LifeWiki:Did you know archive

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This page contains the various tidbits of information that appear on the LifeWiki main page in the "Did you know..." box.

Did you know...

  1. ... that the caterpillar contains over 11 million cells, and the 0E0P metacell contains over 18 million cells?
  2. ... that the Gosper glider gun was the first pattern to be discovered that exhibits infinite growth?
  3. ... that the block-laying switch engine and the glider-producing switch engine (and various combinations of two switch engines) are the only infinitely-growing patterns that are known to have ever occurred naturally from an asymmetric random starting configuration?
  4. ... that oscillators are known that oscillate at all periods other than 19, 34, 38 and 41?
  5. ... that the pentadecathlon and the blinker are the only known oscillators that are polyominos in more than one phase?
  6. ... that it is impossible for a period-3 oscillator to be a phoenix?
  7. ... that the 16×16 soup with the longest known lifespan lasts for over 52,000 generations before stabilizing?
  8. ... that replicators with quadratic population growth have been known to exist in Conway's Game of Life since the early 1970s, but none were found until 2018 when Adam P. Goucher constructed the 0E0P metacell?
  9. ... that the first known period 37 and 51 oscillators were found in 2009?
  10. ... that a pattern whose population grows without bound but does not tend to infinity is known as a sawtooth?
  11. ... that there are over 35.4 billion distinct strict still lifes with 34 or fewer cells?
  12. ... that some infinitely-growing patterns can be constructed with as few as three gliders?
  13. ... that quadratically-growing patterns have been found with as few as 23 initial cells?
  14. ... that the blinker is the only known oscillator that is one cell thick?
  15. ... that Gemini, the first spaceship found in Conway's Game of Life that travels in an oblique direction, was discovered in 2010?
  16. ... that there are still lifes (such as the quad pseudo still life) that can be split into four stable islands, but not two or three?
  17. ... that no new spaceship speeds were discovered after 1970 until 1989?
  18. ... that the first stable reflector was found in October 1996, and the first fast stable reflector appeared in 2013, allowing the construction of oscillators of all periods ≥43 ticks?
  19. ... that nineteen spaceship velocities have been constructed, excluding several infinitely adjustable families of ships?
  20. ... that there are 71 distinct ways for two gliders to collide, but it is unknown how many distinct 3-glider collisions there are?
  21. ... that to display the smallest known gun pattern for a Gemini spaceship at 1 cell = 1 pixel, on a standard-density video monitor, a screen over one mile square would be needed?
  22. ... that no odd-period glider guns were known before 1995, when a period 565 p5-spark-assisted B-heptomino loop was constructed by David Buckingham?
  23. ... that even though the speed limit for spaceships is c/2 in a vacuum, in a medium of stripes agar there are "spaceships" that can travel at lightspeed along the stripes, or two thirds of lightspeed perpendicular to the stripes?
  24. ... that the smallest known spacefiller pattern consists of 183 cells?
  25. ... that the smallest known sawtooth pattern in Conway's Life consists of only 177 cells?
  26. ... that there are now over a hundred and seventy known Herschel conduits, counting stable conduits only, and a much larger number if oscillator-supported conduits are included?
  27. ... that Demonoids, Caterloopillars, Orthogonoids, half-bakery knightships, loopships and camelships are the only known types of spaceships with fixed slope but adjustable speed -- not counting 0E0P metacell-based patterns?
  28. ... that a pattern exists in which no cell in the unbounded Life plane ever becomes periodic?
  29. ... that several different universal constructors in Conway’s Life have been shown to be capable of constructing their own circuitry?
  30. ... that there are dozens of known Cordership variants, including puffers, rakes and wickstretchers, with periods of any multiple of 96?
  31. ... that greyships have been constructed with speeds of c/2, c/3, c/4, c/5, and 2c/5?
  32. ... that most greyships travel parallel to the stripes in their included agars, but a few travel perpendicular to the stripes, or "against the grain"?
  33. ... that a pattern has been constructed that calculates and prints out the digits of pi in decimal, and a similar one prints out the decimal digits of the Golden Ratio?
  34. ... that several different patterns have been constructed to calculate and display the sequence of prime numbers, and some have been adapted to display only twin primes or Fermat primes?
  35. ... that two completely different types of oblique spaceships, the waterbear and the half-baked knightship, were constructed in 2014?
