in 1971,
among a group of about a dozen pot-smoking wiseacres who
called themselves the Waldos. The term 420 was shorthand for the
time of day the group would meet, at the campus statue of Louis
Pasteur, to smoke pot. ``Waldo Steve,'' a member of the group who
now owns a business in San Francisco, says the Waldos would
salute each other in the school hallway and say ``420 Louis!'' The
term was one of many invented by the group, but it was the one
that caught on. ``It was just a joke, but it came to mean all kinds of
things, like `Do you have any?' or `Do I look stoned?' '' he said.
``Parents and teachers wouldn't know what we were talking about.''
The term took root, and flourished, and spread beyond San Rafael
with the assistance of the Grateful Dead and their dedicated cohort
of pot-smoking fans. The Waldos decided to assert their claim to
the history of the term after decades of watching it spread, mutate
and be appropriated by commercial interests. The Waldos contacted
Hager, and presented him with evidence of 420's history, primarily
a collection of postmarked letters from the early '70s with lots of
mention of 420. They also started a Web site, waldo420.com. ``We
have proof, we were the first,'' Waldo Steve said. ``I mean, it's not
like we wrote a book or invented anything. We just came up with a
phrase. But it's kind of an honor that this emanated from San
Rafael.'' Maria Alicia Gaura for the San Francisco Chronicle,
4/20/00 p. A19; and thanks to Noah Cole for the submission

Alternate explanations

There are a variety of other explanations, all much more interesting
than police code, and many plausible. Some are more likely uses
of the 420/hemp connection rather than sources of it, such as the
score for the football game in Fast Times at Ridgement High,
42-0.

Known Myths: It isn't police code (see above). There are 315
chemicals in marijuana, not 420. And although tea time in
Amsterdam is rumored to be 4:20, it is actually 5:30 (Gerhard
den Hollander).
Sixties Songs: For instance, Bob Dylan's famous Rainy Day
Women #12 and 35 is a possible reference, or source --
12x35=420. And Stephen Stills wrote (and Crosby Stills Nash
although it is possible to hypothesize that these
deaths, too, had their purpose, since 420 has been, since time
immemorial, the number associated with fraud, deception and
trickery. (Comet 2/14/98) Comet's best guess is that this
refers to something in Indian mythology or numerology, since
the book is set in India and frequently involves Indian history,
culture, and religion. Given the high interest in Eastern
religion among the phish/dead community, this seems a likely
origin of 420's current significance.
Temporal Significance: Hands on analog clock at 4:20 look
like position of doobie dangling from mouth Larry in
Tuscan and Alex Mack 5/19/99). Disruptive students are out
of detention and safetly away from school by 4:20, also
rumored to be the time that you should dose to be peaking
when the Dead went on stage Hart. The Waldos were a
group of teens back in the 70's that lived in San Rafael, CA.
420 was the way they talked about pot in front of teachers,
non-smoking family members etc. Also it was the time of day
they could just go relax, and get baked. (PhunkCellar)
Jamaicans purportedly worked till 4 then walked home then
lit up. They would talk 420 like our parents talked about after
5. That's when partying began Larry in Tuscan). Albert (not
Abbie) Hofmann supposedly first encountered LSD at 4:20
p.m. on 4/19/1943 (Bart Coleman citing Storming Heaven by
Jay Stevens, recommended by Mickey Hart in Planet Drum).
Surrealist painter Miro was born April 20, 1893. And
www.filmspeed.com says the propoganda film Reefer
Madness has a copyright date of April 20, 1936 (i.e. 4/20).
(Patrick Woolford)
Misc: Could be that it comes from hydroponics, the practice
of cultivating plants in water often used by indoor marijuana
cultivators, since 4 is used for H on a calculator (420/H20).
(Nick Lowe 3/30/00) The number 80 (eight) is quatre vingt
(pronounced cah-truh vahn), meaning four (times} twenty.
Dan Nijjar 1/27/00 (No connection yet between the number
80 and pot. A quarter pound is roughly 120 grams, rounding
quarter-ounces to 7.5.) The titanic was supposed to arrive
4/20/1912. (Thanks to RB.) Perhaps the heavy use of vt420
terminals in the Berkeley area is to blame? (BTW, 420 in
binary code is 110100100.)

Ubiquitous?

Now there's a 420 Pale Ale. One of the late-97/early-98 Got
Milk ads featured a character eating cookies without milk and
then passing a sign that reads Next Rest Area 420 miles (as Ross
Bruning). Reportedly, all of the clocks in the movie Pulp Fiction
are stuck on 4:20. Shirts with the number 420 on the red-and-blue
interstate highway shield (Interstate 420?) have show up on the
sitcom Will and Grace (Paul Risenhoover 5/14/99) and in several
videos. UPS' labelling software has a 420 postal code legend for
next-day/2-day deliveries (which is how Phish tickets are sent).
(Jack Lebowitz 10/3/98) MTV's 1997 Viewer's Choice Award (for
the MTV Video Awards) was decided by calls to
1-800-420-4MTV. And by May of 1998, the number was
appearing in so many ads (eg Copenhagen 5/14/98 Rolling Stone
p54, Corvette p55 5/98 Car -), Homer mentions to
Flanders that Barney's birthday is April 20th. Also, the jackpot sign
in one part of the casino says $420,000. There are a couple less
concrete ones, but these two have to be legit, especially since they
decided to air THAT particular episode on 4/20/99. (Submitted by
Matt Meehan 4/21/99) And (as of Fall '99) the 60 free minutes that
Working Assets Long Distance offers, at the 7 cents per minute
rate, is $4.20 free. There's even a band named 420, and another
names . In the first fifteen pages of Karel Capek's novel War with
the Newts, a man diving under wonder stayed down for four
minutes and twenty seconds. Grant Garstka 1/6/00 At the
suggested retail price ($3.96) and Michigan (6%) sales tax, a deck
of Uno cards costs $4.20. Nic Boris 4:20 marks the first downbeat
of the drums in Led Zeppelin's epic Stairway to Heaven. (Dan
Harris) The bill authorizing force after the World Trade Center
attacks of 9/11/01 passed 420 to 1, and news reports in following
months noted many times that there are (or were then, anyway) 420
airports in the U.S. Allan Morris And don't forget that Adolf Hitler
was born on April 20, macabely celebrated (or at least
referenced) via the Columbine High School shootings.

Phish-related Occurances

Whatever the origin, the number appears frequently... For the
summer 1997 tour, TicketMaster service charges were $4.20. In
the Fall 1997 Doniac Schvice Dry Goods section, a limited edition
Pollack poster printed on 100% hemp is order number 420P. The
Great Went was 420 miles from Boston (former home of Phish).
The official logo includes 4 gills and 20 bubbles (Gringo
11/12/98). As of 6/15/97, including covers and originals, Phish
had performed a total of 420 songs (thought its 486 by 4/24/98).
(David Steinberg). Lawnboy is 420megs of memory. Patrick
Walker Phish's The Vibration of Life underlies a whirling loop
with Seven Beats per second (which makes 420 beats per minute.)
Trey has used the altered line woke up at 4:20 in Makisupa
Policeman, which also often indirectly celebrates 420ing, e.g. by
mention of goo balls. One of the funniest shirts around takes light
jabs at both the 4:20 phenomenon and the rumored evolution
(collapse?) of the Phish.Net (especially rec.music.phish) from
being Gamehendge to Flamehendge, and beyond. The first day of
the Great Went started at 4:20 (with Makisupa Policeman. (The
second day started late, at 4:37.) Noah Cole The first single from
Slip Stitch and Pass was played on WBCN 10/14/97 at 4:20 pm.
An uproar at 12/31/96 can be heard on tape during the 2001, in
response to an enormous digital clock (which was counting down
to midnight) reaching 11:55:40 and reading -4:20. (Yoda)
During the 9-12-00 2001, Trey hits the first riff right at 4:20 into
the intro jam. (Cal 2/25/01) Some mail order tickets for the 1997
New Year's run were in section 420. The first Mass Pike toll
leaving Oswego was $4.20. (Camille Heath ) And the standard
shipping for The Phish Companion through Amazon was
originally $4.20.

420 Shows: Phish performed on April 20 in 1989, 1990, 1991,
1993, and 1994. The first day of the Great Went started at 4:20,
although that was called a soundcheck by Trey after three songs.
The Jazzfest Harry Hood 4-26-96 started at about 4:20 reported by
Trevor. At Big Cypress, David Bowie was playing at 4:20 a.m.
And the one event during the hiatus (10/8/00 - ?) featuring all
four members - for Jason Colton's wedding - was 12/1/01, 420
from: http://www.phish.net/faq/n420.html:

This will change everything! (-1, Offtopic)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558337)

and I quote, from pp 873:

"Why can't Nerds tell Veteran's day from Halloween?

Because 7(dec) == 31(hex)!!

LOL!"


Ummm... (1)

Nermal (7573) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558559)

Because 7(dec) == 31(hex)!!

Hmm. Either I'm totally misunderstanding you, or that's wrong.
7 in decimal == 7 in hex.
49 in decimal == 31 in hex.

Re:This will change everything! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558643)

You eat the ass cock fucktard!

Deep Thought (4, Funny)

mikester911 (223866) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558338)

"Can you give us the answer to life?", they asked the computer.

Deep Thought pondered their question.

"Yes," he said. "But it will be tricky. And first I have to write Mathmatica."

(apologies to Mr. Adams fans)

Re:Deep Thought (1)

mikester911 (223866) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558377)

Crap.

Mathematica, not Mathmatica.

Re:Deep Thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558523)

I never seen someone flame their own post for spelling.

Watch out, you'll probably get flamed here soon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558528)

People are pretty gay about things being miss-spelled. Don't worry, mistakes happen, the keys on your keyboard move places. We understand.

-don't shove a fork up you nose

Re:Watch out, you'll probably get flamed here soon (0)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558594)

I think he's a troll.

He's delebritly misquoting beloved science fiction stories and delebritly mispelling words!

Permutation City (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558341)

Scifi had this all figured out already.

Re:Permutation City (1)

sbsaylors (556191) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558454)

Hum.... I thought the answer to the universe was 42?

I wonder (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558358)

Will this 4 line algorithm that describes the Universe eventually simulate /. stories that appear twice in as many days?

If so, I'm a believer!

Re:I wonder (-1)

perl_god (578135) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558383)

Will this 4 line algorithm that describes the Universe eventually simulate /. stories that appear twice in as many days?

Yes, but it will be written in Perl, and consequently unintelligible to anyone except the Programmer.

Re:I wonder (1)

John Allsup (987) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558663)

Besides -- write the 4 line algorithm as a diophantine equation and voila! back comes the equals sign.

rules ... true randomness (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558368)


He discovers this "universe" of rules is sufficient to produce his four so-called "classes" of complex systems: order, self-similar nested patterns, structures and most importantly, true randomness.

Or, to make it clearer:
rules ... true randomness.

Right.

Kurzwiel's Review (5, Informative)

Hartree (191324) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558389)

Well thought out review [kurzweilai.net]

Wolfram is looking at a piece of the puzzle, IMHO. Though his book seems to be a tour de force of applying specific cellular automata to generate all sorts of neat things, I don't see it as being particularly new. This is more a book to bring it to the attention of people in other fields who may be able to make use of it. Rather like Mandelbrot's The Fractal Geometry of Nature.

Re:Kurzwiel's Review (5, Insightful)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558472)

Wolfram is looking at a piece of the puzzle, IMHO.

Have you read the book? Or just reviews of the book?

(No offense meant, but there are a lot of people who seem to think that one can somehow form a meaningful opinion of something just by exposure to other folks opinions of it.)

Re:Kurzwiel's Review (1)

e40 (448424) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558560)

"... But Ray Kurzweil challenges the ability of these ideas to fully explain the complexities of life, intelligence, and physical phenomena."

Kurweil to Wolfram: you are a genius, but I'm more of a genius.

