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CHAT: John Cowan's Spare Brain (was: Ferochromon)

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 24, 2002, 12:25
Skip this posting if you don't want to read about my mental state.

Tristan McLeay scripsit:

> John, how do you know everything? Is there some magic or medicine that > gives you all the knowledge in the world? If so, you couldn't perchance > forward any to me, could you?
Well, I have read a whole lot, quickly, and have a good memory, and then there's Google. I read the Robert Forward novel 15-20 years ago or so, and recognized the plot element, but couldn't remember the name of the novel (senility setting in at 44, I suppose...) I did remember the name of the aliens, "cheelas", but I probably could have managed without that. Undoubtedly it helped that a year or so ago I reread Douglas Hofstadter's _Le Ton Beau de Marot_ (only the title is in French), which discusses the use of metaphors in _Dragon's Egg_. I then googled for '"Robert Forward" cheela' and got back the usual list of results, from which I was able to pick out the title _Dragon's Egg_ without even going to any other site. I then tried the first site (wretchedly misspelled mindless praise), backed out, and reached the next one at From that page there was a link to the ST episode, which I had completely forgotten seeing. When people ask me questions viva voce (which happens a lot), I can often answer them off the top of my head, but if not, I say "Let me plug in my spare brain" and google for the answers. Hence the title of this post. OTOH I went to (which is a site where people offer to pay for authoritative answers to their questions) and was quickly and *sharply* reminded of how little I really know and how much there is about which I have little or no clue. And Rosta (I think) once described me and others on this list (I'm not unique, just far out on the curve) as "knowing at least something about almost everything", which I think is a fair enough statement. *blush* *whew!* -- Not to perambulate || John Cowan <jcowan@...> the corridors || during the hours of repose || in the boots of ascension. \\ Sign in Austrian ski-resort hotel