Friday 25 January 2013

Z's Life sentence

Absurdly, spam comments are now being published, even though John G's, with no links and a Blogger account, are being sent to the spam folder.  I'm going to be away for the weekend, darlings, so I'll turn on WV, with apologies.

You know I wrote the other day about Martin Gardner's mathematical problems, published in Scientific American back in the 60s and early 70s?  That is, that's when I used to read them, first my father's comment and then, after his death in 1970, my own.  I stopped taking the magazine in the end because I understood so little of it, though either it's become more accessible to the ignorant or else I've learned more since then than I used to know, judging by the occasions I browse through the school library copy.  Anyway - yes, there is a point, I just take a while getting there ... when I looked up his Wiki entry, I was taken right back to the days of the schoolgirl Z.  Flexagons, tangrams, polyonimoes and - the Game of Life.

Do check it out here and then come back to me.

I spent hours on this.  I actually used graph paper, filled in a design and worked out what would happen - reproducing, spreading out, dying out or becoming static or repetitive.  I can't remember how long my interest lasted, I've no idea whether it was weeks or months, though I know I went back to it periodically, but I do have the clearest memories of drawing it, adding the next generation or crossing out the dying one, drawing it again and I found it fascinating.  In Wiki, it says that it's interesting for computer scientists, physicists, biologists, biochemists, economists, mathematicians, philosophers, generative scientists and others.  I'm none of those named, so must be one of 'others'.  Later in the article, it mentions the computer game Populous ll, which I spent much time on some years ago, when I was in my forties (yes, I had a misspent middle age).  Now I see why I liked that so much too.  But the patience (and time on my hands) I must have had, this solemn child with her sheets of graph paper and a pen.

One other thing - my name, of course, is Greek for 'life.'  Ooh, spooky.


Blue Witch said...

Oh alles klar, alles klar ;)

Have a good weekend away.

Blue Witch said...

And why is this spam thng such a problem? I click to delete a few a day - it's not that much of a chore...

Z said...

I get several dozen every day, BW - most of them go straight to spam or to moderation, but they all come to my email and, since I mostly read my emails on the phone in the first instance, it's a nuisance to have them pinging in. I have moderation turned on after a couple of days, otherwise they'd go to anyone who has subscribed to comments too.

mig said...

That's an awful lot of spam! Barney gets about 20 a day but I only see about one a month on the blog. 4 in the last five days - which I didn't see, they went straight to the spam box.
After looking at the Game of Life, I think you must have been a budding genius! I lost it at orthogonal!

Rog said...

I seem to remember programming the game of life on a Sinclair ZX81. The Geeks will inherit the Earth

Z said...

If not the Greeks, Rog. I realise that Ro has me to thank for his career.

The spam has increased horribly of late, Mig, and Blogger doesn't make it simple to go to the worst affected posts and turn off comments.

In London tonight, in flat empty apart from a bed. Hooray for bed, Elle and I won't have to sleep on the floor!

janerowena said...

I'm emailing the link to my spouse, I have never heard of it before but it looks very much like his sort of thing.

We've just got back from the film version of Les Miserables - as good as the stage show and book for once and the audience applauded at the end!

Z said...

It's almost too easy now, Jane, with computer programmes. I remember great interest and enjoyment in colouring in and crossing out my graph paper.

I love it when a film audience is moved to applause - rare but it shows a unity of feeling that's heartwarming.