Just in Case this Story gets /.ed! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558397)

A New Kind of SciencePosted by timothy on Tuesday May 21, @10:45AM cybrpnk2 writes: "The story is one of epic proportions: Boy genius gets PhD from Cal Tech at age 20, is the youngest recipient ever of the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, writes the Mathematica simulation software used by millions of people, makes millions of dollars in the process, becomes enticed by the seductive lure of the Game of Life, and goes into a decade of seclusion to discover the secrets of the universe. You can catch up on the resulting speculation and hype here. The years of anticipation and publication delays came to an end Tuesday, May 14, 2002 with Stephan Wolfram's release of his opus, A New Kind of Science." Read on for cybrpnk2's review of Wolfram's much-heralded work. A New Kind Of Science author Stephen Wolfram pages 1197 (plus 62 page index) publisher Wolfram Media, Inc. rating 10 reviewer cybrpnk2 ISBN 1-57955-008-8 summary A long awaited treatise that cellular automations, not mathematics, holds the key to understanding reality First things first - have I read this book? Hell, no, and if anybody else says THEY have in the next year, they're lying thru their teeth. This book is so dense that if Wolfram had added a single additional page, the whole thing would have imploded into a black hole. That's got to be the only reason he quit writing and finally went to press. I've been waiting for years for ANKOS to come out. I ordered my copy Tuesday when it was released, got it on Thursday and I've been skimming it like mad since. To give you some idea of how engrossing this book is, I was reading it Friday morning at 4 AM in the bathroom of a Motel 6, curled up in a bedspread on the tile floor to keep from disturbing my wife and stepdaughter during a trip to my stepson's graduation. I've got four college degrees, one in math and two from MIT, and bottom line - this sucker's gonna take a while to digest. However, it's theoretically straightforward enough that anybody with a high enough level of obsession and a few years to stay glued to it can follow it in its entirety. In ANKOS, Wolfram certainly comes across as arrogantly cocky but in the final analysis is he a crank or a revolutionary genius? Who knows, but it's going to be a new nerd pastime for the next decade to argue that point. ANKOS is 1250+ pages divided into 850 pages of breezy exposition followed by 350 pages of fine-print notes. The exposition is composed of 12 chapters and the notes have about a paragraph per page of topic- and name-dropping technobabble to let you know where to go next for more details on whichever of Wolfram's tangents strike your fancy. Topping the whole thing off is a 60+ page index with thousands of entries in even smaller typeface than the notes. Despite its length, ANKOS is not a rigorous mathematical proof of anything as much as it is a superficial survey of a vast new intellectual landscape. And what a landscape Wolfram has laid before us. It's all about cellular automations, which have traditionally been relegated to the realm of mathematical recreations. Start with a black square in the center grid square (cell) on the top line of a sheet of graph paper. Think up a few rules about whether a square gets colored black or white on the next line down depending on the colors of its neighbors. Apply these rules to the squares on the next line of the sheet of graph paper. Repeat. Watch what happens. Sounds simple. It isn't. The first short chapter outlines Wolfram's central thesis: That three hundred years of mathematics based on the equals sign have failed to provide true insight into various complex systems in nature, and that algorithms based on the DO loop can succeed in this endeavor where mathematics has failed. The reason, claims Wolfram, is that deceptively simple algorithms can produce heretofore undreamed of levels of complexity. He claims that while frontier intellectual efforts such as chaos theory, fractals, AI, cybernetics and so forth have hinted at this concept for years, his decade of isolation studying cellular automata has taken the idea of simple algorithms or rules embodying universal complexity to the level of a new paradigm. The second chapter outlines what Wolfram calls his crucial experiment: the systematic analysis of the 256 simplest rule sets for the most basic cellular automatons. He discovers this "universe" of rules is sufficient to produce his four so-called "classes" of complex systems: order, self-similar nested patterns, structures and most importantly, true randomness. The first two lead to somewhat familiar checkerboard-type patterns and leaf-type fractals; the last two, unforeseen unique shapes and unpredictable sequences. Wolfram stresses that the ability of simple iterative algorithms to produce complex and unique non-fractal shapes as well as truly random sequences of output is in fact a revolutionary new discovery with subtle and profound implications. The third chapter expands his initial 256-rule-set universe of simple algorithms with many others Wolfram has researched for years in the dead of night while others slept. Rule sets involving multiple colors beyond black-and-white, rule sets that update only one grid square instead of a whole row, rule sets that embody full-blown Turing machines, rule sets that substitute entire sets of patterned blocks into single grid cells, that tag end point grid squares with new patterns, that implement "registers" and "symbols" - Wolfram has examined them all in excruciating detail. And no matter how complex the rule set is he explores, it ends up generating still more and more unexpected complex behavior with many notable features as the rule sets are implemented. This ever-escalating spiral of complexity leads Wolfram to believe that cellular automatons are a viable alternative to mathematics in modeling - in fact, embodying - the inherent complexity of the natural world. In chapter four, he begins this process, by linking cellular automatons to the natural world concept of numbers. Automatons that multiply and divide, that calculate prime numbers and generate universal constants like pi, that calculate square roots and even more complex numerical functions like partial differential equations - Wolfram details them all. Who needs conscious human minds like those of Pythagoras or Newton to laboriously work out over thousands of years the details of things like trigonometry or calculus? Set up dominos in just the right way, flip the first one and stand back - nature can do such calculations automatically, efficiently and mindlessly. Chapter five broadens the natural scope of cellular automations from one-dimensional numbers to multi-dimensional entities. Simple X-Y Cartesian coordinates are left behind as Wolfram defines "networks" and "constraints" as the canvas on which updated cellular automatons flourish - always generating the ever-higher levels of complexity. More Turing machines and fractals such as snowflakes and biological cells forming organs spontaneously spring forth. So far we've seen some really neat sleight-of-hand that Martin Gardner or Michael Barnsley might have written. But we're only on page 200 of 850 with seven chapters to go, and Wolfram is just now getting warmed up. Chapter six is where Wolfram begins to lay the foundation for what he believes is so special about his insights and discoveries. Instead of using rigid and fixed initial conditions as the starting points for the cellular automations he has described, he now explores what happens using random and unknown initial conditions in each of his previously defined four "classes" of systems. He finds that while previously explored checkerboard (Class 1) and fractal (Class 2) systems yield few surprises, his newly-discovered unique (Class 3) and random (Class 4) cellular automaton systems generate still higher levels of complexity and begin to exhibit behavior that can simulate any of the four classes - a telltale hint of universality. Furthermore, their behavior starts to be influenced by "attractors" that guide them to "structure" and self-organization. With the scent of universality and self-organization in the air, Wolfram begins in chapter seven to compare and contrast his cellular automations to various real-world topics of interest. Billiards, taffy-making, Brownian motion, casino games, the three-body problem, pachinko machines - randomness is obviously a factor in all of these. Yet, Wolfram notes, while randomness is embedded in the initiation and influences the outcomes of each of these processes, none of them actually generate true randomness in the course of running the process itself. The cellular automations he has catalogued, particularly his beloved Rule 30, do. The realization that cellular automations can uniquely serve as an initiator or generator of true randomness is a crucial insight, leading to the difference between continuity and discreteness and ultimately to the origins of simple behaviors. How, you ask? Hey, Wolfram takes most of the chapter to lay it out in a manner that I'm still trying to follow: no way can I summarize it in a sentence or two. By chapter eight, Wolfram believes he has laid out sufficient rationale for why you, me and everybody else should think cellular automations are indeed the mirror we should be looking in to find true reflections of the world around us. Forget the Navier-Stokes equations - if you want to understand fluid flow, you have to think of it as a cellular automation process. Ditto for crystal growth. Ditto for fracture mechanics. Ditto for Wall Street. Most definitely ditto for biological systems like leaf growth, seashell growth and pigmentation patterns. This is very convincing stuff - tables of Mathematica-generated cellular automation shapes side by side with the photos of corresponding leaves or seashells or pigment patterns found in nature. Yes, you've seen this before in all of the fractals textbooks. The difference between fractals and cellular automations: fractals are a way to mathematically catalog the points that make up the object while cellular automations are a way to actually physically create the object via a growth process. It's a somewhat subtle difference - and a key Wolfram point. Having established some credibility for his ideas, Wolfram stretches that credibility to the limit in chapter nine, where he applies his cellular automation ideas to fundamental physics. It was practically inevitable he would do this - his first published paper as a teenager was on particle physics, and that's the field he got his PhD in from Cal Tech at age 20 before going on to write the Mathematica sg businessman. Despite his solid background in physics, this seems at first blush to be prettyular automations from randomness to reversibility, and describes several rule-sets that both lead to complexity and are reversible. This behavior is an apparent violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. From Wolfram's way of thinking, if the universe is indeed some kind of ongoing cellular automation, then it may well be reversible and the Second Law must not be the whole story, so there must be something more we have yet to learn about the nature of the universe itself. He continues extensive speculations on what this may be, and how space, time, gravity, relativity and quantum mechanics must all be manifestations of this underlying Universal Cellular Automation. The rule set for this ultimate automation, which Wolfram believes might ultimately be expressed as only a few lines of code in Mathematica, takes the place of a mathematically-defined unified field theory in Wolfram's world. This is mind-blowing stuff, but ultimately boils down to Wolfram's opinion. I have great difficulty in comprehending space and time and matter and energy as "mere" manifestations of some cellular automation - if so, what is left to be the "system" on which the automation itself is running? I'm reduced to one of Clarke's Laws: The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we CAN imagine ... Wolfram shifts from Kubrick-style religion back to mere philosophy in chapter ten, where he explores how cellular automations are perceived by the human mind. Visual image perception, the human perception of complexity and randomness, cryptography, data compression, statistical analysis, and the nature of mathematics as a mental artifact are all explored. The chapter ends on a discussion of language and the mechanics of thinking itself. Wolfram reaches no real concrete conclusions on any of these, except that once again cellular automation is a revolutionary new tool to use in achieving new insights on all of these topics. Chapter eleven jumps from the human mind to the machine mind by exploring not the nature of consciousness but the nature of computation instead. He goes here into somewhat deeper detail on ideas he has introduced earlier, about how cellular automations can perform mathematical calculations, emulate other computational systems, and act as universal Turing machines. He focuses on the implications of randomness in Class 4 systems and the universality embodied in systems like that of his Rule 110. His arguments lead up to a closing realization, what he does not call but may one day be named Wolfram's Law. The final chapter, chapter twelve, discusses what all of Wolfram's years of isolation and work have led him to conclude. He calls it the Principle of Computational Equivalence. What follows is an unavoidably oversimplified distillation of Wolfram's thoughts on the PCE. If indeed cellular automations are somehow at the heart of the universe around us, then the human effort to reduce the universe to understandable models and formulas and simulations is ultimately doomed to failure. Because of the nature of cellular automation computation, there is no way to come up with a shortcut method that will deduce the final outcome of a system in advance of it actually running to completion. We can currently compute a rocket trajectory or a lens shape or a skyscraper framework in advance using mathematics merely because these are ridiculously simple human efforts. New technologies based not on mathematics but instead on cellular-automations like wind-tunnel simulators and nanobot devices will be exciting technological advances but will not lead to a fundamentally new understanding of nature. Issues that humans define as undecidability and intractability will always limit the level of understanding we will ultimately achieve, and will always have impacts on philosophical questions such as predestination and free will. To conclude with Wolfram's own final paragraph in the book: "And indeed in the end the PCE encapsulates both the ultimate power and the ultimate weakness of science. For it implies that all the wonders of the universe can in effect be captured by simple rules, yet it shows that there can be no way to know all the consequences of these rules, except in effect just to watch and see how they unfold." As noted above, 350+ pages of notes follow this exposition, and trust me, there's no way they can be summarized. To mention one nugget I found amusing as I envisioned Wolfram working towards endless dawns on ANKOS, he thinks sleep has no purpose except to allow removal of built-up brain wastes that cannot be removed while conscious. So ottom line on ANKOS? It is a towering piece of work and an enduring monumenly lead to new worknticipation. But is it the next Principia, the herald of a new scientific revolution? Read and decide for yourself. Only time, and a To read it yourself, you can purchase A New Kind of Science at bn.com. You can read your own book reviews in this space by submitting your reviews after reading the book review guidelines.nce at bn.com submitting your reviews book review guidelines cybrpnk2 speculation and hype here A New Kind of Science More on Science Also by timothy Book Reviews Slashdot's book review section is brimming with reader-submitted commentary on interesting books. Here's a sampling of recent reviews -- read below for how you can add yours to the list. For programmers, check out reviews of the Zope Bible, Programming Jabber and other specialized books. If you're just trying to manage programmers, grumpy's review of Managing Einsteins might be just what you're looking for. Meanwhile, keep the company afloat with lessons learned from The MouseDriver Chronicles and The Bombast Transcripts. Science buff? Read Tal Cohen's reaction to Rare Earth, and Peter Wayner on Digital Biology. Don't forget the grain of salt in Voodoo Science, either. His Dark Materials is one of the many Science Fiction titles that Slashdot readers have praised or panned for your pleasure And somewhere between Sci-Fi and reality are books like Flesh and Machines, reporting from the intersection of yesterday's fiction and current technology. It's easy to submit your own reviews for consideration, too. Just read the Slashdot book review guidelines, and then use the web submission form. Update: 20020427 12:50 by timothy Interview with Dr. Villanueva A New Kind of Science | Preferences | Top | 9 comments | Search Discussion Threshold: Save: Change Reply The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way. for the karmicly whoringly inclined (Score:2) by kryzx on Tuesday May 21, @10:50AM (#3558300) (User #178628 Info | http://slashdot.org/) Go here [slashdot.org], pick goodies, and karma whore to your hearts content. [ Reply to This | Parent ] Stuff about genius being recluses (Score:1) by phwiffo on Tuesday May 21, @10:50AM (#3558295) (User #139975 Info | http://www.newelement.org/brodie) I suggest seeing pi [pithemovie.com] if you like this story. Great soundtrack too. -- Trolls, it must be cool to be that bored. [ Reply to This | Parent ] I have read this book (Score:0) by10:49AM (#3558294) (User #211 "Give the anarchist a cigarette" - Alice Nutter, Chumbawamba Wap-Dev email list/ [ Reply to This | Parent ] Suddenly (Score:0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 21, @10:49AM (#3558291) My 30 page paper due in 7 hours dosen't seem that bad. [ Reply to This | Parent ] One in math? (Score:2) by BoyPlankton (plankton(at)xmission(dot)com) on Tuesday May 21, @10:49AM (#3558290) (User #93817 Info | http://slashdot.org/) I've got four college degrees, one in math and two from MIT, and bottom line - this sucker's gonna take a while to digest. 1 + 2 = 4?

What I want to see : A Book Review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558413)

of "A New Kind Of Bullshit ; A stunning expose of the Scam that is Cognitive Science. Now that would be good reading.

Re:What I want to see : A Book Review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558662)

Last book I read about cognitive science was all about action potenials, ion gates, and other descriptioons of what physically happens in the brain. Don't recall there being many ambitious theories at all. Like looking at an exploded view of a vacuum cleaner..can't really make a judgement call on it.

Full text of review, in case it gets slashdotted. (-1, Offtopic)

Anti-Microsoft Troll (577475) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558418)

First things first - have I read this book? Hell, no, and if anybody else says THEY have in the next year, they're lying thru their teeth. This book is so dense that if Wolfram had added a single additional page, the whole thing would have imploded into a black hole. That's got to be the only reason he quit writing and finally went to press.

