This 2017.12.07 web site shows only the views of Lester Donald Earnest, not those of any part of Stanford University, from which he retired in 1988.
Les in 2004 with his 3D drawing of a 6D hyper-cube, also known as a super-hyper-tesseract
Impeach and Dump Trump now!
See also “Trumps Ties to Russian Mobsters” and “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections.” Trump’s decision to fire the person in charge of the FBI investigation into interactions between his staff members and Russian manipulators should have resulted result in his prompt impeachment but it is not clear whether his Republican colleagues who control Congress have the intelligence and guts to do that. However new information looks like that may happen soon.
For longer term reform, let’s create a new nation composed of California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Washington and make it a true democracy opposed to war, unlike USA -- see Form Pacifica Now. There is also an online interview of me on this topic.
An Eye for Lies and a Tooth for Truth. I aim to make this web site as accurate as possible and to put down some of the many lies about computer history that appear in books, museums, television and periodicals. This is a work in progress and you may occasionally find a broken link or other problem. If so, please send a note to les at cs.stanford.edu. You will also see entries of the form Soon see “Title” and if one of those titles interests you, feel free to ask me to write it soonero
L. Earnest, Computer Networks, tells how the biggest Military-Industrial-Congressional fraud of the 20th Century launched the Internet, which mainly came from projects initiated by people at MIT This account strongly conflicts with the fake histories that have been appearing for years in public media.
Bird Thanksgiving is a half-minute video shot through our kitchen window in Los Altos Hills, California, filmed by son-in-law Paul Riggs and showing the annual celebration by local birds of the ripening of Toyon berries, which eventually turn a bit alcoholic. This causes the birds to go a bit wild, then sometimes fly into windows and get knocked out.
That phenomenon was the basis of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 film “The Birds,” which was mostly filmed in Bodega Bay, about 60 miles north of here. Toyon trees, also called Hollywood, grow in coastal regions from southwest Oregon to Baja California, including the canyons just north of what came to be called Hollywood, California.
Sailaway3 Email Forum. If you would like to receive email announcements about new postings on this web site, go to mailman.stanford.edu and subscribe to “sailaway3”, which is a low-volume, moderated forum.
To see recent Sailawy3 postings, go to sailaway3 Archives and click on “[ Date ]” in the bottom line to see them in chronological order.
My wife Marian and her daughter Carrie made friends with a prominent Irishman
Marian is a retired PhD psychologist. Carrie worked as a model in Paris and elsewhere during college and is now a photographer and mom. O’Bama and I each have substantial Irish heritage and we both now enjoy the freedom of retirement while still stirring the pot.
Lester Earnest (1930-2043) I believe that evaluations of the importance of inventions should be based on how much they improve the quality of life, not their financial returns. On that basis, I believe that my many inventions show up very well, but they also happen to have made a lot of money for others.
Being well past the age by which most people are dead and having accomplished quite a bit while getting negligible recognition, I recently decided to start bragging.
Admittedly, I did a poor job of publicizing my many inventions but am now remedying that, as shown below on this page and on the additional page that can be reached by clicking on my bearded face.
I have lived a quiet and largely enjoyable life, having been born in 1930 in San Diego, California, However, I grew up with fantasies in my head that are a bit different from most people’s. After some stressful experiences, I eventually became a happy badass.
I grew up as a bicyclist, body surfer, and bad boy and was dishonorably discharged from the Cub Scouts for artistic misconduct, so I never got to be a Boy Scout.
By around age five I had created my own body-board by sawing up a plank, then drilled some holes in it so that when I got up to speed, spouts of water would come out the top.
I also got an FBI record as a result of dabbling in cryptography early in World War II. My best buddy, Bobby Bond, purchased the only book on cryptography available in that era and we developed an advanced coding scheme that we each carried a one-page document showing how to encode and decode. Unfortunately, I lost mine while riding a streetcar and someone apparently turned it over to the FBI and a dozen agents were reportedly assigned to identifying me and they reportedly worked for a couple of months to track me down, thinking I was a Japanese spy. They were rather disappointed to learn that I was 11 years old.
