Some remarks on *Some Remarks*

Neal Stephenson fans will love Some Remarks.  Eighteen articles dating from 1993 to 2012 and ranging from less than a page to the epic 118 page WIRED article, “Mother Earth, Mother Board.”  I had missed some of his short stories along the way, so I think the collection is a fun trip.  Short stories like “The Great Simoleon Caper,” detailing a country-free digital currency (think Bitcoin) make me want to go back and read Snow Crash.

The newest article with a clever name, “Arsebestos,” describes how sitting on one’s “arse” all day is killing us.  Of course, to those that have read REAMDE, one can’t help but to think of Skeletor, the once morbidly obese MMORPG player who replaced his chair with a treadmill and now has ridiculously low body fat.  Arsebestos expands on that idea with the standing desk concept: replace your desk at work with a slow speed treadmill.

But “Mother Earth, Mother Board” really is the centerpiece of the collection.  A mere essay by Stephenson standards, it is a Depth-First-Search into the cable laying industry of 1996.  Ok, it’s a bit dated, but it’s a true microcosm of Stephenson’s exhaustive writing style.  Lastly, the included forward to David Foster Wallace’s Everything and More, makes me want to go out buy that book. In the little I have read of DFW, I can see why he resonates with Neal.

In more mundane news, I’m a bit busier than usual at the moment with two classes: Operating Systems and Introduction to AI.  Both are fun so far, but very project intensive. The OS class will be a look into the linux kernel, after this first project implementing our own shell. When I get to write comments like :

Reap all Zombies!

How is that not fun?!?  The first project for AI is to write a solver for a sliding puzzle game in LISP. If I did any programming in LISP in undergrad, I can’t remember it.  But, the plus side is that my emacs-fu will be that much better after this!