A glider is a plane which flies without using any onboard propulsion. Full scale gliders are usually towed up to height and released to fly on their own. They often utilize thermals while flying to gain altitude.

Pattern of live cells in the game of life which will move continuously diagonally across the field of cells. The pattern is something like this:


The glider in the above diagram will move downwards and to the right until it hits something. The progress of the glider includes a flip along the diagonal axis of its motion. The development of the glider was the first step in the development of a pattern of finite initial size which would grow infinitely: the glider gun.

There was a steel and fabric glider on the back porch of my Great Aunt's house. It sat on the shaded side of the big farm house and housed kids from dawn to dusk in the summer, in between Lemonade, Ice Cream and Ghosts in the graveyard. There were a few hours after dinner when the grown-ups would steal it and we would have to sit on the wood floor of the porch or jostle for spaces in laps. We would try to listen in on conversations we didn't understand while complaining of the smell of cigarettes, cheap cigars and the odor of gin in tall, sweaty glasses sitting on end tables.

The glider was sturdy, and could hold three adults or six kids. It squeaked constantly, but when the occupants pulled their feet off the floor it moved in rhythm and had a sweet melody.

EEE~e. EEE~e. EEE~e.

Whenever I see the first fireflies of the summer, or hear the sounds of children chasing one another in the dark, fearless, I imagine I can still hear the glider.

It's a reassuring sound.

Glid"er (?), n.

One who, or that which, glides.


© Webster 1913.

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