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About this Website

This website is genuinely unique. Although many others may make this claim in an effort to garner attention or awards, this website can make good on its boast. First of all, the great majority of its nearly 100 component pages are in fact published articles over the last thirty years by a single individual. He is identified both in the name of the site itself and on the "who the hell is?" page as one "Alexander aka Alex Gross." As the bio information makes clear, he enjoys a small but genuinely international reputation in several areas: translation, linguistics, theatre, and critiquing artificial intelligence and other advanced computer applications.

Secondly, unlike many more commercial pages, this is an unabashedly intellectual site, specializing in "high-brow" pieces about "high-brow" themes, although in the true tradition of highbrow and intellectual causes quite a few of these themes have spilled out over time into the "pop" arena, especially the ones dealing with political, social, and sexual themes. With its various assaults on reigning doctrines and conventional wisdoms, this site is, if anything, directed towards the "intellectual's intellectual."

Many of these published articles and papers describe a particular meeting place, where language, translation, computers, AI, so-called natural language processing, simple common-sensical under-
standing, and the urgent need for the clearest possible expression—reaching the greatest possible number of people—all intersect and overlap, occupying an area of crucial importance. They do not mesh perfectly by any means, but at least they have a meeting ground in the articles on this website. And contrary to many computer myths, as you will soon see, it is altogether possible that common-sensical understanding is not an area where computers are destined to excel anytime soon.

The site is divided, as the home page makes clear, into five major categories, corresponding to the author's major interests: Language, Linguistics, Theatre, Translation, and "Other Topics." This last entry is further subdivided into Chinese Medicine (where the author is credentialed as a Chinese scholar, medical graduate, and commentator), Politics, the 'Sixties, and Sexuality.

In addition to its many published articles and papers, the website also contains links for downloading three of the author's own programs. Three current or recent book projects are also included, two of them picture books for adults, while the third comprises a dozen chapters from a work presenting a first-hand look at the 'Sixties on an international scale.

The author is once again uniquely qualified for this task, since he served during the 'Sixties as both leader and underground journalist in England, Germany, and the US, moving frequently back and forth. There has been a great temptation to downgrade the 'Sixties in recent years, either to see them as a failed jumble of drugs and radical politics or to parody their sexual aspects as an Austin Powers fantasy. Without romanticizing this era in any way, this work restores a sense of balance and reality—even of inevitability—to an era which shaped so many of today's values.

On the technical side, the author has resolutely stayed away from frames, scripts, marquees, java applets, and most multi-media effects, since he believes that one crucial criterion of good web design is creating pages that load quickly. Since this is largely—though not entirely—a literary site, his first goal has been to make the many papers and articles as readable as possible, with large type, broad margins, ample space between paragraphs, and a pleasantly consistent font interface as a major inducement to simply sit back and read.

There is plenty to choose from. Excerpts from the author's produced play translations and original theatre works alternate with arguments about liberals versus conservatives or the odds of computers ever being sufficiently reliable to drive our cars for us. Critiques of AI and the follies of current linguistic theories are oddly bolstered by the experiments of a hacker trying to implant deep sexual response inside his computer. A skeptical inquiry concerning the "correctness" of British English contrasts with reflections on the role of satyrs in Greek tragedy or the difficulties of even beginning to explain Chinese medical theory in an English acceptable to our modern notions of fitness.

These are only some of the themes examined in some detail by this website. Browse, take a look at the main index pages, form an overview of the riches within. Kick the metaphysical tires, so to speak. Read here and there, as it suits your whim. As likely as not you will keep reading far longer than you expected.

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