  36. ... that no Caterpillar-type spaceships were completed for almost ten years after the original Caterpillar was constructed in 2004, but that two different designs, the waterbear and the centipede, were finished in 2014?
  37. ... that the first spiral-growth pattern in Conway's Life was constructed in 2014?
  38. ... that among known glider recipes for irreducible objects, the Gemini spaceship has the largest known minimal recipe, currently 173,449 gliders — the runner-up being the Parallel HBK with a 38,380-glider synthesis?
  39. ... that it was shown in 2014 that any salvo of gliders, no matter how tightly packed, can be constructed by crashing together gliders whose initial positions are farther apart than any chosen finite distance?
  40. ... that no spaceships with velocities other than c/4 diagonal (glider), c/2 orthogonal (*WSS variants), and c/12 diagonal (Corderships) had known glider syntheses until 2003, when a 2c/5 spaceship gun was constructed?
  41. ... that after ten years with no new small spaceship syntheses, a glider construction was found for the c/7 loafer in 2013 less than three hours after its discovery?
  42. ... that glider constructions for three previously inconstructible spaceships (the dart, the crab, and the Parallel HBK) were discovered in 2014?
  43. ... that glider constructions for the B29, X66, half-X66 with HWSS, Pushalong 1, 25P3H1V0.1, 30P5H2V0, 30P4H2V0.4, a pufferfish spaceship, and the weekender were discovered in 2015 — after fifteen years of intermittent efforts in the case of the weekender?
  44. ... that since 2014, more new spaceship syntheses have been completed than were found in all the years between 1970 and 2013?
  45. ... that as of 19 July 2020 there are 232 different still lifes known to be constructible by colliding four gliders, but it is likely that this list is not complete?
  46. ... that in 2014 a new natural infinite growth pattern was discovered, starting from a symmetric random starting configuration?
  47. ... that the first self-constructing Conway's Life pattern was built in 2010?
  48. ... that the first glider synthesis for a c/3 spaceship was completed in 2014?
  49. ... that the first "macro-spaceship" gun (a Gemini spaceship gun) was constructed in 2010, followed by the HBK gun in January 2015 and a Demonoid gun in December 2015?
  50. ... that the waterbear was the first known high-speed oblique spaceship, many orders of magnitude faster than Gemini spaceships and half-baked knightships?
  51. ... that there are no known direct reflectors for lightspeed wire signals, or for signals in 2c/3 wires, but that very large reflectors for these signals can be constructed using stable or periodic circuitry?
  52. ... that 24 ten-cell patterns exhibit infinite growth, with 17 unique pattern types, but that it has been proven that no nine-cell pattern exhibits infinite growth?
  53. ... that all still lifes up to 20 bits have a known glider synthesis, but it is still not known whether all still lifes are synthesizable?
  54. ... that the French kiss remained without a glider synthesis until 2013?
  55. ... that Adam P. Goucher's distributed Catagolue soup-search project, started in February 2015, has tested several orders of magnitude more random soups than any previous such project, and has contributed to the reduction of many glider construction recipes?
  56. ... that with the appearance of the 0E0P metacell, the number of periods for which strict volatility 1 oscillators were known went from 12 to infinity?
  57. ... that Copperhead is not only the first c/10 orthogonal spaceship ever found, but also remarkably compact for a pattern not discovered until 2016?
  58. ... that loafer is the fifth smallest non-flotilla spaceship, but was discovered 43 years after the four spaceships smaller than it?
  59. ... that despite being the fourth smallest non-flotilla orthogonal spaceship, loafer did not appear from a single randomly generated soup until 2020?
  60. ... that all known glider eaters take at least four ticks to recover to their original state after eating a glider?
  61. ... that the formerly smallest 31c/240 spaceship does not make use of the 31c/240 reaction?
  62. ... that there is roughly one chance in 10^(N/3) that a still life appearing out of random soup will have a population of exactly N cells?
  63. ... that the number of still lifes with N+1 bits is roughly 2.48 times larger than the number of N-bit still lifes?
  64. ... that the odds of a randomly-chosen 20×20 soup pattern being a methuselah that lasts between 1000N and 1000(N+1) ticks, is roughly the same as the odds that it will last any amount of time longer than 1000(N+1) ticks?
  65. ... that all still lifes up to 17 cells can be synthesized at a cost of less than one glider per cell?
