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By Brian Hayes

Brian Hayes is among the such a lot entire essayists lively today―a declare supported not just by way of his prolific and carrying on with top quality output but in addition by means of such honors because the nationwide journal Award for his commemorative Y2K essay titled "Clock of Ages," released within the November/December 1999 factor of The Sciences magazine. (The also-rans that 12 months incorporated Tom Wolfe, Verlyn Klinkenborg, and Oliver Sacks.) Hayes's paintings during this style has additionally seemed in such anthologies as The top American journal Writing, the simplest American technology and Nature Writing, and The Norton Reader. the following he deals us a variety of his such a lot memorable and obtainable pieces―including "Clock of Ages"―embellishing them with an total, scene-setting preface, reconfigured illustrations, and a refreshingly self-critical "Afterthoughts" part appended to every essay.

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A real estimate of the filling issue may still most likely be established no longer at the combinatorics of random letters yet on mixtures of phrases or another better linguistic unit. a similar is unquestionably precise for net domains, comparable to www. bit-player. org or del. icio. us. every one component to a website name—each half among dots—can have as much as sixty-three characters, and the appropriate characters comprise letters and numbers in addition to the hyphen. the dimensions of the namespace is almost 10100; we won’t use all of them up each time quickly. yet significant, pithy, shrewdpermanent area names—that’s one other subject. Even open air the confines of finite namespaces, the sheer onomastic problem of recent existence occasionally will get to be a burden. Where’s Adam after we desire him? Years in the past, i may store a clipping from the newspaper with none have to identify it. Now, for each rfile I create or obtain, i need to enact a bit rite of naming: I dub thee “FILE-037. TXT. ” The workload has gotten severe adequate that experts make a residing out of not anything greater than dreaming up names. (One enterprise named itself 100 Monkees—well named! ) while my daughter was once a voluble three-year-old, she may greet passersby with the enthusiastic salute: “Hi! My identify is called Amy. what's your identify named? ” A dizzying recursion yawns prior to us. after we begin naming names, after which the names of names of names, the place can we ever cease? AFTERTHOUGHTS With the growth of the common Product Code at the back of us, the following new release is already at the horizon. lower than the hot digital Product Code, goods on shop cabinets can be pointed out now not via published bar codes yet through RFID (radio-frequency identity) tags. With this know-how, the tag doesn’t need to be noticeable at the outdoor of the package deal; a scanner sends a triggering radio sign, and the tag responds with a radio-frequency message that comes with the product code. If RFID tags ultimately seize on, they're going to deliver yet another dramatic growth of the product namespace. while the current common has room for fourteen decimal digits, the digital Product Code specifies ninety-six binary bits, akin to among twenty-seven and twenty-eight decimal digits. That’s loads of numbers—but much may be wanted, as the plan is to take advantage of them in a different way and extra liberally. present product codes establish different types of items: a undeniable UPC quantity specifies a fifteen-ounce field of Cheerios, and so each fifteen-ounce field of Cheerios incorporates this comparable quantity. The EPC will determine person actual gadgets: every one field of Cheerios could have its personal serial quantity (or should still I say cereal quantity? ). your next step, most likely, may be to quantity the person Cheerios. a number of variations of the EPC were proposed. the only such a lot heavily relating to the UPC approach allocates thirty-eight bits to the serial quantity, which permits for counting as much as 274,877,906,943 goods. In discussing chemical names, i discussed that it’s more straightforward to infer the constitution of a molecule from a reputation than it truly is to head the wrong way, deriving the identify from a diagram of the constitution.

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