Finding a Thrift Shop Jewel

Several days ago, I accompanied my wife on a trip to the local Goodwill thrift shop – just to keep her company on a shopping expedition to find a few “white elephant” gifts for a gathering of her friends. I had never been inside the shop but had gone with her many times to drop off donations at the back door. I thought it might be an interesting experience to go in and look around! It turned out to be.

Ford F-1_1 Crop

After entering the front door, I trailed behind my wife as she headed toward the back of the store. Within seconds of arriving there, a shiny blue object caught my eye on a shelf situated at waist-level. “Whoa!” I thought to myself as I focused on a large ceramic cast of a Ford F-1 pickup-truck. The finish and the applied details were exquisite on this large-scale (foot-long) pickup – not your average cheaply-made ceramic display object. The “MSRP sticker price” for this little beauty: $10.69 – sold! My wife did find the white elephant gifts she was looking for, but I came away with the prize this time! We then walked down Murphy Street and celebrated over coffee from a favorite of ours, The Bean Scene. Nice day!

Basketball / Sports “Magic” on a Legendary Scale: The Golden State Warriors and Steph Curry

steph-curry-sneaker-sales-451x676[1]Today’s sporting world offers the public virtually continuous entertainment and diversion. On rare occasions, the viewing public is treated to sublime performances in sport that touch the very perfection that athletes continually strive to achieve. Such performances are long remembered by those within the sport and those of us on the sidelines who are fortunate enough to glimpse them. Most fortunate of all are those privileged to have witnessed the event in-person.

Today is game four (best of seven) in the first round of NBA championship play. The Golden State Warriors are up three games to zip over the Denver Nuggets. In the second quarter of game two, a few days ago, I witnessed on my television screen what can only be described as pure, poetic, basketball “magic” on the court as the Warriors steamrollered the Nuggets throughout a full quarter of perfect team basketball to take an insurmountable lead.

I have witnessed many a basketball game during my eighty-one years on this earth, but never have I seen such brilliant play by five-on-the-floor. Only one other time have I been similarly impressed watching basketball, and that was in the late nineteen-sixties while witnessing, via television and Chick Hearns’ legendary game commentary, John Wooden’s great UCLA teams garner their many NCAA championships by virtue of nearly perfect play-execution that left even formidable opponents flat-footed on the court.

This year’s version of the Warriors features the all-star nucleus that carried the team to their previous NBA championships: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Curry and Thompson remain all-time/all-star shooting guards while Green continues as one of the greatest passers and defensive talents in the history of the NBA. All that in addition to his key role as team spark-plug and floor leader.

Amidst the overall excellence of the Warrior’s roster, one player stands out, and that is Steph Curry who has brought to NBA prominence the three-point shot – often from far-afield. Curry is already the career leader in three-point production; in recent years, he has led the NBA in free-throw percentage (approximately 92%) in addition to being a formidable ball-handler and lay-up artist. I do not know of any finer shot in basketball than Curry’s fluid free-throw stroke. When he launches the ball, it arcs toward the hoop like a guided missile honing-in on its target. It is always thus, whether the Warriors are comfortably up by twenty-points at the time or whether the basket must be made to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Steph Curry is a hall-of-fame player already, well before his career is over.

To coin the infamous television commercial offer for some handy kitchen gadget: “But wait, there’s more!” The “more” for the Warrior roster comes in the person of young Jordan Poole, playing his first year as an NBA starter. This young star is already playing at a skill-level that equals that of his team-mentor, Steph Curry. A significant portion of the recent game-two magic that I described earlier in this post came from Poole. Young Jordan has proven that anything Curry can do on a basketball court, he can do at least as well – and, sometimes, even more spectacularly. Poole even recently wrested the league free-throw percentage leadership from Curry. In the span of just this one, current season, Poole has morphed from a talented young, but inexperienced player off the bench to a polished all-star starter. He makes plays that require the television viewer to resort to a rewind/replay of the game recording to fully comprehend “just how did he do that?” The only thing left for Poole to prove is that he can become the go-to player over multiple seasons who consistently comes through when the game is on the line; that is the special Curry attribute that truly separates Steph from other extremely talented players in the NBA, past and present. Reports have it that Curry has generously taken an interest in mentoring young Poole; the similarities in their game, their mature attitude, and their work-ethic convince me that those reports are true. Poole already plays like a Curry clone, but consistency over time and demonstrated accomplishment like an NBA championship or two are needed to complete the picture.

