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terry pratchett - The Villages

hutch0
Date: 2007-12-12 23:37
Subject: terry pratchett
Security: Public
Location:the utility room in the sky
Mood:pensivepensive
Music:porcupine tree
I just saw on Boing Boing that Terry Pratchett has released a statement saying he's been diagnosed with a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer's. He describes it as `an embuggerance,' which is a great deal more polite than I would be.
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2007-12-12 23:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I heard about this from Pam a little while ago. I'm beyond words.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2007-12-13 00:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I wasn't sure whether or not to post this. Everyone will hear about it eventually anyway, one way or another, and I have a feeling Pratchett would think it was unfair to single him out among the many Alzheimer's diagnoses that have been made recently. But...I dunno. Like Thog, I'm beyond words.
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rou_killingtime
User: rou_killingtime
Date: 2007-12-13 12:50 (UTC)
Subject: Sigh...
Damn, this is depressing news indeed. I honestly can't describe how maudlin this news makes me feel. I mean, I've never even met the guy, but I feel like I know him all the same.

It strikes me that there are pros and cons to liking authors that are older than one's self:

Con - The odds are in favour of them dying before you do.

Pro - You get to read their entire body of work before you die yourself.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2007-12-13 16:33 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Sigh...
Hm. That's an...interesting way of looking at it.
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rou_killingtime
User: rou_killingtime
Date: 2007-12-13 19:12 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Sigh...
I suspect my solipsist leanings were evident in that post.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2007-12-13 22:24 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Sigh...
I always wondered: if you lock two solipsists in a room together, do they both cease to exist?
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rou_killingtime
User: rou_killingtime
Date: 2007-12-13 22:56 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Sigh...
Nah, the *room* ceases to exist, along with one of the solipsists ;-)

How about this one: If a man speaks, and there's no woman there to hear what he's saying... is what he said still wrong, somehow?

Speaking of zen koans and similar 'unanswerable' questions, I've yet to hear one that I can't either solve pretty easily or demonstrate that the question itself is nonsense; the "immovable object / irresistible force", "tree falling in a forest", "one hand clapping", "chicken / egg (which came first)" koans are just too easy.

Of course, what's even worse is that I'm well aware that zen koans aren't meant to be answered at all, they're merely a tool to aid in attaining an altered mental state. Alas, my mind is compulsively analytical and hence, they have no utility for me.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2007-12-13 23:33 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Sigh...
Hm. I kind of pictured it as a Schrodinger's cat sort of situation; as soon as you open the door one of the solipsists collapses into a rest state and the other one was never there in the first place. Or does that violate causality?

If a man speaks, and there's no woman there to hear what he's saying... is what he said still wrong, somehow? I dunno; it's been so long since I managed to catch anyone's attention I've stopped wondering.

Ian Banks did the immovable object/irresistible force thing, although I can't remember in which book. It's devastatingly simple Newtonian physics. The immovable object moves. The irresistible force stops.
You can actually hear the sound of one hand clapping, if you listen close. It's kind of a swishing sound. Useless at concerts.
And of course a tree falling in a forest makes a noise. I appreciate the purpose of the question and I think it's rather beautiful, but the answer really has to be `Yes!' every time.
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rou_killingtime
User: rou_killingtime
Date: 2007-12-14 01:15 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Sigh...
Schrodinger's Solipsist was funnily enough my first thought after reading your post, but of course, neither solipsist would believe in the existence of the radioactive isotope or the poison gas. Or the room! Also, I just couldn't resist the temptation to answer as a solipsist would, even though eigenvalues are a really cool concept.

It did remind me of an idle thought experiment however... take a beach ball, and glue it to a cat's back. Then add more cats, gluing it to their backs until you have a bristling sphere of protruding cat legs. Now take the ball-o-cats and throw it into the air. As cats always land on their feet, the ball will simply hover, spinning in the air, and you'll have invented anti-gravity :-) For a more animal friendly version, stick the buttered side of toast to the beach ball.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2007-12-15 21:46 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Sigh...
Well, as my Mum used to say, "Eigenvalues is as eigenvalues does, young Hutch. Now eat your greens."

I think I heard of the Great Ball O'Cats before. It struck me as being something the great Irish comic novellist Flann O'Brien would have come up with.
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