  66. ... that the first elementary knightship, Sir Robin, was discovered only in 2018, with there having been a very close call in 2004?
  67. ... that there is a 5×2 counterexample to the Coolout Conjecture, proving that patterns that are internally compatible with stability can not always be made part of a larger still life, no matter what cells are added around the edges?
  68. ... that a Conway's Life pattern representing a complete programmable 8-bit computer, consisting only of buckaroos, p60 glider guns, and glider duplicators, was completed in November 2016?
  69. ... that whilst no elementary oblique spaceships were found in B3/S23 until 2018, and none have occurred naturally, at least two naturally occurring reactions have been discovered in B38/S23 that travel in an oblique direction?
  70. ... that not all 1.00 volatility oscillators are phoenixes, but volatility 1.00 period 2 oscillators must be phoenixes?
  71. ... that no pattern inside a 6×6 bounding box is a Garden of Eden?
  72. ... that Garden of Eden patterns with only 45 ON cells have been found?
  73. ... that it is known that no Garden of Eden patterns exist that are 1, 2, or 3 cells high, but that it is currently an open question whether a 4-cell-high GoE can be constructed?
  74. ... that 6-cell-high Garden of Eden patterns were constructed as far back as 1973, but 5-cell-high GoEs were unknown until Steven Eker found some in 2016?
  75. ... that in 2016, patterns were found that have great-great-grandparents but no great-great-great-grandparents?
  76. ... that no way is known for a 3×3 pattern to be tiled into an M×N rectangle to produce a Garden of Eden, but that there are 4×3, 4×4 and larger tiles that can be repeated in this way to produce GoEs?
  77. ... that there are spaceship stabilizations of agars?
  78. ... that block is the only known finite strict still life where each living cell has exactly 3 neighbours?
  79. ... that all strict still lifes up to and including 14 cells have been found by apgsearch in asymmetrical 16×16 soups?
  80. ... that c/2 orthogonal and c/4 diagonal were the only speeds of spaceships seen to emerge from asymmetric soups on Catagolue until 2020, when a loafer appeared naturally?
  81. ... that all currently known standard Herschel conduits produce the same Herschel great-grandfather pattern, except for Fx158?
  82. ... that eater 1 is the smallest asymmetric still life?
  83. ... that in Life, no spaceship can exist with a speed of (m,n)c/x where (m+n)/x > 0.5?
  84. ... that even without using fixed-cost reverse caber tosser technology, an N-bit strict still life – specifically, some length of long long (...) boat or shipcan be constructed for any odd integer N using no more than 20 gliders, and for any even integer N using no more than 21 gliders, using a temporary tubstretcher?
  85. ... that even without using fixed-cost reverse caber tosser technology, some specific N-bit period-2 oscillators can be constructed for any even integer N using no more than 27 gliders, and for any odd integer N using no more than 29 gliders, using a temporary tubstretcher?
  86. ... that it is currently an open question as to if there exists a periodic pattern whose only predecessors are its own evolutionary sequence?
  87. ... that it was proved in the early 1970s that reflectorless rotating oscillators exist in Life, but none were found until 2018 when Adam P. Goucher completed the 0E0P metacell?
  88. ... that there are currently known elementary spaceships with speeds c/7 and c/10 orthogonal, but none with c/8 or c/9?
  89. ... that there are currently known elementary spaceships with speeds c/7 and c/12 diagonal, but none with c/8, c/9, c/10 or c/11?
  90. ... that while the speed limit for orthogonal spaceships in rules using the Moore neighbourhood is c orthogonal, spaceships in Larger than Life rules are capable of breaking this barrier?
  91. ... that without the use of adjustable glider loops, there are no known oscillators with periods 43 or 53?
  92. ... that without the use of Herschel loops or adjustable glider loops, there are no known oscillators with periods 59 or 61?
  93. ... that small stable elementary period multipliers (also known as pulse dividers) have been found for multipliers of 2x, 3x, and 4x, but not for 5x or higher?
  94. ... that with reverse caber-tosser universal constructor technology, it is possible to build any possible glider-constructible pattern, no matter what size, using only 17 gliders?
  95. ... that there are at least four known ways to send information diagonally at a speed greater than the maximum spaceship speed through vacuum? (Complete mechanisms include speeds approaching c/2 via two perpendicular telegraphs, and 2c/3 via a 2c/3 wire.)
