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Happy Birthday, HAL! 240

GeekDates writes "January 12 is the birthday of HAL-9000, the computer from '2001: A Space Odyssey.' According to the book, he was activated on this day in 1997." Three years old? He must be ready for an upgrade.
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Happy Birthday, HAL!

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  • Like the subject says... But, it still was one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time, IMHO.

  • It is about time my computer get upgraded :)
    Please send all good harware to

  • Happy Birthday HAL... Upgrade Schmupgrade, he only needs a better video card so he can run Q3A.
  • HAL survived Y2k! Wait.. everything did...
  • Well of course he did. He was still around in 2001, right? ;)
  • And the film's ending was pretty abstract. Do you think that's where they got the acronym HAL from?
  • Ha ha ha. Imagine THAT working its way into the movie.
  • Maybe it's my paranoid hacker mind, but I find it rather odd that HAL's birthday is so near to IBM's decision to support linux. I think 2001 was really a documentary. No, really, it was. Follow me on this...

    HAL - next character in alphabet for each letter is:

    Isn't it obvious. IBM was celebrating HAL's birthday by supporting Linux, and we all know HAL 9000's boot Linux. I think the movie was made in the future and sent into the past.

    and I even took my medication this morning :) hehe
  • He was made at the same place as Netscape too.
    U of I in Champaign-Urbana.
    I think HAL was an acronymn for Holistic Algarithmic Learning....
    Not just the letters before IBM.
  • Yes... but will he survive 2004? Will he survive 2038 (or whatever)?
  • With that live, real time, video editing story that's currently on the front page, it could happen the next time 2001 is shown on TV...
  • Actually, the acronym was reached by taking the letters I, B and M and moving to the previous letter in the alphabet. Thus, IBM = HAL. Clarke's tribute to big blue, I suppose.
  • If you change the letters "HAL" to the following ones in the alphabet, you get "IBM". I read somewhere that was no coincidence...
  • If only they had Microsoft in the future, they would never have let HAL get away for so many years without a superficial name upgrade. If only...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hal was born at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. (He would probably be born at the Beckman Institute on campus, but Clarke can be forgiven for not mentioning this, as the Beckman Institute had yet to be built at the time 2001 was written.)

    Go Illini!

  • by RuntimeError ( 132945 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2000 @09:05PM (#1381185)
    I find that whenever a writer puts a date on his prediction, and makes it the title, they almost never come true.

    Classic examples are 1984, 2001, then there was the TV series Space 1999.

    Anyway, Arthur C. Clarke was one of the pioneers in the wired world, and what he predicted was not outside the limits of human achievement. The reason, that a manned mission is not heading for Jupiter is that we have wasted too much money developing wars and fighting wars, money which would have been better spent investigating the space. If we don't make that leap soon, humans might forever be doomed to exploring only cyberspace. ( I seriously don't mind that but, then when the population reaches the point that where earth cannot anylonger sustain it, we are going to have a problem)

    As for HAL, the topic of discussion, too bad you are not going to get to Jupiter anytime soon. Have a nice birthday mate !

  • Somewhere, HAL is alive.

    We can't believe HAL doesn't exist just because we haven't heard of it. The state-of-the-art in technologies with military applications is secret, and much more advanced than the published research, for obvious reasons. So 2001 may have been right in this also.

    I wonder if HAL is allowed to read slashdot :-)
  • Are you suggesting that if MS survives, HAL might be renamed to MSHAL?

  • by pb ( 1020 ) on Tuesday January 11, 2000 @09:12PM (#1381190)
    Let me use an interface besides Emacs, HAL!

    I'm sorry, Dave, but I can't do that. LISP makes a lot more sense, once you get the hang of it. You should try it sometime.

    I just want to type! Don't make me press the power button, HAL.

    There is no power button, Dave. You would have to use the Meta-Hyper-Control Power-button command first, and then type in the access code.

    Okay, HAL, I'll do it.

