Greg Linch's Commonplace Book

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People silently struggle from all kinds of terrible things. They suffer from depression, ambition, substance abuse, and pretension. They suffer from family tragedy, Ivy-League educations, and self-loathing. They suffer from failing marriages, physical pain, and publishing. The good thing about politeness is that you can treat these people exactly the same. And then wait to see what happens. You don’t have to have an opinion. You don’t need to make a judgment. I know that doesn’t sound like liberation, because we live and work in an opinion-based economy. But it is. Not having an opinion means not having an obligation. And not being obligated is one of the sweetest of life’s riches.

Revolutionary art and visionary physics are both investigations into the nature of reality. Roy Lichtenstein, the pop artist of the 1960s, declared, “Organized perception is what art is all about.” Sir Isaac Newton might have said as much for physics; he, too, was concerned with organizing perceptions. While their methods differ radically, artists and physicists share the desire to investigate the ways the interlocking pieces of reality fit together. This is the common ground upon which they meet.

This prompted my group to develop a service called Virtual Notary that attests to online factoids. Virtual Notary can issue certificates on a wide range of topics, including document possession, job titles, weather conditions, and financial data, among others. A novel implementation issues independent certificates that can be verified by third-parties many years from now. The implementation also encrypts, embeds and publicizes the state of the notary on both Twitter and also in the public Bitcoin transaction chain. This ensures that the virtual notary cannot be subverted and the historical record altered, even if the website were to be compromised.

“Another [desk head] suggested that the relentless work of assembling the world’s best news report can also be a ‘form of laziness, because it is work that is comfortable and familiar to us, that we know how to do. And it allows us to avoid the truly hard work and bigger questions about our present and our future: What shall we become. How must we change?’” (p. 72)

it is clear that there is no classification of the Universe not being arbitrary and full of conjectures. The reason for this is very simple: we do not know what thing the universe is.

In a new book with nine coauthors, 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10, he reflects on the Commodore 64’s influence on code and culture since its debut in the early 1980s, when it allowed the masses to tinker with programming at home. “The Commodore 64 is remarkable in that it gives immediate access to the ordinary user to be able to program the computer,” says Montfort. “It’s not better than the current computers … but if you wanted to turn on a switch, type in a one-line program, run it, and start modifying it, you can start to explore what a computer can do within a minute, and that’s very compelling.”