Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

23 Dec 2013, 19:48 p.m.

Darmok and Jalad at StackExchange

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2013 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I have a cold, so I've been watching and reading comfort media. Yesterday Leonard and I rewatched that old Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Cause and Effect". When the senior officers need to figure out what to do with the oracular number "three" that's popping up everywhere:

Riker: Maybe we should run a level-three diagnostic on all key systems.
LaForge: Good idea. And I'll have the computer run a pattern-matching algorithm based on the number three.

Luckily, right after that meeting, they have to deal with a giant space-time anomaly that renders those plans moot, so LaForge doesn't end up with an LCARS screen listing the billions of line numbers in the Enterprise's filesystem that correspond to mentions of the number three.

I know some subset of my cohort started drinking Earl Grey tea because Captain Picard did. I wonder how many technologists, solving problems and running meetings, reach for patterns we learned from Rick Berman et alia.