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Clifford Stoll: 18 Minutes with an Agile Mind

Clifford Stoll, astronomer, scientist and author of Silicon Snake Oil, is undoubtedly a smart man (he once caught KGB hacker back in the infancy of the Internet). But did you know that he has a very ... unique form of public speaking? Great Scott!

Here's Clifford giving a talk at TED 2006 ... wait till he pulls out a slide rule! Hit play or go to Link [YouTube] - via Fazed


> he once caught KGB hacker back
> in the infancy of the Internet

Actually, Clifford discerned a discrepancy of a couple of cents in billing at Berkley, which eventually led him to track down members of a German hacking group. Although the information gained was purportedly sold to the KGB, the hackers themselves had no affiliation with either the KGB or the Soviet Union.
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He wrote "The Cuckoo's Egg" about the "KGB hacker" incident, a great read as I recall. Interesting that he mentioned the riots at SUNY-Buffalo, see http://books.google.com/books?id=h2Tp9VBvq68C&pg=PA238 for some details. I was on campus during that, an amazing radical time.
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This guy is sooo incredibly annoying, and mannered.
Sure he's brilliant.
But I find him painful to watch, kind nails-against-a-blackboard.
And way to full of himself.
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Hmmm.... He seems to crave motion, and he seems really nervous about being in a public place... Looks like Autism to me.
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The guy's a master time-waster. Notice how much energy he expends on saying nothing! I came away from listening to as much as I could stand without knowing anything new. Next time I see his name, I'll know better than to waste my time.
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Him's right... A forceful personality, seemingly disconnected thinking, but the ability to interact with people around him... sounds an awful lot like Asperger's.
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It seems that the neatorama hate squad are out in their flashy attire today. The man is certainly more than a touch eccentric, but you are all a bit damn quick to jump to the conclusion that he is suffering from a disorder.

Many highly intelligent people are flighty and strange. I had a brilliant electronic music instructor who paced like a crazy person when he lectured. He'd bob up and down, play with his hair, act generally hyper and strange. By the end of the class, he'd literally be dusted head-to-toe in chalk.

It bothered people. But whatever. He was damn brilliant. I think it's the same with Mr. Stroll. Quit trying to diagnose him and actually listen to what he's saying.
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That guy is all over the map...but man he's fascinating. I would love to attend one of his lectures.

...and thank you Briannana for saying that. You hit the hammer right on the nail.
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Great fun to watch, and if it's a style of learning that suits you, great. Trouble is, not everone learns well from that style - that's not to say there's anything wrong with it, just that for every tutor like that you'd need a calm steady slow one.

There's no point in being highly memorable if what you're /teaching/ isn't remembered as well.
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Regardless of his style he's cool and if anyone is interested Klein mugs, jars, etc can be purchased online kleinbottle . com without the spaces. I found these a couple years ago and it's cool to see the person behind some of them.
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That was amazing! Just as powerful as "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch. I wish I had teachers like that when I went through school. His mind is definately racing with thoughts and deciding what to say next.
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I can understand being annoyed by or impatient with Clifford Stoll. Having followed him since The Cuckoo's Egg came out, he's pretty much always been this way. I recall an interview on The Today Show perhaps, where he sat cross-legged in the chair (still hopping up and down) and played with a yo-yo the whole time.

While he may take a while to get to a point, it's like reading a fractured narrative to me. There are lots of little points that seemingly do not add up or go anywhere, but if you can make the connections you can draw quite a bit from it, much as in this "lecture" where the shards are connected by the inscription on the bell.
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