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So Long, Sir Clarke

You, I'm sure, have heard that Sir Arthur C. Clarke left us last week at the age of 90. Clarke was a true renaissance man. Many forget that he was a real scientist and technical visionary. He invented the idea of orbiting satellites and later proposed them as a way to bring the Internet to the Third World.

I was lucky enough to correspond with Sir Clarke for several years. Even though he was way over in Sri Lanka, Clarke read AmigaWorld while I was editor in chief. Clarke loved the Amiga and used it to explore Mandelbrots, geometrical shapes that expand inward and out infinitely. The shapes they form also make great hippy T-shirts. These fractals drove his novel The Ghost from the Grand Banks.

Clarke would fax me his thoughts, along with clips of Mandelbrots carved into corn fields in England as well as stories about the 25th birthday of HAL, the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I now have a prize collection of letters and newspaper clippings from one of the world's greatest minds. Who says journalism isn't cool?

Clarke more recently survived the tsunami and worked to find better ways to predict these waves and warn coastal inhabitants.

What's your favorite Arthur C. Clarke work? Let us know by writing me at dbarney@redmondmag.com. The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation is also a good place to park some of your extra dough.

Posted by Doug Barney on 03/24/2008 at 1:15 PM


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