I've been waiting for years for ANKOS to come out. I ordered my copy Tuesday when it was released, got it on Thursday and I've been skimming it like mad since. To give you some idea of how engrossing this book is, I was reading it Friday morning at 4 AM in the bathroom of a Motel 6, curled up in a bedspread on the tile floor to keep from disturbing my wife and stepdaughter during a trip to my stepson's graduation. I've got four college degrees, one in math and two from MIT, and bottom line - this sucker's gonna take a while to digest. However, it's theoretically straightforward enough that anybody with a high enough level of obsession and a few years to stay glued to it can follow it in its entirety. In ANKOS, Wolfram certainly comes across as arrogantly cocky but in the final analysis is he a crank or a revolutionary genius? Who knows, but it's going to be a new nerd pastime for the next decade to argue that point.

ANKOS is 1250+ pages divided into 850 pages of breezy exposition followed by 350 pages of fine-print notes. The exposition is composed of 12 chapters and the notes have about a paragraph per page of topic- and name-dropping technobabble to let you know where to go next for more details on whichever of Wolfram's tangents strike your fancy. Topping the whole thing off is a 60+ page index with thousands of entries in even smaller typeface than the notes.

Despite its length, ANKOS is not a rigorous mathematical proof of anything as much as it is a superficial survey of a vast new intellectual landscape. And what a landscape Wolfram has laid before us. It's all about cellular automations, which have traditionally been relegated to the realm of mathematical recreations. Start with a black square in the center grid square (cell) on the top line of a sheet of graph paper. Think up a few rules about whether a square gets colored black or white on the next line down depending on the colors of its neighbors. Apply these rules to the squares on the next line of the sheet of graph paper. Repeat. Watch what happens. Sounds simple. It isn't.

The first short chapter outlines Wolfram's central thesis: That three hundred years of mathematics based on the equals sign have failed to provide true insight into various complex systems in nature, and that algorithms based on the DO loop can succeed in this endeavor where mathematics has failed. The reason, claims Wolfram, is that deceptively simple algorithms can produce heretofore undreamed of levels of complexity. He claims that while frontier intellectual efforts such as chaos theory, fractals, AI, cybernetics and so forth have hinted at this concept for years, his decade of isolation studying cellular automata has taken the idea of simple algorithms or rules embodying universal complexity to the level of a new paradigm.

The second chapter outlines what Wolfram calls his crucial experiment: the systematic analysis of the 256 simplest rule sets for the most basic cellular automatons. He discovers this "universe" of rules is sufficient to produce his four so-called "classes" of complex systems: order, self-similar nested patterns, structures and most importantly, true randomness. The first two lead to somewhat familiar checkerboard-type patterns and leaf-type fractals; the last two, unforeseen unique shapes and unpredictable sequences. Wolfram stresses that the ability of simple iterative algorithms to produce complex and unique non-fractal shapes as well as truly random sequences of output is in fact a revolutionary new discovery with subtle and profound implications.

The third chapter expands his initial 256-rule-set universe of simple algorithms with many others Wolfram has researched for years in the dead of night while others slept. Rule sets involving multiple colors beyond black-and-white, rule sets that update only one grid square instead of a whole row, rule sets that embody full-blown Turing machines, rule sets that substitute entire sets of patterned blocks into single grid cells, that tag end point grid squares with new patterns, that implement "registers" and "symbols" - Wolfram has examined them all in excruciating detail. And no matter how complex the rule set is he explores, it ends up generating still more and more unexpected complex behavior with many notable features as the rule sets are implemented. This ever-escalating spiral of complexity leads Wolfram to believe that cellular automatons are a viable alternative to mathematics in modeling - in fact, embodying - the inherent complexity of the natural world.

In chapter four, he begins this process, by linking cellular automatons to the natural world concept of numbers. Automatons that multiply and divide, that calculate prime numbers and generate universal constants like pi, that calculate square roots and even more complex numerical functions like partial differential equations - Wolfram details them all. Who needs conscious human minds like those of Pythagoras or Newton to laboriously work out over thousands of years the details of things like trigonometry or calculus? Set up dominos in just the right way, flip the first one and stand back - nature can do such calculations automatically, efficiently and mindlessly.

Chapter five broadens the natural scope of cellular automations from one-dimensional numbers to multi-dimensional entities. Simple X-Y Cartesian coordinates are left behind as Wolfram defines "networks" and "constraints" as the canvas on which updated cellular automatons flourish - always generating the ever-higher levels of complexity. More Turing machines and fractals such as snowflakes and biological cells forming organs spontaneously spring forth. So far we've seen some really neat sleight-of-hand that Martin Gardner or Michael Barnsley might have written. But we're only on page 200 of 850 with seven chapters to go, and Wolfram is just now getting warmed up.

Chapter six is where Wolfram begins to lay the foundation for what he believes is so special about his insights and discoveries. Instead of using rigid and fixed initial conditions as the starting points for the cellular automations he has described, he now explores what happens using random and unknown initial conditions in each of his previously defined four "classes" of systems. He finds that while previously explored checkerboard (Class 1) and fractal (Class 2) systems yield few surprises, his newly-discovered unique (Class 3) and random (Class 4) cellular automaton systems generate still higher levels of complexity and begin to exhibit behavior that can simulate any of the four classes - a telltale hint of universality. Furthermore, their behavior starts to be influenced by "attractors" that guide them to "structure" and self-organization.

With the scent of universality and self-organization in the air, Wolfram begins in chapter seven to compare and contrast his cellular automations to various real-world topics of interest. Billiards, taffy-making, Brownian motion, casino games, the three-body problem, pachinko machines - randomness is obviously a factor in all of these. Yet, Wolfram notes, while randomness is embedded in the initiation and influences the outcomes of each of these processes, none of them actually generate true randomness in the course of running the process itself. The cellular automations he has catalogued, particularly his beloved Rule 30, do. The realization that cellular automations can uniquely serve as an initiator or generator of true randomness is a crucial insight, leading to the difference between continuity and discreteness and ultimately to the origins of simple behaviors. How, you ask? Hey, Wolfram takes most of the chapter to lay it out in a manner that I'm still trying to follow: no way can I summarize it in a sentence or two.

By chapter eight, Wolfram believes he has laid out sufficient rationale for why you, me and everybody else should think cellular automations are indeed the mirror we should be looking in to find true reflections of the world around us. Forget the Navier-Stokes equations - if you want to understand fluid flow, you have to think of it as a cellular automation process. Ditto for crystal growth. Ditto for fracture mechanics. Ditto for Wall Street. Most definitely ditto for biological systems like leaf growth, seashell growth and pigmentation patterns. This is very convincing stuff - tables of Mathematica-generated cellular automation shapes side by side with the photos of corresponding leaves or seashells or pigment patterns found in nature. Yes, you've seen this before in all of the fractals textbooks. The difference between fractals and cellular automations: fractals are a way to mathematically catalog the points that make up the object while cellular automations are a way to actually physically create the object via a growth process. It's a somewhat subtle difference - and a key Wolfram point.

Having established some credibility for his ideas, Wolfram stretches that credibility to the limit in chapter nine, where he applies his cellular automation ideas to fundamental physics. It was practically inevitable he would do this - his first published paper as a teenager was on particle physics, and that's the field he got his PhD in from Cal Tech at age 20 before going on to write the Mathematica software program and make his millions as a young businessman. Despite his solid background in physics, this seems at first blush to be pretty speculative stuff. He shifts his focus on the cellular automations from randomness to reversibility, and describes several rule-sets that both lead to complexity and are reversible. This behavior is an apparent violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. From Wolfram's way of thinking, if the universe is indeed some kind of ongoing cellular automation, then it may well be reversible and the Second Law must not be the whole story, so there must be something more we have yet to learn about the nature of the universe itself. He continues extensive speculations on what this may be, and how space, time, gravity, relativity and quantum mechanics must all be manifestations of this underlying Universal Cellular Automation. The rule set for this ultimate automation, which Wolfram believes might ultimately be expressed as only a few lines of code in Mathematica, takes the place of a mathematically-defined unified field theory in Wolfram's world. This is mind-blowing stuff, but ultimately boils down to Wolfram's opinion. I have great difficulty in comprehending space and time and matter and energy as "mere" manifestations of some cellular automation - if so, what is left to be the "system" on which the automation itself is running? I'm reduced to one of Clarke's Laws: The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we CAN imagine ...

Wolfram shifts from Kubrick-style religion back to mere philosophy in chapter ten, where he explores how cellular automations are perceived by the human mind. Visual image perception, the human perception of complexity and randomness, cryptography, data compression, statistical analysis, and the nature of mathematics as a mental artifact are all explored. The chapter ends on a discussion of language and the mechanics of thinking itself. Wolfram reaches no real concrete conclusions on any of these, except that once again cellular automation is a revolutionary new tool to use in achieving new insights on all of these topics.

Chapter eleven jumps from the human mind to the machine mind by exploring not the nature of consciousness but the nature of computation instead. He goes here into somewhat deeper detail on ideas he has introduced earlier, about how cellular automations can perform mathematical calculations, emulate other computational systems, and act as universal Turing machines. He focuses on the implications of randomness in Class 4 systems and the universality embodied in systems like that of his Rule 110. His arguments lead up to a closing realization, what he does not call but may one day be named Wolfram's Law.

The final chapter, chapter twelve, discusses what all of Wolfram's years of isolation and work have led him to conclude. He calls it the Principle of Computational Equivalence. What follows is an unavoidably oversimplified distillation of Wolfram's thoughts on the PCE. If indeed cellular automations are somehow at the heart of the universe around us, then the human effort to reduce the universe to understandable models and formulas and simulations is ultimately doomed to failure. Because of the nature of cellular automation computation, there is no way to come up with a shortcut method that will deduce the final outcome of a system in advance of it actually running to completion. We can currently compute a rocket trajectory or a lens shape or a skyscraper framework in advance using mathematics merely because these are ridiculously simple human efforts. New technologies based not on mathematics but instead on cellular-automations like wind-tunnel simulators and nanobot devices will be exciting technological advances but will not lead to a fundamentally new understanding of nature. Issues that humans define as undecidability and intractability will always limit the level of understanding we will ultimately achieve, and will always have impacts on philosophical questions such as predestination and free will. To conclude with Wolfram's own final paragraph in the book:

"And indeed in the end the PCE encapsulates both the ultimate power and the ultimate weakness of science. For it implies that all the wonders of the universe can in effect be captured by simple rules, yet it shows that there can be no way to know all the consequences of these rules, except in effect just to watch and see how they unfold."

As noted above, 350+ pages of notes follow this exposition, and trust me, there's no way they can be summarized. To mention one nugget I found amusing as I envisioned Wolfram working towards endless dawns on ANKOS, he thinks sleep has no purpose except to allow removal of built-up brain wastes that cannot be removed while conscious. So much for dreaming.

So what is the bottom line on ANKOS? It is a towering piece of work and an enduring monument to what a focused and disciplined intellect can achieve. It is very thought provoking. It will definitely lead to new work and progress on cellular automation theory and some interesting technological applications we should all look forward to with anticipation. But is it the next Principia, the herald of a new scientific revolution?

Read and decide for yourself. Only time, and a lot of it, will tell.

Re:Full text of review, in case it gets slashdotte (1)

dannywalk (237633) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558570)

thats a bit dumb. this is on the same page as the review. on slashdot. I didn't think you could slashdot slashdot.

Re:Full text of review, in case it gets slashdotte (0)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558610)

If he really wanted to crapflood slashdot, he could post the whole text of Wolfram's book, one page at a time!!

(I'm making fun of the length of Mr W's book, not making judgement on its insight. Really!)

the best kind of science? (-1, Offtopic)

tps12 (105590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558425)

I like moonerology.

why one book? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558426)

Anyone know why is was published as one giant book rather than in a series ala Knuth?

Continutity (1)

Codex The Sloth (93427) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558497)

Wolfram has said that he wanted to present the work as a single volume (rather than publishing it in journals) so that people can see the "entire work" all at once rather than as bits and pieces. I seem to recall Kevin Spacey in Se7en said the same thing, but it's his book so he can do what he wants.

Re:Continutity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558613)

people can see the "entire work" all at once

Yeah, right. He was probably just afraid of the peer review process...

Crackpot ideas do not tend to do well in it, you know.

wow (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558427)

so, it sounds like this thesis is basicly saying that there is only so much taht we CAN learn and even reach with technology, becasue at some point, we will have no way to predict certain outcomes of complex systems.

hmmmm

well, like all major "discoveries" everyone looks back and says "duh...you can see that hear and there, I thought it was a foregone conclusion"

I think I will attempt this book....who wants to race?

Talking at work (2)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558431)

We were discussing this at work yesterday. As some of my collegues were quick to point out, this is all most likely toss. For cellular automata to be relevant you'd have to assume the universe has a finite number of 'states'. Quantum physics currently is pretty certain it is not.

The analogy used by the super math junkie of the group was that you can describe all physics with 2 equations; it doesn't mean that sheds any insight to anything though.

The one thing that is of interest to me is perhaps using the methods used to create fractals in factoring (since the numberline is self deriving from many many number lines masking one another).

Re:Talking at work (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558474)

I think there is some sort of link though between quantum Physics and this thesis.

Both point out that one can not predict events with 100% certainty.

If there is significance in that or not, I do not know, but the similarity is there.

Re:Talking at work (1)

Codex The Sloth (93427) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558533)

Uh huh. The "guys at work" think it's crap -- guess I'll give it a miss then.

No one has yet found the two equations that describe the universe but all attempts so far but even if they do, the lagrangian will not have an analytic solution and so has to be solved by perturbative methods.

I'm not sure why the "super math junky" (fyi -- math != physics) thinks that this magic equation sheds no insite without knowing what it is...

Re:Talking at work (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558667)

magic equation sheds no insite without knowing what it is

I think we already have such a situation in quantum chemistry.

