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Hi, I'm Graeme. This is the page of the McRae Family web site where I get to talk about things I find interesting. Maybe you'll find them interesting, too. Or not.
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I grew up in New Jersey, married Catherine, and have three kids: Caitlin, Matthew, Meghan. We moved to Palmdale, CA in 1993. I enjoy reading philosophy, studying mathematics, snowboarding, and running. more...
Computer programs executing together in one computer in a hostile environment. No effort is made to keep the programs from hurting each other -- in fact, that's the whole idea. Try to write a program that will deliver lethal blows to other programs while at the same time surviving attacks from those programs.
Does that sound fun?
I used to know a guy named Little Davey (he would just smirk if someone asked him how he got that nickname) who liked to copy the sentimental tripe from the left side of birthday cards verbatim onto the right side, then sign it. Invariably, Davey said, the recipient of these cards would say how happy they were to receive such a nice card, and what a way with words you have, they would say. Not once did any of the victims of Davey's hoax read the pre-printed verse which laid just inches from Davey's copy. That's one way to have fun with language.
Here are some more.
Alexander Graham Bell probably didn't predict just how much fun it is to call up someone on the phone and then make them feel stupid. Before that I don't think there had been phony letters, and before that phony clay tablets or phony cave drawings. No, I think this is an entirely new art form.
Have you ever been unhappy with the way you were treated by a business? There was a guy who bought a car, and this car kept breaking down. The dealer couldn't or wouldn't fix it. So he painted lots of lemons on the car. Big, bright lemons. And he parked the car on the street right by the dealer's lot, where everyone could see it. Sweet revenge.
So when I had an unhappy time at the Lamppost Pizza store in Tehachapi, I did the Internet version of the lemon-painted car trick. I wrote up my experiences and submitted them to all the major search engines.
When I had a positive experience at -- of all places -- the U. S. Postal Service, I wrote that up, too.
Here are the stories
At various times in history, and without knowing it, groups of people have been just minutes away from major discoveries that will change the world forever. I see the inventions of fire, the wheel, farming, industry, and computers -- in a word, Technology -- as not just a progression, but an uphill progression in that we humans are relentlessly pushing, pushing against the force of Chaos. Without warning, though, Chaos will yield to the increasing power of Technology. Technology will crest that hill, and start snowballing down the other side. No longer pushing, the humans will be running behind the Technology no longer in our control. Before long, it will no longer be in our grasp. And finally, it will fall from view.
How close are we to the crest of the Technology Hill?
When I was in grade school (I was about 12) one of my teachers assigned an essay, "Why is there something rather than nothing?". An interesting question.
Basically, my explanation was that we wouldn't be here to see it if there were nothing, and that's why there's something. It took me front and back on two sheets of paper to get that idea across -- discussions of alternative universes and such -- and I think I did an OK job of it, but it left me unsatisfied. Somehow the explanation lacked a certain something -- like an answer to the question! I think I got an "A" on it, but I never stopped wondering if I could do a better job.
Click here to read more.