I later somehow got into Caltech on a scholarship, then ran wild and flunked out twice but still managed to graduate as an electrical engineer in 1953.
Part of the reason for my collegiate misconduct was that I was elected Pope of Blacker House, which made me and my College of Cardinals responsible for lowering student morals. To measure progress, we administered Purity Tests semi-annually and the first question on that 100-question exam was “Have you ever thought a lewd thought?” It went down from there but never mentioned gay sex, even though we knew that some of our classmates leaned that way, because in that puritanical era it was forbidden to talk about such things.
To avoid being drafted into the Army upon graduating from college during the Korean War, I joined the U.S. Navy, serving for 3.5 years as an Aviation Electronics Officer, and was appointed as the Navy’s first Digital Computer Project Officer.
I next went to MIT to help design the SAGE air defense system, which turned out to be the biggest Military-Industrial-Congressional fraud of the 20th Century, but that is another story that I will address below.
I next spent six years as a well-paid but unhappy badass, designing computer systems for Air Force Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and Joint Chiefs of Staff. In each case I took orders from dimwit Generals, Admirals, or Defense Administrators who succeeded in stealing trillions of dollars from American taxpayers, mainly to enrich large corporations that legally bribed politicians with campaign contributions.
Nevertheless, the first of those projects (SAGE) laid the foundation for the Internet, which has since revolutionized the world, as discussed below under Computer Networks. I am proud of the fact that the Internet was developed in open source mode, with no patents taken and information being freely exchanged between participants, instead of focusing on secrecy and making money.
Unfortunately, corrupt corporations such as Comcast and AT&T are now pretending that they invented the Internet and are manipulating politicians to destroy network neutrality and other openness so as to let them overcharge the public and suppress innovation.
While at MIT I also earned an MS in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS) and did a PhD dissertation in the same field, specifically the first handwriting recognition system, but didn’t bother collecting the degree because I was planning to be a real engineer, not an academic.
I then turned that dissertation into a free trip to Munich to present it at the 1962 International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP Congress), then did a grand tour of Europe with my wife while leaving our three kids with various neighbors.
There have been five major developments so far that enabled the Internet and I played a unique role in those projects, as discussed just below under Computer Networks.
In 1965, I escaped to Stanford University, where I created and managed the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL), discussed below, and had a great time. Along the way I also invented more than a dozen advanced technologies that are now in use around the world. Unfortunately, one called Facebook was crooked from the start but I have a plan to fix that by destroying them.
I generally considered it an honor when others turned my inventions into commercial services that brought in hundreds of billions of dollars, even though they never give me a nickel. Because I stayed quiet, you probably have never heard of me. Some of my inventions are listed just below but for a more complete list, click on my bearded photo above.
I have also pedaled a distance equivalent to about 5.5 times around the Earth at the Equator so far, without being touched by a motor vehicle. However, after a nasty solo crash in 2004, I switched to a recumbent tadpole trike, shown at left. Overall, I have survived 12 brushes with death of various kinds so far but plan to keep rolling.
In 1972, my wife and I were dragged into bicycle racing by our two sons and I went on to rewrite all American bicycle racing rules and get them adopted in 1979. After officiating at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, then investigating corruption that occurred there, I rewrote two American rules so as to require strong helmets and to stop blood doping and got them adopted, but the helmet rule change was so unpopular among racers that I lost my seat on the Board of Directors for a couple of years. However, everyone soon figured out that I was right and those rules then spread around the world, saving thousands of lives and eventually nailing Lance Armstrong and his corrupt colleagues. For more on cycling activities, see the section below called Cyclops.
Other Goals. After a medical scare in early 2016, I decided to write a Bucket List of things I wish to fix and, in order to complete it, I plan to live until 2043, then be shot in the back while running away from a jealous husband and have my body turned over to the Stanford Medical Group for use in training future surgeons.
