2 February 2009
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid famously features on its cover a pair of wooden blocks, each of which is carved so that the letters 'GEB' are visible when viewed from different directions. Not all combinations of letters are possible, for instance 'III' is clearly impossible (without humongous serifs). But many others can be realised.
I attempted to design and construct 'CAT'. The topology I visualised seemed to make sense, but for safety I chose to build a paper model first. With the confidence of this reality check, I acquired some plastic blocks and started sawing and filing. My friend Isaac had a router which was invaluable in obtaining the curved edges. Once the floor was covered in plastic shavings, the Triplet was complete.
Several other topologies for 'CAT' are possible, but this one appears to be the most obfuscated in that it is not immediately obvious when looking at the 3D object what it is supposed to be.
Buildings are surprisingly bad at keeping wildlife out. I've personally had to deal with uninvited squirrels, countless mice, a seagull, a skunk, a couple of bats, and (two weeks ago) a small bird. Yesterday a bird managed to get into NASA's OPF-2 (a clean room) and made the space shuttle Endeavour its new home. There's a really cute photo at the bottom of this page of the bird in the cargo bay.