The W. Ross Ashby Digital Archive


As of 2018-03-08 my web hosting company is not serving the Alphabetical Index, Summary, and Timeline pages. Instead they appear to be substituting,, and monetizing spyware instead of these three 1MB pages! DON'T FOLLOW ANY LINKS TO THOSE PAGES WITHOUT A REPUTABLE SCRIPT BLOCKING BROWSER PLUG-IN! Currently, there's zero WRA Digital Archive content on those pages, just evil JavaScripting.

I recommend using the clean mirror site

There is an open support ticket for this issue with "". I will only remove this message when the problem has been fixed. - Mick

This is not an innocent mistake, they even went to the bother of faking the page title! This is the kind of shit that their server will send you instead of my 1MB pages:

Initially, it's reasonable to assume that the server copy of these pages have been hacked, and conclude that I only need to overwrite bad HTML files with clean ones to fix the problem, I tried it (see the Last modified date - European format) but that is not the case. The server copies of these pages are all approx 1MB and contain no monetizing JavaScript. Here's how it looks in my FTP client:

In a 2018-03-08 support chat, HostExcellence support guy Chris B. identified it as a ModSecurity issue and created ticket ID# 3652879 "mod security" - i.e. they are deliberately doing deep content manipulation of their client's web site HTML. That's not security. Presumably their monetization algorithm only targeted the site's most popular pages, but being 1MB somehow broke the server-side page modification, which broke the pages, which becomes a bit obvious when the HTML body tags are empty and the site user just sees a blank white page!

The rest of the Digital Archive site works okay - except for a few images that are definitely on the server, but HostExcellence fails to send in response to GET requests from browsers!
2018-03-12 Update: I have created a mirrored version of the site on the domain.

Visit the clean mirror site

Still no action taken by for my 3 day old security ticket!

And the Oscar for the most unbelievable hosting monetization cluster-fuck-up goes to:
HostExcellence and Site5!
— which recently acquired HostExcellence. They obviously know the true meaning of the expressions "innovative-business-models" and "revenue-optimization". They, more than anyone else have truely redefined the meaning of the word "Excellence" when applied to web hosting!
Well done guys! And as it's International Women's Day, don't forget to thank your mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, girlfriends, employees, escorts, waitresses, table-dancers, ex-wives, ex-girlfriends, ex-employees, ex-escorts, ex-waitresses, and ex-table-dancers - who all know what a bunch of jerks you really are!


Bookplate signed by W. Ross Ashby.

The W. Ross Ashby Digital Archive

William Ross Ashby (1903-1972) was a British pioneer in the fields of cybernetics and systems theory. He is best known for proposing the law of requisite variety, the principle of self-organization, intelligence amplification, the good regulator theorem, building the automatically stabilizing Homeostat, and his books Design for a Brain (1952) and An Introduction to Cybernetics (1956).

In 2003, Ross's family gave his journals, papers, and correspondence to the British Library, London. Then, in March 2004, on the last day of the W. Ross Ashby Centenary Conference, they announced the intention to make his journal available on the Internet. Four years later, this website fulfilled that promise, making this previously unpublished work available on-line.

The journal consists of 7,189 numbered pages in 25 volumes, and over 1,600 index cards. To make it easy to browse purposefully through so many images, extensive cross-linking has been added that is based on the keywords in Ross's original keyword index. To jump directly to a particular journal page, enter the page number here: then press Enter.

The biography describes Ross's life in more detail than has previously been available in the public domain, and includes many photographs from the family's private albums. Various other information and resources can be accessed via the navigation frame on the left.

In July 2017, at the International Society for the Systems Sciences conference in Vienna, Mick Ashby presented the ethical regulator theorem, which builds upon the good regulator theorem and the law of requisite variety. For more information, see The Ethical Regulator Theorem.

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