I recently told my twelve-year-old grandson, Luke, how lucky he and older brother, Matthew, are for having seen Steph Curry play basketball for the Golden State Warriors. They and their parents have attended at least two Warrior games in person within the past year or two and have long been faithful fans. Linda and I caught son-in-law Scott’s enthusiasm for the Warriors several years ago and have also become faithful fans, although we have never been to a game in person.

I would ordinarily say that it will take some time for the likes of a Steph Curry to come along again except for the fact that Curry may already be playing with him when Poole takes the court. Time will tell.

I will remember Steph Curry for a long time (I may have only several years left at my age!). I recall when he first surfaced with the Warriors some years ago. He seemed a promising young player, but I recall no early superlatives. I do recall that he had weak ankles which led to a few very disabling ankle-sprains that sidelined him for significant periods and seemed to threaten his future. I recall thinking: “too bad this young kid may not be able to establish a career for himself!” Imagine that.

Screen Shot 2022-04-23 at 11.36.21 PMIn quiet moments, I often fondly recall other great athletes who I have seen in person. On December 8, 1957, my father took me to my first big-time athletic event: the San Francisco 49ers vs. the Baltimore Colts led by all-time great Colts quarterback, Johnny Unitas, and receiver Lenny Moore. Y.A. Tittle was the 49ers quarterback along with Joe “the jet” Perry and peerless Hugh McElhenny as running backs. Tittle was knocked silly at the end of the game, and Stanford rookie quarterback John Brodie came in to throw a winning touchdown pass to McElhenny who took it into the left side of the end-zone with only thirty seconds left on the clock as the stadium erupted. That wonderful first exposure to big-time sports took place at the old Kezar Stadium in San Francisco. I can still visualize that winning touchdown in my mind’s eye as if it happened yesterday. The above photo captures that game-winning moment at Kezar stadium almost sixty-four years ago (in case my memory ever goes bad). Note the fans on housetop roofs!

Pancho Gonzales 003_PSIn 1958, I was learning the game of tennis, and I saw Pancho Gonzales play Lew Hoad at San Francisco’s Cow Palace arena, up-close-and-personal. At that time, Gonzales was undeniably the best tennis player in the world, and Hoad was Australia’s best amateur-turned-professional challenger that year on Jack Kramer’s famous pro tour. I also remember that event as if it were yesterday – especially the fury and power of the tennis played by the enigmatic Gonzales. I still have the signed program from that event: I’ll never forget how I got Pancho’s autograph that evening. During the preliminary match between Aussies Mal Anderson and Ashley Cooper, I noticed a tall, man with swarthy complexion dressed in slacks and sport coat standing in the open aisle behind our seating section. He stood there, alone, as any number of people walked by, intent only on their destination. I watched him for a full minute thinking that this man bore a resemblance to the pictures I had seen of Pancho Gonzales. I finally mobilized great courage, got out of my seat and worked my way to where he stood watching the match. I asked, “Are you Pancho Gonzales?” He nodded, so I handed him the tennis ball I had foolishly brought along in hopes of a possible autograph. He frowned at the fuzzy ball and murmured, “Bring me something I can write on.” I hustled back to where my father and I were sitting and grabbed my event program. I handed it to Gonzalez, and he laid a fine signature on his full-page picture and handed it back to me. In a minute or two he was gone, most certainly to the locker room to ready himself for the featured match with young Lew Hoad during which he dominated play while methodically dispatching Hoad. I have no doubt that Pancho was attuning himself to the vibes of the arena during that preliminary match. Apparently, I was the only person to identify him and pierce his anonymity. Time has not dimmed my memory of that evening one bit.

My sport in high school was track – specifically, running the high and low hurdles. I was also fascinated with the high-jump, although not good enough to compete in that event. In 1960, I took a date to the well-attended Olympic Trials Meet held at Stanford Stadium. I felt privileged to witness a world-record high-jump of seven feet, three and three quarter inches by John Thomas. Two years later, in 1962, my father and I attended the legendary U.S.A. / Soviet Union track meet also held at Stanford. Valery Brumel raised the new high-jump world record to seven feet, five inches at that meet – another unforgettable sports milestone I was privileged to  witness along with eighty-thousand cheering fans in packed Stanford Stadium!

