Ultranet Trip Report
Branford, Connecticut
November 15 - 19, 2000
by
Bob Seitz


.    When I got to the Killam's Point Conference Center, it was unlocked, but empty. However, I noticed a couple of guitars and a sound system in the main salon, plus a pair of satchels upstairs . Then I went to the grocery store. I spent the better part of an hour buying out the grocery store, with the idea of purchasing a few staples that could tide all of us over until we could decide what we wanted Then I spent the better part of another hour putting back most of the groceries I was running up a big bill, and I didn't know who was coming, what they would want, or even how we would decide to handle the whole thing.
    When I got back to the ranch, Johnnie Asia and Sienna were there. They had cooked spaghetti, with salad, which they offered to me, and which I gratefully accepted. A little later, Bob De Marrais, Chris Langan, and Gina LoSasso arrived. Still later...I'm not sure whether it was Wednesday night or Thursday night, 'pini and Joely made their appearances. 'pini was as wise, kind, and helpful as you might expect from her portings to the Ultranet, and Joely was as affectionate and generous as you'd also expect.
    Thursday, Mike Hess and Sol Waters crossed our doorstep.
    That morning, hip-deep in cross-disciplinary conversations, we went for a walk through the woods to different parts of the shoreline. The rock-bound coast of Connecticut reminded me a mite of Carmel-by-the-Sea, with rocky, off-coast skerries, topped with sea-worthy, elderly frame houses. Off in the far distance, on a clear day, you can see the inner banks of the breakwater barrier island that is Long Island. 'Pini has captured some of this in her photos.
    When we returned to the Conference Center, we were delighted to find Steve Schuessler and Andrea Lobel.
    The Conference Center has a lavatory downstairs, and two full baths upstairs. There are four bedrooms, two of which have three beds apiece. There are, I guess, two double-decker beds in one of the remaining bedrooms, plus one single-story bed, and, in the other sleeping room, two double-deckers beds fortified with two singletons. When I first saw the layout, I thought, "I wonder if I'll need to change my address of record to a motel in Branford." But I decided that I would tough it out, and it worked fine. I slept like R. van W. until the sound of ten-pins woke me up. However, not every one fared as well. Poor John Chapman slept in the same bedroom with me Friday night, where I regaled him, from 3 a. m. to 4 a. m., with the music of my alarm clock Unaware of it, I slept through it. John was too polite to awaken me turn off the clotted thing. (I won't even mention the "snore" word.)
    I'll jump ahead and tell you that there was (as was true at Fred's and Kay's house) no ultra-high-IQ personality You wouldn't be able to tell, if you casually encountered a member of the hyper-bright at the grocery store or at a PTA meeting, that you were dealing with an incandescent mind. They don't come across as (and aren't) nerds or "effete intellectual snobs". The normal range of normal personalities is there. On the other hand, it seems to me that they exhibit a depth and breadth of personality beyond the common span. ("Age cannot wither, nor custom....") It's sufficiently striking that it seems to me like the difference between two dimensions and three. Just as the super-intelligent exhibit a catholicity of interests and of knowledge, so they also seem to display multifarious personalities. Of course, if you engage someone who is at this mental level in conversation for a few minutes, you'll grasp the fact that you're dealing with an exceedingly bright and well-informed individual, and the longer you're around them, the surer you'll be.
    Bob de Marrais has been working on 16-dimensional arithmetic. He got into this topic several times during our 96-hour stay there at the Conference Center, and found parallels between what he has been developing and some of the mathematical marketing models that Mike Hess described to us on Thursday night. (This cross-fertilization of ideas was one of the notable fruits of gathering at a conclave the way we did.)
(To Be Continued)