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After posting the original "Story Of One" as a textfile that "somebody found on the floor and read", I wrote this continuation.
It puns a lot on the great book Gödel, Escher, Back by Douglas Hofstadter (Make sure you read it!), in which each chapter is introduced by a dialogue between Achilles and the Tortoise. The book deals a lot with form-vs-content, and levels of information, so be warned......
The story of One part 1.1 ========================= or 2.5 part toccata ================ (Achilles (a Greek warrior, the the fleetest of foot of all mortals) and the Tortoise have just completed a footrace with a man named Hofstadter, and left him behind by a mile or so. Now they both are a bit weary, and as they are strolling down the alley, when they happen upon a strange sign. The 'S' is flickering, fading, flimsy, fliffy and flakey. They stop, reads the sign.) Achilles: Zeno was wrong, you know, and that guy Hofstadter was wrong too. we outran him, did'nt we? Tortoise: Aaaah, yes, we did very much so. And now I am a bit thirsty. Maybe we can find somewhere to get us a drink? Achilles: Perhaps in here? (points at the brand new door) It sure looks like a drinking establishment to me. Tortoise: Strange place this, Chat Ubo, what kind of name is that? It sounds a bit Corean to me. Achilles: 'tis definit'ly not Corean. And I read Chatsubo. Where do you see such flimsy words as Chat Ubo? Tortoise: Perhaps we should not get ourselves entangeled in wordplay once more shall we? (Pushes the door open) Lets just enter this fine establishment and get ourselves something to drink. (Achilles and the Tortoise enter, walk up to Ratz, orders themselves a couple of glasses, and sits down in a corner.) Achilles: Odd place, this is... No matter how hard I try I just can't count all those corners! Look theres another one! Tortoise: Say, what is this? (picks up a strange object of the floor) It looks like a textfile. Look here, it reads "The Story of One" at the top. Shall we read it? Achilles: Textfile? Where did you find it? On the floor here? Strange... Tortoise: It's not half as strange as the contents... (scans the pages of the textfile) ...it's a really cute story about the life of a program, called One. Achilles: Noooo! Wait! Stop!! Did you say LIFE of a PROGRAM? You mean a computer program, right? Tortoise: Given the context, I do very well mean a computer program. Achilles: (groans) ...mumble...mumble... You and that Hofstadter guy! He believes in living charactes in dialogues, and talking ant- hills, and YOU believe in living computer programs? Tortoise: It isn't impossible, you know. Even textfiles, such as this (pads the file with his hand) can become suprisingly lifelike. Achilles: Suck my Foot it can! Let me read that crap and I'll tell you if it's lifelike. (Grabs the file, angrily) (As Achilles reads the file, Tortoise walks around the bar. He walks up to the scarecly used Jukebox, and flips a coin in. He scans the available songs, and finally selects one called "I cannot be played on record player X", and returns to Achilles) Tortoise: Achilles, havn't I heard this song before some place? Achilles: No, I doubt it. And if you had, you wouldn't remember it. You only remember songs by Bach. Tortoise: (looks startled) ...and what do you mean by that? Achilles: All you listened to in the last book we were in was Bach! Well, don't worry now, I've read this file, and I have to admit it, it's pretty lifelike. Only there's something.... Tortoise: Correct, I spotted it at once, though. You notice the title page. Achilles: Right, the one that says "Story of ONE"? Tortoise: Of course. But what else do you see about that title? If I say that the message is staring us in the face, hidden in the text, what do you see then? Achilles: Some strange...small...digits... ones and zeroes, in the word "One" Tortoise: Terriffic, Achilles! You saw it too! But what do they mean? Achilles: It beats me, really. I just think they are picked at random. Tortoise: Could be, but I doubt it. I think there is a hidden message in there! I know the author and he likes hidden messages... Achilles: ONE should be a message? But it's only three letters long! What information could you possibly encode in the word One? Tortoise: No, no! Not the TEXT "One", those little ones and zero's! Achillse: (looks puzzled) ...but it isn't....I mean, there's not so many ones and zero's to contain a message... Tortoise: Oh, but you don't know about the latest developement in data compression, do you? Achilles: No, tell me. Tortoise: (looks proud) ...ahem...