A tribute to the recently departed Claude Shannon, founder of information theory. He was also the first to realize that Boolean logical operations could be represented by electrical switches wired in seriesa fundamental premise of modern computing. And that was his master's thesis.
At home, Shannon spent his spare time building all manner of bizarre machines. There was the Throbac (THrifty ROman-numerical BAckward-looking Computer), a calculator that did arithmetic with Roman numerals. There was Theseus, a life-sized mechanical mouse that could find its way through a maze. And perhaps most famously, there was the "Ultimate Machine"a box with a large switch on the side. Turn the switch on, and the lid would slowly rise, revealing a mechanical hand that would reach down, turn the switch off, and withdrawleaving the box just as it was.
A discussion of Henry Miller's unsexy sex scenes, though I still prefer Lauren's succinct point: "Sometimes he reads like William S. Burroughs, which is off-putting, and sometimes like D.H. Lawrence, but why not just read Lawrence instead?"