Thurston’s topic reminds us of a common metaphor for this kind of apparently simultaneous invention: steam engine time. When it’s steam engine time, suddenly everyone is making steam engines. When it’s evolution time, everyone is inventing a theory of evolution. When it’s VCR time, everyone is making video cassette recorders. When it’s Dotcom time, everyone is setting up Internet trading systems. And when it’s Dotcom-going-bust time, all the Dotcoms are going bust.

– on patterns |
Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, and Jack Cohen, The Science of Discworld III: Darwin’s Watch