(looks prouder) Achilles: May I pick a guess? The magnificent Tortoise has made a discovery? Tortoise: Achilles, you ARE such a clever fellow! (smiles) TZA compression Achilles: Never heard of it. What is that? Tortoise: You will, you will: TZA compression, _T_ortoise, _Z_eno and _A_chilles, as I have named it, is a fresh compression technique for nice little stories and dialogues. One large dialogue can be collapsed into a VERY small number of ones and zero's - Frequently Imploding Non-redundant Data! Achilles: (looks a bit puzzled) ....but why include ME? I havn't done any research on data compression - Mostly Other Research, Evidently.. (smiles at a handsome razorgirl passing) Tortoise: Lots of reasons. But mostly because it's customary to have three letters on any given acronym - Incredibly Simple! Achilles: Even if I have had nothing to do with it? Well, lets hear what you make out of that bunch of ones and zero's in ONE - What I See Have Few Uncoded Lines. Tortoise: Very well. (studies the textfile while he scribbles some notes down on a small notepad) Ok, done. This is very clever, mind you, since the author of this text has hidden part II within part I, and it's modified TZA compression, done on the 0's and 1's in the heading! Very clever. Perhaps you would like to hear it? (At that time, Ratz just happens to pass the chatting two) Ratz: Empty glasses, or what, chummers? Wanna fill up? Achilles: Load mine up, tarbender! (Ratz does so, and continues. Acilles turns to Tortoise) Let me get this straight: Hidden part two in part one? Tortoise: Sure! The story ends "TO BE CONTINUED..." but it isn't. The continuation is HIDDEN in the title page! In the word "ONE" Achilles: (shakes his head) ....you can't.... You cant hide a story within another, can you? - That Have I Not Known, I Need Granting! Tortoise: A simple way to hide a message in another message is called an acrosticon: Simply read the first letter of each line or word, and you get a new message. But that message is always smaller than the original. Now, with data compression, anything can be done, my dear Achilles! Achilles: Nothing is impossible, you say. But How about this story now? can you read part two for me now? Tortoise: Don't worry, I will - This Has Intriguing Structure! (Tortoise begins reading the uncompressed story out of the TZA compressed data in the word "ONE") Tortoise: .....ahem..... (clears his throat) "The Story of One, Part II One was very happy with his new life in Unix, and he made many friends. One day he saw Kermit, and he looked quite sad. "What's wrong, Kermit" One said. "That damned Network! It will get me out of bichnich!" Kermit's false teeth made him lisp more than ever. "What is a network?" One asked. "Oh, It allows programs to travel between different machines without MY help!" A tear appears on Kermit's cheek. "Poor Kermit" One said. Could you show me this thing called network?" And One and Kermit strolled town to the TCP/IP bus and took it down the net. Kermit showed him most of the sites, and how to read 'news'. After their tour of site-seeing One embarked on a journey all by himself." Achilles: It was neat, but a bit short. Or is there more? Tortoise: No and Yes. You see, TZA decoding are somewhat unpredictable. the story isn't exactly the same each time you decode it. Mind you, mostly, the next time you decode a bitstream like this, the story isn't repeated, it simply continues... Achilles: (screams) ....nyuiargh....can't be can't be! NO! That's impossible! You can't get MORE story out of those bits, can you? Tortoise: Mostly, that is so. But you may read the bits in a different order. Or you may invert them or.... Achilles: Ok, Ok. Invert them and read the new story. Tortoise: Sure. Here goes... Achilles: Take it slow willya - I'm Slowish... Tortoise: (smiles) ...and easy, right? (clears his throat) "One continued his survey on the net. If it was something he missed from home, it was the old Scroll Bar where he and his friends always used to sit and drink. So One went out to search for a new place. In Unix, the bars were few, but on the Net, there must be more! Then he just happened to pass a place called alt.cyberpunk. chatsubo, and he knew that it was "the" place for him. He immediately logged in." Achilles: Please go on. Now it's beginning to get