  96. ... that an oscillator with strict volatility 1 can be constructed for any period 3506909 or higher?
  97. ... that the original Gemini's "below-the-elbow" construction efficiency, roughly three gliders per still life, is about four times better than that of any subsequent self-constructing spaceship?
  98. ... that an O(sqrt(log(t))) pattern was constructed in 2010, with a diameter that grows at the slowest possible asymptotic ("big O") rate for any Life pattern?
  99. ... that since the first Cordership was assembled from 13 switch engines in 1991, the number of switch engines required has gradually decreased, with a 2-engine Cordership finally making its appearance in 2017?
  100. ... that the bounding box and recovery time of the current fastest stable reflector, Mike Playle's Snark, are both more than two full orders of magnitude smaller than the first stable reflector, constructed by Paul Callahan in 1996?
  101. ... that as of 2019, no elementary replicators have been found in Life?
  102. ... that while multiple c/12 diagonal spaceships are known, none are true period?
  103. ... that the first p23 oscillator, David Hilbert, was created as a modification of a "troll" pattern posted a week earlier?
  104. ... that exactly two years after a fake loafer-producing soup was posted to the forums on April Fools' Day, a real soup was found on April 1, 2020?
  105. ... patterns have been constructed whose fate is currently unknown (based on the twin primes and Collatz conjectures)?
  106. ... a pattern of 44 cells exists whose population grows by exactly one cell each generation?
  107. ... it is possible to send a signal from one side to the other of an infinite diagonal line of cells without destroying the line?
  108. ... there are 'Heisenburp' reactions which can detect the passage of a glider without affecting it in any way?
  109. ... Corderships can be constructed using individual switch engines placed arbitrarily far from each other, that will still support each other using intermediary gliders and stable objects?
  110. ... fuses can be made that burn arbitrarily slowly, based on sending spaceships back and forth between two rows of stable objects?
  111. ... there exist 'lone dot' agars consisting of isolated cells in every generation?
  112. ... that some types of spaceship, but not all, support stable Heisenburp technology, where an arrangement of still lifes detects the passage of the spaceship, emits a signal, and returns to its original state?
  113. ... that, while it is impossible to build a true stable Heisenburp device that detects a passing glider without even temporarily affecting it, there are several known stable pseudo-Heisenburp devices?
  114. ... that the name of the Bandersnatch, a color-changing lane-shifter device discovered in 2020, is derived from a Lewis Carroll poem that also supplied names for the Snark, the boojum reflector, and the Bellman search utility?
  115. ... that the first rake that produces spaceships travelling in the same direction but slower was found in 2003, using a c/2 rake to produce 2c/5 spaceships?
  116. ... that it is possible for a single Life object to simulate the evolution of an arbitrary number of other Life objects at the same time (although at increasingly slower speeds)?
  117. ... that the Fast Forward Force Field reaction can transport an LWSS 11 spaces in 6 generations, creating the illusion of super-light-speed travel?
  118. ... that there are line puffers with a row of live cells at the back, which create very dirty exhaust whose period apparently (this is not proven) grows exponentially as the length of the row is increased?
  119. ... that there is an infinite series of period 3 oscillators that are polyominoes in one phase, starting with the cross?
  120. ... that there are spaceships without any sparks which can nevertheless perturb objects due to their ability to repair some damage to themselves?
  121. ... that the R-pentomino creates a queen bee shuttle in generation 774, which lasts 17 generations before being destroyed?
  122. ... that a relay glider bouncing back and forth between two pentadecathlons was one of the earliest constructive proofs that oscillators can have arbitrarily high periods?
  123. ... that there are spacefiller patterns that grow quadratically to fill space with an agar with density 1/2 (zebra stripes)?
  124. ... that a row of appropriately placed traffic lights is one of the few known wicks that can be extended by "pushing" from its stationary end?
  125. ... that space nonfiller patterns have been constructed that expand to affect the entire Life plane, leaving an expanding region of vacuum at their center?
  126. ... that there exist non-monotonic spaceships, even some with period as low as 3, whose leading edges fall back in at least one generation.
  127. ... that some periodic objects -- e.g., a pentadecathlon hassled by period-7 pipsquirters -- can be perturbed to cause them to skip forwards by one or more phases in their cycle?
  128. ... that more stable seed constellations for moving objects were completed in 2020 than in all preceding years put together?