Eric Postpischil’s Personal Page
The authorized source for information about Eric.

Contents

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Full picture (128 KiB).

To contact me, see my calling card.

Favorites

Here are my favorite jokes, my favorite disaster, and my favorite color.

Hobbies

Science Fiction

I read lots of science fiction. My favorite authors include Robert Forward and Charles Sheffield, both of whom are physicists who write hard science fiction. For me, the best SF speculates about exciting things that just might be possible in our universe. But I also read some soft science fiction and occasional light fantasy.

Chocolate

I like good chocolate. I bake chocolate, I eat chocolate, and I review chocolate stores. I did not set out to develop a hobby of reviewing chocolate stores. I just listed a few stores I liked on a web page, and the list grew, and the page got popular, and I added stores I found in my travels and stores that people emailed me to recommend. In 2003, I worked in Germany, and I was able to visit and add stores in Brussels, Paris, and other European cities. Sometimes chocolatiers send me email asking to be listed or reviewed. What started as a hobby has become work, since I have to photograph, weigh, evaluate, and keep records for chocolate samples.

With lots of practice, I’ve learned to bake some scrumptious chocolate desserts. (That is redundant, because, if it does not have chocolate, it is not dessert.) My most requested recipes are the raspberry chocolate-chip macadamia brownies and the chocolate cheesecake.

Those recipes originate in Death by Chocolate by Marcel Desaulniers, which I highly recommend. I got hooked by the companion 1997 calendar, which starts with “Simply the Best Chocolate Brownie.” Begin with that and work your way through the other recipes. The six-layer rich chocolate cake with mocha mousse and macadamia-chocolate ganache was the most ambitious recipe I had ever tried, but Desaulniers’ instructions worked out well.

Games

My favorite games these days are mostly board games, of the kind called casual or family strategy games, German-style board games, or Eurogames. I have a page with some games I like, but I have not updated it in a while.

I liked computer games when they were fun, but now few publishers are making good adventure, puzzle, or strategy computer games. There are still some good video games in those genres. Today’s computer games devote billions of bytes to graphics but not enough design to game structure or playability. Some (now old) computer games I liked include Death Gate (a well-paced adventure), Heaven and Earth (very original neat puzzles), Incredible Machine (amusing puzzles with machine parts), and X-Wing (an excellent space-fighting game).

Once upon a time, it was amusing that a machine could tell the day of the week of your birthdate. Later came the excitement of Star Trek played with character-cell graphics. The first adventure game, Adventure (Colossal Cavern), could understand two-word commands! Here is a good history of computer and video games.

Mathematics

Mathematics is my life-long interest; it has been my constant primary interest in spite of professional diversions such as software engineering. I have a master’s degree in mathematics from Rivier College, and my first paper, “There Are No New Homometric Golomb Ruler Pairs With 12 Marks or Less,” co-authored with Peter Gilbert, was published in the Journal of Experimental Mathematics 3 (1994), Number 2: 147-152. In 1980, I was the top scorer in the Prince George’s County math league.

I like these quotes about mathematics and these goofy math jokes.

Here is an explanation of how pi appears in the answer of a simple probability question about flipping coins. You can have three dice such that, when rolled, the first probably has a higher number than the second, the second probably has a higher number than the third, and the third probably has a higher number than the first. Did you know that cutting a supporting rope can make weights go upward? And here is a page about the Monty Hall three-door or three-card problem.

Profession

I have been programming since 1975, when I was 13 and wrote a program to print prime numbers. After completing a bachelor’s degree in computer science, I worked in operating systems for Digital Equipment Corporation, finished a master’s degree in mathematics, and then switched to high-performance numerical software and worked for Sky Computers, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, Electronic Arts, and Apple. Details are in my résumé. Here is an explanation of what I do, and here are some samples of my work.
Lead crystal block with Apple logo in front of Apple ten-year service award letter
Apple ten-year service award.

Mensa

I am active in Mensa, a social organization for intelligent people. A lot of people are qualified for Mensa, about one in fifty, and members are often able to find people in Mensa with common experiences or interests that are less often shared with the general population. In the past, I served as a local chapter officer, edited the calendar for several years, and hosted events in the Boston and New Hampshire chapters. From 1992 to 1994, I helped run a five-day event for 1500 people by serving as the Games Chair for the 1994 Annual Gathering.

Miscellaneous

I worked in Germany for nine months and took the opportunity to see some of Europe, which got me started traveling. I had limited access to English entertainment but had some Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs and became a fan of the show. I bake with chocolate.

I went skydiving once and wrote about it immediately afterward.

The quiz What Poetry Form Are You? tells me:

I am heroic couplets; most precise
And fond of order. Planned and structured. Nice.
I know, of course, just what I want; I know,
As well, what I will do to make it so.
This doesn’t mean that I attempt to shun
Excitement, entertainment, pleasure, fun;
But they must keep their place, like all the rest;
They might be good, but ordered life is best.

Politics

Some years ago, I was active in the Libertarian Party in New Hampshire and twice sought office in the state legislature. In 1993, I earned 21% of the vote in a three-way race for special election to the General Court, and in 1994 I earned 16%.

I am not currently active in politics. When I am active, it is often individual pursuits such as researching government activities, commenting during rule-making and legislative processes, and occasionally writing. My article, “Bill of Rights Status Report,” was published in The Whole Earth Review 70 (Spring 1991): 28-32 as “Attacks on the Bill of Rights.” In 1994, I tried to obtain Information Practices Act reports from the New Hampshire Department of Safety, which were 20 years overdue, but they refused to provide them. I sued them to force compliance, and they eventually settled by providing the required information.

© Copyright 1996 by Eric Postpischil.