Assuming you know the analytical wavefunction (or even the approximate series solution obtained by a Configuration Interaction method) of a modestly complex physical system; let's say a large organic molecule. The wave function contains all the information that can possibly be known about the molecule. Yet, it is so insanely-complex-and-beyond-mortal-comprehension that it is hard to get anything useful insight into the system from it. You can't see the forest from the trees.

Seductive lure of the Game of Life? Bah. (2, Insightful)

CaseStudy (119864) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558439)

Article header made it seem like this lopsided prodigy had discovered the real world. Instead he's just shifting his focus a few microns over.

I would love to read a book about more mundane concerns written by someone whose education was accelerated like that, to try to see what a world I already know looks like to them.

A minor and pedantic correction... (1)

sbeitzel (33479) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558443)

...the plural of "automaton" is "automata".

Not as Complicated... (0)

LordYUK (552359) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558452)

...as the EULA that came with {insert Evil Product here}

:)

Fallacies everywhere... (5, Interesting)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558453)

Disclaimer: I haven't read the book yet but I plan on doing so. I have read some of Wolfram's scrawling notes and have a bit of an idea what the general gist of the book is likely to be.


I am disappointed that a Physics PhD could miss out on some fundamental issues here. First of all: anybody who has worked their way through an undergraduate curriculum in Physics understands in a visceral fashion that there is an extreme difference between MODELLING the world with a construct, mathematical, computational or otherwise, and saying that the world IS such a construct. We are in possession of many equations that model certain interactions between different kinds of substances via different forces in the world. Traditional mathematics has yielded many useful tools for modelling these processes. Stating that computational theory or cellular automata may yield useful models as well is an obvious inference. Saying that all physical processes are fundamentally composed of elements that ARE cellular automata seems to me to be a non sequitor. Hell, we don't KNOW what anything in quantum physics or beyond IS really, we just know that certain relationships hold mathetmatically that we can translate in physical conceptions and understanding.


Now, the concept of emergent complexity and complexity theory in general - as I understand it, this is stuff that folks at the Santa Fe Institute and elsewhere have been working on for years, and that the understanding has been around for years that you can model many real-world processes well by systems such as cellular automata or other rule-based systems with complex emergent behaviors.


So... I am left wondering what to make of this book. Ultimately, it will speak for itself when I read it. But it sounds like it's a mix of already known fact with ego and some intuitionist insights into certain physical processes in a monolithic volume. If he PROVES anything interesting and fundamental about certain areas of physics or fluid dynamics, or presents models more useful and meaningful (i.e. that provide information NOT obtainable through current models) than he has produced a valuable scientific work. Otherwise, it's just an interesting treatise that may inspire more meaningful work by others who are more willing to work within the establishment and processes of the mainstream scientific world (not to say that those outside it CAN'T do excellent work, just that I'm not sure if Wolfram can).

Re:Fallacies everywhere... (2, Interesting)

Codex The Sloth (93427) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558565)

He isn't saying it's the "truth" -- he's just saying he's come up with a better framework for working these things out. We all know how trying to solve problems in the wrong framework makes things much more complicated (a trivial example would be the old Physics 101 problem set question of solving problems in the right frame of reference). Coming up with a better framework for solving problems is a huge step forward, if it is in fact true.

Personally, I'm going to read the book BEFORE i decide.

my take... (1)

simpl3x (238301) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558585)

is that he is saying that the world is the model. he is trying to pull down this separation, and as a result is stating that traditional mathematics will never get to a complete understanding, because it is itself a model with a degree of separation.

Re:Fallacies everywhere... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558635)

Disclaimer: likewise

And it's not just physics. I mean, honestly, is anyone surprised that biological structures (ie, things that look like leaves, lungs, shells etc) drop out of the application of a simple algorithm? An algorithm is an efficient way of describing needed infrastructure, well suited to the DNA -> protein -> organism process of converting a design to a thing. Biological data compression.

I AM curious to read about how he solves equations via cellular automaton to see if it is really conceptually different from applying any algorithm for mathematical problem solving; a graphing calculator would, at first blush, appear to do something very similar.

Physics has always used this vocabulary (1)

Flat5 (207129) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558660)

When we talk about general relativity, we say "spacetime is curved." We don't say "spacetime has model that includes curvature which accurately predicts some experiments." Why? It's just tedious to always emphasize that the model is a model; it's easier to just say "is." It doesn't mean the distinction is lost on Wolfram that he doesn't emphasize it.

Another example: we say massive bodies have gravity. We don't say that the motion of masses in the presence of other masses can be modeled with gravity. There "is" gravity. The model nature of gravity is implied.

Flat5

Cellular Automaton (1)

Flat5 (207129) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558465)

Not Cellular Automation. You got this wrong not once, but every single time.

Flat5

In case full text /. copy gets /.ed by /. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558466)

Full text of review, in case it gets slashdotted. (Score:9) Insightful by Anti-Microsoft Troll on Tuesday May 21, @11:03AM (#3558418) (User #577475 Info) > First things first - have I read this book? Hell, no, and if anybody else says THEY have in the next year, they're lying thru their teeth. This book is so dense that if Wolfram had added a single additional page, the whole thing would have imploded into a black hole. That's got to be the only reason he quit writing and finally went to press. I've been waiting for years for ANKOS to come out. I ordered my copy Tuesday when it was released, got it on Thursday and I've been skimming it like mad since. To give you some idea of how engrossing this book is, I was reading it Friday morning at 4 AM in the bathroom of a Motel 6, curled up in a bedspread on the tile floor to keep from disturbing my wife and stepdaughter during a trip to my stepson's graduation. I've got four college degrees, one in math and two from MIT, and bottom line - this sucker's gonna take a while to digest. POOP!

However, it's theoretically straightforward enough that anybody with a high enough level of obsession and a few years to stay glued to it can follow it in its entirety. In ANKOS, Wolfram certainly comes across as arrogantly cocky but in the final analysis is he a crank or a revolutionary genius? Who knows, but it's going to be a new nerd pastime for the next decade to argue that point. ANKOS is 1250+ pages divided into 850 pages of breezy exposition followed by 350 pages of fine-print notes. The exposition is composed of 12 chapters and the notes have about a paragraph per page of topic- and name-dropping technobabble to let you know where to go next for more details on whichever of Wolfram's tangents strike your fancy. Topping the whole thing off is a 60+ page index with thousands of entries in even smaller typeface than the notes. Despite its length, ANKOS is not a rigorous mathematical proof of anything as much as it is a superficial survey of a vast new intellectual landscape. And what a landscape Wolfram has laid before us. It's all about cellular automations, which have traditionally been relegated to the realm of mathematical recreations. Start with a black square in the center grid square (cell) on the top line of a sheet of graph paper. Think up a few rules about whether a square gets colored black or white on the next line down depending on the colors of its neighbors. Apply these rules to the squares on the next line of the sheet of graph paper. Repeat. Watch what happens. Sounds simple. It isn't. The first short chapter outlines Wolfram's central thesis: That three hundred years of mathematics based on the equals sign have failed to provide true insight into various complex systems in nature, and that algorithms based on the DO loop can succeed in this endeavor where mathematics has failed. The reason, claims Wolfram, is that deceptively simple algorithms can produce heretofore undreamed of levels of complexity. He claims that while frontier intellectual efforts such as chaos theory, fractals, AI, cybernetics and so forth have hinted at this concept for years, his decade of isolation studying cellular automata has taken the idea of simple algorithms or rules embodying universal complexity to the level of a new paradigm. The second chapter outlines what Wolfram calls his crucial experiment: the systematic analysis of the 256 simplest rule sets for the most basic cellular automatons. He discovers this "universe" of rules is sufficient to produce his four so-called "classes" of complex systems: order, self-similar nested patterns, structures and most importantly, true randomness. The first two lead to somewhat familiar checkerboard-type patterns and leaf-type fractals; the last two, unforeseen unique shapes and unpredictable sequences. Wolfram stresses that the ability of simple iterative algorithms to produce complex and unique non-fractal shapes as well as truly random sequences of output is in fact a revolutionary new discovery with subtle and profound implications. The third chapter expands his initial 256-rule-set universe of simple algorithms with many others Wolfram has researched for years in th Read the rest of this comment... [ Reply to This | Parent ] What I want to see : A Book Review (Score:0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 21, @11:02AM (#3558413) of "A New Kind Of Bullshit ; A stunning expose of the Scam that is Cognitive Science. Now that would be good reading. [ Reply to This | Parent ] Just in Case this Story gets /.ed! (Score:0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 21, @11:00AM (#3558397) A New Kind of SciencePosted by timothy on Tuesday May 21, @10:45AM cybrpnk2 writes: "The story is one of epic proportions: Boy genius gets PhD from Cal Tech at age 20, is the youngest recipient ever of the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, writes the Mathematica simulation software used by millions of people, makes millions of dollars in the process, becomes enticed by the seductive lure of the Game of Life, and goes into a decade of seclusion to discover the secrets of the universe. You can catch up on the resulting speculation and hype here. The years of anticipation and publication delays came to an end Tuesday, May 14, 2002 with Stephan Wolfram's release of his opus, A New Kind of Science." Read on for cybrpnk2's review of Wolfram's much-heralded work. A New Kind Of Science author Stephen Wolfram pages 1197 (plus 62 page index) publisher Wolfram Media, Inc. rating 10 reviewer cybrpnk2 ISBN 1-57955-008-8 summary A long awaited treatise that cellular automations, not mathematics, holds the key to understanding reality First things first - have I read this book? Hell, no, and if anybody else says THEY have in the next year, they're lying thru their teeth. This book is so dense that if Wolfram had added a single additional page, the whole thing would have imploded into a black hole. That's got to be the only reason he quit writing and finally went to press. I've been waiting for years for ANKOS to come out. I ordered my copy Tuesday when it was released, got it on Thursday and I've been skimming it like mad since. To give you some idea of how engrossing this book is, I was reading it Friday morning at 4 AM in the bathroom of a Motel 6, curled up in a bedspread on the tile floor to keep from disturbing my wife and stepdaughter during a trip to my stepson's graduation. I've got four college degrees, one in math and two from MIT, and bottom line - this sucker's gonna take a while to digest. However, it's theoretically straightforward enough that anybody with a high enough level of obsession and a few years to stay glued to it can follow it in its entirety. In ANKOS, Wolfram certainly comes across as arrogantly cocky but in the final analysis is he a crank or a revolutionary genius? Who knows, but it's going to be a new nerd pastime for the next decade to argue that point. ANKOS is 1250+ pages divided into 850 pages of breezy exposition followed by 350 pages of fine-print notes. The exposition is composed of 12 chapters and the notes have about a paragraph per page of topic- and name-dropping technobabble to let you know where to go next for more details on whichever of Wolfram's tangents strike your fancy. Topping the whole thing off is a 60+ page index with thousands of entries in even smaller typeface than the notes. Despite its length, ANKOS is not a rigorous mathematical proof of anything as much as it is a superficial survey of a vast new intellectual landscape. And what a landscape Wolfram has laid before us. It's all about cellular automations, which have traditionally been relegated to the realm of mathematical recreations. Start with a black square in the center grid square (cell) on the top line of a sheet of graph paper. Think up a few rules about whether a square gets colored black or white on the next line down depending on the colors of its neighbors. Apply these rules to the squares on the next line of the sheet of graph paper. Repeat. Watch what happens. Sounds simple. It isn't. The first short chapter outlines Wolfram's central thesis: That three hundred years of mathematics based on the equals sign have failed to provide true insight into various complex systems in nature, and that algorithms based on the DO loop can succeed in this endeavor where mathematics has failed. The reason, claims Wolfram, is that deceptively simple algorithms can produce heretofore undreamed of levels of complexity. He claims that while frontier intellectual efforts such as chaos theory, fractals, AI, cybernetics and so forth have hinted at this concept for years, his decade of isolation studying cellular automata ha Read the rest of this comment... [ Reply to This | Parent ]

Watch and see how it unfolds (0, Redundant)

Nutcase (86887) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558469)

"And indeed in the end the PCE encapsulates both the ultimate power and the ultimate weakness of science. For it implies that all the wonders of the universe can in effect be captured by simple rules, yet it shows that there can be no way to know all the consequences of these rules, except in effect just to watch and see how they unfold."
[..snip..]

...But is it the next Principia, the herald of a new scientific revolution?

Read and decide for yourself. Only time, and a lot of it, will tell.

Wow. The only way to get the result of if the book is a new revoltion is to watch and see how it unfolds? Thats somewhat ironic, isn't it? ;)

Another alternative:+10 ; High (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558496)

Where's the code that enables the simulation of
the universe. If he can't provide it, he's
hallucinating.

A New Kind of Science: Or How I Became A Recluse
To Finally Finish My Term Paper.

Now, let me finish this doobie made with
genuine U.S. of A marijuana.

420 Lewis !! !!!

GNU/Linux (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558485)

I think that RMS has a point. If it were not for GNU then where would Linux be? People should start giving RMS and the FSF some credit where credit is due.

Also good (and it's Free) (0, Offtopic)

mrgrey (319015) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558486)

TextFiles.com Conspiracy Files [textfiles.com] and Whitley Strieber's Unknown Country [unknowncountry.com] . Gotta love science with conspiracy.

TextFiles conspiracy files are a bit old but they are still a very interesting read. Whitley Strieber's Unknown Country covers a very broad spectrum of ideas and theories. Good stuff!

ahh the days of textfiles......

-tried to spell correctly this time. People seem to get irate with miss-typed comments.

I wonder if he is still sane. (3, Interesting)

mobydobius (237311) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558488)

...goes into a decade of seclusion to discover the secrets of the universe

I worry about that. Science isn't practiced very well in a vaccuum. One feature of the scientific act of discovery that makes it so effective is that the scientists involved are constantly examining each others musings, to keep any one of them from going off the deep end. Genius and madness go hand in hand, after all, and nothing can drive you nuts quite like being alone with your own thoughts. Especially if those thoughts are exceptional.

