Re: Riddles (was: Lateral Thinking)

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Wed Jan 03 2001 - 00:07:20 MST

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:

> As far as I'm concerned, the riddle had its genesis for me when Douglas
> Hofstadter himself asked whether there was such a thing as a
> self-answering question. I am frankly amazed that Hofstadter managed to
> miss that. ("What is an example of a self-answering question?")

He didn't miss it! It was a meta-gag. Imagine a cartoon of Hofstadter
with the bubble above his head which reads: "Is there such thing as
a self-answering question?"

> Did you read Godel, Escher, Bach?


> Did you *like* Godel, Escher, Bach?


Please indulge me if you have heard my GEB story before. I like
to tell it. This book changed my life, in about the year Eliezer was
born. Read it cover to cover twice. One of my compulsions is to
mark errors in books. Almost all books have em. GEB is error
free, a remarkable feat for such a long complicated work.

When the web started catching on around '94 or so, I decided to
put up a website where people could interpret and answer the question:

"If one book, which and why?"

I started coding it up, but before I did, it occurred to me
that the idea was so obvious, someone else had probably
already done it, so I better look for it. I found exactly such
a site, and several thousand people had posted their book.
So I posted mine: GEB by Hofstadter, and for the why,
I said that it was self explanatory.

Then I noticed that one other person had chosen GEB,
so I decided to post him an email congratulating him on
his fine taste in literature. Turns out it was the guy who
had put up the website. {8^D spike

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