Hi, I'm Thane Plambeck.

Barry Manilow was once asked, "What is the number one misconception about Barry Manilow?" And Barry Manilow responded, "That Barry Manilow is not a cool guy."

If there's a lesson in that anecdote, I've lost it in the time it took me to type it in. Perhaps it will come to me as I continue typing.

You may know me as the administrator of the paper towel and toilet paper roll IDs group. That's right, check inside those cardboard tubes. You'll find there are identification numbers in there. I'm not saying it's a big conspiracy. No. But do please take the time and calmly proceed to your nearest roll. Find the ID, take a photo of it, and post it to the group. Little by little, we are working out these mysterious codes and their secret meanings.

There's a theory behind the operation of my company name generator, but it's only hinted at on that page. People ask me how the generator works, and I've answered, but people rarely understand the explanation. Let's just say it involves Markov chains and trigraphs. I can see your eyes are glazing over, already.

I've fought noxious weeds professionally. My teacher was Zane Roper, and people called us the "Ane Crew", as in "Zane and Thane." Zane's dead now, but I live on, at least for the moment, and—I hope—well into the far distant future, as well.

People have trouble with my name.

I tried to learn general relativity.

Starbucks rejected my suggestion for a decaf coffee label.

I'm Stuck at Q.

Robert Nozick: "Something essential is omitted from the account of the badness of death by an analysis which treats it as a deprivation of possibilities" —agree or disagree? You may find it useful to think along the lines of Spores.

I'm interested in mathematical theories of losing. Here's a somewhat recent summary arxiv.org/abs/math/0603027 that filled in a lot of gaps and extended the theory quite a bit. If you really want to know about it, maybe you should come to Banff, where I'm sure I'll be saying something on the subject—NOTE TO SELF: prepare slides!

I'm the mysterious actor behind many web sites, including plambeck.org, www.kothreat.com, www.g4g8.com, www.timanllc.com, www.counterwave.com, fearthegoggle.com, miseregames.org, and advances in losing. I'm sure there are others, but I can't think of them just now.

Here's another one: www.plambeckgenealogy.org.

Photos of thane (5)

  • Thane in 1984 (maybe 1983) by thane
  • Surprised by iPhone by thane
  • miracle-running-shoes-5 by thane
  • United States, May 13, 2010 by thane
  • Garland, Apr 13, 2009 by thane

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Thane Plambeck
June 2004
Palo Alto, California
I am: