— Cliff Pickover (@pickover) November 12, 2016
Apologies for the coma here. The world has been distracting.
John Conway on The Iron Law of Six:
I was astonishingly lucky. I literally remember my former undergraduate teacher telling my then wife that John would not be successful. She asked why. And he said, “Well, he does not do the kind of mathematics that’s necessary for success.” And that’s true. I really didn’t do any kind of mathematics. Whatever I did, I did pretty well, and people got interested in it — and that’s that. I did have a recipe for success, which was always keeping six balls in the air. Now I have had a stroke, so I can’t catch those balls terribly well. But what I mean is: Always be thinking about six things at once. Not at the same time exactly, but you have one problem, you don’t make any progress on it, and you have another problem to change to.
Some examples from illustrious names. The challenge was defined by Hemingway’s six word story “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” (Twitter is unnecessarily spacious for them.)
Neal Stephenson does it best:
Tick tock tick tock tick tick.