I just hope this book doen't show that dear Dr. Wolfram has lost it.

Uhhhh ... Newton! (1)

Codex The Sloth (93427) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558623)

Now I'm not saying the guy isn't crazy as a loon but alot of the "revolutionary" work in physics has been done outside of the academic world (which tends to be better for incremental improvement). Anytime something requires true leaps, working on your own has advantages:

Newton
Wiles (Fermat's Last Theorem Proof)
Galileo
Heisenberg
Many others

OTOH, to this list you could also add

UNABomber
Many others

To err is human (1)

nexusone (470558) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558489)

I wonder if any of his data was based on programs that ran on the first Pentium chip!!!!

"Bit String Physics" (4, Interesting)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558499)

From the introduction to Bit String Physics [amazon.com] :

This interest of mine in scientific revolutions remained casual, until I heard Ted Bastin talk about the combinatorial hierarchy in 1973. This remarkable construction, "discovered" by Fredrick Parker-Rhodes in 1961, yields algorithmically the sequence 3, 10, 137 (~hc/e**2), 2**127 + 136 (~1.7*10**38 ~ hc/Gm(p)**2) and cannot be extended past the fourth term for reasons intrinsic to the construction. Why a simple mathematical algorithm should have anything to do with two of the fundamental dimensionless constants of modern physics remained unexplained, and so far as I am concerned remains unexplained to this day. It could -- as the prevailing paradigms in theoretical physics seem to require -- just be a coincidence, like the "prediction" by Swift that Mars has two satellites. To make it plausible that, although still mysterious, the fact that the number of entities calculated for the third and fourth levels of the combinatorial hierarchy correspond closely to the two dimensionless numbers which characterize the two long range, macroscopic forces observed in nature (electromagnetism and gravitation) is probably something more than a coincidence is a main objective of this book.

Applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558507)

I've'nt seen any examples of Wolfram actually using this stuff to model real world things. Certainly some token and acedemic things that he uses to visualize his theory but noe examples of modeling anything of any significance.

He claims to have created the most powerful tool in history but has not been able to create anything with it himself. Where are the examples of this theory doing things of significance? Model an atom, or gravity, for example. Nothing rigorous but just to show off the technology. Why hasn't he done this?

I read the article in Wired, and after reading the whole thing, it seemed like Wolfram spent a lot of time flapping his wings and trying to articulate the glory of his theories but never actually said anything at all.

Turing thesis anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558516)

Doesn't the turing thesis state that a turing machine can be constructed which can perform any algorithm? Has Wolfram somehow shown that some cellular automata can implement algorithms which no turing machine can implement? Otherwise, I don't see what is so revolutionary, since turing machines could still do whatever these things can do. Cellular automata may be a useful tool in some contexts, but I don't think they are going to replace everything.

There seems to be a bit too much hype here

Review by Ray Kurzweil (2)

WEFUNK (471506) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558521)

Here's an excellent review (both critical and favorable at the same time) of Wolfram's book by someone of similar stature and experience - AI pioneer and successful entrepreneur Ray Kurzweil:

Reflections on Stephen Wolfram's "A New Kind of Science" [kurzweilai.net]

Phenomenal (2, Insightful)

ForExportOnly (529923) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558536)

A book review written by a guy who hasn't read the book. Personally, I went through the first chapter of the book last night and I am pretty sure it is going to be tough reading (and I don't even have any degrees from MIT). I think a book review based on skimming the book is exactly what Wolfram is worried academia might do. Rather than listening to what he had to say, they have traditionally only listened long enough to gather ammunition against him.

There's no THERE there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558549)

Sure, it's not fair to comment on a book without having read it, but from reading the various reviews of the text :-) and poking around at the text samples at amazon.com, my general conclusion is that Stephen Wolfram has spent years rediscovering the obvious, and is now attempting to hang his nameplate on it.

Of *course* the universe is governed by simple laws of interaction. Of *course* they can't be effectively modelled in situ. Apparently in his ivory tower, Stephen hasn't been aware of the little fields called Chaos Theory; Emergent Behavior; Complexity. This stuff has been hot for twenty five years now in fields ranging from physics to artificial life, yet he seems to act as if he's discovered it ex nihilo.

No doubt Wolfram has the chops for this. In 1994 he wrote a thin little monograph called Cellular Automata and Complexity [amazon.com] , which basically is regarded as the authority on 1-D cellular automata. But even at that point, CA's had been well studied, and their properties well understood with regard to modeling nature. So it's a little annoying to see Wolfram talking about how he's discovered this field. Literally. That's what he says. Very irksome.

And then there's the problematic fact: cellular automata cannot model the universe because while it may be discretized in the quanta sense, it has a continuous multidimensional combination. That is, you can rotate objects in arbitrary angles. To model such a thing, you need a system strictly more powerful than CAs, because a continuous environment presents an uncountably infinite set of states and a CA presents only a countably infinite set of states. It appears that Wolfram kind of brushes over this. He's got the right idea generally, but he himself has too simple of a model! -- odd, given that he's attacking scientists for using even a simpler model yet.

But scientists aren't using the simpler (non-chaos) models because they think that's how things work. They're not stupid. They're using the models because they're tractable. They can get work done with 'em. Scientists have known since, what, the 1950's, that the universe can, from very tiny and simple rules, produce massive amounts of complexity. That's why CAs were developed in the first place. This is hardly new stuff.

So, great. Wolfram has produced a landmark text on cellular automata. Which would be wonderful if he hadn't (apparently) spent half of the pages talking about how amazing he was for discovering that these CAs model the universe (which they can't) and further that scientists should be faulted for not using a chaos-based model of the world (which they've known all along). Fantastic.

Crank, crank, crank (5, Interesting)

gonerill (139660) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558568)

but in the final analysis is he a crank or a revolutionary genius? Who knows, but it's going to be a new nerd pastime for the next decade to argue that point.

This means he's almost certainly a crank. If actual scientists were arguing heavily about it, there might be a bit more uncertainty. But if the debate is happening amongst people whose knowledge of physics comes mainly from Star Trek, then that pretty much settles the matter in advance.

Wolfram will probably end up having a place on the intellectual fringes, worshipped by people who are often smart but who haven't bothered/aren't trained well enough to see why specialists don't really pay attention to them. In nerd idea-space Ayn Rand is the other main example of this type.

The best comment I've read about Wolfram's book comes from Cosma Shalizi, a physicist working at the Santa Fe institute, who specializes in cellular automata. He comments [santafe.edu] [scroll down on link]:

Dis-recommended: Stephen Wolfram, A New Kind of Science [This is almost, but not quite, a case for the immortal ``What is true is not new, and what is new is not true''. The one new, true thing is a proof that the elementary CA rule 110 can support universal, Turing-complete computation. (One of Wolfram's earlier books states that such a thing is obviously impossible.) This however was shown not by Wolfram but by Matthew Cook (this is the ``technical content and proofs'' for which Wolfram acknowledges Cook, in six point type, in his frontmatter). In any case it cannot bear the weight Wolfram places on it. Watch This Space for a detailed critique of this book, a rare blend of monster raving egomania and utter batshit insanity.]

I await solid arguments to the contrary --- ie, arguments that don't start from any of the following premises:
1. But he was a boy genius at CalTech and Feynman said so!
2. But he wrote Mathematica, which is obviously really hard!
3. But if he's right this will change the world!
4. But other Scientists are ignoring/laughing at/refuting him only because they are jealous of his enormous brain!
5. But he only ignored peer review because he's so brilliant!
6. But every work of genius always seems crazy when it first appears!

I leave it was an exercise to the reader to show why Wolfram's supporters shouldn't rely on these points (although Wolfram himself apparently does).

Albert Einstein: A Jewish Myth (-1)

DonkeyHote (521235) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558650)

Albert Einstein: A Jewish Myth

One of the statements of Adolf Hitler most often quoted by the Jewish
media is the following from Mein Kampf, I:10:

"The great masses of people ... will more easily fall victims to a big
lie than to a small one."

Of course, Hitler is quoted out of context in an attempt to portray
this statement as Hitler's own, personal philosophy or strategy. But
if we read this selection in context, we find that he is speaking of
the Jews who had ruined his country, and he is trying to explain how
the German people fell victim to Jewish lies. In fact, Herr Hitler
even tells us what this great lie is that duped the German people into
being controlled by the Jews. He continues:

"Those who know best this truth about the possibilities of the
application of untruth and defamation, however, were at all times the
Jews; for their entire existence is built on one single great lie,
namely, that here one had to deal with a religious brotherhood, while
in fact one has to deal with a race - what a race! As such they have
been nailed down forever, in an eternally correct sentence of
fundamental truth, by one of the greatest minds of mankind; he called
them 'the great masters of lying.' He who does not realize this or
does not want to believe this will never be able to help truth to
victory in this world."

Hitler here was referring to Arthur Schopenhauer, the eminent 19th
century German philosopher who was outspoken regarding the true nature
of Jews. We do not need to rely upon the opinions of German
philosophers and political leaders regarding this character trait of
the Jews, for Jesus Christ has said of the Jews,

"You are of your father the Diabolical One, and the lusts of your
father you wish to do. That one was a murderer from the beginning, and
he has not stood in the truth because there is no truth in him. When
he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own, because he is a liar, and the
father of it" (John 8:44 AST).

Furthermore, the New Testament warns us not to listen to "Judaizing
myths" (Titus 1:14). But Jewish myths are exactly what destroyed
Germany and what have destroyed America today. Herr Hitler may have
been correct in what he felt was the greatest Jewish lie, but there
are many, many more which have had a damning effect on the white race.
One of the greatest is certainly the lie of the Hebrew Masoretic Text
and the removal of the Greek Septuagint from the hands of white
Christians, but each Jewish myth stings with the same poisonous venom.
One of the great Jewish myths of the 20th century is Albert Einstein.

Albert Einstein is held up by the Jewish liars as a rare genius who
drastically changed the field of theoretical physics. As such, he is
made an idol to young people and his very name has become synonymous
with genius. The truth, however, is very different. The reality is
that Einstein was an inept, moronic Jew who could not even tie his own
shoelaces; he contributed nothing original to the field of quantum
mechanics or any other science, but on the contrary he stole the ideas
of other men and the Jewish media made him a hero.

When we actually examine the life of Albert Einstein, we find that his
only brilliance lies in his ability to plagiarize and steal other
people's ideas, passing them off as his own.

Einstein's education, or lack thereof, is an important part of this
story. The Encyclopedia Britannica says of Einstein's early education
that he "showed little scholastic ability." It also says that at the
age of 15, "with poor grades in history, geography, and languages, he
left school with no diploma." Einstein himself wrote in a school paper
of his "lack of imagination and practical ability." In 1895, Einstein
failed a simple entrance exam to an engineering school in Zurich. This
exam consisted mainly of mathematical problems, and Einstein showed
himself to be mathematically inept in this exam. He then entered a
lesser school hoping to use it as a stepping stone to the engineering
school he could not get into, but after graduating in 1900, he still
could not get a position at the engineering school! Unable to go to
the school as he had wanted, he got a job (with the help of a friend)
at the patent office in Bern. He was to be a technical expert third
class, which meant that he was too incompetent for a higher qualified
position. Even after publishing his so-called groundbreaking papers of
1905 and after working in the patent office for six years, he was only
elevated to a second class standing. Remember, the work he was doing
at the patent office, for which he was only rated third class, was not
quantum mechanics or theoretical physics, but was reviewing technical
documents for patents of every day things; yet he was barely
qualified.

He would work at the patent office until 1909, all the while
continuously trying to get a position at a university, but without
success. All of these facts are true, but now begins the Jewish myth.
Supposedly, while working a full time job, without the aid of
university colleagues, a staff of graduate students, a laboratory, or
any of the things normally associated with an academic setting,
Einstein in his spare time wrote four ground-breaking essays in the
field of theoretical physics and quantum mechanics that were published
in 1905. Many people have recognized the impossibility of such a feat,
including Einstein himself, and therefore Einstein has led people to
believe that many of these ideas came to him in his sleep, out of the
blue, because indeed that is the only logical explanation of how an
admittedly inept moron could have written such documents at the age of
26 without any real education. However, a simpler explanation exists:
he stole the ideas and plagiarized the papers.

Therefore, we will look at each of these ideas and discover the source
of each. It should be remembered that these ideas are presented by
Einstein's worshippers as totally new and completely different, each
of which would change the landscape of science. These four papers
dealt with the following four ideas, respectively:

1. The foundation of the photon theory of light;
2. The equivalence of energy and mass;
3. The explanation of Brownian motion in liquids;
4. The special theory of relativity.
Let us first look at the last of these theories, the theory of
relativity. This is perhaps the most famous idea falsely attributed to
Einstein. Specifically, this 1905 paper dealt with what Einstein
called the Special Theory of Relativity (the General Theory would come
in 1915). This theory contradicted the traditional Newtonian mechanics
and was based upon two premises: 1) in the absence of acceleration,
the laws of nature are the same for all observers; and 2) since the
speed of light is independent of the motion of its source, then the
time interval between two events is longer for an observer in whose
frame of reference the events occur at different places than for an
observer in whose frame of reference the events occur in the same
place. This is basically the idea that time passes more slowly as
one's velocity approaches the speed of light, relative to slower
velocities where time would pass faster.

