a game in which changing the rules is a move. The Initial Set of rules does little more than regulate the rule-changing process. While most of its initial rules are procedural in this sense, it does have one substantive rule (on how to earn points toward winning); but this rule is deliberately boring so that players will quickly amend it to please themselves.

Nomic by Peter Suber

Pool grill


This is a pretty famous photo. At least, I think it is. I first saw it years ago. It usually appears with captions like “Darwin awards”, “What stupid looks like”, “Rednecks grill”, etc.

The assumption seems to be that these are Americans using an electric grill in the pool.

Without doing any further research, there are some problems with that assumption. The surroundings don’t look particularly American to me, and the people don’t look especially like rednecks (the man sitting in the pool actually looks very European). Also, while the grill itself is plugged in, it’s not actually being used, and there is no food in the photo at all.

Eventually I became inspired to look up the details. It wasn’t very hard to find this forum thread, that links to this gallery page. It’s not very organized, but it includes several photos of a group of friends from Germany, horsing around in an inflatable pool in front of an office building. They bring the grill in the pool, plug it in, and even pretend to prepare food on it.

Another detail that came up in the forum thread is that the receptacles in the photo are European, not American. No one mentioned the beers, but if I knew more about that, I would probably be able to tell if those beers are typically European or American. In the main photo, the left-most bottle on the table could be a Tuborg Red perhaps.


The mother of all demos

The Mother of All Demos, by Douglas Engelbart, 1968. Computing as a tool to augment the human mind. An early¬†public demonstration of a complete computer system designed specifically for personal use. It took decades to bring these ideas to life, and we’re still working on a lot of them.

Note the explanation at the beginning of the video about what is being shown. Remember the invention of the alphabetical order?