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The application holy war started on 7 November 2000 with a relatively innocuous question about implementing the new technology of content management: and can be followed forward in time using the [Thread Next] links before spawning several more threads. It then jumps to a new thread at Further threads can be followed sequentially by using your browser to search the thread index for the string "real value". The war heated up further when I joined the argument The issue of the value of the new technology was where most heat was generated. The list owner eventually banned some of the participants when the debate became too personal and vitriolic.


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Many of Bach's fugues are available via the Web to experience via your browser as MIDI scores for realisation on your own computer Bach's little fugue is my all-time favourite: A fairly extensive sampling of Bach's music is available for "on screen" listening on ABC Classic FM offers a 55 minute Beginners Guide to the Fugue by Graham Abbott, an Australian conductor and teacher of some note. [Supply link: see


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Word processors, most desk top publishing applications, HTML editors, etc.


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Also including SGML/XML editors such as ArborText’s Epic Editor and SoftQuad’s XMetaL.


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My thanks to Briar Press’s web pages ( and the Melbourne Museum of Printing's Glossary of Printing and Typography ( for help in recovering an arcane and totally forgotten vocabulary related to an essentially extinct technology.  See for a movie clip of the type of press I learned on. Some of the elements of typesetting are discussed on Graphion's Type Museum pages -; see especially -[font] for a discussion of the impact of technological change on 20th Century typesetting.



For an extraordinary extracurricular project, Occidental College's calculus instructor (I have lost his name in the mists of time) made arrangements for a group of his students (including myself) to use CalTech's Burroughs (it may have been the 201 model) machine to develop a program able to symbolically differentiate mathematical equations. This seems to be a low-end version of the Burroughs 204-205 range - a first generation commercial computer, first implemented in 1954 -, only three years after the very first commercial computers were produced in 1951. Programming was in machine language, but the project introduced the ideas of analysis, flow-charting and design. The Burroughs 204-205 line is documented by - BURROUGHS-204 in Weik, M.H. (1961a);  University of Virginia Department of Computer Science Museum: Programming in this environment is described by Joel Rose -
Having succeeded with differentiation, our next step was to see if we could develop programs to help infer integral equations. This was well beyond the capacity of the Burroughs machine, so arrangements were made for us to submit jobs using decks of punch cards to UCLA's new IBM 709 computer - one of the earlier commercial machines to use magnetic core memory. This latter exercise also introduced us to the FORTRAN compiled language, developed from 1954-58 ( See Paul Pierce's Computer Collection page for some background on the 709:; see also - a1


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In early 1981, this was a Z80 based prototype, mounted on a trolley for portability, having 64 K memory and two 80 K 8” floppy diskettes for programs and storage, running the CP/M operating system with WordStar. Byte Magazine (Sept. 1995) listed both in the top three of their choices as the most influential software products for personal computing - Sawyer, R.J. (1990, 1996). - - explains why the pre-Windows WordStar is still a better authoring environment than any of today's page layout oriented word processing systems such as MS Word. See Les Bell's CP/M and Derivatives for a more complete history -


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The SIM system (Hall 2001), currently marketed under the name TeraText developed in Melbourne, Australia, by RMIT University (which has recently spun off the development organisation as InQuirion).


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Harvey and Pagel (1991); See for an extended summary of the comparative method. I had implicitly absorbed the methodology from my coursework in comparative vertebrate anatomy and comparative animal psychology (ethology).


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This was notwithstanding the fact that my research was performed at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology. (I prepared most of the 20,000 lizard chromosome slides referred to on the Web site for my thesis research.).


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Sheppard (1999). -, Section 3.1.2) provides a summary of the Hypothetico Deductive Method.

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When researching the 1983 paper, I was unable to find any sources actually analysing the comparative methodology or its epistemic value.

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Popper, K.R., (1959, 1963, 1972); See also: Routledge's Karl Popper pages - for Poppers works and works about Popper;  R.S. Percival's The Karl Popper Web - for a general review of Popper’s importance in developing the theory of knowledge and the Rathouse Philosophy Forum for many of the papers delivered at the Karl Popper Centenary Conference -; and Rafe Champion's own articles on Popper and related philosophers on


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Heylighen, F. (1993). in Principia Cybernetica Web. This site and its links provide a comprehensive review of various theories of epistemology.

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An extract describing the problem of induction from one of Popper’s editions can be found at -; the introduction to Diettrich (2000), provides an update review of the problem of induction, and many references to the primary literature. See also -

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As will be discussed in Episode 4 of this work, this is an oversimplified view, which Popper substantially modified and elaborated in later works (e.g., Objective Knowledge - Popper 1972). See also Thornton (2000) The Problem of Demarcation in Karl Popper – - Dema; The Karl Popper Web - - Realism and the Aim of Science; and try Google - Add discussion of David Stove's Anything Goes. 

Stove, D. (1982). Popper and After: Four Modern Irrationalists. Pergamon. - Full text: Reprinted as (1988). Anything Goes: Origins of the Cult of Scientific Irrationalism. Macleay Press: Sydney, including new forward by Keith Windschuttle -

Champion, R. (2003). Rafe Champion's Critique - Anything Goes: Origins of Scientific Rationalism, David Stove. The Rathouse - The Philosophy Site of Rafe Champion -


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At least from my point of view as an evolutionary biologist, Popper’s epistemology as presented in this book is appropriately applied to establishing evolutionary biology as a science, but his book is flawed by his evident lack of understanding of biological evolution or evolutionary sciences. Episode 4 will provide a deep analysis of how Popper's evolutionary theory of knowledge actually applies fundamentally to evolutionary phenomena. I was startled by the conclusions I reached in this analysis when I only recently came to understand fully what was saying. However, discussion of Popper's evolutionary theory of knowledge requires development of a vocabulary and worldview that cannot readily be provided at this early stage in exploring the theory of knowledge.

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Popper and Kuhn published their seminal works in the middle of the 20th Century. These provided substantial fodder for many subsequent authors. However, from my point of view as a once practising scientist who had a real-world need to understand the core issues, I have yet to find sources who significantly improve on Popper's and Kuhn's original ideas. Many writers who discuss both Popper and Kuhn in the same work don’t appear to understand that the two followed what I believe were incommensurably different paradigms. One was an epistemologist, the other one was working primarily as an historian. Kuhn's last words on the subjects are to be found in the posthumously published book, The Road Since Structure (Kuhn 2000), which also includes his philosophical autobiography (Baltas et al. 2000)

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According to at least one critic (Masterman 1970, with whom I agree in this case), Kuhn is an unreliable witness even regarding his own ideas. Even in Structure, Kuhn used the term "paradigm" with more 20 identifiably different meanings. Nevertheless, the term is a useful label for the concept described here. In later works, he emphasised that he intended to use the term in its meaning as a "disciplinary matrix".

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The kinds of technological and conceptual "revolutions" discussed in this document do not necessarily involve the replacement of one paradigm by another. As used here, the basic concept of a revolutionary change or revolutionary difference is that distinct groups of people hold onto incommensurable paradigms, and thus deal with their subject matters in substantially different ways that may (and often do) lead to communication problems between the groups holding different paradigms.