This theory has been validated by modern experiments and is the basis
for modern physics. But these two premises are far from being
originally Einstein's. First of all, the idea that the speed of light
was a constant and was independent of the motion of its source was not
Einstein's at all, but was proposed by the Scottish scientist James
Maxwell. Maxwell studied the phenomenon of light extensively and first
proposed that it was electromagnetic in nature. He wrote an article to
this effect for the 1878 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. His
ideas prompted much debate, and by 1887, as a result of his work and
the ensuing debate, the scientific community, particularly Lorentz,
Michelson, and Morley reached the conclusion that the velocity of
light was independent of the velocity of the observer. Thus, this
piece of the Special Theory of Relativity was known 27 years before
Einstein wrote his paper.

This debate over the nature of light also led Michelson and Morley to
conduct an important experiment, the results of which could not be
explained by Newtonian mechanics. They observed a phenomenon caused by
relativity but they did not understand relativity. They had attempted
to detect the motion of the earth through ether, which was a medium
thought to be necessary for the propagation of light.

In response to this problem, in 1889, the Irish physicist George
FitzGerald, who had also first proposed a mechanism for producing
radio waves, wrote a paper which stated that the results of the
Michelson-Morley experiment could be explained if,

"... the length of material bodies changes, according as they are
moving through the ether or across it, by an amount depending on the
square of the ratio of their velocities to that of light."

This is the theory of relativity, 13 years before Einstein's paper!

Furthermore, in 1892, Hendrik Lorentz, from The Netherlands, proposed
the same solution and began to greatly expand the idea. All throughout
the 1890's, both Lorentz and FitzGerald worked on these ideas and
wrote articles strangely similar to Einstein's Special Theory
detailing what is now known as the Lorentz-FitzGerald Contraction. In
1898, the Irishman Joseph Larmor wrote down equations explaining the
Lorentz-FitzGerald contraction and its relativistic consequences, 7
years before Einstein's paper. By 1904, Lorentz transformations, the
series of equations explaining relativity, were published by Lorentz.
They describe the increase of mass, the shortening of length, and the
time dilation of a body moving at speeds close to the velocity of
light. In short, by 1904, everything in Einstein's paper regarding the
Special Theory of Relativity had already been published.

The Frenchman Poincaré had, in 1898, written a paper unifying many of
these ideas. He stated seven years before Einstein's paper that,

"... we have no direct intuition about the equality of two time
intervals. The simultaneity of two events or the order of their
succession, as well as the equality of two time intervals, must be
defined in such a way that the statements of the natural laws be as
simple as possible."

Anyone who has read Einstein's 1905 paper will immediately recognize
the similarity and the lack of originality on the part of Einstein.
Thus we see that the only thing original about the paper was the term
'Special Theory of Relativity.' Everything else was plagiarized. Over
the next few years, Poincaré became one of the most important
lecturers and writers regarding relativity, but he never, in any of
his papers or speeches, mentioned Albert Einstein. Thus, while
Poincaré was busy bringing the rest of the academic world up to speed
regarding relativity, Einstein was still working in the patent office
in Bern and no one in the academic community thought it necessary to
give much credence or mention to Einstein's work. Most of these early
physicists knew that he was a fraud.

This brings us to the explanation of Brownian motion, the subject of
another of Einstein's 1905 papers. Brownian motion describes the
irregular motion of a body arising from the thermal energy of the
molecules of the material in which the body is immersed. The movement
had first been observed by the Scottish botanist Robert Brown in 1827.
The explanation of this phenomenon has to do with the Kinetic Theory
of Matter, and it was the American Josiah Gibbs and the Austrian
Ludwig Boltzmann who first explained this occurrence, not Albert
Einstein. In fact, the mathematical equation describing the motion
contains the famous Boltzmann constant, k. Between these two men, they
had explained by the 1890s everything in Einstein's 1905 paper
regarding Brownian motion.

The subject of the equivalence of mass and energy was contained in a
third paper published by Einstein in 1905. This concept is expressed
by the famous equation E=mc^2. Einstein's biographers categorize this
as "his most famous and most spectacular conclusion." Even though this
idea is an obvious conclusion of Einstein's earlier relativity paper,
it was not included in that paper but was published as an afterthought
later in the year. Still, the idea of energy-mass equivalence was not
original with Einstein.

That there was an equivalence between mass and energy had been shown
in the laboratory in the 1890s by both J.J. Thomsom of Cambridge and
by W. Kaufmann in Göttingen. In 1900, Poincaré had shown that there
was a mass relationship for all forms of energy, not just
electromagnetic energy. Yet, the most probable source of Einstein's
plagiarism was Friedrich Hasenöhrl, one of the most brilliant, yet
unappreciated physicists of the era. Hasenöhrl was the teacher of many
of the German scientists who would later become famous for a variety
of topics. He had worked on the idea of the equivalence of mass and
energy for many years and had published a paper on the topic in 1904
in the very same journal which Einstein would publish his plagiarized
version in 1905. For his brilliant work in this area, Hasenörhl had
received in 1904 a prize from the prestigious Vienna Academy of
Sciences.

Furthermore, the mathematical relationship of mass and energy was a
simple deduction from the already well-known equations of Scottish
physicist James Maxwell. Scientists long understood that the
mathematical relationship expressed by the equation E=mc^2 was the
logical result of Maxwell's work, they just did not believe it. Thus,
the experiments of Thomson, Kaufmann, and finally, and most
importantly, Hasenörhl, confirmed Maxwell's work. It is ludicrous to
believe that Einstein developed this postulate, particularly in light
of the fact that Einstein did not have the laboratory necessary to
conduct the appropriate experiments.

In this same plagiarized article of Einstein's, he suggested to the
scientific community, "Perhaps it will prove possible to test this
theory using bodies whose energy content is variable to a high degree
(e.g., salts of radium)." This remark demonstrates how little Einstein
understood about science, for this was truly an outlandish remark. By
saying this, Einstein showed that he really did not understand basic
scientific principles and that he was writing about a topic that he
did not understand. In fact, in response to this article, J. Precht
remarked that such an experiment "lies beyond the realm of possible
experience."

The last subject dealt with in Einstein's 1905 papers was the
foundation of the photon theory of light. Einstein wrote about the
photoelectric effect. The photoelectric effect is the release of
electrons from certain metals or semiconductors by the action of
light. This area of research is particularly important to the Einstein
myth because it was for this topic that he unjustly received his 1922
Nobel Prize.

But again, it is not Einstein, but Wilhelm Wien and Max Planck who
deserve the credit. The main point of Einstein's paper, and the point
for which he is given credit, is that light is emitted and absorbed in
finite packets called quanta. This was the explanation for the
photoelectric effect. The photoelectric effect had been explained by
Heinrich Hertz in 1888. Hertz and others, including Philipp Lenard,
worked on understanding this phenomenon. Lenard was the first to show
that the energy of the electrons released in the photoelectric effect
was not governed by the intensity of the light but by the frequency of
the light. This was an important breakthrough.

Wien and Planck were colleagues and they were the fathers of modern
day quantum theory. By 1900, Max Planck, based upon his and Wien's
work, had shown that radiated energy was absorbed and emitted in
finite units called quanta. The only difference in his work of 1900
and Einstein's work of 1905 was that Einstein limited himself to
talking about one particular type of energy - light energy. But the
principles and equations governing the process in general had been
deduced by Planck in 1900. Einstein himself admitted that the obvious
conclusion of Planck's work was that light also existed in discrete
packets of energy. Thus, nothing in this paper of Einstein's was
original.

After the 1905 papers of Einstein were published, the scientific
community took little notice and Einstein continued his job at the
patent office until 1909 when it was arranged for him to take a
position at a school by World Jewry. Still, it was not until a 1919
newspaper headline that he gained any notoriety.

With Einstein's academic appointment in 1909, he was placed in a
position where he could begin to use other people's work as his own
more openly. He engaged many of his students to look for ways to prove
the theories he had supposedly developed, or ways to apply those
theories, and then he could present the research as his own or at
least take partial credit. In this vein, in 1912, he began to try and
express his gravitational research in terms of a new, recently
developed calculus, which was conducive to understanding relativity.
This was the beginning of his General Theory of Relativity, which he
would publish in 1915. But the mathematical work was not done by
Einstein - he was incapable of it. Instead, it was performed by the
mathematician Marcel Grossmann, who in turn used the mathematical
principles developed by Berhard Riemann, who was the first to develop
a sound non-Euclidean geometry, which is the basis of all mathematics
used to describe relativity.

The General Theory of Relativity applied the principles of relativity
to the universe; that is, to the gravitational pull of planets and
their orbits, and the general principle that light rays bend as they
pass by a massive object. Einstein published an initial paper in 1913
based upon the work which Grossmann did, adapting the math of Riemann
to Relativity. But this paper was filled with errors and the
conclusions were incorrect. It appears that Grossmann was not smart
enough to figure it out for Einstein. So Einstein was forced to look
elsewhere to plagiarize his General Theory. Einstein published his
correct General Theory of Relativity in 1915, and said prior to its
publication that he, "...completely succeeded in convincing Hilbert
and Klein." He is referring to David Hilbert, perhaps the most
brilliant mathematician of the 20th century, and Felix Klein, another
mathematician who had been instrumental in the development of the area
of calculus that Grossmann had used to develop the General Theory of
Relativity for Einstein.

Einstein's statement regarding the two men would lead the reader to
believe that Einstein had changed Hilbert's and Klein's opinions
regarding General Relativity, and that he had influenced them in their
thinking. However, the exact opposite is true. Einstein stole the
majority of his General Relativity work from these two men, the rest
being taken from Grossmann. Hilbert submitted for publication, a week
before Einstein completed his work, a paper which contained the
correct field equations of General Relativity. What this means is that
Hilbert wrote basically the exact same paper, with the same
conclusions, before Einstein did. Einstein would have had an
opportunity to know of Hilbert's work all along, because there were
Jewish friends of his working for Hilbert. Yet, even this was not
necessary, for Einstein had seen Hilbert's paper in advance of
publishing his own. Both of these papers were, before being printed,
delivered in the form of a lecture.

Einstein presented his paper on November 25, 1915 in Berlin and
Hilbert had presented his paper on November 20 in Göttingen. On
November 18, Hilbert received a letter from Einstein thanking him for
sending him a draft of the treatise Hilbert was to deliver on the
20th. So, in fact, Hilbert had sent a copy of his work at least two
weeks in advance to Einstein before either of the two men delivered
their lectures, but Einstein did not send Hilbert an advance copy of
his. Therefore, this serves as incontrovertible proof that Einstein
quickly plagiarized the work and then presented it, hoping to beat
Hilbert to the punch. Also, at the same time, Einstein publicly began
to belittle Hilbert, even though in the previous summer he had praised
him in an effort to get Hilbert to share his work with him. Hilbert
made the mistake of sending Einstein this draft copy, but still he
delivered his work first.

Not only did Hilbert publish his work first, but it was of much higher
quality than Einstein's. It is known today that there are many
problems with assumptions made in Einstein's General Theory paper. We
know today that Hilbert was much closer to the truth. Hilbert's paper
is the forerunner of the unified field theory of gravitation and
electromagnetism and of the work of Erwin Schrödinger, whose work is
the basis of all modern day quantum mechanics.

That the group of men discussed so far were the actual originators of
the ideas claimed by Einstein was known by the scientific community
all along. In 1940, a group of German physicists meeting in Austria
declared that "before Einstein, Aryan scientists like Lorentz,
Hasenöhrl, Poincaré, etc., had created the foundations of the theory
of relativity..."

However, the Jewish media did not promote the work of these men. The
Jewish media did not promote the work of David Hilbert, but instead
they promoted the work of the Jew Albert Einstein. As we mentioned
earlier, this General Theory, as postulated by Hilbert first and in
plagiarized form by Einstein second, stated that light rays should
bend when they pass by a massive object. In 1919, during the eclipse
of the Sun, light from distant stars passing close to the Sun was
observed to bend according to the theory. This evidence supported the
General Theory of Relativity, and the Jewish-controlled media
immediately seized upon the opportunity to prop up Einstein as a hero,
at the expense of the true genius, David Hilbert.

On November 7th, 1919, the London Times ran an article, the headline
of which proclaimed, "Revolution in science - New theory of the
Universe - Newtonian ideas overthrown." This was the beginning of the
force-feeding of the Einstein myth to the masses. In the following
years, Einstein's earlier 1905 papers were propagandized and Einstein
was heralded as the originator of all the ideas he had stolen. Because
of this push by the Jewish media, in 1922, Einstein received the Nobel
Prize for the work he had stolen in 1905 regarding the photoelectric
effect.

The establishment of the Einstein farce between 1919 and 1922 was an
important coup for world Zionism and Jewry. As soon as Einstein had
been established as an idol to the popular masses of England and
America, his image was promoted as the rare genius that he is
erroneously believed to be today. As such, he immediately began his
work as a tool for World Zionism. The masses bought into the idea that
if someone was so brilliant as to change our fundamental understanding
of the universe, then certainly we ought to listen to his opinions
regarding political and social issues. This is exactly what World
Jewry wanted to establish in its ongoing effort of social engineering.
They certainly did not want someone like David Hilbert to be
recognized as rare genius. After all, this physicist had come from a
strong German, Christian background. His grandfather's two middle
names were 'Fürchtegott Leberecht' or 'Fear God, Live Right.' In
August of 1934, the day before a vote was to be taken regarding
installing Adolf Hitler as President of the Reich, Hilbert signed a
proclamation in support of Adolf Hitler, along with other leading
German scientists, that was published in the German newspapers. So the
Jews certainly did not want David Hilbert receiving the credit he
deserved.

The Jews did not want Max Planck receiving the credit he deserved
either. This German's grandfather and great-grandfather had been
important German theologians, and during World War II he would stay in
Germany throughout the war, supporting his fatherland the best he
could.

