The starship and the canoe

I am unfortunately not able to be at this year's open source conference, but I've been reading about it at the O'Reilly Network site and also on Phil Windley's site where he is, as has become his habit, doing a spectacular job of blogging the show.

Today Phil writes about a talk by George Dyson featuring materials from the archives of the Institute for Advanced Study. I'd love to have been there!

If you've never read Kenneth Brower's The Starship and the Canoe, by the way, it's a real treat. First published 25 years ago (!), it's a father/son biography of Freeman Dyson and George Dyson. The "starship" in the title refers to Project Orion, an effort by Freeman Dyson and Ted Taylor to produce a nuclear-bomb-propelled interplanetary vessel. The "canoe" refers to a seagoing kayak that George, then a tree-dwelling rebel living in British Columbia, was building. I wonder how the Dysons felt about the book then, and I wonder how they feel about it now.

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