intrigueing! Tortoise: Erhm...I can't... Achilles: Cant you? Why not? Can you tell me why? Tortoise: Undecidable bits! Iv'e stumbeled upon an undecidable bit! from here on the story is blurred. It either goes "A squeak emerged from the door of the Chatsubo, even if it looked quite new" or it goes "A sqoink emerged from the door of the Chatsubo, though it looked quite new"! And after that it's just garbage either way - Increadibly Terrifying! (A squeak emerged from the door of the Chatsubo, though it looked quite new, and a strange character entered.) Achilles: Look over there! Who is that? It looks very strange. It's not human, at least! Hey you! (yells across the room) would you mind telling us your name, Stranger? Stranger: I'm One, and I just happened to see this place and wanted a drink. Something wrong with that? Achilles: Absolutely not! (then his face turns white, and he whispers:) Hey, Tortoise, did you hear that. Tortoise: Right, I heard it. Mighty strange. I'm slowly making out what's in this story, also. It is mostly blur, but I see that he is talking to some strange characters, but I can't get their names. One: (sweeps his drink) ...let's see what those two are up to... Achilles: Why not? Why cant you see it clear? Tortoise: Although being the inventor if TZA compression I never said I was a master in decoding it...Just because you KNOW how to calculate a number like pi doesn't mean you know the number by heart... (One walks up to Achilles) One: You wanted something of me, or what? Achilles: Sit down...erm...One.... (looks puzzled, turns to Tortoise and whispers:) How the hell can he be here? He is just a character in a story! One: 'tis not a bad thing to be, either, I must say! Achilles: But, you can't be! You are here, Alive! But you are just guy in a bleedi'n old textfile! One: Yes, Is that so strange. I think this bar (waves around with one of his...things) is a perfect example of "just text- files" having a complete life of their own! Perhaps even YOU are a character in "someones bleedi'n old textfile!" Tortoise: Excuse me, but I've always suspected Achilles to be a mere character in a text, actually. His intellect IS rather stereotype... (smiles at One) Achilles: (groans loudly, saying:) ....bleedi'n textfile...mutter...I've had it with you! I've HAD it, you hear that. Now I'll leave so you two can sit and chat all you want. Gosh, I KNOW I have free will, I KNOW it! I'm not a character in any old text file....grmbl....grbml....I'll go now! And GOOD BYE! (He walks out of the Chatsubo and manages to close the door with such a loud clang that all glasses on the shelves behind Ratz rattles for almost a minute afterwards) One: But what a temper HE had! Is it over reading that story you are working so hard to decoed? Tortoise: Yes, it is... and I'm getting through now... Yes, I've gotten a line now. It read's (reads from his now nearly full notebook) Ahem... (starts reading) "Achilles walks out of the" (stops, and looks thoughtful) ...what? _Achilles_? Well, never mind... (continues) "Achilles walks out of the Chatsubo and manages to close the door with such a loud clang that all glasses on the shelves behind Ratz rattles for almost a minute after- wards. To be continued...." (Tortoise scratches his head) Imagine THAT being hidden in those 1's and 0's! It's amazing how a message can be hidden within another message. (Tortoise looks puzzled, and puts down his notebook) One: Exactly so. Perhaps even the file we are in NOW has a hidden message somewhere? Well, never mind that, would you like to see my collection of Escher woodcuts? I've got a remarkable collection you know, I'm a REAL fan of Eshers, even though he IS just a character from some bleedi'n old GIF file. (Tortoise agrees, and to the sound of the still rattling glasses in Ratz' bar, One and Tortoise stroll out in to the cold cybernetic night, and while walking, discussing Goedels theorem, pictures by M.C. Escher, and the forever magic music of J.S. Bach, even if he IS just a character in some bleedi'n old MIDI file...) --------------------------------------------------------------------------- (((Small note: If you havn't read Goedel Escher Bach by Douglas Hofstadter all this may look very incomprehensible. The only cure for that is: READ THE BOOK!))) --------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * My signature is smaller than * * yours! - email@example.com * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *