Monthly Archives: May 2006


The ENIAC may or may not have been the first of its kind—the first fully functional, all-electronic, general-purpose, digital computer—but there’s no doubt it was the last of its kind. They never built another one like it. Computers designed just … Continue reading

Posted in computing | 1 Comment

Room 641A

These are the days of miracle and wonder This is a long distance call —Paul Simon As a person who occasionally sends e-mail and talks on the telephone, I’ve been following with interest and curiosity all the recent press reports … Continue reading

Posted in computing, modern life | 2 Comments

The oddest numbers

At the library the other day I was perusing the Collected Rantings and Ravings of Edsger W. Dijkstra [Note 1]. While leafing through the pages in search of something else [Note 2], I stumbled across “An Exercise for Dr. R. … Continue reading

Posted in computing, mathematics, problems and puzzles | 4 Comments

Refrigeration by filtering

It’s no secret that the way to win fame and fortune in physics is to invent a better refrigerator. Michael Faraday and James Prescott Joule and J. J. Thomson (Lord Kelvin) were all thinkers or tinkerers in refrigeration; the Kelvinator … Continue reading

Posted in physics | 3 Comments