Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM
Sat Feb 20 02:07:20 UTC 2010

> I don't think Vinge was around in 14th century, where the earliest
> citations seem to backtrack. Nor does he predate the math, physics and
> astrophysics use--the former around for centuries, the other two
> closer to one and to one-half century, but still longer than Vinge has
> been writing.

I should have made it clear that I was playing quick-and-dirty on this one,
Victor.  I simply hit Wiki for a fast check that nothing (relevant to my
immediate purposes) had been done with the term since Vinge pried it loose
from its (various) scientific contexts and began to double it up, running
with it in his SF (mostly _A Fire Upon the Deep_) but also apparently as a
serious scientific theory.  The later side didn't interest me in the least,
and the end result was that I cheerfully dismissed, whether fairly or not,
the entire relevant Wiki entry as "Vinge plus noise [in the sense of zero
information content]."  I should perhaps have reworded this as, "Vinge, plus
information about the use and development of the term "singularity" which,
whether true or not, wasn't for me at all pertinent."

As I was interested in current extensions of the (partly metaphorical) use
of "singularity" stemming from Vinge, I simply wanted to get that out of the
way in order to raise the question.

Why I was concerned about this at the moment seemed so off-topic that I
didn't bother to mention it.  There is some (heated, to say the least)
discussion of the current situation of poetry vis a vis publication outlets,
status, the MFA, online vs. print, the power and function of blogs, etc.,
etc. ad nauseam on several poetry lists at the moment, and I was interested
in whether there was any mileage in extending the Vinge concept of
"singularity" to the situation of poetry with respect to the Web, networking
groups, and various other elements of the peculiarly spiced devil's stew
that some aspects of poetry writing seem to be cooking at the moment.

I should perhaps simply have asked, "Does anyone know if there are any
extended uses of the Vinge version of "singularity" in play at the moment?"
but I felt I had to supply some context.  Obviously I either supplied too
much or not enough.

So two possible wordings of the same thing:

        'What is the utility of the concept of "singularity" as a
hermeneutic metaphor applied to the current dispersed state of US and UK

or ...

        'How do you sell a poetry pamphlet today?'

> I suspect that the root of all this is Vinge's lack of understanding
> of "exponential" in Moore's law. Calling it "noise" is an
> overstatement.

Given than Vinge's day job was, and may still be, to profess mathematics at
rather a high level (like Rudy Ruckner, he's one of the pukka mathematicians
currently involved with writing SF at the moment), I beg leave to doubt that
this is the entire answer.

> I'll just leave it at that.
> VS-)

Me too.  <g>

Anyway, thanks for the useful input, Victor.


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