The Magic Box

Maximilian Wilson wilson.max at gmail.com
Wed Jan 4 14:18:19 PST 2006

On 1/4/06, Philip Hart <philiph at slac.stanford.edu> wrote:
> On Wed, 4 Jan 2006, Maximilian Wilson wrote:
> > One definition from the OED: "Acting or of the nature of action
> > between two persons, parties, etc.; serving as a means of interaction;
> > mediatory." If the information gets from Vlad to Brust through the old
> > fool, that definitely makes him intermediary.
> Hmm, I don't see the necessity.  X finds a box.  X gets a vision that
> Vlad should talk into the box.  SKZB happens to be at the other end.
> One day the box starts talking to him in Hungarian with some funny words
> thrown in.  Is X an intermediary here?  What about Y, who sent the vision?

By the definition above, yes, X and Y are both intermediaries.
However, if this is what you had in mind (or the scenerio where "old
fool" is Brust's boss instead of some kind of agent) then at least you
weren't just being pedantic, which is what I was puzzled by.

> To be pedantic: isn't an intermediary something like a map defined on
> the set (A_0, A_1, ..., B_0, B_1, ...) indexed by all sentences, with
> B' = i_A(B) and A' = i_B(A)?

I don't recognize your notation but I get the sense. I don't recognize
the provenance of your definition, but it's probably an acceptable
definition for many purposes. I'm defending the original statement
'Ah. I see, you're contending that the "old fool" who gave Vlad money
to talk into the box was not actually Brust himself, but rather, it
was an intermediary?' from (possible) nit-picking.

Max Wilson

Be pretty if you are,
Be witty if you can,
But be cheerful if it kills you.