Inventions. I invented a lot of stuff that is now in use around the world, often with help from my colleagues, including the following
· Spell check (1961-71),
· Search engine (ROUT, 1961),
· Do-it-yourself office with desktop display terminals and few secretaries (SAIL, 1966-71),
· Self-driving vehicle (Stanford Cart, 1966),
· Digital photography (1967),
· Document compiler with spreadsheets, automatic indexing and other advances (PUB, 1971), which gave rise to a number of more advanced documentation systems,
· Social networking and blogging service (FINGER, 1972),
· Online restaurant reviews (California YumYum, 1973),
· Computer controlled vending machine (Prancing Pony, 1974),
· Network news service (NS, 1974),
· and lots more – see my personal web page.
You may wonder why, if I did all that, you never heard of me. It is because I did it quietly in “open source” mode, taking no patents and making documentation and programs available to anyone who was interested. I considered it an honor when others turned these inventions into commercial products that brought in hundreds of billions of dollars, even though they never give me a nickel.
Computer networks are so far a result of five main developments so far, with more to come. The photo at left is a geographic display terminal, one of thousands used in the SAGE air defense system, which was the first computer network. For more details on this topic, click on the photo at left.
The Internet is a result of the following five main developments, with more to come.
· First Computer Network: SAGE air defense system, Initiated by MIT in the early 1950s, built by many contractors and operational 1958-1982.
· General Purpose Interactive Computing: timesharing systems, developed at MIT, beginning operating in 1962 and went commercial in 1965.
· General Purpose Computer Networking, initiated by people from MIT and funded by the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), resulting in the ARPANET, which largely interconnected academic institutions.
· Network Interconnections: Internet Protocols developed at Stanford University, released in 1974 and eventually adopted widely, forming the Internet. Also called TCP/IP.
· Standardized Graphical Terminal Interface: World-Wide-Web, started at CERN in Switzerland in 1990, came into widespread use by 2000 and now is maintained at MIT.
Thus, MIT played a major part in creating the Internet. By chance, Lester Earnest contributed to each of the above developments and is evidently the only person in the world who did that.
Cyclops USA (1979-2043) is an irregular journal of bicycle racing, proposed reforms and helmet standards. It was initially published in pamphlet form and switched to the web in the new millennium.
I began cycling in 1933 and was drawn into bike in 1972 by my two sons. I was initially successful in improving many racing rules while liberalizing clothing regulations and in 1979 I completely rewrote the American rules to makes them less ambiguous, adding penalty standardization, and got them adopted.
In 1984, I wrote the first medical control rules for cycling and got them adopted. After investigating the unethical but legal use of blood doping by the American cycling team in the 1984 Olympics, I introduced a rule prohibiting that practice, which then spread around the world in many sports and eventually nailed Lance Armstrong and his fellow crooks.
After a lengthy battle, I also got a rule adopted in 1986 requiring that strong helmets be worn. It too spread around the world and has since saved thousands of lives.
In 1993, I initiated the creation of a new national bike racing association called USA Cycling. However corrupt commercial interests bribed their way into control of the legislative process and succeeded in giving a majority of the seats on the Board of Directors to commercial interests who made up less than 1% of the participants in the sport. Unfortunately, despite repeated attempts at reform, the crooks still control this sport as well as most of the US Olympic Committee and its other subordinate athletic organizations.
Meanwhile, I have organized an underground group of former and current participants in bike racing aimed at organizing an overthrow of the crooks. Our name reflects the way we plan to do it: ROSA (Reform the Olympic Sports Act).
John McCarthy (1927-2011) was a world-class innovator who introduced the term “artificial intelligence” (AI) and did a lot of pioneering work in that field. He was raised as a Communist, then later toured Russia, learning to speak the language and made friends with a number of Russian scientists.
1943-49 Graduated from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in mathematics then spent another year there in graduate studies.
1950-53 went to Princeton University and received a PhD in 1951, then taught there.
1953-55 Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Stanford.
1955-58 Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Dartmouth College and co-editor of a book with Claude Shannon titled Automata Studies (1956). Also introduced the term “artificial intelligence” at a summer conference there.
