ABOUT YOUR AUTHOR

Your author, who goes by the pen name Metavirus, started blogging in 2007 at Why We Need Obama, a moderately successful blog that followed the 2008 election cycle.

After the election, Metavirus lowered a more permanent anchor into the blogosphere. Library Grape covers a broad range of topics, including politics, atheism, religion, technology, physics, literature and other assorted themes that cross his mind.

If you’re interested in reading more about your author’s political evolution over the years, please check out the following posts: A Heartfelt Testament from Someone Who Lost Faith in the GOP and The Intellectual Bankruptcy of Today’s GOP.

ABOUT LIBRARY GRAPE

A “library grape” is a fictional fruit introduced in Neal Stephenson‘s latest epic novel Anathem. In essence, the library grape is a pure aggregation of the genetic codes of all naturally-occurring grape species that was perfected over time by the diligent efforts of a sect of cloistered monks.

Here’s how the library grape is described on Page 175 of Anathem (a few words of Stephenson’s argot are replaced with something more approachable):

The library grape had been sequenced by the [monks] of the [Monastery] of the Lower Vrone in the days before the Second Sack. Every cell carried in its nucleus the genetic sequences, not just of a single species, but of every naturally occurring species of grape that the Vrone [monks] had ever heard of — and if those people hadn’t heard of a grape, it wasn’t worth knowing about. In addition, it carried excerpts from the genetic sequences of thousands of different berries, fruits, flowers, and herbs: just those snatches of data that, when invoked by the biochemical messaging system of the host cell, produced flavorful molecules. Each nucleus was an archive, vaster than the Great Library of Baz, storing codes for shaping almost every molecule nature had ever produced that left an impression on the human olfactory system.

A given vine could not express all of those genes at once — it could not be a hundred different species of grape at the same time — so it “decided” which of those genes to express — what grape to be, and what flavors to borrow — based on some impossibly murky and ambiguous data-gathering and decision-making process that the Vrone [monks] had hand-coded into its proteins. No nuance of the sun, soil, weather, or wind was too subtle for the library grape to take into account. Nothing that the cultivator did, or failed to do, went undetected or failed to have consequences in the flavor of the juice. The library grape was legendary for its skill in penetrating the subterfuges of winemakers who were so arrogant as to believe they could trick it into being the same grape two seasons in a row.

In some small way, this blog will attempt to mimic the library grape by pulling together as many variegated strains of knowledge that your author, in his often-cloistered state, can manage. As a winemaker of sorts, he will try to take into account the nuances of the sun, soil, weather, and wind of our age and restrain himself from being so arrogant as to believe that this blog will be the same two seasons in a row.

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