No! Not Harter!

I am doubly sad: Richard Harter has died, and most of the readers here now probably never heard of him. He was a dry wit who frequented on usenet with brilliant comments; he ought to have been recognized as one of the early bloggers for his idiosyncratic and engrossing web page, Richard Harter’s World, which has been regularly and frequently updated since 1996.

It’s an eclectic page — Harter just seems to have manually linked in lots and lots of web pages of arbitrary stuff; humor, history, science, correspondence, computer science, science fiction, whatever struck his fancy. Go ahead and get sucked into it — it’s about as dangerous as TVTropes that way.

Perhaps even more appropriately, you can read about Harter on


  1. 'Tis Himself says

    it’s about as dangerous as TVTropes that way.

    Thanks for the warning.

  2. nooneinparticular says

    i remember him from the old days. He would have such fun with the likes of Ted Holden. Sorry to see he passed. Condolences, PZ and all who knew him.

  3. gworroll says

    My reaction-

    “that name sounds familiar”
    “wait a minute”
    “please let this be a different Richard Harter”

    He’ll be missed.

  4. says

    I am sad. My wife (also an ex-howler) is sad. Next time we happen to have a drink with dinner, we will be sure to clink glasses for Richard.

  5. wholething says

    That news makes me sad. He was a master of the pun. He was our yardstick for the age of fossils. They were either almost as old as Harter or even older than Harter.

  6. Stevarious says

    My reaction-

    “that name sounds familiar”
    “wait a minute”
    “please let this be a different Richard Harter”

    He’ll be missed.

    That was precisely my reaction.

    Truly one of the ‘old guard’. :(

  7. procyon says

    On the first computer I owned, when I knew nothing about the internet, his was one of the first websites I discovered, many years ago.

  8. Stella says

    That’s sad. Every time I got to thinking I was the oldest person on the Internet, I’d think of Harter. provided some of the fastest-spreading cracks in my religious beliefs, and Harter was a real feature.

    My condolences, PZ.

  9. Steve LaBonne says

    RIP, Richard. I remember him well from the old t.o. days. Always a font of both sanity and humor. I did not know about his site, and will be sure to visit it in his memory.

  10. daved says

    This saddens me also. Back in the heyday of, when the U of Ediacara was in full flower, we had a t.o get-together in Cambridge. We met up at one of the Harvard museums, toured it to look at fossils, as I recall, then adjourned to a nearby pub to consume some fine beers. Richard was there, and I remember him particularly. RIP.

  11. drivenb4u says

    “…and BTW, while you’re wasting time getting lost in Richard Harter’s World, be sure to waste some of it playing The Reincarnation Game.”

    I love this! It’s great. Thanks Richard!

  12. tomforest says

    Browse through the ‘’ link, to see the very ‘christian’ response to the sad news (eg user: Prawnster).

  13. gworroll says

    tomforest- Wow. Part of me is mad at you for suggesting that be looked at, the other part of me is mad at myself for being too stupid to expect what I found.

    Not even “I wish we could have reached him”… just flat out blasting him. That’s seriously messed up. Hell, liberals were nicer when Breitbart died.