The Story of DR. CHALLENGER and ELIZA

I got my first computer as a teenager, in 1979. I had to drive to Los Angeles to find a shop that had “personal computers”, as it was a novel concept. What I picked up was an Ohio Scientific Challenger 1P, an 8-bit computer that used the same processor as the Apple I – the…

Read More

DR. CHALLENGER LIVES!

I got DR. CHALLENGER working last night! It’s an ancient chatbot that is a simulation of an interactive Rogerian non-directive psychotherapist. I wrote it in 1979, inspired by ELIZA. (See the source code for DR. CHALLENGER at the end of this article). Last night I first got it to run on the phone in an…

Read More

Keep Your (Garden) Drawers On

[From the Archive: 2013] Vegetables need lots of sun: at least 6 hours, but the more the better. I was looking for a way to raise a planting area high enough to not be shaded by the Valerian plants in my garden plot at the community garden. I’d also wanted to make the soil deeper,…

Read More

The Ebb & Flow Method of Hydroponics [from the archives 2012]

HYDROPONICS INTRODUCTION: Why Soil-less Gardening? Soil is very complex. It’s an entire living community, forming a whole web, with trillions of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, as well as worms and arthropods (insects etc.) that break down the organic material, in concert with the enzymes from the roots of plants, to convert it to nutrients…

Read More

Starting Vegetables From Seed [from the Archive: 2011]

Introduction Starting vegetables, or any plant, from seed is a joy and a wonder. Watching plants grow from seed is amazing and fun. To take this tiny dry little bit of matter (and every kind of seed is a different shape and color), give it water and soil, and watch new green life emerge from…

Read More