How Grandmother Triode Stole Binary from the Sun
January 27, 2013 4:01 PM   Subscribe

a story of people[0xCF36] as told by shaman.Accumulator.Overflows(true)
In the beginning, there were too many numbers, and nobody could tell exactly what they were. Everybody was confused about what was big and what was small, because everything was kind of big, but also kind of small. Nobody knew anything for sure....
posted by filthy light thief (21 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
Lem? dat you?
posted by Leon at 4:17 PM on January 27, 2013 [4 favorites]

I love everything about this myth.
posted by KathrynT at 4:27 PM on January 27, 2013

This is absurd superstition. As Tron taught us, a bit looks like a levitating glowing tribble that can only say "yes" and "no", not like the sun at all.
posted by XMLicious at 4:38 PM on January 27, 2013

This is lovely.
posted by eritain at 4:54 PM on January 27, 2013

Is this something I'd need an ENIAC to understand?
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:56 PM on January 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

How many of you even know what a triode is?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:06 PM on January 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

Tron? Reboot had a much better approach to Binaries.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:07 PM on January 27, 2013

One of those weird shrimp things you can grow in a jar?
posted by mittens at 5:12 PM on January 27, 2013

That was nice, good post.
posted by Long Way To Go at 5:25 PM on January 27, 2013

How many of you even know what a triode is?

"A triode is an electronic amplification device having three active electrodes."

Thanks to the Internet, now I know!
posted by zardoz at 5:29 PM on January 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

How many of you even know what a triode is?

Hasn't everyone attended the European Triode Festival once in their lives?
posted by filthy light thief at 5:31 PM on January 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

That was surprisingly charming.
posted by localroger at 5:32 PM on January 27, 2013

Triodes? Where we're going, we don't need triodes...
posted by Devonian at 5:44 PM on January 27, 2013

Nice. I haven't dug very far into it yet, but there's a bunch more weird and interesting stuff under the ophiuchus-codex tag.
posted by teraflop at 6:01 PM on January 27, 2013

I loved this. There should be more of these, folk stories for the modern age.
posted by JDHarper at 7:20 PM on January 27, 2013

teraflob, I was hoping there was more coherently related material on the site, or elsewhere, but The Wanderers' Library looks like a loose collective at best, but I admire their ideal(s):
Stories here should try to evoke a Sense of Wonder, a sense that there is a larger world beyond the one we know. In the world of the Library, these wonders are hidden, but never truly far away. But never forget that this is a wilder world than our own, and it's never entirely safe, either. Tread with care.
If you want to find more material from the same author, you have to check the history of a page, and see who first wrote the page. For example, on this piece, you can see by the edit history that Jack Manganese wrote the first version, and he left an author's note in the source:
This was written on 2012-12-30. A lot of my stuff was written before I joined the library, and just had to be polished up a bit, but this is the first thing I've written from scratch since I joined the site. It is based on two Cherokee stories, "Grandmother Spider Steals the Sun", and "The First Fire", which can both be found in James Mooney's _Myths_of_the_Cherokee_, 1902
It seems there is also a forum post associated with each story, and here's the forum post on this piece, in which Jack provides more insight to the creation of the story:
Thanks, all. I got the idea for this from the cover of one of my Native American books. It had stylized bear tracks around the edge, and they looked a bit like vacuum tubes to me, so I resolved to write such a story.

This is the book, in case you want to see for yourself how I made such an odd association:
American Indian Myths and Legends (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library)
If you want to dig into his other references, at least part of James Mooney's Myths of the Cherokee has been scanned or transcribed to, including The First Fire. Here's one copy of "Grandmother Spider Steals the Sun", on, who also credit the Cherokee for this story, while Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children (Google books preview) credits the story to the Muskogee [Creek] people from Oklahoma (Google books).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:21 PM on January 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

Lem? dat you?

Someone in the Wanderer's Library forum likened it to Stanisław Lem's "The Cyberiad" (Polish: "Cyberiada"). The Wikipedia entry on the short story collection includes summaries of the stories, and links to one of the stories posted in full on Lem's website: How The World Was Saved.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:26 PM on January 27, 2013

A triode is half of a 12AX7A ;-)

This is a cool myth, I like it.

PS: I want to figure out how to make my own ICs.
posted by MikeWarot at 7:57 PM on January 27, 2013

MikeWarot: It's tough to make your own ICs at home. Here's one lady that did simple ones.

But you can sign up for classes at colleges that teach how to do IC design and they have their own equipment for simple ones or they can go in for a "shared Mask" run that foundries do for people making small quantities as prototypes for later full production.
posted by aleph at 11:13 PM on January 27, 2013

This... this reeks of a late-night, booze-fueled IRC transcript. In a good way, of course.
posted by neewom at 11:40 PM on January 27, 2013

Pretty nice bit of modern mythmaking.
posted by happyroach at 12:42 AM on January 28, 2013

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