Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fallen Giant

Sometimes, in defiance of entropy, little knots of complexity form in the universe and awaken. I have always found it deeply unjust that such knots, sooner or later, always stop. Each is unique, each cognizant, and if I were running things, the moment matter developed enough complexity to look around and start asking questions, well, it would have made it. It would go on forever. (Well, except for those clumps of matter who hold beliefs substantially different from mine, I mean.)

I entertain such thoughts whenever I look upon a loved one that I know is doomed to die some day, and I generally keep it to myself. But today I forego that privacy, because today, Arthur C. Clarke is dead. And that should matter to all of you.

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14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While this was only inevitable, it seems all the more a loss because of the fact that what Clarke wrote still matters a great deal today. . . Given the state of "today", that's an understatement.

March 18, 2008 at 11:51 PM  
Blogger Mac said...

Clarke turned me on to SF. I was predisposed, but "2001" crystallized my interest, seriously tweaking my code in the process.

March 19, 2008 at 12:24 AM  
Blogger SpeakerToManagers said...

Inevitability is the essence of tragedy, and some people just shouldn't have to play tragedy. Sir Arthur Clarke held up to us a mirror that showed some of the good that humans are capable of, and some of the reasons why these bits of organized information, and energy are worth more than just those few, short years. It's moments like these that I wish, just a little, that I believed in an afterlife, if only to know that he wasn't gone completely.

But I am grateful we had him for the time we did, and that he used that time to write the words he did.

March 19, 2008 at 2:57 AM  
Blogger Jeremy Ruhland said...

Quantum immortality FTW

March 19, 2008 at 10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having not read his books (yet), Clarke's biggest impact on me came in the form of Ellie Arroway in the film adaptation of Contact. Cheesy as it sounds, seeing it at age fifteen, the movie made me realize that I was, in fact, an atheist, and that that was an okay thing to be.

At any rate, his grave marker really ought to be a plain black rectangle, set somewhere in the African Rift.

- bp

March 19, 2008 at 7:34 PM  
Blogger Alehkhs said...

As a Jules Verne of our time, Clarke will live on not only in his works, but also in the inspiration he has given to countless numbers of dreamers to reach for the stars and not be afraid of the darkness between.

A new Starchild observes us today...

March 19, 2008 at 8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I made it a point to post this sad news to all forums and friends as I felt a personal obligation to .Truly sad news.

Heres a link to him speaking on his 90th birthday you may or may not have seen already:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=4db_1205893786

David

March 19, 2008 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger Mac said...

Anon.--

Ellie Arroway is a character in Carl Sagan's "Contact."

March 19, 2008 at 10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did I seriously just confuse Carl Sagan and Arthur C. Clarke? Eesh. Sorry.

That's embarrassing.

Clarke ... he did Robocop, right?*

- bp

*this is a joke

March 19, 2008 at 10:32 PM  
OpenID bec-87rb said...

Clarke was a sort of protestant bat mitzvah for me - Pop was a radio astronomer, so he totally dug the idea that a guy who thought up geosynchronous satellites wrote good sci fi.

For my 13th birthday, he got me a boxed set of Clarke's work, and after I read a couple, we "discussed" them. I think he was delighted that I was becoming sentient enough to discuss literature, and I was so very flattered that he thought I was grown up enough to read Childhood's End.

Not on topic, I thought of this blog when I read:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/03/expelled.php

March 21, 2008 at 9:41 AM  
Blogger Peter Watts said...

bp said

At any rate, his grave marker really ought to be a plain black rectangle, set somewhere in the African Rift.

Damn. That would be perfect.

March 21, 2008 at 3:40 PM  
Blogger David J. Williams said...

I spent more time in the eighth grade reading his stuff than I did doing homework. The man #$# ruled. Till the singularity, sir.

March 22, 2008 at 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Johan Larson said...

Since ACC wrote so much and sat for so many interviews, there is plenty of data available for a personality reconstruction once that technology becomes available, as it will, as the singularity draws nigh.

So all you techies who miss him should get back to work right now, to hasten the day of his return.

March 22, 2008 at 6:45 PM  
Blogger TheBrummell said...

At any rate, his grave marker really ought to be a plain black rectangle, set somewhere in the African Rift.

Damn. That would be perfect.


In my opinion, almost perfect. Let me clarify immediately and state I would whole-heartedly support any initiative to set up such a marker. But, better would be a plain black rectangle orbiting the sun more lonesomely, for example at the L4 point of the Earth-Sun system.

It would last longer. The African Rift Valley is a geological feature that will probably not last much longer than a few tens of millions of years. Solar orbit in a stable Lagrange point should last billions to tens of billions of years.

March 26, 2008 at 2:38 PM  

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