1958-62 Assistant Professor of Communications at MIT and with Marvin Minsky cofounded the AI Project there. Created the list programming language called LISP, which has been widely used in AI work, and oversaw creation of one of the earliest chess-playing programs. He also wrote a paper on how to do general purpose timesharing that inspired several groups in the MIT community to develop such systems. That technology soon dominated the world of computing and enabled computer networking.
1962-1965 Returned to Stanford as a Professor of Mathematics and started a new AI Project funded by ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency), a part of the U.S. Defense Department. When a Computer Science Department was formed in early 1965, McCarthy joined it, as did Edward Feigenbaum. They then put together a proposal to ARPA for an expanded AI research facility that was funded by ARPA.
1965-2000 Lester Earnest joined McCarthy and Feigenbaum in late 1965 and set up the new SAIL research lab (see below). In 1980, after SAIL moved back to the main campus, McCarthy shut it down and fired Earnest, but asked him to come back four years later, which he did. McCarthy retired in 2000 and passed away in 2011. Meanwhile Sebastian Thrun revived SAIL in 2003 and it has continued.
Planet Earth. Life first appeared about 3.8 Bya (Billion years ago) and has evolved a lot while surviving five mass extinctions of life caused by environmental disasters, the most recent being the result of a large asteroid striking the north end of the Yucatan Peninsula about 66 million years ago, which wiped out all life above ground including the large dinosaurs. Mammals then took over and eventually hominids (proto-humans) appeared about 6 Mya (Million years ago) and evolved as hunter-gatherers for millions of years. Adaptations to that lifestyle put a lot of genetic knowledge and fantasies in their minds that have been passed down to us, but many of those fantasies do not work well in the modern world of rapidly advancing technology. Consequently, mankind is now causing the sixth mass extinction of life, which may turn the planet over to a new species unless we can find a way to change our ways quickly.
SAIL, the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory came out of the Artificial Intelligence Project initiated by Prof. John McCarthy, with funding from the Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA).
In 1965 ARPA funding was substantially increased and Lester Earnest was recruited to create and manage the new research lab. Earnest started by designing a new computer research facility to fit in an incomplete building in the foothills above the Stanford Campus, then got it built, named it SAIL, and managed it for many years. It ran with a population of 100+ doing graduate research on various projects in AI, mechanical engineering, electronic system design, music composition and synthesis, and some other fields. SAIL enabled many graduate students to earn PhDs and other degrees. Below are some measures of success.
SAIL brags. There are many successful spinoffs from SAIL, including the four richest corporations in the World today: Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, and Amazon. The ACM Turing Awards, which are widely viewed as the Nobel prizes of Computer Science, provide another measure: of the 65 worldwide awards given so far, 18 have gone to people from SAIL, which evidently is more than any other research group in the world, even those with much larger populations.
Silly Con Valley (1972-2018) is the promotional name given to the southern part of San Francisco Bay in 1971 and became a great marketing success as the name “Silicon” was added to other places around the world. This place had earlier developed an innovative culture but it needs a better name. Soon see Renaming Silly Con Valley, which will reflect the geographic expansion of technological organizations that has taken place here.
When I came to Stanford at the end of 1965 and bought a house in the Town of Los Altos Hills it was a quiet and friendly rural community dominated by apricot orchards, with a few horse ranches and cattle fields. There were few fences or gates so people could walk or ride cross-country in almost any direction. Some people now pretend that it was called the “Valley of Heart’s Delight,” which was a myth. Now, after real estate values have shot skyward, my home value is over 1,000 times what I paid for it and the construction of many mansions has caused this place to become very snooty.
Stanford Spinners. During 1963-89, five related research groups at Stanford trained hundreds of computer scientists, engineers, musicians and others who have settled around the world but have especially influenced the development of Silly Con Valley. We call them spinners because they produced a lot of spinoff organizations, products and services:
· SAIL (Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory),
· HPP (Heuristic Programming Project),
· CCRMA (Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics),
· NPDP (Network Protocol Development Project),
· TeX+MF (TeX/METAFONT Project)
Most started as parts of SAIL, then blossomed separately.