His friend, Mansour, comes to visit him and sees Nasruddin on his hands and knees, crawling on the sidewalk under the street lamp, obviously searching for something, appearing frustrated.

Concerned for his friend, Mansour asks, "Nasruddin, what are you looking for? Did you lose something?"

"Yes, Mansour. I lost the key to my house, and I’m trying to find it, but I can’t."

"Let me help you," responds Mansour.

Mansour joins his friend, kneels down on his hands and knees, and begins to crawl on the sidewalk under the street lamp, searching.

After a time, having looked everywhere on and around the sidewalk, neither Nasruddin nor Mansour can find the lost key. Puzzled, Mansour asks his friend to recall his steps when he last had the key, "Nasruddin, where did you lose the key? When did you last have it?"

"I lost the key in my house," Nasruddin responds.

"In your house?" repeats the astonished Mansour. "Then why are we looking for the key here, outside on the sidewalk under this street lamp?”

Without hesitation, Nasruddin explains, “Because there is more light here . . . !”

Robert Mapplethorpe, Hands (1981)



Diffie–Hellman Key Exchange establishes a shared secret between two parties that can be used for secret communication for exchanging data over a public network. The following conceptual diagram illustrates the general idea of the key exchange by using colors instead of very large numbers.

The process begins by having the two parties, Alice and Bob, agree on an arbitrary starting color that does not need to be kept secret (but should be different every time[8]); in this example the color is yellow. Each of them selects a secret color–red and aqua respectively–that they keep to themselves. The crucial part of the process is that Alice and Bob now mix their secret color together with their mutually shared color, resulting in orange and blue mixtures respectively, then publicly exchange the two mixed colors. Finally, each of the two mix together the color they received from the partner with their own private color. The result is a final color mixture (brown) that is identical to the partner's color mixture.

If another party (usually named Eve in cryptology publications, Eve being a third-party who is considered to be an eavesdropper) had been listening in on the exchange, it would be computationally difficult for that person to determine the common secret color; in fact, when using large numbers rather than colors, this action is impossible for modern supercomputers to do in a reasonable amount of time.






I have, for many years, thought that this could only be solved by a genetic approach -- an approach where deep structure, spread through society, creates and generates the right sort of structure, very much as genetic code creates and generates organisms and ecological systems -- indirectly, by letting loose life creating process.



Cooperation emerges when groups are small and memories are long, study finds

Read only memory

Another place where memory storage was needed was for entertainment purposes: the cylinders and punched disks that operate music boxes, and also the punched paper rolls in player pianos. There was an almost infinite variety of these devices, including some automata programmed by large wooden cylinders with metal pins. I’ve collected some things along these lines but I’ve been more interested in devices directly associated with computing. One very interesting technology that I found recently is cam memory. One example that I really like contains information on how to adjust from the local compass reading anywhere on the earth’s surface to true magnetic north. The memory storage unit consists of a very lopsided cylinder of aluminum that is actually a map of the earth. At first when I saw it I thought the device had been smashed, but when you look at it closely, you realize it’s been carefully machined. There’s a stylus that can be run along the axis of the cylinder, much like a phonograph needle, that reads the radius at any point around the surface. It’s this radius that encodes the deviation of the local magnetic field. It’s quite a beautiful object. There were also computational devices in aircraft navigation systems—you can still occasionally find these in electronics swap meets and junk yards—that have ball disc and roller integrators, which were able to mechanically monitor a plane’s direction and speed and translate that into latitude and longitude. Those are pretty amazing, and I’m sure were extremely costly to produce. Of course, you can do all that now with a few lines of computer code.




The memory storage unit consists of a very lopsided cylinder of aluminum that is actually a map of the earth.

Aubrey Beardsley, Merlin

Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

Sarah Charlesworth, Materialization (1993)


Saussure interprets classical poetry as an art of combination, whose developed structures are tributaries of simple elements, fundamentals which are required by the rules of the game to be both conserved and transformed. Only it happens that all language is combination, even without the intervention of an explicit intention to practice combination as art. Decipherers, whether they be cabalists or phoneticists, have a free range: a reading which is symbolic or numeric or systematically attentive to a partial aspect can always bring to light a latent depth, a hidden secret, a language within the language. And if there is no cipher? The constant attraction of the secret, of anticipated discovery, of steps astray in the labyrinth of exegesis—all these would remain.

Wolfgang Tillmans, Paper Drop-Haze, 2011


The notion that innovation arises from the interplay between the actual and the possible was first formalized by the complexity theorist Stuart Kauffmann. In 2002, Kauffmann introduced the idea of the “adjacent possible” as a way of thinking about biological evolution.

The adjacent possible is all those things—ideas, words, songs, molecules, genomes, technologies and so on—that are one step away from what actually exists. It connects the actual realization of a particular phenomenon and the space of unexplored possibilities.

Picasso's Don Quixote

This complexity is not seen in the grey journal print, nor in the currently popular black-and-white versions. But if this shading is deliberate, then new interpretations of Don Quixote can be inferred. According to Lebanidze, the dark elements of the drawing represent what has been transformed by Don Quixote’s mind from the everyday to the mythical: himself and his horse into a heroic knight, a windmill into a giant, and the ground into the world of his imagination. The other subjects have been left in the sphere of reality, a world more distant and less visible to Don Quixote.



The constant attraction of the secret, of anticipated discovery, of steps astray in the labyrinth of exegesis—all these would remain.




What does it mean to be multilingual? At the most basic level, we all are. If you speak English, if you have ever been to a ballet or seen an alligator. If you’ve ever talked about your angst or ennui, played a guitar, smoked marijuana, sipped champagne on a yacht or studied algebra in the boondocks, you have already been speaking the language of the other.


Can you trust the world to be consistent? Scientists don’t have much choice.

Robert Mapplethorpe, Sleeping Cupid (1989)


"Is it not possible for the syntax and grammatical form of language to be changed so as to give a basic role to the verb rather than to the noun? This would help to end the sort of fragmentation indicated above, for the verb describes actions and movements, which flow into each other and merge, without sharp separations or breaks. Moreover, since movements are in general always themselves changing, they have in them no permanent pattern of fixed form with which separately existent things could be identified."—David Bohm



it's an honest decision but a honeysuckle shrub

Charles Amirkhanian - Church Car, Version 2

From 'A Few Notes on Marain'

Marain is a synthetic language created towards the very beginning of the Culture with the specific intention of providing a means of expression which would be a culturally inclusive and as encompassingly comprehensive in its technical and representational possibilities as practically achievable - a language, in short, that would appeal to poets, pedants, engineers and programmers alike. The intention was to start with a linguistic blank sheet, yet with the accumulated knowledge of the hundreds of thousands known to those people and machines charged with the language's devising. It had, therefore, no specific links to any of the main languages spoken by the people who came together to make up the Culture as a civilisation, save those statistically likely.



Instead of trying to specify it in full detail, you specify it only somewhat. You then ride on the dynamics of the system in the direction you want to go.
- Stafford Beer


The word was “Disregard! ”



vicious circle vicious cycle