[ExI] Extrope Robert Bradbury Has Died

spike spike66 at att.net
Thu Mar 3 18:10:03 UTC 2011


Robert came to visit in 2002.  He was tired from travelling from the east
coast, so we didn't stay up much that first evening.  We talked about
MBrains, and I worked out the orbit mechanics and so forth.  Robert was an
idea-hamster, spinning them out wildly, as was his custom, never slowing,
churning out ideas like a hamster on an exercise wheel.  I could scarcely
calculate BOTECs fast enough to keep up with that brain.  He didn't know how
to do the orbit mechanics calculations, but that actually freed his
imagination to roam throughout the cosmos.


We retired early that evening.  I was awakened by a sudden BOOOM which
caused me to leap from my bed.  My immediate thought was Oh dear, Robert has
shot himself!  I didn't even know he had firearms.  I ran down, opened the
guest room door, heard a soft zzzzzzzz snooorrrrrk zzzzzzz...  I looked at
the clock: midnight.  Right then I heard what sounded like ragged gunfire
and shouting voices from the street out front.  It occurred to me that it
was Chinese New Year and the neighbors were out there playing with
firecrackers.  Nearly everyone in my neighborhood is Vietnamese or Chinese.
Some reveling yahoo had hurled an M80 down the storm drain, which caused the
sound to reverberate into the homes.  Robert slept through it all.


There was a project Robert was doing back in 2001 and 2002, where he was
collecting a bunch of early proto-transhumanist material and computer
development stuff from before the internet, much of it existing only in hard
copy.  He had me order a bunch of stuff from the Santa Clara county public
library system, and was constantly cracking the whip to get me to move my
ass on this, my enthusiasm being far less than his.  His sense of urgency
was much greater than mine.  


This is a quote from one of his emails to me where he was urging me to
contact some local visionaries and collect archive materials:



(... the Russian equivalent of Nike's "Just do it" exhortation but

expressed with feelings that only Russian's may be able to properly

emote...  I expect it was used alot by Marshal Zhukov in the battle for

Seelow Heights.)


He pointed out that many of the early computer science visionaries were
still living, many of them in the neighborhood here, but that they wouldn't
be if we didn't move our asses on this.  I collected materials, he scanned
them while he was here in January 2002.  On that trip he met with the
Foresight crowd, collected a bunch of materials from K. Eric Drexler and
Christine Petersen, among others, Ralph Merkel and Doug Engelbart I think
and that crowd, much of it hard copy of stuff from the 1970s and 1980s.  We
OCRed materials here on my scanner, then he took the files on his laptop and
all the hard copy with him.  He had collected some floppy discs too, some of
them being the old flexible 5.25 inch discs from which the name "floppy
disc" was derived because they were actually floppy.  He took those with
him, for I had no way to read them in 2002.


Oy vey!  Now I realize I never did keep a soft copy of any of those archives
he was compiling, no copies of anything he and I collected.  I don't know
what has become of those materials!  Damn, I never did ask about it, and a
lot of it was original documentation from people he knew but I didn't.  I
was just the messenger boy, collecting the stuff from local players he had
already contacted.  Damn.


Does anyone here know Robert's family?  Is there any tactful way to ask them
to not throw away any of his papers?  Or not erase any of his old files?
Who knows what historical documents we might find in there, some of them
perhaps dating back to the dawn of time, or at least the time that matters.
Damien?  David?  Anyone else we might contact?





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