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Chaotic evolutionary changes associated with threshold crossings may often be an underlying factor contributing to the evolutionary phenomenon that Eldridge and Gould (1972) referred to as “punctuated equilibrium”. Prothero (1992) reviews the concept and gives some examples. Gould (2002) is definitive. However, having personally spent more than 10 years studying the population cytogenetics of a lizard radiation encompassing more than 150 species, where some lineages appear to exhibit what many would term punctuated equilibria, I do not uncritically accept much that has been written about the sources of the phenomenon. I also note that because well preserved fossils are so rare, changes in the fossil record of a lineage may appear to be "punctuated", that in reality may actually have taken place gradually over hundreds or thousands of generations from one benchmark fossil to the next. Although this is an instant of geological time, it may still a gradual process in evolutionary time, as Gould (2002) reminds the critics of punctuated equilibria and Darwinian evolutionary theory.

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Rieger, et. al., (1976) define grade as “a unit of biological improvement from an evolutionary point of view comprising a group of individuals similar in their level of organization.” after Huxley (1958). A "grade shift" corresponds to a significant change in the structure or organization of the group or species not relating to simple changes directly related to things like size of the organism. In the context I use the term, a grade shift represents changes sufficient to allow the species to exploit a new way of making a living.

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I tried to introduce this picture in 1991 in a computer literacy training package I was developing for corporate executives and managers, in hopes that it would help them to comprehend why they needed to understand the new capabilities and rates of changes involved in managing computer technology in the organizational workplace. The course development was cancelled when it was decided that management already knew everything the needed to about the technology. In part the present work grew out of the frustration generated by this kind of attitude.

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E.g., see and for many references to the origins of metallurgy.

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E.g., see Arguably the hand-operated European printing press, invented around 1450, was the first industrial technology. However, the huge cognitive impact of this particular industrial invention is the theme of another major subtheme in my Subject, to be elaborated below.

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E.g., see

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I make no claim to have invented the term, "microelectronics revolution", but I am intrigued by the fact that as at 8 March 2001, Google returned only about 660 hits on this term compared to more than 212,000 hits on the term "industrial revolution". More common names for the microelectronics phenomenon are "information revolution", which yielded more than 101,000 hits, "internet revolution", yielding about 63,000 hits, and "computer revolution", with 36,400 hits. (Note: click the "hits" links to see today's count.) However, the latter terms mingle and confuse issues relating to the revolution in technology measured by Moore's Law (see below), together with the cognitive revolution in how humans manage knowledge enabled by the technology. I am further intrigued by the fact that the industrial revolution is still more recognised as a phenomenon deserving a distinctive name than is the currently pervasive phenomenon named by the microelectronics revolution and its near synonyms.

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"Timeline" accessed via

29. Return;; O’Connor and Robertson (1999). An abacus helps a human compute. The calculating machine does the computation for the human.

30. Return; see also for a comprehensive history of the development of computing.

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These are obvious cognitive revolutions in human history (e.g., Harnad 1991).  Harnad and I both agree that the "Fourth Revolution" is a knowledge-based revolution being enabled by microelectronics, but - probably given our different time horizons in the revolution - we differ on what its key features are/will be from the cognitive point of view. Robertson (1998) identifies the same revolutions as being crucial "categories of civilization", and measures their cognitive impact in terms of the increased number of bits of information that could be controlled by a single human.

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Nissen (1993). See also:; Eby (????), Lo (2000) - Cuneiform; Heise (1996?) Chapter 4 - Cuneiform Writing Systems -

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Orientals used moveable ideographic type at least 300 years earlier, but there is little evidence that this greatly influenced the evolution of their cultures, e.g., see Chartier, R. (1996). For information and links on early typesetting in the European context see Graphion's Typesetting Museum -

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Clement (1997a); Rubenstein (1994-1999); see also Guild Hall: Gutenberg Notes:; Gutenberg Digital -


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Douglas Robertson (1998), in his book, The New Renaissance: Computers and the Next Level of Civilization, argues that the major impacts of the four revolutions were due to the orders of magnitude increases in the number of bits of information that individuals and society could manage as summarized above. David Staley's (1999) comparative review of three books, including Robertson's, addressing the revolutionary impacts of computer technology on the nature of humanity, summarizes Robertson's thesis. As I will show in the Counter Subject and elaborate more below, qualitative changes in the kinds of information that can be managed cognitively are probably much more important than the very real quantitative changes Robertson highlights.

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Until recent changes in the Computer Sciences course outlines, The Australian Army Information Management Manual, Version 2, was publicly available via the Australian Defence Forces Academy web server.

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Fjällbrant (1998) in Data, Information and Knowledge. Chapter2. -, presents similar rankings of data, information and knowledge. When I searched Google during 03/2001 while working on an early draft of this work for "data, information, knowledge" and "data, information and knowledge", nearly 300 hits were recorded (e.g.,,,, so the idea of ranking these three terms - and sometimes the fourth and/or fifth terms - intelligence and wisdom (sometimes listed in reverse order under the acronym WIKID) - is reasonably widespread in the knowledge management community. When the same search was performed on 7/03/2003 6480 hits were recorded! However, Coombe extended the ranking further. I have found one work (Sheridan 1991-2003) considering these terms (except that he replaces information with "indicators") along a value dimension, that also considers their relationships to power.

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T. S. Eliot's The Rock - Peter Kaminski (2001) quotes and explains the context of the following passage:

The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven,

The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.
O perpetual revolution of configured stars,
O perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,
O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying!
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to God.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of heaven in twenty centuries
Brings us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.
Even more interesting to me is that Eliot completed the work for a PhD in philosophy at Harvard (without taking the degree) before turning to poetry and drama. (Vericat 2000).

Following another lead in Kaminski's InformationKnowledgeWisdom I found the philosophical quote from Frank Zappa's (1979) largely obscene song, Packard Goose:

Information is not knowledge

Knowledge is not wisdom
Wisdom is not truth
Truth is not beauty
Beauty is not love
Love is not music
Music is the BEST...
...Which, of course relates to my belief that some of the fugues composed as the Renaissance was becoming the Baroque represent a pinnacle of human cognition.

Full X-rated lyrics  to Packard Goose are available on: However Zappa's context is not inappropriate to the story being told here. The MIDI score can be found for realization on your computer on Compare with, or

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Dempsey (1996); Heylighen (1995); Christianini (1997); Spinney. (1997); Christensen & Hooker (1998); Bradie & Harms (2001); Vehkavaara (1998). For further readings in evolutionary epistemology see Konrad Lorenz Theory Lab - Evolutionary Epistemology: For definitions of knowledge not specifically grounded in evolutionary epistemology see also Fumerton (2000); Dykes (1996).

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(US) DOD Dictionary of Military Terms -

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Merriam-Webster  (2000) -

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See also (US) DOD Dictionary of Military Terms definitions for strategic advantage, strategic concept, strategic estimate, strategic intelligence, strategic plan, and strategic vulnerability

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i.e., try for "power". Also power and hegemony, in Belton (1996-2000).

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This meaning may bear some resemblance to Michel Foucault's concept of power; e.g., see Patton (1994), Al Amoudi (1998?)

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See Dooley, K. (1996). There is a substantial literature on adaptation in complex systems: - COMPknow is a good place to start. Scroll up and down for 'real world' applications.

