Sanding our assholes with 150 grit. Slowly. Lovingly.

Chris McKinstry

I still don't know whether to believe it or not.

It's terrible if it's true.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 23rd, 2006
Dammit all. Dammit.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 23rd, 2006
The post by Andrew McKinstry makes me doubt at least the authenticity of that post...was the IP something legit Mark? Obituaries are still probably the best place to check.
Permalink Phil 
January 23rd, 2006
I don't either, but the Wikipedia entry was modified from an address in Chile, and the thread post is from British Columbia. The email address of the poster matches the name but it's @hotmail, so I'm not sure that's proof.

But it does seem to be two independant sources.
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 23rd, 2006
:(
Permalink Jeff Barton 
January 23rd, 2006
Two independant unknown sources.

I'm not saying it's not true I just don't see primary sources here.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 23rd, 2006
Yeah, the internet is sort of overly anonymous in that way.

Unfortunately, the Canadian Embassy in Chile is closed. We can try reaching them tomorrow morning.

http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/latin-america/chile/embassy/embassy-en.asp#3
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 23rd, 2006
Looks like the wiki was (responsibly) just edited pending a "verifiable source".

Really a shame if it's true, especially for his kid.
Permalink bionicroach 
January 23rd, 2006
Have you tried e-mailing Andrew to get some verification that he and the story are legit? I guess I could do that myself, but then you'd wonder how legit I am. :)
Permalink me 
January 23rd, 2006
Yeah, I actually had to go into the history to pull that up, the link is directly to the archived page and not the current one.
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 23rd, 2006
I emailed Andrew a simple note.

I'm not sure what kind of verification you can get - what can he tell you that couldn't be spoofed? It's too early for the obits and too late for the embassy.
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 23rd, 2006
Very sad if true.

=(Talking in present tense, barring additional information)=

We hardly know you yet, Chris. While there was some joking about the whole mind-maximum-hypersurface thing, I think everyone appreciates and admires the unique lateral thinking you've demonstrated, coupled with the bravery to actually voice some rather unconventional opinions.
Permalink Dennis Forbes 
January 23rd, 2006
Yeah and then there was the stalking and the threatening to shove wires into people's brains, which wasn't so good.

But it's still terrible if he actually killed himself. Nobody deserves that.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 23rd, 2006
Hey was looking at post history.. Thanks for what you guys tried.. If anybody has contact info or other stuff it would help so I could explaine to mom what happened..

Thanks

Andrew
Permalink Andrew McKinstry 
January 23rd, 2006
Try contacting Carlos.

http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?pg=pgComposeEmailReply&ixDiscussGroup=9&ixDiscussTopic=295888&ixDiscussTopicParent=295438

He said he has Chris' contact info. It should be at the French Embassay in Santiago as well.
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 23rd, 2006
btw Chris is a handsome guy on that wiki page.
Hope he's allright.
Permalink ... 
January 23rd, 2006
I don't get:

a) how Andrew found this place
b) how he doesn't have Chris' contact info
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 23rd, 2006
Ok. So, it for real. I'm deeply sorrow to said that K. Christopher McKinstry body was found today on his appartement on Santiago. I just called to his boss, and he confirm it.
I cant explaint to you how shocked i'm. I was one of his few friends here in Chile, and maybe the one who know him best.
I just deeply sad and frustrated i couldn't do more.
Permalink Carlos 
January 23rd, 2006
Hi Carlos. Do you have any facts that we can verify?

Being an internet group we've been trolled a lot, so naturally there is a desire to be certain of the facts involved so we can actually accept it. As it is it's somewhat unreal, and I'm sure many are expecting Chris to popup with a big "HA HA!" for us.
Permalink CynicallyYours 
January 23rd, 2006
BTW: Thank you for taking the time to update us. We do appreciate it.
Permalink CynicallyYours 
January 23rd, 2006
I will not make of this terrible tragedy an internet momment. You can belive me or not. I knew Chris back when he was living in Antofagasta, 1.800 km to the north on Santiago. He was a telescope operator at the VLT in Paranal. Me and anothers geeks (2-3), used to go to his appartment, and talked about programming, computers, science. Really geeky stuff. Yes, surely was kind of weird sometimes, but a lot of times was funny and reailly insightful. He was kindly enough to lend us any book on his great library. That was for several years i think.
We talked about mindpixel project, and AI in general. I help him out to code some stuff too.
Then we went back to Canada. He gave me, before departure, some of his paintings and memorabillia, like and old TRS-80 and a Cray board i still have with me. He never ask it back.
Anyway, he was not happy there, theirs emails said. He return to Chile, and i think he truly loved Chile. He once told me it was greate to be in a country on the edge of developement.
His return to Chile was coincidentaly with me and my friends, whom all knew Chris, started to travel, and then settle in Santiago to set up an IT startup. He was at Santiago too. Just writing first, and then getting a cool job as the tech guy on a production company.
We meet for lunch several times, talked about his science, my projects, the internet. One of last time we meet was and Halloween, at his girlfriend appartment. Beautiful place with view of Parque Forestal -think on Santiago Central Park- and a few blocks away from the Bellas Artes, the national art museum. He was really happy. Chatting, been a host to his guests... giving sushi to the kids who trick and treat, because there was no candy around.
Last times we talked about other projects of mine, and some of his. We were doing a Basecamp for films production companies this summer. He was also thrilled about Yahoo setting up his first research lab outside USA in Santiago.
I will miss the guy, i did consider it one of my friends. Yes. i know all the Jorn Badger master hoaxer, his flamewars, and his past. Matter of fact, he told me himself most of it wayback, years ago. So what? He was a great, smart, funny, nice guy. A good persona, a invaluable human beign, if somewhat lost sometimes.
Permalink Carlos 
January 23rd, 2006
Hi Carlos. Again, thank you for the info.

