If You’re Looking For Something To Buy Me For Christmas…

…then you should cross your fingers that the kits to build these things become available in the next week or two:

I love it. Such a great idea. Exactly the kind of thing I hope to have on the desk in my office to confuse students with if/when I’m a professor someday.

Wouldn’t be to hard to make on your own, actually; it’d just take a bit of trial and error to get the weighting right, I think (I’m assuming it retracts by weight, not be some clever capacitive kickback loop in the circuit, but who knows.

By the way, I found this while looking for a youtube video to demonstrate a very cool mathematical thing I learned of recently, which I’ve decided I won’t have time to blog about tonight but hope to get to tomorrow. Get excited.

UPDATE: I knew this was invented by Claude Shannon, but I just learned that, in fact, he DID keep one on his desk, for exactly the purpose of messing with his grad students. I knew I always liked that guy…

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About Colin West
Colin West is a graduate student in quantum information theory, working at the Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics at Stony Brook University. Originally from Colorado (where he attended college), his interests outside of physics include politics, paper-folding, puzzles, playing-cards, and apparently, plosives.

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