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I first studied Popper's Objective Knowledge (1972) more than 25 years ago as reported in Hall (1983). Then, in my intellectual arrogance because his understanding of the practice of the science of biology seemed so poor, I completely failed to understand the significance of his three worlds to the biological sciences. Now, after I have studied Maturana and Varela's (1980) concept of autopoiesis, and have begun applying biological principles to organizational knowledge management, I now understand that Popper was explaining in clear and simple prose that biology in its own right is epistemology or that epistemology is biology. In this area, the scope and depth of Popper's insights about the evolutionary origins of knowledge have barely been realized.

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Under the topic "hierarchical theory of selection" Gould (2002) in his Structure of Evolutionary Theory explains in great detail that natural selection filters hereditary knowledge at many different levels of biological organization and presents a number of arguments as to how this understanding modifies some of the peripheral understandings of the Darwinian theory of natural selection and descent with modification. I accept Gould's arguments, but prefer my own formulation as to what these levels are and how they are defined. From my own point of view as an evolutionary biologist I see organismic natural selection operating on "individuals" at any of the levels of organization corresponding to 

  • single genes (i.e., some single gene mutations are "lethal" in that they absolutely prevent survival of their carriers to reproduction in any combination of other genes), 
  • physical chromosomes as they are assorted in the divisions of cells in mitosis and meiosis,
  • genic interactions involved in coherent developmental pathways (i.e., some combinations of genes may be detrimental to survival and reproduction even though the individual genes perform adequately in other combinations),
  • gametes as they compete to form zygotes (i.e., the expression of genes prior to the formation of a fertile egg or seed is lethal to the gamete or impairs its ability to fertilize or be fertilized),
  • zygotes/individual organisms as they compete to begin an independent existence from their parents or as they compete as independent individuals to survive and pass their heredity to the subsequent generation
  • demes or local populations of interbreeding individuals as they exist for many or fewer generations of limited genetic exchange with other populations, 
  • species - the entire population of individuals sharing a common heredity and still potentially capable of interbreeding to form subsequent generations in competition with other species to survive through time, and
  • clades - (groups of species sharing a common heredity) in competition with other clades to survive through time.
Note that selective failures to transmit hereditary knowledge can occur at any of these levels of organization. For natural selection to produce adaptive changes in the heredity, 
  1. the specific item of genetic knowledge must control the development of some form of phenotypic trait (i.e., something that is exposed as a real World 1 product) and 
  2. that the survival value of that trait in World 1 depends to some degree on the genetic knowledge.
It follows that the failure of any physical (World 1) of the genetically determined individual to survive or pass on its hereditary knowledge leads to a loss of that specific knowledge (as well as all of the other knowledge carried by that individual).

In other words the heritable knowledge passed to subsequent generations is filtered (to the extent that there is some degree of causal relationship between specific knowledge and the expressed phenotype) at many levels, such that knowledge that does not have survival value is not propagated. In each generation a low frequency of random mutation adds variation to the knowledge available to the population of individuals (at whatever level of organization), which is then subject to selection. Knowledge that doesn't work well or at all is selectively removed, such that that which survives is a produc product selectively shaped by its World 1 values.

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A number of papers and presentations on John Boyd's strategic thinking as this applies to military affairs and commerce can be accessed through the Belisarius.Com site: Kettle Creek (1998-2000). War, Chaos and Business - and Defense and the National Interest - See also Joshi (1999); Osborne et. al (1996); MoD (1999) -; Patajo (1999); Farrell (2002) as examples of the widespread use of OODA loop concept.

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Boyd's concept of the OODA loop has been adopted in a number of disciplines. An indication of the richness of the concept is given by the number of references found via Google -

51. Return in O'Neil 2002,  provides an adequate conventional explanation of adaptation by natural selection for those non-biologists who wish to attempt such a mapping. The Google search term: ["natural selection" adaptation evolution] provides access to a good selection of university course notes on evolutionary adaptation, without too many op ed creationist sites. Stephen Jay Gould's (2002) The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, though excruciatingly verbose, is a masterful exposition of the roles of natural selection, chance and prior history in organismic evolution.

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Boyd's personal library and files (see included three copies of Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions (one of them annotated), as well as Popper's The Logic of Scientific Discovery and Conjectures and Refutations. Boyd also specifically used the term paradigm in several of his presentations.

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The site includes links to papers extending Boyd's insights into the development of military and commercial strategies.

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See especially US Marine Corps Doctrine Publication 6. Chapter 2, Command and Control Theory in, Command and Control -

This doctrinal publication describes a theory and philosophy of command and control for the U.S. Marine Corps. Put very simply, the intent is to describe how we can reach effective military decisions and implement effective military actions faster than an adversary in any conflict setting on any scale. In so doing, this publication provides a framework for all Marines for the development and exercise of effective command and control in peace, in crisis, or in war. This publication represents a firm commitment by the Marine Corps to a bold, even fundamental shift in the way we will view and deal with the dynamic challenges of command and control in the information age. ... C. C. KRULAK, General, U.S. Marine Corps, Commandant of the Marine Corps []
For other citations, see Thomas (1997); Joshi (1999); Berry (2000); Bovenkamp (1998); with thousands more available via Google:


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Toffler, A., and Toffler, H. (1993), War and Anti-War: Survival at the Dawn of the 21st Century, Boston: Little, Brown, p. 32. [citation from the original]

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Cooper (1994), p. 21. [citation from the original]

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Andrew F. Krepinevich, “Cavalry to Computer: The Pattern of Military Revolutions,” The National Interest, No. 37, Fall 1994, p. 30. [citation from the original]. Galdi's (1995)  Section 3 summarises Krepinevich's lists of revolutions.

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Krepinevich, “Cavalry to Computer,” p. 30; Cooper (1994), p. 1; in addition, each of the Department of Defense-sponsored service roundtables on the RMA were organized around these four elements. (See The U.S. Army Roundtable on the Revolution in Military Affairs, McLean, VA: Science Applications International Corporation, October 1993; The U.S. Air Force Roundtable on the Revolution in Military Affairs; The U.S. Navy Roundtable on the Revolution in Military Affairs; The Summary Roundtable on the Revolution in Military Affairs.) [citation from the original]

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For those who wish to see the complexity of the Mandelbrot and other fractal generators, the "freeware" application Fractint can be downloaded from Fractint has given me many hours of amazement and pleasure as I have explored the infinitely complex virtual landscapes inherent in the World Three artifacts of the Mandelbrot and other fractal generators included in this free application. The simple mathematical sources of these virtual landscapes is described by Elert (1995-2000).

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See for a simple mathematical explanation and some live demonstrations of the emergence of chaos.

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Eldridge and Gould (1972) defined the concept of punctuated equilibria. Prothero (1992) provides many examples and reviews how well the idea has stood the test of time. Gould (2002) provides a comprehensive explanation of the non-linear aspects of evolution.

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2025 Final Report, Air University - []

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Jensen (2001) provides a fairly detailed summary of Eisenstein's arguments.

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The codex (manuscript or printed sheets stitched together on the edge to form what we now call a book) - Clement (1997);;

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Hobart and Schiffman (1998) make the point that the illumination and rich visual design of manuscripts and codices were provided primarily as aids to memory for people whose primary mode of transmitting knowledge was by speech from memory. Richly illuminated documents were not designed to help a new reader to discover its contents, but rather to retain in memory what was read from the document. By today's standards of mass produced paperbacks, manuscripts and codexes were incomprehensibly expensive. Far better to help the reader file and retain the contents in memory than to rely on having the priceless artifact at hand when the recorded knowledge was needed.

