The latest issue of Edge asked 164 contributors a single question: “What’s Your Law.” The rationale: “There is some bit of wisdom, some rule of nature, some law-like pattern, either grand or small, that you’ve noticed in the universe that might as well be named after you. Gordon Moore has one; Johannes Kepler and Michael Faraday, too. So does Murphy…Since you are so bright, you probably have at least two you can articulate. Send me two laws based on your empirical work and observations you would not mind having tagged with your name. Stick to science and to those scientific areas where you have expertise. Avoid flippancy. Remember, your name will be attached to your law.” A few of them:
Pinker’s First Law: Human intelligence is a product of analogy and combinatorics. Analogy allows the mind to use a few innate ideasspace, force, essence, goalto understand more abstract domains. Combinatorics allows an a finite set of simple ideas to give rise to an infinite set of complex ones.
Barabsi’s Law of Programming: Program development ends when the program does what you expect it to dowhether it is correct or not.
Markoff’s Law of Inversion: Technology once trickled down from supercomputers to PCs. Now new computing technology comes to game machines first.
Rheingold’s Law: Communication media that enable collective action on new scales, at new rates, among new groups of people, multiply the power available to civilizations and enable new forms of social interaction. The alphabet enabled empire and monotheism, the printing press enabled science and revolution, the telephone enabled bureaucracy and globalization, the Internet enabled virtual communities and electronic markets, the mobile telephone enabled smart mobs and tribes of urban info-nomads.