The Jews certainly did not want the up-and-coming Erwin Schrödinger to
be heralded as a genius to the masses. This Austrian physicist would
go on to teach at Adolf Hitler University in Austria, and he wrote a
public letter expressing his support for the Third Reich. This
Austrian's work on the unified field theory was a forerunner of modern
physics, even though it had been criticized by Einstein, who
apparently could not understand it.

The Jews did not want to have Werner Heisenberg promoted as a rare
genius, even though he would go on to solidify quantum theory and
contribute to it greatly, as well as develop his famous uncertainty
principle, in addition to describing the modern atom and nucleus and
the binding energies that are essential to modern chemistry. No, the
Jews did not want Heisenberg promoted as a genius because he would go
on to head the German atomic bomb project and serve prison time after
the war for his involvement with the Third Reich.

No, the Jews did not want to give credit to any of a number of white
Germans, Austrians, Irishmen, Frenchmen, Scotsmen, Englishmen, and
even Americans who had contributed to the body of knowledge and
evidence from which Einstein plagiarized and stole his work. Instead,
they needed to erect Einstein as their golden calf, even though he
repeatedly and often embarrassed himself with his nonfactual or
nearsighted comments regarding the work he had supposedly done. For
example, in 1934, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a front page article
in which Einstein gave an "emphatic denial" regarding the idea of
practical applications for the "energy of the atom." The article says,

"But the 'energy of the atom' is something else again. If you believe
that man will someday be able to harness this boundless energy-to
drive a great steamship across the ocean on a pint of water, for
instance-then, according to Einstein, you are wrong..."

Again, Einstein clearly did not understand the branch of physics he
had supposedly founded, though elsewhere in the world at the time
theoretical research was underway that would lead to the atomic bomb
and nuclear energy. But after Einstein was promoted as a god in 1919,
he made no real attempts to plagiarize any other work. Rather, he
began his real purpose - evangelizing for the cause of Zionism and
World Jewry. Though he did publish other articles after this time, all
of them were co-authored by at least one other person, and in each
instance, Einstein had little if anything to do with the research that
led to the articles; he was merely recruited by the co-authors in
order to lend credence to their work. Thus freed of the pretense of
academia, Einstein began his assault for World Zionism.

In 1921, Einstein made his first visit to the United States on a
fund-raising tour for the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and to
promote Zionism. In April of 1922, Einstein used his status to gain
membership in a Commission of the League of Nations. In February of
1923, Einstein visits Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. In June of 1923, he
becomes a founding member of the Association of Friends of the New
Russia. In 1926, Einstein took a break from his Communist and
Zionistic activities to again embarrass himself scientifically by
criticizing the work of Schrödinger and Heisenberg. Following a brief
illness, he resumes his Zionistic agenda, wanting an independent
Israel and at the same time a World Government.

In the 1930s he actively campaigns against all forms of war, although
he would reverse this position during World War II when he advocated
war against Germany and the creation of the atomic bomb, which he
thought was impossible to build. In 1939 and 1940, Einstein, at the
request of other Jews, wrote two letters to Roosevelt urging an
American program to develop an atomic bomb to be used on Germany - not
Japan. Einstein would have no part in the actual construction of the
bomb, theoretical or practical, because he lacked the skills for
either.

In December of 1946, Einstein rekindles his efforts for a World
Government, with Israel apparently being the only autonomous nation.
This push continues through the rest of the 1940s. In 1952, Einstein,
who had been instrumental in the creation of the State of Israel, both
politically and economically, is offered the presidency of Israel. He
declines. In 1953, he spends his time attacking the McCarthy
Committee, and he supports Communists such as J. Robert Oppenheimer.
He encourages civil disobedience in response to the McCarthy trials.
Finally, on April 18, 1955, this filthy Jewish demagogue dies.

Dead, the Jews no longer had to worry about Einstein making stupid
statements. His death was just the beginning of his usage and
exploitation by World Jewry. The Jewish-controlled media continued to
promote the myth of this Super-Jew long after his death, and as more
and more of the men who knew better died off, the Jews were more and
more able to aggrandize his myth and lie more boldly. This brazen
lying has culminated in the Jew controlled Time magazine naming
Einstein "The Person of the Century" at the close of 1999. It may be
demonstrated that the Jewish lies have become more bold with the
passage of time because Einstein was never named "Man of the Year"
while he was alive, but now, over forty years after his death, he is
named "Person of the Century."

Einstein was given this title in spite of the clear-cut choice for the
"Person of the Century," Adolf Hitler. Hitler was indeed named "Man of
the Year" while he was still living by Time magazine, and according to
a December 27, 1999, article in the USA Today, Einstein was chosen
over Adolf Hitler because of the perceived "nasty public relations
fallout" that would accompany that choice; yet in internet polling by
Time, Hitler finished third and was the top serious candidate. Still
the issue of Time magazine dedicated to Einstein, which has articles
by men with names like Isaacson, Golden, Stein, Rudenstine, and
Rosenblatt, is interesting to read. For one, they found it necessary
to include an article rationalizing why they did not pick the obvious
choice, Adolf Hitler. But more interesting is the article by Stephen
Hawking which purports to be a history of the theory of relativity. In
it, Hawking admits many of the things in this article, such as the
fact that Hilbert published the General Theory of Relativity before
Einstein and that FitzGerald and Lorentz deduced the concept of
relativity long before Einstein. Hawking also writes,

"Einstein...was deeply disturbed by the work of Werner Heisenberg in
Copenhagen, Paul Dirac in Cambridge and Erwin Schrödinger in Zurich,
who developed a new picture of reality called quantum mechanics. ...
Einstein was horrified by this ... Most scientists, however, accepted
the validity of the new quantum laws because they showed excellent
agreement with observations ... They are the basis of modern
developments in chemistry, molecular biology and electronics and the
foundation of the technology that has transformed the world in the
past half-century."

This is all very true, yet the same magazine credits Einstein with all
of the modern developments that Hawking names, even through Einstein
was so stupid as to be vehemently against the most important idea of
modern science, just as he opposed Schrödinger's work in unified field
theory which was far ahead of its time. The same magazine admits that
"success eluded" Einstein in the field of explaining the
contradictions between relativity and quantum mechanics. Today, these
contradictions are explained by the unified field theory, but
Einstein, who proves himself to be one of the least intelligent of
20th century scientists, refused to believe in either quantum theory
or the unified field theory.

To name Einstein as "The Person of the Century" is one of the most
ludicrous and absurd lies of all time, yet it has been successfully
pulled off by Isaacson, Golden, Stein, Rudenstine, and Rosenblatt and
the Jewish owners of Time magazine. If the Jews at Time wanted to give
the title to an inventor or scientist, then the most obvious choice
would have been men like Hilbert, Planck, or Heisenberg. If they
wanted to give it to the scientist who most fundamentally changed the
landscape of 20th century science, then the obvious choice would be
William Shockley. This Nobel prize winning scientist invented the
transistor, which is the basis of all modern electronic devices and
computers, everything from modern cars and telephones, VCRs and
watches, to the amazing computers which have allowed incomprehensible
advances in all fields of science. Without the transistor, all forms
of science today would be basically in the same place that they were
in the late 1940s.

However, the Jews cannot allow the due credit to go to William
Shockley because he spent the majority of his scientific career
demonstrating the genetic and mental inferiority of non-whites and
arguing for their sterilization. His scientific, genetic views led the
Jews to financially destroy Shockley who founded the first company in
the Silicon Valley, his hometown, to develop computer chips. The Jews
hired away his entire staff and used them to start Fairchild
semiconductor, the company that today is known as Intel.

No the Jews could not let any of the truly great geniuses of our time
be recognized, not the anti-Semite Henry Ford, not the great German
scientists who helped the National Socialists in Germany, not Charles
Lindbergh, who was sympathetic to National Socialist causes, and
certainly not William Shockley, one of the most brilliant physicists
and geneticists of our time. Instead, the Jews propped up the Zionist,
Communist Albert Einstein who hated everything white.

After World War II, Einstein demonstrated his hatred of the White Race
and of the Germans in particular in the following statements. He was
asked what he thought about Germany and about re-educating the Germans
after the war and said,

"The nation has been on the decline mentally and morally since
1870...Behind the Nazi party stands the German people, who elected
Hitler after he had in his book and in his speeches made his shameful
intentions clear beyond the possibility of misunderstanding. ... The
Germans can be killed or constrained after the war, but they cannot be
re-educated to a democratic way of thinking and acting..."

Automatons (1)

MoobY (207480) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558572)

Please note that the book is about cellullar automatons, not cellullar automations, as the reviewer repeatedly insinuates.

Re:Automatons (1)

MoobY (207480) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558628)

Even better,it should talk about automata instead of automatons (sorry about this)

ARRGGGHH! Spoiler! Spoiler! (2, Funny)

logullo (315085) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558576)

To conclude with Wolfram's own final paragraph in the book:

Guess I don't need to buy it now...

HOW TO HAVE SEX WITH YOUR PC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558580)

How to have sexual intercourse with your computer

Read this entire document before trying any of the steps.

'Having sex with a computer'. The phrase is sometimes misunderstood to mean sex on a computer, and sometimes is greeted with skepticism. How can you have sex with a computer? The short answer is: in the floppy drive. The long answer is much more involved, including techniques, precautions and cautions all designed to get you maximum satisfaction from screwing a computer. Our first subject will be the floppy drive. The floppy drive of the computer is, of course, where the diskettes come out. So in this sense, the floppy drive is an anus.

First we will deal with some cautions you should know about. In most computers, the edge of the floppy drive is sharp. You should therefore exercise caution when doing anything with the floppy drive.

If the CPU has been on for a long (or even a relatively short) period of time, the floppy drive will be hot. Do not do anything with the floppy drive hot. Wait until the floppy drive has cooled off. The floppy drive will cool off faster than the CPU, so you don't have long to wait. I call screwing the computer while the floppy drive is hot, "fucking the computer hot". Never fuck a PC hot. I did, once. Once.

The drive bay from a computer contains poisonous gases. One of these, sodium monoxide, is a slow killer. Sodium monoxide takes a long time to be flushed out of the body, so it can build up to toxic levels without your knowing it. Never do anything with the floppy drive while the CPU is on!

Now, the first thing you should note is that the inside of the floppy drive is usually coated with magnetic particles. This is the usual particulate debris of data transmission. Before having sex with the computer, clean the inside of the floppy drive with soap and warm water, as far as you can go. Keep in mind the possibly sharp edge of the floppy drive.

Now that the floppy drive is clean, you are ready to pleasure and be pleasured by the computer. You can do this two ways. One way doesn't require any equipment. The other way (which is much more rewarding) does. The first way is to fuck the computer 'raw'. This does NOT mean stuffing your cock into the floppy drive and thrusting. This would hurt (remember the sharp edges?) and be no fun anyway, since the floppy drive doesn't flex.

What you should do is get behind the computer and start jerking off. When you are about to come, carefully put your cock into the floppy drive of the PC, and then come. But, in the heat of passion, you must still remember the sharp edge. Even putting just the head into the floppy drive is good enough. Just make VERY sure that you don't hurt yourself. Now, this assumes that you can get your cock into the floppy drive in the first place. Some floppy drives are too small, and then, well, you're out of luck. Find someone who has a computer with a bigger floppy drive.

The best way to have sex with a computer, however, is not raw. You need the following equipment:

1 Dekhyr Dragon Industries (Teledildonics Division) Sexual Interface Unit.

If you don't have one, you can get one through me (Dekhyr, xdraco@panix.com [mailto] ) or you can attempt to build one yourself. The SIU is essentially a tube made of foam rubber, rolled such that the inner diameter is slightly smaller than the diameter of your erect penis. When lubricated, it acts as a sexual interface to whatever you attach it to. In this case, it is inserted into the floppy drive of the computer you want to have sex with.

To build one, you will need black electrical tape, a 'drive-head-cleaner', a can of anal mucus, and a hefty pair of scissors. A 'drive-head-cleaner' is a foam rubber dingumbob in which you put anal mucus. It keeps the anal mucus cold and your hand warm. Being a 'give-away' item, you usually can't find it anywhere. I've had reports of finding them in brothels. I've actually found a good deal of them at a local discount-type store.

There are two kinds, thick walled and thin walled. I've only been able to find the thick kind; the thin kind I've only been able to get through an advertising company. The thin kind is particularly good with floppy drives not much bigger than your cock. Here is what you need to do:

1. Measure the circumference of your erect penis. This is most easily done by wrapping a string around your cock (around the shaft, not the head).
2. Take the bottom of the drive-head-cleaner out. You should be left with a tube.
3. Cut the wall of the tube from top to bottom so that you are left with a slab of foam rubber which refuses to stay straight.
4. Now, carefully cut away material parallel to the first cut until you can put the ends together making a smaller tube, and such that the inner circumference of the tube is slightly smaller (say, by 1/2" or so) than the circumference of your shaft.
5. Take a piece of electrical tape. Hold the ends of the tube flush. Place the tape on the cut on the outside to secure the tube in the middle. Now repeat with more tape until the cut is secure. Wrap tape around the whole thing.
6. Drink the anal mucus. With the scissors, CAREFULLY cut off the top and bottom of the aluminum can. CAREFULLY cut a strip of aluminum lengthwise from the can, about 3/4" to 1" wide.
7. Coat the strip with electrical tape. This is to prevent the edges from cutting.
8. Attach the strip to the tube at one end.
9. 'Test drive' it! Lube it up with KY (try not to use disk-cleaning-fluid-based lubricant; you may want to use it with more than one person, and then you'll be using a condom). Now, stuff the SIU up the floppy drive and lube well.

You now have several options for fucking your computer. One major one is from behind. If the computer is a Pentium, then put the PC in safe mode and remove the parallel port. This will enable the computer to rock back and forth to your thrusts. If the computer is a Mac, chock the monitor well, remove the USB mouse, and put the computer into a box -- the higher the box, the more play the computer has. This will also enable the PC to rock. Kneel behind the computer. Now thrust in.

