gistofthegrist

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Counting out Time

Sometimes I amaze even myself with the connections made in the ol’ brainpan. The images that stick in ones head [for over 30 years] !?

Whilst dusting my genuine made in China Lotus-Flower Brand 13 rod suànpán today [etymology 101: root word of ‘abacus’ is ‘dust’] I got to thinking about how quickly we forget [given the forward advance of digital technology] just how much of the world was made by manual means. Visions of factory-sized rooms filled with typing pools [as until the 1960’s] the clickety-clack of hundreds of typists [still in their Halloween monkey masks] trying to write the complete works of Shakespeare by random key press.

Perhaps it was the knowledge that the Infinite Monkey Theorem‘s timescale would be many many orders greater/longer than the age of the Universe that caused the image to strike? Or the old story that goes with the 64 disk Tower of Hanoi Puzzle [once solved the universe ends]. But whichever, the image was there; monk-like figures in a Doctor Who episode sitting in Remedios Varo-esque cell/hovels, keeping the Universe in existence by unceaselessly continuing their calculations. Well blow me if after some research I didn’t find the episode!

Doctor Who – Logopolis, [seventh serial of the 18th season, 28 Feb -21 Mar 1981]

Low and behold there is my abacus. Perhaps the Mayans were right? Perhaps come 20 December 2012 we find our Last Day. If so, before then worth a watch is Don McKellar’s 1998 film Last Night.

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