In 1988, the Calgary Winter Olympic Games featured one of ice-skating’s greatest competitions, ever. The local favorite from Sunnyvale, California, Brian Boitano and Canada’s Brian Orser were evenly matched in the men’s competition and Germany’s Katerina Witt was the odds-on favorite for the women’s event. Boitano made skating history that night by skating a perfect and stirring performance while winning gold. Only a very slight slip by Orser separated his fabulous performance from Boitano’s. The intriguing Ms.Witt took gold for the women with another memorable skate. Several weeks afterward, the entire Olympic ensemble of skaters toured the country showcasing the exact skating routines performed in Calgary. Linda, I, and our two young daughters had tickets for the show at Brisbane’s Cow Palace arena, south of San Francisco. I recall the excited anticipation we had as we drove north up highway 101 that evening. We were not disappointed. It was magical – virtually an encore performance of that memorable Calgary competition featuring some of skating’s all-time greats, at their very best. We drove home that evening bathed in the realization that we had been privileged to see, in person, such combined athleticism and artistry; we knew then that we would never forget what we had just experienced, and we never have!

There were other, similar occasions involving sports figures and memorable performances over the years, many from our years of following Stanford football – some fabulous players and memorable games in the eighty-thousand seat confines of the old Stanford Stadium.

Ninety-nine percent of all that we experience from the world of sports quickly fades from memory, and rightly so. Some small portion of the remaining one percent will stay with us, indelibly, whether it be in the form of great athletes themselves or great athletic performances. At the age of eighty-one years, I have seen many athletes come and I have seen them go, but I will never forget the truly great ones and their finest exploits. To have watched them over the years via the miracle of technology is a most satisfying experience. To have witnessed them in person is, indeed, no less than a rare privilege.

Steph Curry resides within that one percent category of indelibly memorable athletes. Go Steph, and go Golden State Warriors!

Monday at Filoli with My Sister

Filoli 2-29-2022_1_Crop 5x7Last Monday, Linda and I spent a most memorable day with my sister, Karen, who was visiting us from Georgia. After a thirty-minute drive, we motored onto the gorgeous grounds and gardens which surround the Filoli estate, situated on many of the choicest acres to be found in the San Mateo County of Northern California. The day had dawned bright and beautiful, with cloudless sky and a stillness in the air. A warm sun was already dissipating the bracing cool of the early-morning air as we headed to the reception center. Filoli is one of our absolute-favorite places…anywhere! Its beauty rivals many of the most  majestic estates we have visited in our European travels.                            

Filoli Dot 2-29-2022After we checked-in and received our yellow/green Filoli “visitor dots,” we headed off to the far-reaching gardens which are always both familiar, yet ever-new thanks to the incredible horticultural staff which constantly renews and refreshes the grounds while busily planting new bulbs and flora as the seasons leisurely parade past. Filoli is always ablaze with seas of brilliant color – about as good as it gets insofar as gardens go.

As for me, personally, I was badly in need of Filoli’s soothing, healing effects due to recent events which had generated considerable stress. As we meandered through the seas of floral color, nature’s perfume enveloped us at every turn. Despite many past visits to Filoli, I have never had a more beautiful experience, there, than last Monday afforded. Truly, there is no equivalent to the natural beauty of a garden vis-a-vis the ability to soothe nerves while providing renewal and peaceful perspective. For that, on Monday, I was most thankful – and remain so!

tempImageAF8sCGThe 54,256 square foot mansion was constructed beginning in 1916 by William Bourn and his wife, Agnes. Bourn held a principal stake in the Empire gold and silver mine in California’s Grass Valley region – east of Sacramento. The Empire mine was one of the most bountiful of all California mining sites, making Mr. Bourn a very wealthy man, indeed. The mansion and its elegant furnishings coupled with the huge tract of choice land which comprises the estate made an unbelievably fine retreat for the Bourns. In later years, William suffered a debilitating stroke which led to the purchase of the property in 1937 by the Roth family, operators of the lucrative Matson shipping lines. The iconic Lurline trans-Pacific ocean liner was the famous flagship of the Matson Lines in the nineteen-forties, fifties, and sixties. Sailing between San Francisco and Honolulu on the Lurline was the epitome of luxury in those days.

tempImage0scxNSThe house and grounds were bequethed by the Roth family in 1975 to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The house and grounds remain today, as they were back then, in beautifully maintained condition: how fortunate are us locals!


“Toto of Filoli”

The mansion is ably guarded by numerous plaster clones of “Toto,” the real-life French bulldog owned by the Bourns and who roamed the mansion over one-hundred years ago. On Monday, I suggested to a lady in Filoli’s elegant gift shop that they would sell dozens of Totos each week if they could only commission a worthy version from some supplier. The lady offered that they hear that same sentiment from many visitors!

