Whither the Thirring Institute for Gravitational Research?

A sudden burst of curosity made me wonder what Jason Kodish was up to. (check below for the updated answer)

For those (blissfully) unaware, Kodish was one of the first people ever to be named "Usenet Kook of the Month" (October, 1994). He viciously flamed most of the Canadian political threads, and was the laughing stock of nerdy net politics in the early 90s. (Check out this thread in ab.politics from November 1994 on Kodish's honours featuring "before he was famous" Colby Cosh(!) trash talking Jason)

Oddly enough, in private emails when you got off of politics he was curiously polite and almost normal. While he political talk was off the deep end, he at the very least had enough understanding of physics (I believe he was a CompSci graduate student once upon a time) to help out an undergrad in need. Well, help was a strong word, but I digress.

Anyways, if you want to cruise Usenet history, a list of all of Kodish's posts in Usenet (newest first) are available here. Go to it with godspeed.

Let's also remember such notable Kodish threads:
Karl Marx Sucks Just Like Jason Kodish
Proof of Jason Kodish's insanity, I have it! Bonus item: the only posters Google Archives has for this thread is Kodish himself
Jason "pull over and show me your ID" Kodish
A Small Collection of Kodish Posts
Kodish Government : One for me, one for you. Two for me
Sick letter to Jason Kodish
Ckeck it out - Kodish just may have popped a vessel this time
Kodish chickens out; scared of squaring off against Klein on live radio!
Kodish: Even more evidence of rampant stupidity
More Bullshit Nonsense From Kodish
Is Steve Ranta Really Jason Kodish? Final result:

Jason has been around longer than Mr. Ranta. Indeed, if my
recollection is correct, Jason was an early winner of the
Net Kook of the Month Award.

My recollection is that after I nominated him, my system
administrator (me) received email from Jason telling me
to "take my access away".

Mr. Ranta has not been nominated, and has not won the award.
-- Stephen Jenuth

The "Thirring Institute" however is apparently long gone. The GeoCities page has gone the way of all GeoCities pages, while the Edmonton Freenet edition is long-gone as well.

Fortunately for us, the "Internet Wayback Machine" was invented. Low and behold, one can discover the history of the Thirring Institute on GeoCities and also the (newer, larger) version on Edmonton Freenet. The most extensive version ever was the 1999 edition, which was comprised mostly of UBC physics links.

I was sadly unable to dig up a photograph of the elusive Jason Kodish (1994 was the days of layered .BMP files and thrown together .pict images culled off MacIntosh computers), but I did find a cute picture of Atlanta-area lawyer Elisa Kodish, which is probably for the best anyways.

Update, 3:22pm: Naturally I never thought for the old-school pre-Google answer to the question "Where is Jason Kodish?" Check the phone book you retard. And there it is:

Kodish, Jason 304-8107 29 Ave 466-2295

(Quick aside, how sad is it that it never occurs to you to find a long-lost person who lives in your own city by looking in the phone book? Has the internet really changed our world that much?)

Update, July 20 2006 1:45pm: A new development has occured in UofA gravitational physics.


Manganic said...

Like you, I was suddenly beholden to look up "Thirring Institute for Gravitational Research" in Google.

My first hit was your site here. My second hit was an update; also on your site.

My third hit was www.thirring.org

Interestingly enough, under the "contact us" link, the email address that pops up is...


Anonymous said...

I went to high school and university with the guy. Interesting fellow, if a bit creepy. He was also briefly a star of a university newspaper comic called "Space Moose". While not exactly a picture of him, the representation offered in the comic was fairly accurate, at least at the time.

Anonymous said...

I too went to high school and University with Jason. Very interesting fellow. He was well known in high school for coming to school wearing a "Freddy Krueger" glove that he had created himself, with long metal talons attached to a black leather winter glove. You can only imagine the reaction this incited, having a fellow student wear this into math class. Anyway, his quirky behaviour continued well into university. I would have to agree that once you got past his somewhat creepy initial presentation that there was an intriguing fellow who lived underneath. It would be fascinating to get in touch with the fellow again sometime and see what he's been up to the past decade or so.

Anonymous said...

I went through my physics degree with Jason. Perhaps a little odd, but nice enough.