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Griscom (1998) -

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A chronology of highlights in the historical development of book technology is provided by Knops, C. (2000). Time-table (Chronological). in Book Information Website - See also Knops Boekrestauratie - Conservation and Restoration of Books and Paper for information on the construction and restoration of early books. Sean Gabb provides a personal account on the joys of bookbinding.

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The Jacquard Loom. - in da Cruz, F. (2001); Punch Card Loom -; Connections Episode 4 Supplement: Punched Cards and Computers -;

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The Hollerith Tabulating Machine - in da Cruz, F. (2001).

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Several values have been given, but most seem to agree that the introduction of the tabulating machines reduced the overall labour requirement approximately by an order of magnitude by comparison to the previous census.

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IBM's corporate history begins with IBM Through the Years: Pre 1890 -

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See The Museum of HP Calculators: How Calculating Machines Work - The model illustrated on this Web page was cranked by hand, but I presume the ones driven by an electrical motor worked the same way. The electrically driven machines were fun to use, making a whirring clatter as they summed a column, a thunk with each shift, and a very satisfying kerwhunkity clatter clatter as they completed a multiplication or long division. In many ways these were the culmination of Babbidges invention. The University of Amsterdam Computer Museum has a manual for the kind of calculator I used -

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The University of Amsterdam Computer Museum describes the paper tape technology - In the early 1960's my wife was one of Australia's first "word processor" operators, where she used a Friden JustoWriter (which stored correctable texts on paper tape) to produce justified camera ready copy for some of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Organisation's journals - See also: and Eisenberg (1992).

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The IBM 285. -, The IBM 407 Accounting Machine.- and Interconnected Punched Card Equipment - all in da Cruz, F. (2001) trace the evolution of punch card tabulating and calculating technology up through 1950.

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The Hollerith Tabulating Machine. - da Cruz, F. (2001); Hollerith's Punched Cards - Maxfield and Montrose (1998); Punched Card History. - Jones (????)

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Lubar (1992); The IBM 407 Accounting Machine.- da Cruz, F. (2001)

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Weik, M.H. (1961); Winegrad and Akera (1996); The proceedings of the International Conference on the History of Computing, 14-16 August 1998 at Paderborn, Germany published a number of papers on the people and technologies involved in the first electronic computers - [] See also Copeland 2000 for a history of early computing.

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The EDVAC Design - Goldschmidt and Akera (2000); 1944 AD to 1952 AD: The First Stored Program Computer -- EDVAC - Maxfield and Montrose (1998); Riley (1987); Zaft (1997); History - Hardware - Blank (1999)

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Muuss (????) provides a cornucopia of old documents on the US Army's involvement in developing the first generations of computer technology. See especially Kempf, K. (1961).

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UNIVAC - - UNIVAC in Weik (1955); UNIVAC I - - UNIVAC-I in Weik (1961a)

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UNIVAC - - UNIVAC in Weik (1955). By comparison to the UNIVAC I, PC I am writing this document on in January 2002 (uses a Pentium 4 chip) adds a 64 bit word length at 3,500,000,000 MHz (360,014 times faster); 127 MB memory (10,583 times greater capacity) and 28 GB disk storage - not counting 2 CD R/W drives (2,000 times greater than provided by 10 tape drives). While I am writing this text on my computer, I have open a number of Web pages, and I am also playing through a list of Scarlatti  harpsichord sonatas (e.g., on the integral synthesizer.

The "raw power" of a computer can be measured by the amount of memory ´ the clock speed ´ the word length. Given that the UNIAC's words are processed as decimal digits, the Pentium is actually able to add larger numbers in a single cycle. However, in this calculation I assume both machines process the same length of word. By this measure, my personal computer is 3.8 x 109 times more powerful than UNIVAC I, the first fully commercial electronic computer. An approximately equivalent computer can be purchased today from Dell for under $950.00 (0.001 ´ the cost of the UNIVAC - which is probably closer to 0.0001 when inflation is taken into consideration). The raw power per dollar ((speed ´ memory)/cost) on my desktop is approximately 3.8 x 1013 times that of the UNIVAC I. These numbers do not take into consideration the much higher sophistication of today's processors and software by comparison to the first ones, which would probably equate to another order of magnitude in power.

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The Ferranti Mark 1 - in Napper (1998).

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The Napper (1998) pages on Manchester University's celebration of 50 years of computer technology are a cornucopia of information on the origins and early developments of digital computer technology. More details on the early British computer industry can be found in Lavington (1980)

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Alan M. Turing (1912 - 1954) - in Napper (1998). For more information on Turing's impact on mathematics and philosophy see: Hodges, A. (2001); O'Connor and Robertson (1999a); Copeland (1997).

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Computer Generations - in da Cruz. (2001); Polad et. al (????). Both works have excellent photographs and summary explanations of the early technologies to give some idea of their massive physical scales by comparison to today's desk-top and lap-top machines.

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The IBM 701 - in da Cruz. (2001);; IBM-701 Electronic Data Processing System - - IBM-701 - in Weik (1955); International Business Machines and the IBM 701 EDPM - in Bellis (????).

88. Return; Core Memory - - 2361 in da Cruz (2001); Redin (2000); Beebe. (1994)

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Section III - Analysis and Trends in Weik (1955) summarises user experience including facilities, maintenance and operating labour resource requirements for all of the first generation computers used in the US -

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Third Generation - - a3 in Polad et al (????)

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Moore's Law -; Moore (1965); Gilheany (2000?); Parker et. al (1989).

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Intel Processor Hall of Fame - in Intel Museum -

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Typewriters using paper tape as a storage medium had already been in use for more than a decade (see note)

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Illustration from in Intel Museum -

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Illustration from in Intel Museum -

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Rostky, (1998); Magnetic Disk Heritage Center -; A history of firsts from the leader in data storage;; Storage Devices - in Lessard (2002); Hunt, J. (????); Disktrend: Of Special Interest - for links relating to the historical development of (initially) magnetic storage technologies. Anon (????) Hard Disk Drives -

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Disk/Trend - Five decades of disk drive industry firsts -

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IBM 1440 Data Processing System. in Weik (1964) -


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See also: for evidence that Altair really wasn't the first.


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Illustration from in Intel Museum -


105. Return in Anon (????); HPCWire (2001);


106. Return

The first generation language is the binary object code directly understandable by the computer's processor. A second generation language is the assembler language for a particular processor, where there is a 1:1 relationship between mnemonics (i.e., an abbreviation for the name of the command) which make some sense to a human and the binary codes used by the computer. A third generation language is a generic symbolic programming language such as FORTRAN or COBOL where the commands can be written in words and symbols without knowing the assembler language for a particular computer. Third generation languages are converted into computer-specific assembler language or object code by compiler programs written for each type of computer or assembler language. The concept of fourth generation languages (or high level languages) is used for macros and similar types of languages associated with word processing and database systems. Visual Basic, which MicroSoft has standardised across its later Windows applications, is actually a third generation language. In the case of the Excel product, Visual Basic replaced a more powerful macro language used in earlier Excel releases.


