Log in

No account? Create an account
New egometer unveiled - Arvind Narayanan's journal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

New egometer unveiled [Nov. 28th, 2004|10:12 pm]
Arvind Narayanan

New egometer unveiled

Sunnyvale, CA     Nov 28, 2004

Researchers at UC Berkeley have unveiled what they claim is the world's most accurate egometer, a device for measuring ego. The work is part of a joint project involving the physics and neroscience departments sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

"This is a historic first," Dr. Phil Hopkins, professor of Physics at UCB and head of the ten member research team, announced at a press conference yesterday. "We have been able to get an accuracy of a few trillionths of a Raymond in trials, compared to thousandths or at best hundreds of millionths in previous devices," he said.

The Raymond, abbreviated R, is the standard unit of ego, named for the famous hacker Eric S. Raymond. "One Raymond is defined as the ego level of Eric Raymond, characterized by the delusion of living in one's own personal universe where everyone else exists only in reference to oneself," explained Dr. Hopkins. According to the Special Theory of Relativistic egology, no one, except Mr. Raymond himself, can have an ego of one Raymond or more. "One can get arbitrarily close to 1R, but not actually attain it," continued Dr. Hopkins. "However, fictional character Zaphod Beeblebrox and cartoon character Dogbert would probably attain 1R," he observed.

Like the Farad, the Raymond is a unit that is inconveniently large for "everyday" use. Therefore, the microRaymond and the nanoRaymond (millionths and billionths of a Raymond respectively) are more commonly used units.

Dr. Hopkins provided an explanation of how the device works. "It is well known that according to the General Theory of Relativistic egology, the thought space around a person is curved. Further, the curvature is proportional to the person's ego. By measuring this curvature, we can get an accurate measurement of their ego. The way our egometer works also makes it stealthy. You can point it at a person from several hundred feet and get their ego value, and the subject would be none the wiser."

Dr. Karl Franklin, professor of neuroscience, explained that very few people on whom they had used their prototype egometer turned out to are known to have egos of over a milliRaymond. These were (apart from Raymond himself) legendary hacker Richard Stallman, Oracle CEO Larry Ellision, and awardwinning filmmaker Michael Moore.

The researchers hope that their work will lead to measurements of the egos of people previously considered too small to measure, such as that of Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux operating system. "Linux users like to claim that Linus has no ego at all, but I don't think that's true. I expect it'll be in the nanoRaymond range," said Dr. Franklin. "We'll know soon enough." When asked if Linus's plans of world domination wouldn't result in his having a high ego, Dr. Franklin retorted: "No way. Psychiatrists have now confirmed that Linus's world domination plans are the result not of his ego but of his slight battiness induced by having to listen to Microsoft FUD all day. Frankly, I think its amazing that the guy has retained his sanity at all in the face of the multibillion dollar FUD machine." The new device would provide a test of the prevailing psychiatric consensus, he said.

Asked if the device had any flaws, Dr. Hopkins admitted that there were a few. "Kids and pets often display bursts of emotion, demanding the total and unwavering attention of everyone around them, during which their ego significantly exceeds 1R. When a kid gets into "one of those moods", the egometer needle tends to jump violently, and sometimes breaks or gets jammed," he said. Research aimed at fixing the problem was in progress, he added.

Dr. Hopkins was quick to point out that this phenomenon did not contradict the Special Theory of Relativistic egology. A person's ego is the time average of their instantaneous ego, he explained. "Most kids and pets often act so servile (such as when they want a cookie) that they record negative egos on our egometer at such times. So their overall ego comes out to a few microRaymond, which is nothing to get excited about," he said.

When contacted for comments, Eric Raymond rubbished the research. When pressed for particulars, he said: "Look, my time is far too important to waste explaining to you the twenty eight different fatal flaws I was able to identify in the first five minutes of browsing their preprint. Instead, I'll just say that I built an egometer when I was thirteen (every real hacker has built at least one) and it worked a darn sight better what these deluded nutjobs have. Of course, my own ego was exactly zero, because I'm a perfectly logical and rational being. So I knew it worked."

Richard Stallman asserted that mankind could make no progress as long as people were motivated by greed and ego. Further, he requested to be shown a draft of this article, and thereupon vehemently insisted that all references to Linux be replaced by "GNU/Linux."

Larry Ellison laughed and said: "Losers, that's what they all are. Every one of those academics. I bet they haven't gotten laid in months. Look at me, I've got far more millions than they've written papers. Why should I care what they think of me?"

Michael Moore claimed that a vast right-wing conspiracy aimed at discrediting him was behind the research. "What the media moguls are too thickheaded to realize is that the truth cannot be kept under wraps indefinitely. It will soon become apparent to the American public who the real egotists are, and then an American revolution will be underway," he charged.

Linus Torvalds opined that academic work was fine, but that it did not interest him. "I do Linux just for fun," he said.

Yeah, I'm bored and wanted to kill time. I'm always bored when there's an exam coming up and I haven't even started preparing. The piece is original by me, inspired by this slashdot thread. If you find it funny, feel free to copy or link. Licensed under CC-BY-SA.

From: eightpixelshigh
2004-11-28 10:04 pm (UTC)
Just have to say, that's frikkin' hilarious. I'm still laughing.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-11-28 10:23 pm (UTC)

kids & 1R?

Nice try. Those could only go upto 1 dR.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kadambarid
2004-11-29 02:50 am (UTC)

An absolutely rocking farce!!!

That piece was awesome!
"One Raymond is defined as the ego level of Eric Raymond, characterized by the delusion of living in one's own personal universe where everyone else exists only in reference to oneself," - I'd love to have an ego level of 1R (impossible as it may be according to the Special Theory of Relativistic Egology)!
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-04 03:08 am (UTC)

Re: An absolutely rocking farce!!!

Thanks for calling this a farce
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-11-29 07:44 am (UTC)


LOL! That was uproarious! Excerpted at thescian.com/blog.

thanks. Selva.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-04 03:06 am (UTC)

Dont u have better work guys. U could better invent a sexo-meter to find out who is the sexiest man/woman in the world
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: arvindn
2004-12-04 12:07 pm (UTC)
sssh. This is a geek blog.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)