You can choose compassion

I know I’m not the first one to address this (and now I can’t find the other writer who did so before me), but let’s consider the arrangement of names on the 9/11 memorial.

  • The media narrative imparts the expected lesson that it’s just natural to be baffled by a difficult task. But since the experts are baffled too, that really proves how hard the task is.

    1. The project is so enormous any reasonable person would be shocked and awed.

      [Michael] Arad arranged the requests using index cards. Each pairing set off a chain reaction, the strings of connection growing ever more tangled and frayed. There were 2,982 names. The deeper he and his staff got into this puzzle, the more complex it became, especially in light of the æsthetic requirements: For example, he didn’t want names lining up evenly atop each other, lest there be gutters between them. He had to factor in the number of letters in each name. He had to consider the leading.

      At a certain point, the foundation recognized that this job could use the assistance of a computer.

      How in God’s name would anyone born after 1970 think for a moment that 2,982 names could be arranged on index cards? I asked Michael Arad and his company’s designated PR contact that exact question, and of course got no response.

    2. The project is so big that computer scientists deemed the project impossible .

  • How must a story like this end? With a lone genius, Jer Thorp, saving the day.

Pop quiz

Who designed the custom font for the 9/11 memorial?

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2011.06.30 13:19. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
http://blog.fawny.org/2011/06/30/memorial-algorithm/

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