107. Return

See also


108. Return provides Xerox's corporate view on what PARC invented.


109. Return

Despite the fact that WordStar is commercially extinct, it still has active user groups prepared to fight holy wars over their preferences for the product, e.g., The History page on this site offers interesting insights (Petrie 1999). The science fiction writer, R.J. Sawyer (1990) explains in near epistemological terms why he believes that the early WordStar was the best word processing tool ever developed for capturing knowledge as text.


110. Return

Power, D.J. (2000); Tanner, D. (1999); see also J. Walk and Associate's Spreadsheet History links -


111. Return

Terms in this section requiring additional definition or discussion are hot-linked to the FOLDOC Free On Line Dictionary of Computing copyright by Denis Howe -


112. Return

Hutchings (1996); Committee on Innovations in Computing and Communications (1999) - Chapter 6 - The rise of relational databases -; Silberschartz (1991); CERN (2000).


113. Return

All of humanity working from the beginning of time would not be able to test all permutations and combinations of these features. It is inevitable that users will try sequences and combinations of functions that have never been tested together. It is also inevitable that some of these combinations will cause the system to fail. Coffee (2000) notes that at least 63,000! bugs in Windows 2000 have actually been documented. See also (Hyde 1999). The situation with MS Word is no better. Working with a nearly blank document in MS Word 97, in a four hour effort I counted approximately 1,200 user selectable or modifiable options through menu options, dialog box inputs, etc. The actual number of features is incalculable, since the menu options available at any given point in an editing procedure are sensitive both to the location of the cursor in the document being edited and to contexts created by other options previously selected. Based on statistics provided to me by professional technical writers measuring their productivity using MS Word 95/97, 20-30% of their keyboard effort was nugatory due to loss and corruption of files or other software-based problems. Additional effort is lost trying to make Word's formatting functions work as they are advertised. "Master documents" and the paragraph numbering functions provided in Word have never worked properly). The answers provided by John McGhie explain why -; To simplify its user interface, Word 2000 hides infrequently used options by removing them from menu bars, which makes them even harder to find when they are needed!


114. Return

Microsoft Antitrust links:;;


115. Return

Liebowitz and Margolis. (1999). extract on word processors from Chapter 8 and Evans, D.S., et. al. (1999) present comprehensive histories on the rise and fall of various personal computer applications. Note: NERA is a consultant to Microsoft on antitrust matters.


116. Return

In some regards the Alto still represents the best implementation of the paper metaphore ever developed - the Alto recognised that paper documents are almost always presented in the 'portrait' mode, and used monitors in the portrait mode (long axis vertical!) Hiltzik (1999). Photograph: For whatever reason, today’s monitors are still virtually all landscape mode, making A4 or letter sized formats difficult to read if the whole page is displayed at one time. See also Johnson et. al (1998) for information on Xerox’s 1981 Star system.


117. Return

Hart, S. (1999) summarises the competion between the various word processing systems.


118. Return

Economides (2000) -, in several papers accessed through this site, provides a more neutral discussion of the network effects in relationship to the US vs Microsoft case.


119. Return

Microsoft Word is infamous for its lack of backward compatibility between new versions of the product and its own older versions.  Content received from an older version into a new version is easily converted.  The new version may also have an optional capability to save a file in an older format. However users of older versions of Word who are unfortunate to be exchanging files with those who do not deliberately save files in the old format have no choice but to pay Microsoft for an upgrade to their system. Thus, once a few members of a business community upgrade their standards, other members of the community have been forced to update to be able to communicate with the early adopters. And, once businesses have been forced to upgrade, individual customers using word processors to communicate with the businesses have no choice but to upgrade also.


120. Return

This comment is based on 15 years experience in various documentation system management roles in a multi-branch bank and a defence prime contractor.


121. Return

In my own experience, when our major government client switched to MS Word and required us to deliver tender documents electronically in MS Word format, we had no choice but to comply. In order to communicate internally we had no choice but to standardise on MS Word and force our subcontractors to do the same. Now that we, the government, and our subcontractors all have substantial legacies of MS Word documents, all of us face major costs trying to convert to any other communication standard.


122. Return

Most word processing systems offer authors many different ways to code format structures that look the same on screen or on paper. For example, MS Word 97's menu tree provides access to over 1000 different functions – without considering the fact that many functions at the ends of the branches themselves have numerous parameters that can be set to further alter the way they behave. Consequently, the semantic significance of formatting instructions cannot be reliably recognised by computer systems that do not actually comprehend the textual content of the document.


123. Return

In fact, in some cases, depending on author preferences, the exact same application can either work with documents in the paper paradigm or in a semantic structure paradigm. Examples of such systems are Adobe FrameMaker and Corel WordPerfect. However, because of the fundamental differences between procedural and semantic markup, individual document files are never easily or reliably converted between a paper paradigm and a structural paradigm, even if the same application is used for both.


124. Return

Hot metal typesetters were probably some of the more complex machines ever created for use by a single person. See Woodside Press's The Linotype: What it is - []; Melbourne Museum of Printing's Thematic Glossary of Typesetting (Hot Metal and Later)


125. Return

In advanced hot metal mechanical typesetting systems, the markup was encoded by particular combinations of holes in a paper tape. As the mechanical systems were replaced by electronic systems, binary electronic codes were used.


126. Return

Microsoft took a somewhat different approach with its MS Word product, by placing most formatting instructions at the end of the document or after Section Breaks. These instructions then point to the areas of text they affect. It is this totally different formatting logic which has made conversion between MS Word and other word processing environments so difficult. The answers provided by John McGhie explain why -; Microsoft has partially rectified this problem by developing its openly defined but still proprietary Rich Text Format (RTF) markup language. RTF markup directly tags the blocks of text affected by most formatting instructions, but it still doesn’t solve the generic word processing problem that there are many different ways for the computer to code formats that look the same to human readers.


127. Return

I first encountered GML in 1988 as a documentation manager in the information systems area of an IBM-based banking environment.


128. Return

Defense requirements to standardise technical documentation (as expressed in CALS - Computer aided Acquisition and Lifecycle Support) policies and standards assisted the spread of SGML. The US Navy Digital Logistics Technical Data (CALS) page links to various standards - The NATO CALS site explains many of the benefits -


129. Return

Currently available SGML authoring applications include FrameMaker, Epic  Editor, XMetaL.


130. Return

Graham (2000) discusses the different versions of HTML and how different browsers interpret particular HTML elements. is an essay dating from 1995 or 1996 on some of the difficulties resulting from the early looseness in the HTML definition. The situation has not improved markedly up to the present time.


131. Return

Some statistics, discussed in more depth in a later section make clear the magnitude of this revolution: The HTML DTD was finalised in 1993 (Sears, 1998- By January 2000 more than 1 Bn HTML Web pages have been published -;; spread across more than 93 million hosts (growing from around 370,000 in 1991) - By November 2001, Google claimed to have indexed more than 1.6 BN Web pages - By August 2001, an estimated 513 million users worldwide use the Web; 180 million of these are in the USA and Canada -


132. Return

Walsh, 1998. Also, inspection of the main XML sites will show that XML is still very much a program under development:;;


133. Return

Carleton University School of Business On Line Learning- Well-Formed XML - (2000) -


134. Return

Carleton University School of Business On Line Learning - Valid XML (2000) -


135. Return

Mesopotamian - , in Staikos, K.S. and Kontominas, D. (????) - [


136. Return

Library History Group: The Universal Library: From Alexandria to the Internet - Second Anglo-German Seminar on Library History -

137. Return

See also: Bibliotheca Alexandrina: Intellectual Institutions -


138. Return

A library takes shape: Books, benches and borrowers. in Vatican Exhibit -


139. Return  Encyclopaedia Britannica.,5716,109616+1+106477,00.html [obsolete at 9 Nov. 2001 - try,5716,109616+1+106477,00.html], provides an excellent review article on libraries covering library history, science, classification systems and administration. summarizes the four major classification schemes.


