[Photograph of Neil Fraser]

Neil Fraser

For the past decade I've been a software engineer at Google in California.  In my spare time I've created a mélange of open-source software.  I've also built some rather unusual hardware.  On rare occasions I've even been known to write something interesting.

Gravity Thursday, 1 November 2018

I'm not officially a member of the Blockly team at Google (since I'm currently working on a new project) but I hang around them enough that they invited me to their offsite activity. This event was a pottery class. I'd never used a potter's wheel before. While everyone else made a cup or a bowl, I created something a little different.

[Ceramic gravity well]

The internal slope makes it somewhat inconvenient to drink from, since once the liquid passes the hump it then accelerates towards ones mouth and spreads out. But drinking is not the intent. The slope is y = -|1/x| which forms the optimum gravity well. Roll a mouse ball around the perimeter and it takes about seven seconds to spiral into the bottom.

[Ball rolling around gravity well]

Someday I ought to look into making a bigger one out of fiberglass or something.

Speaking of gravity, Quynh bought this children's tent in the form of a rocket and asked me to retailor it into a dress.

[Children's rocket tent]

It took a bit of time at a sewing machine, but the resulting costume proved quite popular at Google's Halloween party.

[Rocket costume]


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