Thursday, 27 September 2007

the tired academic outsider who fought to relearn math to see slot machines in archaeology and paleontology

The man grown from the boy above is sitting in a room at another conference in another city. He is tired from jet lag, but also from opposition. He spent a summer as a teen studying game theory and switched his major. First he went back and had to relearn the basics after being such a poor student in high school. Math no longer was the enemy born of a mean little gnome of a man in tenth grade that punished him for not showing his work, the man that was for a decade a bit player in stress dreams, his derision floating past amidst failed tasks, breaking bridges, piles to clean.

He is tired because his ideas of using the methods to beat slot machines in Archaeology and Paleontology have been basically received as oddities, curios, bearded ladies of academia at best.
He spent so many years studying math to look at how if many people have similar hunches or outcomes and if they are fed through a program to look at pattern emergence, some sort of larger theory could emerge. He gave up the odd impulses to write long ago. It was too distracting, too easy and thus clearly of little value.

He is a youthful 37 in appearance but he sometimes jokes to himself that his skin is a pathological liar born of some one else's genes. He should be heading to room 206 for his panel, but he is in stasis by the coffee and cookies. It is safe here. He daydreams of some writer daydreaming about math that would have occupied these same eyes and lets out a small laugh, black and low.

And it all breaks...atom by atom......second by ice cubes.....

this moment speculation veined and breathed by what would have come to pass....

the room breaks into geometry and away....filament by filament.....

his doodles in the conference break room while procrastinating

a photo of him presenting his lecture "the game within the bones: pattern recognition software, computer modeling and the fossil record" at Iowa State June 2004

Copy of his dissertation turned to page one with written note to then girlfriend

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