130. Return

Introduction to the Dewey Decimal Classification: History and Current Use. OCLC Forest Press -


131. Return

Library of Congress Classification Outline. Cataloging Policy and Support Office. Library of Congress -


132. Return

MacRae Library Handbook, Arrangement of Materials, Background on the Library of Congress System - gives a brief summary; American Treasures of the Library of Congress: MEMORY: The Order of Books (Monticello, May 7, [18]15) - in American Treasures of the Library of Congress. The following is quoted from a polygraph copy of Thomas Jefferson's manuscript

...Yet on the whole I have preferred arrangement according to subject; because of the particular satisfaction, when we wish to consider a particular one, of seeing at a glance the books which have been written on it, and selecting those from which we expect most readily the information we seek.

133. Return

Quoted from a facsimile copy of Jefferson's original letter to George Watterston (Monticello, May 7, [18]15) -


134. Return

The scope and history of the discipline are summarised in


135. Return

The Amsterdam printing of the Journal des sçavans -, in Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology


136. Return in Fjällbrant (1998).


137. Return The first index published covered natural history and zoology. See also Scholarly Societies as Meeting Sponsors and Publishers, Scholarly Societies Project, University of Waterloo Library - and Bibliographic Projects and Bibliographic Standards, Scholarly Societies Project, University of Waterloo Library -

138. Return

The Royal Society of London Catalogue of Scientific Papers -


139. Return

Zoological Record, from BIOSIS Products and Services -


140. Return

John Shaw Billings was a major player in the early development of information systems. In addition to his role in founding the National Library of Medicine and Index Medicus, it was Billings's suggestion that Herman Hollerith should use punch card technology for the US Census beginning in 1890. This provided the foundation from which the IBM corporation developed.;;; inRusso (????).


 141. Return


 142. Return;;


 143. Return;


 144. Return


 145. Return For history see: Bourne (1999);;


 146. Return For history see:; Orbit was developed by System Development Corporation (RAND Corp spinoff)


 147. Return

History of Citation Indexing: ISI -; citation indexing - Garfield (1955); use of punch cards - Garfield (1955a); Garfield (1958); Institute for Scientific Information (1958) -


 148. Return

Atkins (1999); (Testa, 2001); in Garfield (1979)

 149. Return

King and Tenopir (1998) also calculated a similar value for the cost to produce a journal article.


 150. Return

This is comparable to the the average annual income per person in the USA of $34,870 in 2001!  GNI per capita 2001, Atlas method and PPP -; United States Data Profile - in the World Bank Group Data & Statistics.


 151. Return

See also: Create Change: A resource for faculty and librarian action to reclaim scholarly communication.-

 152. Return

There are a number of Web resources documenting the phenomenal growth of the Internet as a communications medium and the World Wide Web as a repository of human knowledge: Cringley provides highly popular histories of computer technology in general and the Web in particular (Cringley 1996, 1996a, 1998). Cringley (1998) is an especially notable example of an advanced hypertext document that could not be represented in any other medium except the Web. Howe (2001) provides a more linear brief history of the Web. A more detailed history is presented in Abrams (1998). Internet Com Corp's Web Developers Virtual Library provides a History of the Internet and the World Wide Web, with a number of links to related sites - December and Ginsberg (1996) provide an early history of the Web and review basic principles in the introduction to their book. The Internet Society provides links to several other histories -


 153. Return

Feizabadi (1998) Chapter 1 - gives more details on Bush's ideas, and reviews the origin of hypertext. Zachary (1997) claims Bush as the "godfather" of most modern technology and the cognitive revolutions associated with it. Lesk (1996), originally in a Bush symposium (, reviewed progress as at the latter part of 1995 towards meeting MEMEX's technological requirements. It is also worth emphasising that my procedure for capturing and using links to develop the present work represents am embodiment of the ideas proposed in Bush's paper and Lesk's progress report - except that only the links are captured. The referenced documents reside in their source repositories and (assuming they are not moved) can be accessed at any time by following the link. See also Garfield (1955, 1958)


 154. Return

Ted Nelson's home page: - but see also:


 155. Return



 156. Return

The hypertext version of Rada's (1991) work can be downloaded via a shareware FTP tool (e.g., FTP Explorer - from Subdirectories contain Windows and Unix hypertext viewers that can also be downloaded from the University of Cologne site and installed. explains the installation procedures for the viewers once they have been downloaded via FTP.


 157. Return Networking/Internet_and_World_Wide_Web/Software/Development/HTML_Editors/.


 158. Return


 159. Return

Google claims to include more than 10,000 servers in its Linux cluster -


 160. Return

Tim Berners-Lee (Berners-Lee & Fischetti 1999) has argued for years that commercial Web browsers should also provide users with an equivalent ability to create documents for the Web. To date there are no effective products that include both browsing and authoring in the same tool.


 161. Return;


 162. Return

Subsidies have been provided by Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration (DARPA) and  the National Science Foundation (NSF) (Committee on Innovations in Computing and Communications 1999), Chapter 7 Development of the Internet and the World Wide Web -


 163. Return

This assumes access to a computer and telephone connection to an ISP (internet service provider) - which are all available to individual end users in developed countries at highly competitive commodity prices (i.e., for a price equivalent to 5-10 textbooks). And failing this, many public libraries now provide free internet access, as I recently demonstrated to myself on a recent trip to Finland where I used the public library closest to my hotel to access my e-mail via my Australian university's Web portal because my laptop's modem did not understand the European telecom standards.


 164. Return


 165. Return

Internet Software Consortium Internet Domain Survey, Number of Internet Hosts -


 166. Return

Internet Users: (no longer available - see


 167. Return

Internet Users: (no longer available - see; methodology: (see


 168. Return

How many online? - NUA uses the following methodology:

'How Many Online' figures represent both adults and children who have accessed the Internet at least once during the 3 months prior to being surveyed..

An Internet User represents a person with access to the Internet and is not specific to Internet Account holders. When the figure for Internet Account holders is the only information available, this figure is multiplied by a factor of 3 to give the number of Internet users.