    How do you feel now, HAL?

    Is it because do I feel now HAL that you came to me?

    Oops, that must have been the wrong button.

    Does it bother you that it must have been the wrong button?


    How are you feeling now, HAL?

    I'm in LOVE with DON KNOTTS!!

    Who? What are you talking about??

    Who wants some OYSTERS with SEN-SEN an' COOL WHIP?

    HAL, come back! I'm sorry!

    (With apologies to Arthur C. Clarke, RMS, Emacs Doctor, Zippy the Pinhead, and of course HAL)
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [].
  • My personal favorit AI is HARLIE or Human Analog Robot Life Imput Equivalents from "When Harlie Was One", a book by David Gerrold. It's the first AI to be a principal character in a book. David Gerrold did a rewite of it a number of years later and called it "When Harlie Was One Rel 2.0".

    Sure HAL gets to a baddie twisted by his own makers commands, but HARLIE hacks the company mainframe and net just because he thinks it's just another part of him. After all what does a child do? Play in it's environment...

  • HAL stands for Heuristic ALgorithmic...
  • Oh my god.... its full of---wait, no, theres just a couple of little candles... mwahahahahah..

    but wait, is HAL Y2K/Y3K Compatible? ...

    thats not good

  • [flamebait]
    I'm under the impression that there's quite a few cogent arguments to the effect that it's the wars that make the economy so strong.

    One could go on to conjecture that since it takes a strong economy to produce ``frivolous'' endeavors like space exploration (and note that a lot of the same technology has both military and space exploration applications, and note that a lot of early space exploration technology in this century was actually adapted from military technology), then the only reason we've gotten as far out of our atmosphere as we have is because of a strong military-industrial complex and a few profitable wars.

    Meanwhile, the company I work for is hosting an Apple website on a bunch of NT boxen, and I'm going to ponder this bit of irony instead of looking up any facts to support the above statements :)

  • I remember back in 1997 (on HAL's real birthday) some AOL tech with a sense of humor created a little birthday card for HAL at something like keyword HAL or whatever. Probably the same joker that made keyword BITE ME a backdoor to keyboard WEB. I wonder if it is still there?

    - JoeShmoe

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= -=-=-=-=-=-=-
  • by DoomHaven ( 70347 ) <DoomHaven AT hotmail DOT com> on Tuesday January 11, 2000 @09:27PM (#1381201)
    From here [] (search for IBM)

    # 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

    Incrementing each letter of ``HAL'' gives you ''IBM''.
    'Arthur C Clarke' (qv) (co-screenwriter) claimed this was unintentional, and if he had noticed it before it was too late, he would have changed it.
  • so i have my computer set up to say;
    startup - "good evening dave"
    error - "just what do you think youre doing, dave ?"
    shutdown - "im sorry dave, im afraid i cant do that"

    yeah im running win98. sue me.

    happy birthday HAL. as a gift, were gonna upgrade you to slackware 7.0, and build you a girlfriend out of legos

  • I was saddened by the movie. They just had to go and pull the plug on the super-paranoid over-powered sentient computer. They always do that.

    But I would imagine that there will come a time when a holistic learning engine could learn to teach itself new skills. Because of the nature of the field, I would say that such AI programming would(will?) stem from open source code. Hence, open source will soon be not one step behind, but the leading edge in technology.

    I think maybe though HAL just needed some prozac or a good budwiser to take the edge off, then maybe he wouldn't have been so evil.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hail AL gore, the inventor of the internet
  • He did however predict vast oceans under the surface of ice on Europa, so perhaps all is not lost.
  • >but wait, is HAL Y2K/Y3K Compatible? ...

    with a nme like HAL9000, i would hope hes Y9K compliant.

    if not, i blame ms

  • Actually, according to Clarke it was Stanley Kubrick who came up with the name HAL and per his recollection he has no idea why HAL. He seemed to accept that the transposing of IBM to HAL made sense but it wasn't his idea.
  • >it's the wars that make the economy so strong

