[ExI] computer science reliquary (was turing movie)

spike spike66 at att.net
Fri Aug 8 17:49:42 UTC 2014

>... On Behalf Of Bill Hibbard
Subject: [ExI] computer science reliquary (was turing movie)

Anders Sandberg wrote:
>>... Any way, I now have few splinters from Shockley's lab next to the soil

> from Bletchley park in my computer science reliquary. Next time my 
> computer crashes I will wave the relics over it and see if it works 
> again.

>...Cool. I've got this:


I had a notion regarding the creation of geek relics.  A number of years
ago, a milestone Mersenne prime was discovered, the prime which won the
discoverer the first cash prize put up by the EFF.  On the GIMPS forum we
were congratulating the winner.  The details of the computer were offered:
nothing extraordinary at the time (late 1990s): a generic Intel 486
processor running at ordinary speed.  Someone posted a comment "I'll give
you 20 thousand bucks for that computer."  The owner posted back "Ha ha.
Serious offers only please."

That exchange of a few words spawned a discussion here which Hal Finney
participated.  We recognized the ambiguity of the reply.  The discoverer was
not a regular in the math geek online social scene.  We recognized that he
may have no idea the machine itself had become a valuable museum piece,
worth every bit of 20k.  He might have simply thought of the offer as a
joke, someone offering 20k for a machine with a resale value of perhaps 200
dollars by that time.  Or he might have over-estimated its value into the
50k range and thought he was being low-balled.

In either case, Hal recognized that in principle it is possible to arrange a
game or parallel online effort such that value can be computed into
existence.  Bitcoin followers know how the rest of that story unfolded.

Regarding the notion of geek relics: I can imagine if someone had an
original Apple II, by now they could take out the motherboard, desolder the
chips (they are all plated thru-hole tech from those benighted times), place
the chips in plastic resin to create conversation pieces and desk
decorations, the general debris that math and computer types like to collect
and give each other, geeky gifts for geeky geeks, so that they might prove
geeky geekiness, establish geek dominance, that sorta thing.


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