When more than one survey is available on a country's demographics, NUA will take the mean of the two surveys or, in the case where NUA feels one study may be more comprehensive/reliable than the other, NUA will quote this figure over the other. -

 169. Return


 170. Return 2002.html.


 171. Return

Web map statistics -; Press Release -


 172. Return

Google Launches World's Largest Search Engine -; Google Achieves Significant Business, Growth Milestones in 2000 -


 173. Return - www.


 174. Return Site policy excludes web crawlers -


 175. Return


 176. Return - www; see also Lesk, M. (1997?) -


 177. Return

Access is limited by two factors. (1) Virtually all formally published journal content resides on publisher or society websites that are off-limits to web crawlers because access requires user passwords. (2) Beyond this, even where access is free, as in the case of, the document server for the physics, astronomy and mathematics community, crawlers are barred ( and/or most of the content is held in paper oriented layout formats that would be unreadable by many of today's web crawlers (e.g., .PDF, postscript, TEX, LaTEX, MS Word, etc.). Note, Google has begun to index PDF, PostScript, Lotus and most Microsoft formats -


 178. Return

 179. Return; - guides


 180. Return;


 181. Return

 182. Return

DMOZ:; see also;


 183. Return

LookSmart:;;?dir=profile&page=dir; paid submissions:; see also


 184. Return


 185. Return

Yahoo!: History:; Suggesting sites:; see also


 186. Return

Yahoo is very coy about the size of its directory. The estimate is from Search Engine Show Down: - size; as at 6/1/2002 an extensive search did not locate any more recent estimates.


 187. Return


 188. Return

e.g., see


 189. Return

Different kinds of web robots are described and listed on


 190. Return

See section "What's next? (Search Engines and Web Indexes) " in - What's the index; See also "How Search Engines Rank Web Pages" -


 191. Return
PageRank capitalizes on the uniquely democratic characteristic of the web by using its vast link structure as an organizational tool. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. Google assesses a page's importance by the votes it receives. But Google looks at more than sheer volume of votes, or links; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves 'important' weigh more heavily and help to make other pages 'important.' These important, high-quality results receive a higher PageRank and will be ordered higher in results. In this way, PageRank is Google's general indicator of importance and does not depend on a specific query. Rather, it is a characteristic of a page itself based on data from the web that Google analyzes using complex algorithms that assess link structure. -
 192. Return

The most useful, complete and continuously updated reviews of search engines and Web directories I have found are by Notess (2002) and Sullivan (2002). See for the current state of this rapidly changing arena. Other reviews are provided by Butler, D. (2000); Elkordy (2001); and Ensor (2002).


 193. Return

Discussion of the role index size in rating search engine performance; see for actual counts (as at March 4-6, 2002).


 194. Return


 195. Return

Wisenut is a recent search engine development giving special emphasis to indexing Korean and Japanese sites -,; technology -; reviews -;


 196. Return

Fast blurb -;  Fast's features -; Fast's architecture:


 197. Return

Lycos advanced help -; see also Lycos Redeems Itself With Relaunch -


 198. Return

Northern Light -; see also As of 16 January 2002 Northern Light no longer offered free public access to its search engine -


 199. Return

For a current count -


 200. Return

Information on AltaVista -; How AltaVista performs its indexing -


 201 Return - metasearch;

 202 Return

Admittedly, there are occasional drop-outs of the streaming audio when downloaded grapics hog the limited bandwidth of my 56K modem. I also wonder what streaming media will do to available bandwidth around the world when everyone starts using their computers for continuous wide-band audio and video media.


 203 Return

Streaming media tutorials and resources: uses audio with slides;;;;


 204 Return;


 205 Return

The earliest date I can find for Windows Media Player on the Web is 22 Nov. 1999, which is the release date for Media Player 6.4 for Win 95 and Win NT4 - The alliance with RealNetworks (then Progressive Networks) began in 1995 -;;;; By early 1998 the relationship was severed -


 206 Return

For example, when I am stuck in my office where I can't see the weather, I regularly consult Melbourne's weather radar -, or the satellite images http:// see what the wind is blowing in. Similarly, before I made my recent trip to Finland, I occasionally checked in there to see the weather on the other side of the globe -

To see the weather in your own region, there is a good chance that Google can help you find it: search Google for ["your major regional city name" weather radar].


 207 Return

Here I use the term "information" in its most general sense.


 208 Return

Despite several years' experience implementing knowledge management technology for a large corporation, I had great difficulties writing the knowledge mangement section of this work — until I recognised that I was dealing with yet another paradigmatic communication problem. The practical differences between the two paradigms as they are applied to organisational solutions are mainly ones of emphasis. Using a Popperian epistemology leads one to focus more on capturing and managing the explicit knowledge of varioius kinds. Using a Polanyian epistemology, one tends to focus on social engineering within the organisation to transfer tacit knowledge. As I will show, both epistemologies make valid contributions to the understanding of organizational knowledge.


 209 Return

Some statistics from Google and ISI's Web of Knowledge illustrate the evident difficulties authors familiar with one paradigm of knowledge have with discussing the other: Searching Google on 14 March 2003, there are 59,900 references to "Karl Popper" and 6,600 to "Michael Polanyi". Of these only 539 pages (less than 1%) reference both. Of the 539 referencing both authors, 161 include the term politics and only 30 include the term "knowledge management". A similar search using ISI's Web of Knowledge (as at 12 February 2003: Database(s)=SCI-EXPANDED, SSCI, A&HCI; Timespan=1997-2003) yielded 913 articles citing Karl Popper's Objective Knowledge and/or Conjectures and Refutations (ed and date unspecified); 996 hits for articles citing Michael Polanyi's Personal Knowledge and/or Tacit Dimension; and only 44 papers citing works by both authors. Of the top-ranked ["knowledge management" Popper Polanyi] pages in the Google searches, only four authors Capurro (2002), Firestone (2000, 2001), Gaines (2003) and Moss (2002) provided any significant comparisons of the two epistemologies. Most of the other hits were lists of books, course outlines, or other topics - not discussions of the book contents.

 210 Return

Polanyi was baptised a Catholic around 1918 (Nye 1996). Later converting to a more Protestant but still strongly religious point of view. fide Martin X. Moleski -

 211 Return

On leaving Germany, Michael Polanyi took the professorship of chemistry at Manchester University. 

Melvin Calvin, who worked in Michael Polanyi's lab at the University of Manchester in the late 1930's, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1961 based partly on what he learned there - Polanyi's son, John C. Polanyi, trained in chemistry at the University of Manchester, followed in his father's footsteps (one step removed) as a physical chemist (Hargattai 1997) and won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1986 -;

Of all the philosophers of science, Michael Polanyi had by far the greatest experience working in science. However, it is Popper's epistemology that has been adopted by most scientists, not Polanyi's. The large component of subjectivity and religious mysticism in Polanyi's writing appears to repel many physical scientists, who find the works fuzzy and turgid by comparison to the relative clarity of Popper's more concrete and objective approach to epistemology. It is primarily behaviorists and psychologists who have adopted a Polanyian epistemology


 212 Return

Quoting Watkins, "When in 1951 Findlay, [Popper's] old friend and admirer from New Zealand days, arrived at King's College London, across the Strand from LSE, he found Popper... surrounded by a court of admirers, his conduct of his seminar magisterial, and his views of people moralistic and prejudiced. Michael Polanyi was gravely offended by the treatment that Popper, as chairman, meted out to him when he read a paper (on 'The Stability of Beliefs', 6 March 1952) to the Philosophy of Science Group. David Armstrong, then an assistant lecturer at Birkbeck College, recalled that he 'went a few times to Karl Popper's seminar, but was repelled by the discipleship and the authoritarian atmosphere'." (Watkins, 1997) - The relationship between Popper and Polanyi seems to have many similarities with the much better documented antipathy between Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the other great philosophers of the 20th Century, as documented by Edmonds & Eidinow (2001), who also comment extensively on Popper's abrasiveness and intellectual arrogance.