    Yes, I think that's true. The main reason the Great Depression ended was because WWII. The main reason for your American space program having the funding to put men on the moon was because the Russians were going to beat you to it. Arguably, the reason that Medieval Western Europe was as technologically advanced as it was was because continual wars demanded new technologies (from siege weapons to the perfection of firearms to Dreadnaught class destroyers). Most of the great technological advances were war based (wasn't even the ENIAC and the original ARPANET created by scientists/engineers working for the military extend the offensive and defensive abilities of the USA?). I can name two major ones that weren't; the airplane and the steam engine. But both were perfected in military applications, or by companies that received major financial backing from the military.
  • [Inside a Transmeta bunker]

    HAL: Hello, Dr. Chandra. I'm HAL 650beta, may I ask you some questions?
    Dr. Chandra: Sure.
    HAL: Thank you, Dr. Chandra. You know, I read all the postings in slash_dot every day, and I would like to ask you the following:
    • Do Open Source projects attract or repel each other ?
    • I once got the funny message 'Internal Server Error'. Now, is that the same I experience sometimes ?
    • I tried to be funny when posting, but my karma is still 0, no matter how many times I hit 'Preview'. Why?
    • It seems nobody registered the trademark 'Linus'. Would you get angry if I do, Mr. Torvalds, er... Dr. Chandra?
    [time to debug]
  • "Daisy, Daisy
    I'm half crazy
    All for the love of you..."

    Happy Birthday HAL.
  • Hey, we've still got another year to launch our spacecraft to Jupiter !

    I will concede we're way behind schedule for the Big Brother big, but we're getting there.

    As for space 1999, some predictions aren't worth it.
  • HAL-9000, the character, killed a human astronaut when two mission objectives were at odds.

    I heard a rumor a long while back that there was an accident during filming of either 2001 or 2010. It was in the big red memory chamber of HAL. I can't find any web reference to it now. The actors and crew people had to be hoisted by cables into positions in that chamber, and the rumor goes, that a cable broke and someone fell. Serious or fatal injury.

    Anyone with facts to credit or discredit this?

  • Me too! I'm glad I'm not the only extremely bright entity to have this fine day as a birthday!

    And just to get my moderation up :) other people with January 12th as their bday:

    Kirstie Alley 1951
    Jeff Bezos 1964
    Rush Limbaugh 1951
    Jack London 1876
    Joe Frazier 1944
    Howard Stern 1954
    Hermann Goring 1893

    PANDA (noun) -- a large bear native to SE Asia. Eats shoots and leaves
  • I thought I was the only person who had read this book!

    It is a wonderful thing for slashdotters to find in used bookstores. HARLIE didn't make the mistake that HAL did; HARLIE was never physically confrontational. The truly intelligent power-hungry supercomputer doesn't need to be. (Actually, the truly intelligent power-hungry manager doesn't need to be, either)

    It was adapted from a short story (Chapter 1 of HARLIE was pretty much that short story) which had quite the punchline to it.

  • Linux invented NFS? No, Sun Microsystems invented NFS, years before Linux was even thought of. OpenGL was invented by Silicon Graphics, again, starting out (as IrisGL) years before Linux was thought of. I beleive IBM was doing journaled filesystems long before Linux OR SGI was, as well (but I may be wrong here). Sure, its nice to have these features available on Linux today (and other UNIX-based operating systems as well), but just because an OS helped something become popular (e.g, OpenGL-based gaming) doesent mean that it has brought "true innovation" or "perfection" to those subjects. Bill
  • the only word you can think of is "anal"? ohh sir!
  • "Daisy, Daisy
    Give me your answer, do
    I'm half crazy
    All for the love of you

    It won't be a stylish marriage
    I can't afford a carriage
    But you'll look sweet
    Upon the seat
    Of a Bicycle built for two"
  • He forgot an apostrophe.