You may not have any trouble with heavier iron-chassic computers, since you may not have to chock the motherboard -- the weight of the computer will prevent the CPU from 'topping out' and moving the computer away. Lighter laptop computers are more likely to be topped out by your thrusts, so chocking is necessary. In general, the lower the CPU MHz, the less play, but the more difficult it is to top the CPU out.

Another major method is to lie down under the computer, your upper body under the computer, and thrust into the PC. It is difficult, though, to make the PC rock unless you push on the closest reset button. I've also had some success leaning on my side and fucking the computer sideways. More than one person can fuck a PC if it has more than one floppy drive on opposite sides of the computer. This will also make the computer rock faster and harder since the energy of two people will add.

NEVER fuck a computer with the CPU on. Firstly, you will be breathing hard, and that means you can poison yourself faster. Secondly, the computer will either crash (because there's something blocking the floppy drive, heh) -- causing damage to the CPU -- or will force the drive bay out. And you have an idea where the drive bay will go, I trust. Ouch! Fatality City!

If you do not use a condom and you come inside the computer, ten or fifteen minutes of programming will kill off anything inside. So you do not have to worry about STDs from that. What you will have to worry about, though, is the SIU itself. It is not being sterilized. Therefore, if you use an SIU you think is going to be used by someone else, use a condom, and use KY jelly or some other water-based lubricant. Remember -- disk-cleaning-fluid rots condoms, and so will an disk-cleaning-fluid-based lubricant.

Enjoy your computers!

4 Line Algorithm? (3, Funny)

ellem (147712) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558586)

Pfft!

I could have done it in 2 Lines with Perl!

Doh!! (1)

mpweasel (539631) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558595)

"And indeed in the end the PCE encapsulates both the ultimate power and the ultimate weakness of science. For it implies that all the wonders of the universe can in effect be captured by simple rules, yet it shows that there can be no way to know all the consequences of these rules, except in effect just to watch and see how they unfold."

First of all, thanks for spoiling the ending! =)
So what it boils down to is we can't have enough foresight to control the future.. Damn, foiled again!

--Martin

Typical of theoreticians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558596)

This is so typical.


They believe that their calculations provide a deeper meaning into the Nature than what "mere experiments" ever can. It's amaznig that even these days you can read sentences like "...soon the ab initio calculations will let us design materials without having to resort to experimentation" in professional journal articles (the quote was actually from a Reviews of Modern Physics article!).


It is as if experiments are something to get away from!


Well, in a sense I can understand these guys because experimental observations often prove that the simulations and theories they hold so dear are simply wrong. Yet, some of them refuse to believe it and claim that the experiments must be wrong. Poor creatures...


A mathematical equation or simulation is idle speculation until it is backed up by solid experimental evidence. If it is not or cannot be verified by experimentation it's worth nothing.

As I was reading this book... (2, Funny)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558603)

I found this written in one of the margins...

There are no positive integers such that x^n + y^n = z^n for n>2. I've found a remarkable proof of this fact, but there is not enough space in the margin to write it.

What does this mean?

Don't read this review (2, Troll)

ChaoticCoyote (195677) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558608)

The review begins with a a grand statement about how the author hasn't even read the book -- the first inidcation that the reviewer is reviewing reactions and interviews, and not Wolfram's actual words.

But then again, this is Slashdot... ;)

possible fraud of lucent scientist Hendrik Schon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558614)

Big story.... Schon @ Lucent fraud. He's the molecular transisitor guy (was discussed previously on slashdot). Story was submitted... Check out http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/ for details... This should be covered on slashdot as it is of _major_ importance. http://capitalist.blogspot.com for thursday may 15th has more details as well as comparisons of two identical plots from very different papers/experiments.

Quantum Implications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558618)

It seems that a quantum representation (a matrix of cubits, if you will) could compute all generations of a cellular automata, especially if initial conditions are known.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558619)

I wondered what the guy who disappears in my closet has been doing for the last ten years...

*** !!! HoW tO hAvE sEx WiTh YoUr Pc !!! *** (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558627)

How to have sexual intercourse with your computer

Read this entire document before trying any of the steps.

'Having sex with a computer'. The phrase is sometimes misunderstood to mean sex on a computer, and sometimes is greeted with skepticism. How can you have sex with a computer? The short answer is: in the floppy drive. The long answer is much more involved, including techniques, precautions and cautions all designed to get you maximum satisfaction from screwing a computer. Our first subject will be the floppy drive. The floppy drive of the computer is, of course, where the diskettes come out. So in this sense, the floppy drive is an anus.

First we will deal with some cautions you should know about. In most computers, the edge of the floppy drive is sharp. You should therefore exercise caution when doing anything with the floppy drive.

If the CPU has been on for a long (or even a relatively short) period of time, the floppy drive will be hot. Do not do anything with the floppy drive hot. Wait until the floppy drive has cooled off. The floppy drive will cool off faster than the CPU, so you don't have long to wait. I call screwing the computer while the floppy drive is hot, "fucking the computer hot". Never fuck a PC hot. I did, once. Once.

The drive bay from a computer contains poisonous gases. One of these, sodium monoxide, is a slow killer. Sodium monoxide takes a long time to be flushed out of the body, so it can build up to toxic levels without your knowing it. Never do anything with the floppy drive while the CPU is on!

Now, the first thing you should note is that the inside of the floppy drive is usually coated with magnetic particles. This is the usual particulate debris of data transmission. Before having sex with the computer, clean the inside of the floppy drive with soap and warm water, as far as you can go. Keep in mind the possibly sharp edge of the floppy drive.

Now that the floppy drive is clean, you are ready to pleasure and be pleasured by the computer. You can do this two ways. One way doesn't require any equipment. The other way (which is much more rewarding) does. The first way is to fuck the computer 'raw'. This does NOT mean stuffing your cock into the floppy drive and thrusting. This would hurt (remember the sharp edges?) and be no fun anyway, since the floppy drive doesn't flex.

What you should do is get behind the computer and start jerking off. When you are about to come, carefully put your cock into the floppy drive of the PC, and then come. But, in the heat of passion, you must still remember the sharp edge. Even putting just the head into the floppy drive is good enough. Just make VERY sure that you don't hurt yourself. Now, this assumes that you can get your cock into the floppy drive in the first place. Some floppy drives are too small, and then, well, you're out of luck. Find someone who has a computer with a bigger floppy drive.

The best way to have sex with a computer, however, is not raw. You need the following equipment:

1 Dekhyr Dragon Industries (Teledildonics Division) Sexual Interface Unit.

If you don't have one, you can get one through me (Dekhyr, xdraco@panix.com [mailto] ) or you can attempt to build one yourself. The SIU is essentially a tube made of foam rubber, rolled such that the inner diameter is slightly smaller than the diameter of your erect penis. When lubricated, it acts as a sexual interface to whatever you attach it to. In this case, it is inserted into the floppy drive of the computer you want to have sex with.

To build one, you will need black electrical tape, a 'drive-head-cleaner', a can of anal mucus, and a hefty pair of scissors. A 'drive-head-cleaner' is a foam rubber dingumbob in which you put anal mucus. It keeps the anal mucus cold and your hand warm. Being a 'give-away' item, you usually can't find it anywhere. I've had reports of finding them in brothels. I've actually found a good deal of them at a local discount-type store.

There are two kinds, thick walled and thin walled. I've only been able to find the thick kind; the thin kind I've only been able to get through an advertising company. The thin kind is particularly good with floppy drives not much bigger than your cock. Here is what you need to do:

1. Measure the circumference of your erect penis. This is most easily done by wrapping a string around your cock (around the shaft, not the head).
2. Take the bottom of the drive-head-cleaner out. You should be left with a tube.
3. Cut the wall of the tube from top to bottom so that you are left with a slab of foam rubber which refuses to stay straight.
4. Now, carefully cut away material parallel to the first cut until you can put the ends together making a smaller tube, and such that the inner circumference of the tube is slightly smaller (say, by 1/2" or so) than the circumference of your shaft.
5. Take a piece of electrical tape. Hold the ends of the tube flush. Place the tape on the cut on the outside to secure the tube in the middle. Now repeat with more tape until the cut is secure. Wrap tape around the whole thing.
6. Drink the anal mucus. With the scissors, CAREFULLY cut off the top and bottom of the aluminum can. CAREFULLY cut a strip of aluminum lengthwise from the can, about 3/4" to 1" wide.
7. Coat the strip with electrical tape. This is to prevent the edges from cutting.
8. Attach the strip to the tube at one end.
9. 'Test drive' it! Lube it up with KY (try not to use disk-cleaning-fluid-based lubricant; you may want to use it with more than one person, and then you'll be using a condom). Now, stuff the SIU up the floppy drive and lube well.

You now have several options for fucking your computer. One major one is from behind. If the computer is a Pentium, then put the PC in safe mode and remove the parallel port. This will enable the computer to rock back and forth to your thrusts. If the computer is a Mac, chock the monitor well, remove the USB mouse, and put the computer into a box -- the higher the box, the more play the computer has. This will also enable the PC to rock. Kneel behind the computer. Now thrust in.

You may not have any trouble with heavier iron-chassic computers, since you may not have to chock the motherboard -- the weight of the computer will prevent the CPU from 'topping out' and moving the computer away. Lighter laptop computers are more likely to be topped out by your thrusts, so chocking is necessary. In general, the lower the CPU MHz, the less play, but the more difficult it is to top the CPU out.

Another major method is to lie down under the computer, your upper body under the computer, and thrust into the PC. It is difficult, though, to make the PC rock unless you push on the closest reset button. I've also had some success leaning on my side and fucking the computer sideways. More than one person can fuck a PC if it has more than one floppy drive on opposite sides of the computer. This will also make the computer rock faster and harder since the energy of two people will add.

NEVER fuck a computer with the CPU on. Firstly, you will be breathing hard, and that means you can poison yourself faster. Secondly, the computer will either crash (because there's something blocking the floppy drive, heh) -- causing damage to the CPU -- or will force the drive bay out. And you have an idea where the drive bay will go, I trust. Ouch! Fatality City!

If you do not use a condom and you come inside the computer, ten or fifteen minutes of programming will kill off anything inside. So you do not have to worry about STDs from that. What you will have to worry about, though, is the SIU itself. It is not being sterilized. Therefore, if you use an SIU you think is going to be used by someone else, use a condom, and use KY jelly or some other water-based lubricant. Remember -- disk-cleaning-fluid rots condoms, and so will an disk-cleaning-fluid-based lubricant.

Enjoy your computers!

Are these the tools for decompiling DNA? (4, Interesting)

kryzx (178628) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558630)

Great review. It's hard to convey complex concepts clearly, but cybrpnk2 did an excellent job.

What this most made me think of is DNA. DNA is just oodles of four-state variables that represent some kind of program. It is exactly like the cellular automata he's been working with. Looking at the code (the DNA itself) and the output (the organism produced) perhaps we can understand the underlying algorithm that uses the code to produce the output. Unravelling, understanding, decompiling, reverse engineering, or whatever you want to call it, the secrets of how the DNA code is executed could be the biggest scientific advance ever, and Wolfram may have provided the tools to do it.

Suprisingly there was no reference to this in the review, which probably indicates no discussion of it in the book. Cybrpnk2, is it true that he did not discuss DNA?

An odd definition of "truly random" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558632)

If the source of "randomness" is entirely algorithmic, it can be replicated by starting the algorithm with the same initial conditions. If it's replicable, it may be chaotic but it's not random.

For example - one of the most common forms of "random number generators" is a linear congruential generator of the form

x[i] = (a * x[i-1] + b) % M

where a, b, x, and M are all integers and % is the modulus operator. Iterated, this will produce a sequence of integers in the range [0,...,M-1]. With careful selection of a and b relative to M, you can hit every possible value between 0 and M-1, inclusive, before getting a repeat, but once any element is repeated the entire sequence is repeated. Even if you randomize the choice of your seed value (the initial value for x[0]), you're just choosing an entry point in the cycle, not changing the fundamental fact that it is cyclic and will eventually repeat. That's why we call these things "pseudo-random numbers", not "random numbers".

This sounds a bit too heavy for me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3558638)

.. any chance of a comic book version?

Maybe with fellow genius scientists Spider-Man and Mister Fantastic explaining the harder parts?

If not, I'll have to wait for the movie. I hear Madonna is battling Adam Sandler for the movie rights.

Zoober

True randomness? (1)

SirAnodos (463311) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558649)

I haven't read the book, have never heard of its author, and am basing this on nothing other than what was written in the review, so forgive me if this isn't accurate...
BUT, if everything boils down to a system with rules, then maybe you don't get true randomness. Maybe what you get is a system so complicated that to us it seems truly random, but in reality the outcome is already "encoded" in the system. Yes, the universe is running those iterations as fast as it can, so we can't predict what is going to happen... so it is random in that sense, but in another sense, nothing is random since it is all the outcome of a set of rules. In other words, if I rewind the system (the ENTIRE system, including all state) back to a certain point and hit the play button again, will I get a different result the second time around? If not, then either it isn't truly random (and "truly random" doesn't even exist!) or my definition of random is not correct.
Can this system produce truly random results, or does it produce results that seem random because we do not have the capability to predict the outcome of the rules? Maybe there is no such thing as "truly" random. Maybe it doesn't exist.

Ah, I love spacefillers. (2)

Rahga (13479) | more than 12 years ago | (#3558655)

I thought that the game of life lost some of it's "wonder" once spacefillers [radicaleye.com] came about..... Oh well.

Until it can be determined that everything in the universe consists of a binary nature, I probably wont see the point in continued cellular automata research ;)

After all, the meaning of life, the universe, and everything is 42. Duh.
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