Rock, Scissors, Fire

It seems like all engi­neers like to name things in clever ways along a com­mon theme.  Most often, this man­i­fests itself in the names of com­put­ers.  All of the servers in a given server room or indi­vid­ual rack might get named after Simpsons char­ac­ters, the seven dwarves, the seven deadly sins, the nine greek muses, the nine eight plan­ets, and so on.

I work at a com­pany that has con­fer­ence rooms named after the four orig­i­nal ele­ments: earth, air, water, and fire.  Due to some remod­el­ing and growth, we will get to add a new con­fer­ence room.  One of the first ques­tions is what to name it.  We could start a new nam­ing theme, but we sort of painted our­selves into a cor­ner with the four ele­ments.  Or did we?

Actually, the Wikipedia Page on the clas­si­cal ele­ments shows quintessence/quint/æther/ether as a fifth ele­ment (not to men­tion alter­na­tives like Leeloo Dallas, Captain Planet’s “heart”, and a vari­ety of fic­tional ele­ments like unob­ta­nium), so there is a bit more room to grow there.

The actual rea­son for this post is to point out some­thing fun I saw in look­ing over the clas­si­cal ele­ments.  In China, they do not use earth, air, water, and fire but instead have wood, fire, earth, metal, and water.  Not only that, but they have a great lit­tle rock/paper/scissors/lizard/Spock thing going on in the way one ele­ment spawns or negates another.  (Of course, to be a true rock/paper/scissors/lizard/Spock, there would have to be arrows across the diag­o­nals, not just around the out­side — I leave it as an exer­cise for the reader to invent those.)

To bet­ter illus­trate, I would like to present the cycles in Mario Brothers bitmaps:

Yes, this is what hap­pens when you spend too much time get­ting sucked into Wikipedia.

Posted in: Dear Diary Work

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Brian Enigma

Brian Enigma is a Portlander, manipulator of atoms & bits, minor-league blogger, and all-around great guy. He typically writes about the interesting “maker” projects he's working on, but sometimes veers off into puzzles, software, games, local news, and current events.

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