This post is intended as an “appetizer” for a more extensive photo-layout and history of this beautiful estate. Stay tuned for that upcoming post!


Information Theory: How the Genius of Claude Shannon Changed Our Lives By Thinking “Outside the Box”

Claude_Elwood_Shannon_(1916-2001)[1]Claude Shannon: have you ever heard the name? How about Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Charles Darwin? Those three names are universally familiar to the general public even though all but a small segment of the population would find it difficult to elaborate significant details of the work that made them immortal in scientific history. In Shannon’s case, his name, his face, his genius, and his immense impact on our world are all virtually unknown, thus unappreciated, outside the realms of mathematics and electrical engineering. Claude Shannon is the “father of information/communication theory” and primarily responsible for the vast networks of computers, data processing, and mass communication that power modern society. It is my intention, here, to at least do minimal justice to his rightful legacy among the great minds of mathematics, science, and engineering.

Shannon’s contributions are numerous and varied, but a closer look reveals that the central theme of most of them are well characterized by his most famous of many publications over the years, The Mathematical Theory of Communication, which appeared in 1948. Most of Shannon’s published papers were issued under the imprimatur of the Bell (Telephone) Labs Technical Journal. Bell Labs had a long and illustrious run as an incredible incubator for many of the most important math, science, and engineering advancements in America during the twentieth century. Accordingly, many of the country’s top minds were associated with the Lab and its activities. Claude Shannon was one of them.

All Information Can Be Represented By Data 1’s and 0’s!

3653[1]Have you ever marveled at the fact that modern computers can store and reproduce any-and-all information – text, audio, color pictures, and movies – using only organized collections of data 1’s and 0’s? Think of it! A modern computer is little more than a collection of millions of microscopic electronic switches (think light switches) which reside either in an “on” state (a data 1) or an “off” state (a data 0). If that reality has never occurred to you, pause for a few moments and reflect on the enormity of the fact that anything and everything called “media” can be displayed on-command by calling-up organized collections of data 1’s and 0’s which reside in the bowels of your personal computer! In addition, the computer’s “logical intelligence” – its ability to respond to your commands – also resides in the machine’s memory bank in the form of data 1’s and 0’s. In the nineteen-twenties and thirties, Claude Shannon was among other computing pioneers who understood the possibilities emerging from the burgeoning progress of electronics. The notion of a binary (or two-state) number system in a computing device was evident as far back as the eighteen-thirties when Charles Babbage designed and built his first bulky, mechanical computing machines.

Today, in our everyday lives, we use the decimal number system which is inherently unsuited to computers because that number system requires each digit in a number representation to assume one of ten states, 0 thru 9. Modern computers are designed around the binary (or two-state) system in which each digit in a binary number assumes a value, or weight, of either one or zero. A simple light switch or an electronic relay (open or closed) are examples of simple, two-state devices which can be used to represent any single digit in a binary number. In actuality, the two-state devices in modern computers are implemented utilizing millions of microscopic, individual solid-state transistors which can be switched either “on” or “off.” The binary number system, requiring only simple two-state devices (or switches), is the optimal choice.

Shannon would be the first to admit that he was never motivated to change the world by the work he pursued. Nor was he motivated by any prospects of fame and fortune for his efforts. Rather, he was endlessly fascinated by the challenges inherent in pursuing theoretical possibilities, regardless of any possible practicality or profit stemming from his efforts. Claude Shannon’s persona had multiple facets: a genius, out-of-the-box thinker, an inveterate tinkerer and inventor of gadgets, a juggler (circus-type), and a devotee of the unicycle – a conveyance he both rode, designed, and built himself! This most unusual personality forged much of the “quiet legend” which surrounded the reclusive, mysterious Mr. Shannon. Even though he was a tinkerer and builder of “toys and gadgets,” he lived for and thrived on elevated ideas – creations of the mind. In many respects, he was much like Albert Einstein in his outlooks, his rampant curiosity, and his dogged persistence, all of which were on full display as Einstein tackled the mysteries of both special and general relativity.

The Most Important Master’s Degree Thesis Ever Submitted!