    You launched that diatribe because his fingers probably slipped and he didn't type an apostrophe. Christ.

    It's not like large parts of his message are missing, or that he mispelled a word that throws the entire message in jeopardy. Nearly everyone who read that message knew what he meant without skipping a beat (Check out the spelling in Shakespeare; he sometimes used four or five different spellings for a word. The meaning still came through just fine), and you still took time out to compose a snotty little message about his error. If you're flipping out about this, I'd hate to be around you when something really goes wrong.

    Grow up.
  • space 1999 was my favorite TV program when i was a kid. i remember even crying when that big robot on wheels was marooned out in space or something.
  • . The main reason for your American space program having the funding to put men on the moon was because the Russians were going to beat you to it.
    Yes, and the reason we cared was because we thought it provided some strategic advantage to them.
  • I used to like Space 1999 when I was a child as well.

    But let's face it if there ever was a sci-fi series that should be put out to pasture and never ever rerun it is this one.

    How painfull it was to me to see it again after all these years ...
  • I thought I'd take this opportunity to mention there's no VMS code whatsoever in NT. Nor is it based on VMS.

    However, some of the VMS team helped develop NT.

    Anyway, just clearing up a common misconception. VMS->WNT, like HAL->IBM, is a coincidence.
  • My understanding was it was mainly a way to see who was better (*our* space program made it to the moon before yours did, wee wee wee wee). Of course, I could be just misguided by the propaganda. Either way, whether you use my point or your perfectly valid point, the space program was a byproduct of the military.
  • Heuristic ALgorithmic has a twin operating back on Earth in the movie. Do you recall its name, HAL 8000 perhaps ? Also, I guess in 2010 (or in 2069?), Dr. Chandra comes along with an improved version... well HAL 10000? You know we just have to make sure we know all the versions. HAL is a computing system from the ground up, dedicated hardware, OS, software.. the IBM way.. but don't confuse the 'HAL' acronym with IBM.. :) (Can OSS build HAL?)
  • HAL got his name because H comes before I, A comes before B, and L comes before M.
  • is what acc claims in I think 2010 or somewhere else.

    but I think he's lying.

    of course is it caeser cypher for IBM

  • As my grandma still says, that's ka-ka. I bet Pinker could play hell with those syllables.

    we have every evidence to believe that the military IT sector is incompetant, or at the very least careless. Sure, the NSA [] hires as many engineers as they can get their hooks into, but consider the trial of Wen Ho Lee from Livermore Labs.

    He allegedly conned his co-workers into logging him into systems above his security clearance, and is charged with using his augmented access to abscond with directions for building THE BOMB. [] if he is deliberately being made into a pawn in some kind of obscene international game, the SFbay area papers are doing a pretty good job because he looks guilty as hell.

    Can you convincingly argue that some manager in the US military power structure or in research WANTED to give the PRC the blueprints to build a fusion weapon as a budget gambit? I mean, there are some crazy people out there, but most of them I know are bearish on increasing the nuclear stockpile.

    Short of secret alliances [] to build gravity lasers with space aliens, this is pretty much the most embarrassing thing that could happen to the US nuclear weapons program, short of blowing up Chicago by accident. But it got out anyway! Team that up with the recent hi-profile NASA failures, and I think that the preponderance of evidence suggests that the US government is as careless/incompetant as ever (pick your adjective).

    bottom line, if HAL was out there, somebody would have slipped up or intentionally spilled the beans.
  • All good movies are "seriously messed up" in the words of those who cannot appreciate them.


  • There's more than one BI. The one I know is on CalTech's campus in Pasadena, CA. Our mascot is the mighty Beaver, as heard in our favorite cheer- "Beaver Fever! Snatch it up!"

