The Still no Cure for Cancer Mentality (-sigh-)
Entered 09:46:00 AM Terra, Sol-III Mutter's Spiral
The solution, or rather lack of solution has been found to the over one hundred fifty year old math problem of how many numbers of magic tours a knight can make on a standard 8x8 chessboard. It turn out that there exist one hundred forty distinct semimagic tours, but no magic tour. The solution came after 61.40 CPU-days, corresponding to 138.25 days of computation at 1 GHz, the project was completed on August 5, 2003 in which every possible enumeration was tried out.
This is a perfect example of modern technology being used to solve previously insoluble mathematical / logical problems. What would previously take decades of thought and toil to deduce has been solved using the sheer computational might of the modern ALU.
The reaction of some people?
Without trying to be too much of a Troll, can someone explain to me as a mathematical lay man as to why this problem has any significance? Given that a chess board is an arbitrary 8x8 set of constraints, is there anything that can be learned and applied to the real world (or even theoretical mathematics?) through solving this problem?
Does no one respect the challenge of simply doing something for the sake of doing it? One would think in this culture of instant gratification and pleasure at all costs, that the average man would not begrudge the thinkers of this world a chance to indulge themselves as well. 64 days to one computer CPU is no great loss to the search for a cure for cancer. Personal computers waste more cycles running file sharing programs or screensavers every day.
Does every pursuit have to have a "practical" result that exists only to serve the pressing problems of mankind? Some people use this reasoning to condemn the space program, lamenting the lack of resources turned to domestic problems. What they fail to realize is that these intellectual pursuits more often than not _do_ lay the groundwork for discoveries that ultimately benefit mankind in the long run (mining asteroids, zero-gravity manufacturing, not to mention colonization of worlds to alleviate the soon-to-be severe overpopulation problem on Earth (humans do so love to breed))-- and that the lack of resources to address "real" problems is the fault of self-centered politicians who would rather spend 51% of their budget on new and better ways to kill people with guns, rather than invest in health care.
To discourage thinkers from pursuing solutions to problems that plague them, even if they have no apparent (or even ultimate) "useful" result is to fundamentally disrespect the inquisitive mind and its role in the world.
Remember: "behind a lot of great solved problems is a totally useless result; the value therein lies not in its outcome but in the solution methodology and how it applies to the attainment of other results, some of which will be a trifle more interesting"
Proof of the Hypocrisy
Entered 01:25:12 AM Terra, Sol-III Mutter's Spiral
Yesterday, there was a blackout that effectively shutdown the northeast region of the United States. Now, don't you think that if there really were all these Al-Quaeda sleepers running about as Ashcroft et. al. would have us believe, that perhaps, just perhaps they would have struck while the authorities were confused, disorganized and there was no power for things like, oh, shall we say, security, scanners and cameras?
Either the sleepers were asleep at the switch or the transparency of the male bovine excretions put out by the government are becoming obvious to anyone with even half a cerebellum.
"The matter of why Doctor Xadium's Time Capsule is fixed in the curious shape of a 'beverage vending machine' from late 20th-century Earth [Humanian Era 607934] is a subject never broached in polite conversation. Ever. Whilst some have scurrilously posited that Xadium cannot properly effect the repair of a simple Type 60 Chamelionic circuit, it is generally accepted that these disgraceful innuendo are slanderous and utterly unfounded."
- Lord Sendrilmetavanskastaron, "The Gallifreyan Renegades", thirty-eleventh ed.
D O C T O R
"Doctor Xadium was an errant Time Lord whose overactive sense of humour at High Council meetings earned him a more or less permanent holiday from Gallifrey.
Stuck on Earth trying to cobble together a new TARDIS-- but equipped with nothing more than the technological equivalent of bear-skins and stone knives (as well as some metal tape)-- he decided to use his time to follow the myriad trends in Terran society, studying their crude, primitive laws and laughable attempts to improve themselves scientifically.
Aproximately 26 Earth-years into his exile, in order to offset his growing frustration with the 'self-involved, short-sighted, bombastic ape-monkeys with delusions of grandeur"', he took to irregularly recording his more sardonic-- or dare we say even cynical-- views on the ever-progressing devolution of 21st century human civilization (not to mention his own petty irritations) in his 900-year diary, excerpts of which we have extracted from the data core of his notoriously insecure Terran 'computing device' (which in terms of function is slightly less advanced then a Gallifreyan child's first number line).
It is almost refreshing to note the ceaseless amazement he displays at the Terran propensity to supress any information, be it political, archaeological or scientific, that gets in the way of their pedestrian, self-absorbed world-view. It is for this reason that historians have labeled Doctor Xadium 'The Discoverer of Obvious Truth'
- Lord Sendrilmetavanskastaron, "The Gallifreyan Renegades", thirty-eleventh ed., WHO IS GOING TO GET SUED ONCE I GET BACK TO GALLIFREY BECAUSE HE DOESN'T REALIZE MY SUB-ETHER NET CONNECTION STILL WORKS AND I CAN SEE THE ABSOLUTE RUBBISH HE'S SPEWING FORTH OVER THERE AT THE OPPOSITE END OF THE GALAXY
T H E