In 1937, Claude Shannon submitted a thesis for his master’s degree in electrical engineering at MIT. Normally, a master’s thesis proves to be significantly less impressive in terms of originality and impact than that required for a Phd. Shannon’s master’s thesis proved to be a startling exception to the rule – the first of many unorthodoxies that characterized his unusual career. As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, he had earned dual degrees in mathematics and electrical engineering. It was at Michigan that he learned the “new math” developed by the English mathematician George Boole and introduced to the scholarly community in 1854 under the title, An Investigation into the Laws of Thought, on Which Are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities. This work was the most important contribution to emerge from the genius of Boole who died much too young from pneumonia at the age of forty-nine years.

Shannon's ThesisShannon was prescient enough to recognize that Boole’s algebraic treatment of the binary number system uncannily lent itself to the development of real-life logical systems (computers) which could be simply implemented using electrical relays – binary (two-state), on/off devices which had cost, space, power, and reliability issues, but which could nevertheless demonstrate computing principles in the nineteen-thirties and forties. In simplest terms, Shannon demonstrated in his master’s thesis that, using Boolean algebra and simple two-state electrical devices, a computer could be designed to “think logically” while processing and displaying stored information.

Shannon’s prescient recognition led to the characterization of his thesis as “The most important Master’s thesis ever written.” Indeed, Shannon opened the doors to a new and exciting vista, one that he vigorously explored while working at AT&T’s Bell Laboratories, and later, at MIT.

Shannon Sets These Major Goals for Himself – No Small Tasks!

How do we define “information,” how do we quantify information, and how can we transmit information most efficiently and reliably through communication channels?

I suggest that the reader pause a moment and ponder the thin air in which Claude Shannon pursued his goals. How in the world does one define and quantify such an “airy” concept as “information?” 

Here are some examples, the easiest entry-point into Shannon’s methodology regarding the definition and quantification of information:

When we flip a coin, we receive one data-bit of information from the outcome, according to Shannon’s math! In this case, there are only two outcome possibilities, heads or tails – two “message” possibilities, if you will. Were we to represent “heads” as a binary data “1” and tails as a binary data “0”, we can visualize and quantify the outcome of the coin flip as the resulting state (“1” or “0”) of a single “binary digit” (or “bit”) of information gained in the process of flipping the coin. In Shannon’s world, the amount of information received would equal precisely one-bit of information in either case – heads or tails – because each case is equally probable, statistically. The final comment concerning probabilities is important.

Here is how probability/statistics enters into Shannon’s treatment of information: What would be the case if I had a bona-fide, accurate/true crystal ball at my disposal and I queried it, “Will I still be alive on my upcoming eighty-second birthday – yes or no?” There are only two possible predictions (or messages), but, in this case, the information content of the message conveyed is dependent on which outcome is provided. If the answer is yes, I will make it to my 82nd birthday, I receive (happily) lessthan one bit of information content because actuarial tables of longevity indicate that, statistically speaking, the odds are in my favor. If the answer is no, I (unhappily) receive more than one bit of information due to the probability that not reaching my next birthday is statistically less than 50/50. A message whose content reveals less likely outcomes conveys more information than a message affirming the more likely, predictable outcomes in Shannon’s mathematical model of information.

Here is a third example of Shannon’s system: Consider the case of rolling a single die with six different faces identified as “1” through “6.” There are six possible outcomes, each one having the equal probability of 1/6. According to Shannon’s mathematical model, the amount of information gained from a single roll of the die is 2.59 binary bits. The outcome of a single roll of a die carries 2.59 bits of information vs. only one bit of information from the single flip of a coin. Why is that? It is because any one of six equally likely possible outcomes is less likely to occur than either outcome of a coin flip which presents only two equally likely outcomes!

Lest you think that quantifying the information content of messages strictly on a statistical basis with no regard for the content of the message itself seems a silly bit of elite hair-splitting on the part of math/engineering crackpots, I can assure you that you are dreadfully mistaken for these and numerous other derivations and conclusions that sprang from the curious mind of Claude Shannon form the backbone of today’s trillion dollar computer and communication industries! Shannon and his information/communication theories, like Einstein and his relativity theories, has been proven correct by both time and actual practice. Because of both men, our world has been immensely altered.

A Good Stopping Point for This Journey into                                  Information/Communication Theory

At this point in the story of Claude Shannon and his information /communication theories, we approach the edge of a technical jungle, replete with a formidable underbrush of advanced mathematics, and this is as far as we should go, here. For those well-versed in mathematics and engineering, that jungle path is clearly marked with signposts signifying that “Shannon has passed this way and cleared the pathway of formidable obstacles: proceed…and marvel.” The pathway that Shannon forged guides fortunate, well-equipped adventurers through some deep and beautiful enclaves of human thought and accomplishment.

