For a complex of personal reasons which I needn't elaborate on here, I shall be unable to continue my work on the RetroPsychoKinesis Project. Fortunately, John Walker (creator of the HotBits WWW random number server which went on-line this summer) in Switzerland has agreed to adopt the Website and all that goes with it. This can be thought of as a sort of RPKP/HotBits merger. John is a highly competent programmer (his abilities include Java, conveniently) and we have a very similar vision of where the project could potentially lead, if executed with sufficient care. I'd like to express my thanks to everyone who has contributed to the Project, and urge you all to continue following its progress, as I suspect that at this stage, John will be able to get things done more effectively than I would.
I (John Walker) would like to be the first to express to Matthew my admiration for what he has done so far with RPKP and my dismay at his not being able to carry on the work himself. When he asked me if I would be willing to become the new host of the RPKP site, I agreed immediately because I thought it would be most unfortunate if the valuable archive assembled so far were to disappear from the Web. I cannot promise rapid progress on developing the project toward its intended goals (at the moment I am involved in several already-underway Web projects in other areas, so the time I'll be able to devote to RPKP will be severely limited for the next few months), but at least the work done to date won't be lost. Like Matthew, I eagerly solicit those with programming skills to volunteer their talent to further the implementation of on-line RPKP experimentation. Later in this Update I will briefly describe a Java toolkit I've made available to facilitate such development, and progress to date on a prototype on-line RPKP experiment.
The purpose of this Update, which I hope will be the first and last devoted primarily to administrative matters rather than substance, is to explain the relocation of the site and mailing list, and what to expect regarding RPKP in the future.
The administrator of the original server will allow the directory there to remain active for several months; the documents there have been replaced with pointers to the new site. You will find the content of the archive at www.fourmilab.ch to be absolutely identical to that at the original site (other than mechanical changes due to the relocation of the pages and some optimisations so images download more rapidly). If you have made links to RPKP documents in your own pages, please update them so users are sent directly to the new site.
The www.fourmilab.ch site is heavily loaded (about 24,000 accesses per day) with respect to its 128 Kb connection to the Internet, so response may occasionally be slow. The load on the site peaks around midnight Universal time and is lightest in the hours around noon UTC. Since the documents in the RPKP archive are predominantly text and reasonably short, I doubt you'll experience serious delays accessing them here.
The rpkp list is open to all and unmoderated: anybody can subscribe, and anybody can send a message to be distributed to all subscribers. This is the policy for most of the mailing lists at this site; so far it hasn't been abused, and I hope it won't be in the case of this list. If subscribers start getting bombarded with unwanted and/or off-topic messages, I will make the list moderated, but I'd rather not since it's a lot more work for me (having to personally approve every message before it is distributed), and it delays delivery of mail to the list, especially if I'm out of town and can't check E-mail for several days.
With the proxy server, HotBits requests can continue to be filled even when the generating machine is off-line for service. From the standpoint of RPKP experiments, the introduction of the proxy server makes no difference whatsoever; it merely lengthens the virtual paper tape between the generator and the experiment which ultimately consumes the bits. Extensive precautions are taken on both the generating machine and the proxy server to ensure that all bytes the client receives have never been examined by, or delivered to, any other person or program.
When posted, the RPKP experiments will be structured to permit critical evaluation by anybody with Internet access and replication by any site willing to install the software, which will be placed in the public domain without any restrictions. Should an apparently statistically significant effect emerge, it is essential that anybody interested in doing so be able to repeat the experiments. The free availability of the RPKP software and its ability to be easily reconfigured to use different random number generators should contribute to independent confirmation or refutation of whatever results the RPKP experiments at this site should obtain.
As ever, questions, comments and suggestions are very welcome.
The RetroPsychoKinesis Project (http://www.fourmilab.ch/rpkp/).