Picture/Poem Icon July 2002:                      
suggested link

The Man Who Cracked
The Code to Everything ...

a recent article in Wired
magazine by Steven Levy

"But first it cracked him. The inside story
of how Stephen Wolfram went from boy
genius to recluse to science renegade."

From wired.com

The Man Who Cracked The Code to Everything ...
By Steven Levy

"Word had been out that Stephen Wolfram, the onetime enfant terrible
of the science world, was working on a book that would Say It All, a
paradigm-busting tome that would not only be the definitive account
on complexity theory but also the opening gambit in a new way to view
the universe. But no one had read it."

By the numbers  . . .

"Wolfram predicts an algorithmic key to the universe that can
compute quantum physics - or, say, reality TV - in four lines of code."

Wolfram begins his new work with a very clear thesis:

"Three centuries ago science was transformed by the dramatic new
idea that rules based on mathematical equations could be used to describe
the natural world. My purpose in this book is to initiate another such
transformation, and to introduce a new kind of science that is based
on the much more general types of rules that can be embodied in
simple computer programs."

Read a review of Wofram's new book at NY Times
Review of Books:

'A New Kind of Science':
You Know That Space-Time Thing? Never Mind

By George Johnson

From the very beginning of this meticulously constructed manifesto, the
reader is presented with a stunning proposal: all the science we know will
be demolished and reassembled. An ancient error will be corrected, one so
profoundly misguided that it has led science down the wrong avenue, until
it is approaching a cul-de-sac. The mistake (as everyone who hated calculus
will be happy to hear) is trying to capture the richness of the universe with
mathematical equations -- Newton's, Maxwell's, Einstein's. All are based
on an abstract, perhaps dubious idea -- that time and space form a seamless
continuum. Whether dealing with an inch or a second, you can chop it in
half and the half in half, ad infinitum. Thus things can be described with
unlimited, infinitesimal precision." [...]

"Wolfram believes that even his own field, theoretical physics (he got a Ph.D
. from Caltech when he was 20), suffers from the problem. Equations can
capture characteristics of individual particles with breathtaking precision. But
put three or four particles together and the complications begin to overwhelm.
The problem, he proposes, is that equations are the wrong tool for the job.
They should be replaced with computer programs -- more specifically, the
little snippets of software called algorithms." [...]

Other unrelated, but interesting links . . .

From audubon.org


"The U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives are set to vote on a
proposal to give the Department of Defense (DOD) an exemption from portions
of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) on or near military installations in the
United States. This proposal will have devastating effects on endangered,
threatened and recovery bird and wildlife species. And while the measure
is designed with one specific military base in mind, it's written so broadly
it could affect many other military bases in the U.S." [...]


"The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing to kill by poison 2
million blackbirds a year for three years starting in the Spring of 2002.
The poisoning threatens to kill numerous other birds including the steeply
declining populations of grassland songbirds.

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