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Biography is either masked ball or epitaph. As you find me, so we are.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Two Generals' Problem

(To J.N.G.)*

Two Generals stood on a hill
And both were General A
Like twins who started life as One
But found a unique way

You might sense they’re identical
Though they’re A World Apart
And neither knows how he might say
When the attack will start

So while the surgeons start their fun
It’s lucky that I’ve gone quite numb
The brain’s a body that’s begun
To think what’s gone has almost come

As one fine day Jim sailed away
So black and white must fade to Gray
And sail straight on passed Farallon
Where no one turns an EPIRB on

Reflecting is indifference
And Truth a one-way glass
That magnifies inference
Before its feel can pass

Maternal dust and swirling ink
Both scattered matter in the drink
Seek Five Alive and space to think
If you don’t swim you’re bound to sink

*James Nicholas "Jim" Gray born January 12, 1944 - lost at sea January 28, 2007 -declared deceased May 16, 2012.  Computer scientist and winner of the Turing Award.  Writer on many things including the Two Generals Paradox, a thought experiment demonstrating the problem of communicating over an unreliable link.

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