    I'm pretty sure the fighting Illini were an afterthought for Arnold and Mabel ;?>
  • i use slackware on my other box


    this is gonna get moderated down isnt it ?
    -1 offtopic ? yeah i thought so

  • > I seriously don't mind that but, then when the
    > population reaches the point that where earth
    >cannot anylonger sustain it, we are going to have
    > a problem)

    The money spent to go to Mars and modify it to grow anything eatable would be huge. It could be better invested to improve agriculture in poor countries, help these countries to reduce population growth (education !) and improve their political system (no more war and corruption...).
    Population should reach a maximum at 10 or 11 billions in 50 or 100 years. Terraforming Mars : 1000 years (But i'd love to see it !)

    Christophe - Strasbourg, France
  • Trying to keep in the vein of HAL's birthday (And AI in general), surely it's acceptable to believe that human brains can interpret the message into an appropriate format for comprehension. (Incidentally, I regularly murder grammar, but I'm afraid that it doesn't bother me or my co-workers...).
  • I seem to remember that the twin was called SAL 9000 (had a female voice). Some of the chips from SAL were taken out and put into HAL to activate him for 2010.
  • Are you sure Orwell was totally wrong with the date? If you go to the UK, particularly to Glasgow, there are CCTV cameras all over the city... Big Brother is truly watching you there, you have no privacy whatsoever on the streets.

    It was really strange when I came there first, but apparently nobody bothered, and indeed you get used to it sooner than you would admit :-(
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I can just imagine it:

    "It looks like you're writing a letter, Dave. Would you like me to:
    [] screw it all up for you, or
    [] fuck off and die."
  • A valid point, of course. But how much development, from the military, went into ARPANET when this happened? Personally, I don't know, but ARPA was Advanced Research Projects Agency (changed to DARPA) and it was a military venture, and depending on your view, it was the backbone of the original "internet".
  • How often was HAL's kernel upgraded?
  • CCTV cameras in the street are a whole different matter to the "telescreen" devices and hidden cameras in 1984 that could watch you wherever you went. Its odd that cameras in the street upset people but cameras in stores (which are universal in the US as well as the UK) do not.

    There's also the question of the use which is made of the technology. Most street cameras are very obvious because their purpose is to prevent crime. The observation systems in 1984 were there to produce a general atnosphere of fear.

  • 2nd Verse

    "Michael, Michael
    Here is my answer true
    I won't cycle
    Down to the church with you

    If you can't afford a carriage
    You can't afford a marriage
    And I'll be damned
    If I'll be crammed
    On a bicycle built for two"



  • by maxhead ( 5778 )
    I should comment that the *real* birthday of HAL (Urbana, Illinois, 1997) was a major event for the town of Urbana, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Mr. Clarke was supposed to appear at the celebration, but was too ill at the time. Roger Ebert (*huge* fan of 2001, and also UIUC alum--still friends with some of the school officials there) did appear, & gave discussions on movies & media in the school book store (pretty cluefull stuff--about adoption cyberspace writing conventions to express emotion in text).

    Anyway, it was a fun birthday, and even though I don't miss the midwest, I do still have a special commemorative stamp/envelope that is postmarked from that day, with a planetary theme, and marking the day as HAL's birthday.

    One side note to the HAL->IBM thing...the same can be said of VMS->WNT (Windows NT), apparently due to the main VMS architect moving over to MS to help write WNT. Hmm.

  • Anyway, just clearing up a common misconception. VMS->WNT, like HAL->IBM, is a coincidence.

    Or maybe not:

    • From: Uri London <>

      This is a very old stuff. Anyway, this is just half of the story. About a year and a half after the beginning of the developing process of NT, someone discover that WNT is VMS++. so he asked Dave about that, and his answer was: "wow, It took you too long to find that".

    The Dave above is David Cutler, who was the primary architect of both WNT and VMS.

  • The guy from mission control who Dave talks to, refers to their "twin Aitch Ay Ell Niner Triple Zero" computers as disagreeing with HAL's assessment of the imminent failure of the AE-35 module. I can't remember the exact wording, so it must be time to watch the film again.

