MarkZimmermann (aka ^z) tries to post random character strings here sporadically; see for his journal. Here's a scary picture from some years ago — still more-or-less valid, but the current reality is grayer and balder:

As a young soldier said at mile 12 of the MarineCorpsMarathon2004, "Bearded Man, I support you!"

Autobiographical Bits

Who, me? I grew up in central Texas ... worked part-time shelving books in various libraries, serving food in a drive-in movie theater, and building pick-up covers/campers in my Father's shop ... graduated from John H. Reagan High School in Austin ... and went to the University of Texas and to Rice University for undergraduate studies in physics. I then attended Caltech for grad school, entering in 1974 and receiving my Ph.D. in theoretical physics in 1980. (see KipTheDragon, RelativityPlusAstrophysics, etc.)

I live in the Washington DC area, worked for the U.S. Federal Government for the past three decades, and am now with MITRE Corporation, a non-profit research center. My hobbies include distance running (a few marathons and ultramarathons in recent years), chess (I'm a U.S. Chess Federation life member, postal and over-the-board ratings marginally Class A after much struggle), and numismatics (especially coins of 1852, a century older than I am — see [1] and [2] ...). I'm a life member of the American Numismatic Association and am active in the Montgomery County Coin Club (see [3] ...). Some years ago I edited and annotated a free edition of the works of William Shakespeare for Apple Macintosh Hypercard users. I'm a radio amateur Extra class, callsign N6WX, rather inactive at the moment.

I am trying to learn how to write better; see [4] and the ZhurnalWiki here for recent attempts. I'm also trying to learn a wee bit of mathematics, computer science, art, literature, history, and philosophy. I'm a sometime fan of Marcus Aurelius, Johann Sebastian Bach, Arnold Bennett, Daniel Dennett, Martin Gardner, Henry Hazlitt, Douglas Hofstadter, John Stuart Mill, William Shakespeare, Leo Tolstoy, Vernor Vinge, goofy humor, classical liberalism/libertarianism, Stoicism, independent study, justice, libraries, juggling, and numerous other things.

My wife, Paulette Dickerson ([5]), is an artist and musician, heavily involved in helping libraries; she's a past chairperson of the Montgomery County Library Board. We've been married since 1978 and are a happily multiracial ("black" & "white", some might say) family. We do a lot with our children — Merle, Gray, and Robin — who have been having fun learning independently throughout their educational careers (homeschooled K-12) and who are all now attending or have graduated from the University of Maryland.

I'm excited about mind augmentation tools of all sorts — e.g., real-time high-bandwidth large-scale free-text information retrieval. Some time back I wrote prototype software to let people work and play with multi-megabyte collections of unstructured text (see FreeTextDesiderata, IrWishes, etc. plus [6] ...) I'm also getting into Wiki — "the simplest collaborative environment that could possibly work". (See TheWikiWay by Bo Leuf & Ward Cunningham, and [7] for starters.) Wiki seems likely to be an extraordinarily productive framework for experiments in writing and thinking. I like that.

(correlates: WikiWikiWeb, Critical Eyes, Comments on OozeOnVerst, ...)

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