to Rules-of-the-Game.com, the Web site of Mark Halpern! But am I really
the man whose site you want? I ask because I am frequently confused
with Mark Helprin, novelist and sometime contributor to the Wall
Street Journal; Mark Halperin, formerly news director at ABC, now
with Time magazine; Mark Halpern, professor of physics at M.I.T.;
Mark Halpern, professor of physics at the University of British Columbia
(these last two may be the same person, busy commuting between coasts;
for present purposes, all that matters is that neither of them is me);
Marc Halperin, San Francisco Bay area restaurant consultant; and perhaps
I¡¯m the Mark Halpern who¡¯s a freelance editor, onetime software designer
and programmer, onetime soldier, onetime college instructor in English.
I have degrees from City College of New York and Columbia University
in English Language & Literature. I¡¯ve written two books: the first,
Binding Time (Ablex, 1990) was on the technology and milieu
of computer programming; the second, Language and Human Nature
(Transaction Publishers, 2008) is about the inter-relations among linguistics,
language usage, and politics (to learn about it, please go to
And the photograph above (taken many years ago, but adequate for identification
purposes) is offered to further pin down my identity. If I still seem
to be the man whose site you want, please read on.
Purpose and Groundrules
purpose of this site is to make it easy for anyone wanting to read any
of my writings to find them. They were written for a wide variety of
publications and Web sites, some rather inaccessible¡ªthe publications
include Annals of the History of Computing, The American Scholar,
The Atlantic Monthly, The New Atlantis, Communications of the ACM, Computing
Reviews, the Housman Society Journal, IEEE Computer,
and IEEE Spectrum; and on the Web, they appeared on some sites
that have since disappeared. My on-line writing today is mostly for
The Vocabula Review — a monthly journal that deserves
the support of everyone interested in language. An initial annual
subscription costs $40; renewals are $30. There are even better deals
for multiple subscriptions and other special cases; for details, go
the pieces posted here are reproduced in full, and essentially as originally
published; I've taken advantage of this posting to correct minor blemishes,
and from time to time I add something to these pieces, but I have not
changed anything of substance. In case of any differences between a
text as published elsewhere and that given here, the present version
is the definitive one.
and Reprint Permissions
believe that in every case I retain the copyright, and am within my
rights in reprinting these pieces here, but if I have violated anyone¡¯s
copyright in doing so, I will correct the situation on being informed
of any such violation. The posting of a piece on this site does not
mean that I have relinquished copyright or any other right to it. You
may print out a copy of any posted article for your own private, non-commercial
use, and you may quote from any posted article within the bounds set
by the ¡°fair use¡± rule; any other use of any piece posted here requires
that you get my permission, in writing, and before
putting your plan into action. You may of course create links to this
site from your own; if you do, I would appreciate being told about it.
site is organized as follows:
A Table of Contents, giving the title of each essay posted
here, and links directly to the essay and the comments on it. Each item
is prefixed with an icon bearing one of the letters L, P, C, M, or E,
standing for Linguistic, Political, Computer, Miscellaneous, or Editing.
These are provided for visitors who may be interested only in articles
on a specific topic.
A Reply to Author facility that enables you to send a message
directly to me, without leaving the site or your current position in
the text you¡¯re reading.
A Post to Bulletin Board facility that enables you to start,
or build on, a thread of comments or questions on any of the posted
pieces. As with the Reply to Author facility, you can post to the bulletin
board without leaving the site or your current position in the text
you¡¯re reading. Update as of September 2009: the Bulletin board
has been suspended because it has proved impossible to protect against
to the Author
you want to send a message directly to me rather than post a comment
on the public bulletin board, please use the form given below. Every
message must bear the writer¡¯s full name, e-mail address, and a title
indicating its subject. I will answer messages that seem to call for
an answer, as my time permits.
send an e-mail message to me, click here.