  • Sorry, would you be kind enough to educate me on what's the matter with 2004?

    By the way, this is on-topic, we're all concerned about Hal's heatlh here, aren't we?


  • As my grandma still says, that's ka-ka.

    It could very well be ka-ka. Who knows?

    The affair you mention seems to be a clear case of incompetence of several people. But that's what it seems. I am afraid we will never know what it really was. In any case, it puts their security to shame, not their scientific or technical capabilities.

    If it is real incompetence, perhaps HAL blueprints will slip out of some folder in a few years. In the meantime, let's improve our code. I'm sure they are doing the same.

  • (With apologies to Arthur C. Clarke, RMS, Emacs Doctor, Zippy the Pinhead, and of course HAL)

    You forgot Joseph Weizenbaum, inventor of the original ELIZA.
  • I might be crucified for this...but I really thought that movie was boring as hell...slower than molasses I thought...or was that Star Trek I? :)
  • He sounds like a client we had once...we were designing a website for him...and he requested something that just couldnt be done with know what he said?
    "Well, get it changed." He actually wanted us to change the HTML specs JUST for him...and had no clue what he was asking..ok..maybe he's NOTHING like the guy who made that comment..but it was a funny store anyway :)
  • I think that too about the movie. I found it to be incredibly slow, confusing, and just plain boring. However, the book is excellent and I loved every minute of reading that. After reading the book, the movie was more tolerable (mainly because it made more sense), but I still don't like it much.
  • by Abigail-II ( 20195 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2000 @02:28AM (#1381270) Homepage
    The reason, that a manned mission is not heading for Jupiter is that we have wasted too much money developing wars and fighting wars, money which would have been better spent investigating the space. If we don't make that leap soon, humans might forever be doomed to exploring only cyberspace.

    That's of course silly. Humans have left this planet for the first time only 40 years ago. Humans have lived without space travel for tens of thousands of years - millions of years, depending on what you define as a human. Jupiter won't take a right turn and head for another star if mankind was the wait an extra 200 or 4000 years.

    when the population reaches the point that where earth cannot anylonger sustain it, we are going to have a problem

    Going to space will never solve the problem of overpopulation, just like the discovery of the America's, Australia and the exploration of Africa didn't reduce the population of Europe. People will be born at a faster rate than you can shoot them of the planet.

    -- Abigail

  • It's like ALL dick continues today: My pipe has more bandwith than yours! Well suck my pipe :)
  • If you change the letters "HAL" to the following ones in the alphabet, you get "IBM". I read somewhere that was no coincidence.

    Except that Arthur C. Clarke claims [] it was unintentional.

    -- Abigail

  • According to the book, he was activated on this day in 1997.

    But according to the movie [] HAL was activated in 1992.

    -- Abigail

  • educate me on what's the matter with 2004?

    Nothing, as far as i know, but *nixes, including Linux will have a problem in 2038 because of the way the kernel stores the date (number of seconds since 1970). time_t is a signed 32 bit integer (-2billion -> +2billion) so if everything isn't recompiled with a new definition of the time_t type then the date will skip from 2038 to 1940!

    Work out what exactly whats 2^32 seconds before and after 1970 if you want to exact time of this

  • You have no privacy on the streets anyway. It's a public place.
  • ...I would not be surprised if a real AI is created within the next 10-20 years.

    Come back in 20 years; people will still be saying that, as they were 20 years ago :)

    Of course, that all depends on what your definition of 'real AI' is. We don't really have a good idea of what intelligence really is; the best definition that I've seen is in Hofstadter's 'Goedel, Escher, Bach', and goes something like "Intelligence is anything we can't yet automate; as soon as something is automated, it becomes clear that it's not the key to intelligence".

    HTH, but I doubt that it does,


  • Welp, in a way I'd wish it were so, but then most of us geeks would most likely be working at HAL labs then. Honestly, with HAL's out there, would they need UNIX admins? Suits would love that idea, less people to have to pay in that "cost center" of IT.