Claude Shannon was a remarkable original, an imaginative thinker and doer. Inevitably, great milestones in math, engineering, and science are not without some degree of precedence. In Shannon’s case, there was not much to build from, but there was some. Certainly, the Boolean algebra of George Boole was a gift. As mentioned earlier, Shannon’s first publication of his own findings, titled The Mathematical Theory of Communication, appeared in the Bell System Technical Journal of !948.

IMG_2500Hartley BSTJ 1928 Enhanced 21928 Nyquist Sampling_1

His paper was quickly published in book form in 1949 by the University of Illinois Press. In his paper, Shannon mentioned the earlier work of Ralph V. L. Hartley and Harry Nyquist, both earlier Bell Laboratory employees, like Shannon. Hartley published his prescient views on the nature of information in the Bell System Technical Journal, dated July 1928. His paper was titled, The Transmission of Information. Although rudimentary, the paper was original and set in motion ideas that led Shannon to his triumphant 1948 publication in the Bell Journal. In Nyquist’s case, in addition to discussions re: the importance of optimal coding for the efficient transmission of information in an earlier, 1924 issue, Nyquist published, in the August 1928 Bell Journal, his ground-breaking analysis of the minimum waveform sampling rate of an analog (continuous) signal necessary to accurately reconstruct the original waveform from stored digital data samples – as is routinely done, today. Nyquist’s famous sampling theorem provided the necessary “bridge” between the world of analog information and digital representations of analog data that was so necessary to make Shannon’s theories applicable to all formats containing information.

Two Crucially Important, Parallel Technology Upheavals Which Enabled Shannon’sTheories in the Real World

The first of these upheavals began with the announcement from Bell Labs of the solid-state transistor in 1948, ironically the same year that Bell Labs published Shannon’s The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Three Bell Labs researchers led by William Shockley won the 1956 Nobel Prize in physics for their work. The transistor was a remarkable achievement which signaled the end of the cumbersome, power-hungry vacuum tubes which powered electrical engineering since their introduction in 1904 by Lee de Forest. By1955, the ultimate promise of the tiny and energy-efficient transistor came into full view.

The second major technology upheaval began in 1958/59 when the integrated circuit was introduced by Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments and, independently, by a team under Robert Noyce at newly founded Fairchild Semiconductor, right here in adjacent Mountain View – part of today’s Silicon Valley. The Fairchild planar process of semiconductor fabrication signaled the unprecedented progress which quickly powered the computer revolution. Today, we have millions of microscopic transistors fabricated on one small silicon “chip” less than one inch square. The versatile transistor can act as an amplifier of analog signals and/or a very effective high-speed and reliable binary switch.

These two parallel revolutions complete the trilogy of events begun by Shannon which determined our path to this present age of mass computation and communication.

A Final Summation

My goal was to make you, the reader, cognizant of Claude Shannon and his impact on our world, a world often taken for granted by many who daily benefit immensely from his legacy. We have come a very long way from the worlds of the telegraph – Morse and Vail, and the telephone – Alexander Graham Bell, and radio – Marconi, and Armstrong. The mathematical theories and characterizations proposed by Claude Shannon have essentially all been proven sound; his conclusions regarding the mathematical theory of communication are amazingly applicable to all modes of communication – from the simple telegraph, to radio, to our vast cellular networks, and to deep-space satellite communication.

I respectfully suggest you keep a few things in mind, going forward:

-Your computer is what it is and does what is does in no small part thanks to Claude Shannon’s insightful genius.

-Your cell phone can connect you anywhere in the world thanks largely to Claude Shannon.

-The abiliity to store a two-hour movie in high-definition and full, living color on a digital compact disc called a DVD is directly due to Claude Shannon.

-The error-correction capability digitally encoded on CD’s and DVD’s which insure playback with no detectable effects even from a badly scratched disc is absolutely the result of Claude Shannon’s ground-breaking work on error-correcting digital codes.

-Your ability to encrypt the data on your computer hard drive so that it is impenetrable to anyone (even experts) who do not possess the decoding key is, yet again, a direct result of Claude Shannon’s cryptography efforts.

And, finally, we arrive at the most surprising fact of them all: how is it that virtually 90 per-cent of the world’s population has benefitted so immensely from the legacy of Claude Shannon, yet so few have even heard of him? Perhaps there are some lessons, here?

Kudos to Claude Shannon and all the other visionaries who made it happen.