[Humanist] 23.426 embracing static

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon Nov 9 07:24:05 CET 2009


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 23, No. 426.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
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        Date: Sun, 8 Nov 2009 08:57:53 +0000
        From: "Clark, Stephen" <srlclark at liverpool.ac.uk>
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 23.423 embracing static
        In-Reply-To: <20091108081814.85BF941F69 at woodward.joyent.us>


Francois Lachance said:

"I am a great believer in the generative power of noise, static
and other such sources of randomness." 

I thought I remembered a short story by Asimov, called "Noise", in which a group of scientists are fed what turns out to be faked imagery of an anti-gravity machine, together with random bits of background information. They manage, under this challenge, to invent an anti-gravity machine..... The moral being as Francois suggests.

Actually, it seems to have been a short story by one Bill Wesley, called "Crash Program" in a magazine called Future Science Fiction, December 1958. But I think the plot was as I remember (see http://interactions.acm.org/content/?p=1291). There seems to be no online information about Wesley: is this perhaps an Asimov pseudonym (just seeking to vindicate my memory!)?

Stephen Clark
Liverpool




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