Gandalf on Mars

What Bleeping Codes Say About Intelligent Design

I first saw Gandalf in 1974. No, not the wizard of The Lord of the Rings.This Gandalf was the colorful box attached to a PDP 11-40 computer, its lights blinking almost rhythmically amid a tangle of wires in the slightly dusty lab office. It had a label in faux Olde English lettering with that whimsical brand name.

What was this device named Gandalf? It was a modem, an electronic machine that translates information from one symbolic form to another. A modem is a device that modulates (encodes) and demodulates (decodes). Modems allow computers to communicate with one another over telephone lines, cable connections, or wireless links.


Richard W. Stevens, an appellate lawyer, holds degrees in both computer science and law, and has authored four books and numerous articles on various subjects, including legal topics, the Bill of Rights, and intelligent design.

This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #15, Winter 2010 Copyright © 2020 Salvo |


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