Category Archives: Time Travel

Early version of Google

This was the early version of Google. Using these humble wooden drawers, generations of scholars and researchers, desperate students and cunning spies, despairing parents and fanatical bibliophiles, and every other shape and size of reader delved into the depth and breadth of human understanding.

Something worth considering: Google contains only a fraction of the knowledge once cataloged by card catalogs. Technology has digitized and indexed only that which is easy to digitize and index; most journal articles, newspaper articles, books, scientific papers, notebooks and other written material are still confined to physical forms, and unknown to Internet search engines.

How I miss card catalogs.

The humble card catalog was the early version of Google. These wooden drawers held the wonder's of the world's past and the future of the universe.

The humble card catalog was the early version of Google. These wooden drawers held the wonder’s of the world’s past and the future of the universe.

Tudor’s biscuits?

One thing that separates the United States from England is the humble biscuit. We simply cannot agree on what a “biscuit” is, and this disagreement was one of the flash points of the American Revolution. (Possibly baking points rather than flash points?)

But apparently not all traces of British occupation were removed by the Revolution, as this bulwark of Britannia can be found in West Virginia. The Tudor dynastic linkage suggests that the establishment even predates the Revolution.

Tudor's Biscuit World, found in the wilds of West Virginia.

Tudor’s Biscuit World, found in the wilds of West Virginia.

Any curiosity about the biscuits were squelched by this sign:

Tudor biscuits, spaghetti and pizza, and a drive through.

Tudor biscuits, spaghetti and pizza, and a drive through.

Why I didn’t become a graphic artist

I spent most of my grade school years drawing pictures instead of doing classwork. Classwork was easy, so I did that quickly and then “illuminated” my work with fanciful spacecraft, mythic maps, and lots of lizards and horses. My maps were quite good, my spacecraft were probably not flyable, and everything else was quite poor.

But now, thanks to powerful computer hardware and clever software, I can make cartoons based on nothing more than photographs that I’ve taken and odd comments. Such as this:

Cartoon showing two stacks of CD-ROMs mulling over their fate.

Combine powerful computers and software, a decent photo or three and some brief text, and you have cartoons!

You can find more such efforts at KLJC Computing Cartoons.

Adam the First

Genesis states that man was formed from dust of the ground, and this first man, Adam, went on with Eve to populate the Earth. This happened before 4000 BC, according to Bishop James Ussher (1581-1656), who precisely dated the creation of everything as occurring the night before Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC.

Modern cosmological evidence puts the date of the universe a bit earlier, roughly 13.75 billion years ago, give or take a few decades. Presumably the first human came after this, though the exact date depends on how you define “first human.”

But this large placard, in Howard County, Maryland, suggests Adam the First dates back to sometime before 1668. This opens up the intriguing possibility that Adam is younger than Bishop Ussher, which would certainly be a surprise to the Bishop.

Adam the First

Adam the First.

Highly encrypted map of Maryland

This highly detailed map of Maryland was reconstructed from a mass of fiendishly encrypted cardboard tokens. It was assembled after an intense multi-discipline effort by a health care informatician, a systems analyst, a nurse, a psychologist, a theologian, a historian, three writer-editors, an Internet projects manager, a literature specialist, a linguist, a chemist, a photographer, and an environmental projects consultant (a total of four individuals).

The cardboard tokens were uncovered in an obscure location in the Lake District, Cumbria, England. To assemble the map, the team used the latest EHACCATTPRT (Encrypted Heuristic Adaptive Cooperative Chromatic And Typographic Topological Pattern Recognition Technology, pronounced as “E-hack-pfft” in the US, “Aye-hack-puff” in Queen’s English, and in Liverpudlian, “Gnomish”) advances.

Next, the team will turn their talents to solving global economic issues.


Highly encrypted map of Maryland, formed from 1000 pieces

Flash Forward


There is a new ABC TV series called “Flash Forward.” It is an exercise in non-sequiturs, or possibly pre-sequiturs. Each episode consists of short vignettes, from the past, present or future, in which the characters try to figure out what is happening now and what will happen at a specific future time, with references to things in the past.

Normally, this would be simple fiction, but there is a science fiction element. A tachyon wave (or some other quantum event escaping into the non-quantum universe) allowed everyone on the planet to see what they were doing for a few minutes in the future. Some people saw nothing, and presumably will die between now and then. Others saw actions and activities they don’t understand. Others saw actions and activities they are desperately trying to prevent from becoming real.

It is an interesting plot device, with ample room for discussions of determinism (which it mentions only in passing), predestination, inevitability, and a whole bunch of other big words that we as humans shy away from addressing, unless we are philosophers, historians or divinity students.

It is vaguely based on a science fiction novel, Flashforward, by Robert J. Sawyer. Many of the characters are the same, but in the novel the flash forward is a view in about 21 years. ABC wimped out of trying to figure out what Geneva, Switzerland would look like in 21 years, and settled for envisioning Los Angeles after a few months.


[Added later: and then the network canceled it in mid non sequitur.]