Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Feeding the animals in the craziness zoo in my brain.

Recently my best friend, Takashi Ikegami reminded me about the value of craziness. We must defend it, nurture it, or otherwise we perish.
In Cambridge U.K. (where I stayed in 95-97), they had the one of the world's earliest application of webcam. That was the "coffee maker" camera, where one could always check the amount of coffee left in the pot in the meeting room (The Trojan Room Coffee Machine, http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/coffee/coffee.html). Today I checked the site after so many years and discovered that the service has been discontinued. Anyway, that kind of craziness is the hallmark of University campus. We need more of that in our daily life, inside or outside the campus. Takashi sounded as if that craziness is particular to a University campus. Well, that may be true about some universities, but not all of them. There are stuffy professor types, and too serious students as well, you know. To be fair, other institutions are not without their share of whimsical craziness. In the Newton Institute (which is a research laboratory based in Cambridge) there was this huge collection of blackboards everywhere, and people could start discussing (or arguing) anytime they liked, anywhere they preferred, with the aid of the ubiquitous blackboard. There was a blackboard even in the men's room (sorry, I could not check the other one for obvious reasons). So that was crazy, too.
Soon after Andrew Wiles uncovered his proof of Fermat's last theorem, I was using the men's room, and there was this scribble on the blackboard. "I discovered a fatal flaw in Wiles' proof. However, this space is too small to write it". You get the gist of it.
Excuse me, I must finish writing this journal in a hurry, as I need to feed the animals in the craziness zoo in my brain. See you later.