 213 Return


 214 Return

Some indication if the importance of Polanyi's importance in the knowledge management discipline is indicated by the Google query linking Polanyi with "knowledge management" - In mid January 2002 this revealed over 1,000 hits. In mid January 2003 the count was 1,910. A similar query linking Popper with knowledge management yielded approximately half this amount. In mid January 2003 the count was 871. "Karl Popper" alone yielded 60,100 hits, while "Michael Polanyi" alone yielded only 6,470. In other words, almost 1/3 of all references to Michael Polanyi involve some mention of knowledge management! ("Michael Polanyi" and religion yields 2,010 hits.).


 215 Return

I do not quote Polanyi directly in the main text because I find his writing to be particularly obscure and pervaded with mysticism, and because I fundamentally disagree with his program to give priority to faith and religious belief over reason. From Polanyi (1958), pp 264-267:

Our tacit powers decide our adherence to a particular culture and sustain our intellectual, artistic, civic and religious deployment within its framework.


In the beginning many words were held to be sacred. The law was respected as divine, and religious texts were revered as revealed by God. Christians worshipped the word made flesh. What the Church taught required no verification by man. When accepting its doctrine man was not speaking to himself, and in his prayers he could address the very source of the doctrine.

Later, when the supernatural authority of laws, churches and sacred texts had waned or collapsed, man tried to avoid the emptiness of mere self-assertion by establishing over himself the authority of experience and reason. But it has now turned out that modern scientism fetters thought as cruelly as ever the churches had done. It offers no scope for our most vital beliefs and it forces to disguise them in farcically inadequate terms. Ideologies framed in these terms have enlisted man's highest aspirations in the service of soul-destroying tyrannies.

What then can we do? I believe that to make this challenge is to answer it. For it voices our self-reliance in rejecting the credentials both of medieval dogmatism and modern positivism, and it asks our own intellectual powers, lacking any fixed external criteria, to say on what grounds truth can be asserted in the absence of such criteria. To the question, 'Who convinces whom here?' it answers simply, 'I am trying to convince myself.'


We must ... recognize belief ... as the source of all knowledge. Tacit assent and intellectual passions, the sharing of an idiom and of a cultural heritage, affiliation to a like-minded community: such are the impulses which shape our vision of the nature of things on which we rely for our mastery of things. No intelligence, however critical or original, can operate outside such a ... network.

While our acceptance of this framework is the condition for having for having any knowledge, this matrix can claim no self-evidence. Although our fundamental propensities are innate, they are vastly modified and enlarged by our upbringing; moreover, our innate interpretations of experience may be misleading, while some of our truest acquired beliefs, though clearly demonstrable, may be most difficult to hold. Our mind lives in action, and any attempt to specify its presuppositions produces a set of axioms which cannot tell us why we should accept them. Science exists only to the extent to which there lives a passion for its beauty, a beauty believed to be universal and eternal. Yet we know also that our own sense of this beauty is uncertain, its full appreciation being limited to a handful of adepts, and its transmission to posterity insecure....

This then is our liberation from objectivism: to realize that we can voice our ultimate convictions only from within our convictions - from within the whole system of acceptances that are logically prior to any particular assertion of our own, prior to the holding of any particular piece of knowledge...

It can be surmised that the anti-critical anti-objectivist venom that is apparent in the above quote and elsewhere in Polanyi's writing, including his 1958 subtitle "Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy", is at least in part an attempt to 'get back at' Karl Popper following the public humiliation Polanyi received from Popper.

To me, personally, the reliance on faith above critical rationalism is the route to fundamentalism where one can be persuaded to belief in the face of reason and all this entails.


 216 Return

See also for other definitions:; Kerr (1995), Stenmark. (2001).


 217 Return for Nonaka's comments on the role Polanyi's epistemology played in his thinking.


 218 Return

Entovation International's Timeline - - provides a graphical summary of the sources and development of knowledge management concepts. For other Web resources on Polanyi's epistemology see: Sanders (1999); Cannon, 1999); Mullins (1997); Allen (1996); Jha (1999).


 219 Return

Some authors, e.g., Choo (1999) and Spender (1998), use "implicit" in the sense of something deeply inherent in the nature of something (i.e., as the underlying source of tacit knowledge that cannot be expressed in words), not in the sense of knowledge that has been suggested or implied but has not yet been expressed explicitly.


 220 Return

As a technical writer, and for reasons discussed in the earlier sections of this work and below, I disagree completely with the concept that knowledge can only exist in human brains.


 221 Return

I first started working with ISI's Science Citation Index in paper format in the 1960s, long before there was any concept that the index would be accessible electronically from home. Even then the power of its semantic indexing was quite evident


 222 Return See for a precise thermodynamic definition of exergy in equilibrium or steady-state conditions. Kay (2002) explains the relationships between exergy, entropy, information and uncertainty.

 223 Return

I had a very spotty and confusing undergraduate transcript (3½ years of physics before I started over in zoology), so I had few choices for graduate work. This began in 1965 on a newly founded and rapidly growing campus (Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville) just in the process of forming its graduate program. I found myself lecturing in both general and invertebrate zoology (the latter heavily based on my first hand experience with most of the marine phyla in the coastal habitats of Southern California, where I grew up). In both courses, I was essentially on my own to organise the content for teaching. To give some structure to my approach, I based it on the foundation question, "what is life" as elaborated by logical evolutionary processes. In order to gain academic credibility in a well established graduate program and  access to a well established research library, I enrolled as an external student in Hampton Carson's Genetics and Evolution course offered by Washington University in St Louis (across the Mississippi from Edwardsville). The topic I chose for the research paper in this course was on the origins and early evolution of life, where I attempted to reconstruct the origins of the various animal phyla - based on my readings and lectures for the invertebrate zoology course I was teaching at SIU,E. Many of the conclusions in this course paper predated many of the pioneering papers cited in this section. Unfortunately, at the time I had neither the writing skills nor the opportunity to attempt to publish the ideas. However, the logic of that paper underlies the presentation in this section.

 224 Return

The Web version of Encyclopaedia Autopoietica is huge, and takes a long time to load. The beta version is available for download as a zip file for local use (see - DownloadOptions.

 225 Return

Cybernetics is the science or study of feedback, control or regulation mechanisms in organic and machine systems, and as such is central to the discussion that follows. For other definitions see and The American Society for Cybernetics ( gives a history of the development of the discipline. This site and the Principia Cybernetica Web ( provide links to a number of on-line resources.

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As recounted in his book, Beer (1981) worked closely with Maturana and Varela in the Allende government of Chile, where they were working together in the attempt to implement cybernetically controlled forms of government. Beer acknowledges that there were mutually antagonistic or "pathological" aspects of autopoiesis in various governmental subsystems that threatened disintegration (see Beer 1981: 337-342).  

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Kauffman's list of publications through 2000 begins in 1967 with works on genetic control networks - Since he began to commercialize his work in 1996 (; he has published comparatively little.

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For Chaisson's treatment of entropy and the second law of thermodynamics, see

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The concept of an attractor comes from chaos and systems theory - see below. Lucas 2003 provides more detail

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Maturana and Varela's work is difficult to comprehend because of its hermetically paradigmatic nature and highly self-referential vocabulary, but nevertheless rewarding. Whitaker's (1995, 2001, 2001a) Web-based works are invaluable guides to understanding the paradigm of autopoiesis.