Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Al Gore Rhythm Method

I don't know about anyone else, but as I read through the reports about Al Gore's unfortunate misadventure with that Portland masseuse, I started thinking about the concept of algorithm-- as in, Al Gore rhythm. As for the rest of this post's title, I am sure you know about that venerable contraceptive technique called the rhythm method.

Sorry for the bad pun, but its a holiday weekend and this is a blog. If you can't indulge an occasional bad pun in the blogosphere, well then, surely the terrorists have won.

Actually, it is not the world's worst pun either. Algorithms are now all the rage in the world of search engines, among other things. It does not seem to be too much of a stretch to apply the concept to a man who invented the internet and who, to many people, acts like he is, dare I say, somewhat mechanical.

An algorithm, Wikipedia tells is, is a sequence of "well-defined instructions for completing a task." The instructions guide a machine through a "series of successive stages, eventually terminating in a final ending state." So far, so good.

Of course, the successive states are not always the same. When obstacles arise, some algorithms can adapt to the changes and vary their instructions.

Sound familiar...

Of course, this might only mean that I read far too much James Joyce in my youth... but still...

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