"I will not make of this terrible tragedy an internet momment."

Chris made it an Internet moment. No one wants to exploit this. Instead there was a sense of friendship, and I think a lot of people really want to know.

Do you know when/where services are, and if flowers can be sent? I don't know if they do that in Chile.
Permalink CynicallyYours 
January 23rd, 2006
Sorry if i sounded somehow defensive, that was not the intention.
I have not confirmation of their services, and if they are going to take place in Santiago or not. We are waiting family confirmation on this from his family in Canada, and his ex-wife and son from England.
I will post the information as its available. And yes, here is also tradicional to send flower to show respect.
Permalink Carlos 
January 23rd, 2006
My condolences to those of you who knew him.

For the record, I was the one who initially updated Wikipedia with his announcement... It was a spur of the moment impulse, and my first Wiki addition =(

RIP
Permalink B-Side 
January 23rd, 2006
"Warner, you were alway an ass. Why change?
Chris McKinstry
Friday, January 20, 2006"
Permalink Well said! 
January 24th, 2006
Condolences to family and friends. A pity. He was a fun guy. Will sure miss him around on the Internet. Never thought he had manic depressive tendencies.
Permalink KayJay 
January 24th, 2006
> everyone appreciates and admires

Speak for yourself.
Permalink  
January 24th, 2006
Ouch. Just got the chills in an otherwise perfectly heated office. This better be a hoax.
Permalink jz 
January 24th, 2006
Aw, crap. :(
Permalink Mat Hall 
January 24th, 2006
It really is awful. I feel very badly for him.

It's a shame that his eccentricity made even this difficult to believe.

God's honest truth I was starting to like the guy. I looked forward to him posting, even though I still think he was a bit nuts.
Permalink Generic Error 
January 24th, 2006
Not a good way to go.

That this place was the one that he turned to to announce it means something, I'm not entirely sure that it is a good something but it was his decision even if from our perspective a poor one.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
January 24th, 2006
Rather bad translation from Google of the newspaper article referenced above:

Christopher McKinstry was an eminence of the artificial intelligence, according to a Chilean colleague.  FRANCISCO EAGLE V. A discussion with its pair, that was not identified, according to police sources, would have gatillado the fatal decision of a specialistic scientist in the development of the artificial intelligence, the computer science sicólogo and Canadian Christopher McKinstry (38). Sources of office of the public prosecutor indicated that the body of the professional was found at noon of yesterday - in its department of the street Favor 250 -, after that the person who does the cleanliness in the place smelled a strong scent to gas, reason why called to Customs officers. When entering the house, the uniformed ones found the body of McKinstry thrown in the ground of the kitchen. The Canadian citizen was dressed and had putting a plastic stock market in his head, from which he left a hose that was connected to the pipe of the gas. The persistent inhalation, according to the first investigations, would have caused the death to him. According to it declared his Chilean pair, of which it was only said that it was 36 years old, last Friday had a serious discussion due to economic and domestic problems, after which McKinstry left its department located in street Company - to which they had been transferred does few weeks whereas the one of Favor was for sale. From that day, it broke away from enemy with him. McKinstry - that had announced its suicide in its Blog, by means of appointments it had studies advanced in the area of the artificial intelligence and had created a called computer GAC (General Artificial Consciousness) with which worked to create a form to think about robots. Daniel Twisterwand, which he worked with the victim of a murder in the elaboration of software for the producer "Red Films", where they worked more ago of a year, indicated that their near ones very were affected by the happened thing. "Chris was an eminence in artificial intelligence", said. Public prosecutor Lorena Kanacri, said that although the investigations speak of a suicide, still lack to investigate why near the body of the Canadian there was blood. A little their short life According to the published thing in the Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_McKinstry), McKinstry was born the 12 of February of 1967 in Winnipeg, Canada, and would have been operator of telescope VLT, in Paranal hill, that depends on the Austral European Observatory. He appears mentioned like an investigator in artificial intelligence and founding of the Mindpixel project, that finished the last month. He was known by his outlandish sayings on technology. Its track can also be followed in the Web in revisions and book suggestions in Amazon and in misceláneas conversations on the operation of telescopes or its extraterrestrial life expectancies (http://slashdot.org/articles/00/07/04/2114223.shtml). Semblanza biographical in Wikipedia even mentions both postings appeared in the Web respect to its intentions of suicide in www.mindpixel.com/chris. The last one said: "Why I am writing this? Only with registry intentions, to demonstrate that I am here and more ahead than all you. Time to start off."


------

Looks like he actually gassed himself. :-(
Permalink Cool Dad 
January 24th, 2006
Can someone translate that? My Spanish is pretty poor, and for reasons unknown I can't get to any web translation things from work. I've got the general gist, but that's about it. (And I now feel in desperate need of a beer -- this is the second unexpected and untimely death I've had to deal with in a couple of weeks.)
Permalink Mat Hall 
January 24th, 2006
Thanks, that's better than Altavista's translation of the article.

Gas? Blood? Maybe the pills caused him to cough up some blood.

I think this is as fitting an epithet as any, as quoted by McKinstry himself in this forum in July:

But then they danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!'

- Jack Kerouac, "On The Road"
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 24th, 2006
I've tidied up the translation a bit:

http://www.dashslot.co.uk/modules/news/article.php?storyid=6
Permalink Mat Hall 
January 24th, 2006
"Gas? Blood? Maybe the pills caused him to cough up some blood."

Wow that is truely surreal and sad that we were actually a part of such a terrible thing happening.  My guess is the pills didn't actually kill him (like i said high failure rate with those), since he said he was at an internet cafe too when we talked to him, he may have gone home and decided to gas himself.
Permalink Phil 
January 24th, 2006

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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