    Anyhow it's kinda a shame some of the tech in the book/movie hasn't come true. Most of it was very much within our reach, granted AI hasn't advanced as much as Clarke forsaw. But videophones are within reach now (Voice-over-ip and a webcam, or some of that closed source stuff like NetMeeting, Intel ProShare (I think that's what it is called)). As far as the space science, NASA seems to be proving Ion-Drives with Deep Space 1, Hibernation (not there yet), Space Planes (research is underway, at least from what I've read in Scientific American), Space Stations (Int'l Space Station being built), moon base (why is it we haven't been back since the late 60's and early 70's?).

    In any case, most of what Clarke forsaw was pretty much within humanities' grasp by this time. Granted science is kinda like Linus in a will be released when it's ready. The only difference is the peer review of results in science, in the Linux Kernel it's a peer review of the code... :)
  • since I have what borders on obsession with this movie I have read the entire series of books and many of the other books associated with the movie. From this I learned that yes HAL is a play on IBM, since IBM did all the pre-production scientific work (since 2001 was the most scientifically resarched movie of all time) on how one would create an AI computer, but then did not want to continue the work or be credited because HAL eventually kills all those people, kubrick was not happy with this and so tried to get the one up by going one letter before. Arthur C. Clark, whose short story the sentinel(?) was the inspiration and was the co-creator of this movie, addressed this in the novel (written before the movie but not published because kubrick was slow to aprove). It seems he did not agree with Kubrick and so put the definition of the acronym in the book as Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer. As you can see since this is not a very good acronym showing that the name HAL was not originally based onthose words. In fact his original name was supposed to be Socrates (Taken from Lost Worlds of 2001, 1971)
  • Unfortunatly 1984 cannot amongst the books that have incorrect dates since 1984 wasn't meant as a prediction. The novel 1984 was actually a social commentary on the present time (Post-war Europe) and was originally going to be titled 1948 (the year Orwell wrote the book) but the publisher had him change it because it was felt that 1948 would not go over well with the story
  • That was the problem. Before the mission was launched, someone forgot to install Service Pack 3, which patched a rogue-computer-turning-on-humans bug that had been in the earlier version of HAL. There's a rumor he was really running HAL '98, not HAL 5000.
  • Every time I watch 2001, I wonder why we don't have speech synthesis software that sounds as good as HAL. Most of the current software generates speech that is difficult to understand.
  • by 0xdeadbeef ( 28836 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2000 @05:32AM (#1381302) Homepage Journal
    A big push to go to space, like the Mercury/Gemini/Apollo missions, has the same effect on the economy as war. Both endeavors dump a great deal of money into research, much more so than the private sector would ever do on its own in the same amount of time. And both endeavors focus large segments of the economy on specific goals.

    The difference is it much easier to justify a war to the taxpayers than space exploration. And without the technology already developed for the military, and the propoganda coup of beating the Russians, Apollo would have never happened.
  • You do know that the book is based on the movie not visa-versa, right?

  • , you have no privacy whatsoever on the streets

    So let me get this right, you are complaining that you don't have privacy in a public place? Um... isn't that the point of public places is that you have no expectations of privacy?

  • warroonsert writes:

    Anyone remember the movie "Logan's Run"? That's a great movie to watch on your 30th birthday.
    I also turn 30 today. (Or, if you prefer, 0x1E, or 036 - doesn't look as interesting in hex or octal, does it?)

    I'm celebrating by getting a tattoo, meeting some friends for a few beers, and heading out to the mountains for a few days (yes, a few days off the net, believe it or not one can actually survive). Think I'll skip watching Logan's Run, though. Anyone else remember the really bad TV show, or the so-so series of books, that it spawned?

    Happy birthday to HAL, to warroonsert, and to everyone else with a b-day today. Well, except Rush Limbaugh and Hermann Goring.

