PRINT March 1989

Curies' Children


SOME PEOPLE SPEAK with fluidity (which does not necessarily imply that they speak correctly). Nobody counts with fluidity (although one may do so correctly). The reason is that numbers are clear and distinct. There are definite intervals that must be between numbers for them to be understood. The alphanumerical code, then (the signs of which are inscribed on the keyboard of typewriters), is a collage of fluency with stuttering. The letters (which are meant to render spoken sounds visual) merge to form words, the words merge to form sentences, and the sentences merge to form a discourse; but the numbers cluster in mosaic patterns called “algorithms.” Still, typewriters handle letters as if they were numbers. A separate key moves each letter. Typewriters do not write fluently, but they “process” the letters. In fact: they are not writers but counters. Let’s consider why this is so.

There is

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