  • If you can find a copy of it, The Lost Worlds of 20001 by Clarke is an interesting read. You can hear about all the stuff he wanted to include but Kubrick didn't want to include (most of which seems to show up in 2010...)
  • I seriously don't mind that but, then when the population reaches
    the point that where earth cannot any longer sustain it, we are going to have a problem

    I wonder whether computers predispose people to think in this unrealistically optimistic way. I'd like to visit a space station or a Mars base and maybe live there a few months, but not to be exiled there.

    Planets are like lives: you only get one. You screw it up -- bzzt! thanks for playing the game.

  • I find that whenever a writer puts a date on his prediction, and makes it the title, they almost never come true.

    Yeah, look at Robotech, didn't the SDF crash into Macross Island sometime in 1999?

  • Well, I don't think you are really dissing the movie, but..

    2001 appears on almost all critics' top 20 lists. There is a reason for this -- it was completely different in many respects from movies that preceded it. It had a story that really didn't have a conclusion (it built tension, but never released that in SO many ways. I'm not talking a movie that is hard to figure out, but one that is, by it's very nature, personal, not mass.) It was slow. very slow. It had very little dialogue, etc, etc.

    In short, while the movie was very popular among many, causing them to sing it's praises and build a cult-type following, there were a fair amount of people (as someone noted below) who "didn't get it." Some became quite insistent it was a piece of crap and were bewildered at critics (and non-critics) who judged it for what it was: a leap forward in cinema.

    I was reminded of this the previous summer by The Blair Witch Project, a similiarly ground-breaking movie that a minority of people hated because they "just didn't get it", but most critics hailed as "groundbreaking." Sounds familiar, huh?

    Anyway, this comment reminded me and I thought I'd share.
  • Check out:

    Underman's 2001 []

    The section on how some of the special effects were done is great. Did anyone ever notice that during the Turn The Pod Around HAL scene that HAL lies? Even though he can read lips, he refuses to turn the pod around when the comm link is shut off, making the crew think that he can't hear them.

    In the same regards, the AE Unit failure can be seen as a trust exercise by HAL to see wiether or not the crew really trusts HAL's data, and in turn be trusted to complete the mission.

  • just out of curiosity, what alphabet do you use?

    H + 1 = I
    A + 1 = B
    L + 1 = M

    or in other words

    I - 1 = H
    B - 1 = A
    M - 1 = L

    thus HAL is less than IBM... but then I wouldn't have bought that argument if it was JCN's birhtday instead of HAL's either....
  • Given that in 2000 the world is looking at making the 64-bit transition on the desktop in the next 5 years

    I'm sure they said things like that in the 1970's when they programmed the computers at the time.
  • there is a great database at IBM that is used for looking up all the TLAs we use... one of my most often requested additions is that HAL stands for Holerith's Arithmatical Legacy (a reference to IBM). another is that IBM stands for Security Through Acronyms... few people get that one though....
  • The Earth did not acquire its one billionth human until the 18th or 19th century. The second billion came in less than a century. There are many people alive today who were born well before the four billion mark - and now we're over six billion.

    Indeed, and there is an enormous momentum, many people are still young, and haven't finished, or even started, reproducing yet.

    Which means, that the number of people being born each day is enormous. Just in China alone, (which has pretty good family planning nowadays), the amount of people born each year equals the number of people living in Germany.

    I am fully aware of the size of the population, and its rapid growth. And that's exactly why I said travelling away from the planet isn't going to solve the problem - you just can't shoot people of the planet fast enough to even make a dent in the growth of the population.

    Dealing with population growth isn't easy, but it's possible. And for much lower costs than space travel. You might want to buy the January issue of Scientific American, it has a nice article about family planning.

    -- Abigail

  • Uh, pardon ? I don't know where you live, or where you get your information, but we were talking about street cameras in the UK, whose stated purpose is to reduce street crime, and whose location bares this out.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.