Monthly Archives: December 2017

Sir Roger Penrose’s Toilet Paper

Twenty years ago, Kimberly-Clark, the Kleenex company, introduced a line of toilet paper embossed with the kite-and-dart aperiodic tiling discovered by Roger Penrose. When I first heard about this, I thought: How clever. Because the pattern never repeats, the creases … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics, off-topic, uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Threats to the Net

My first glimpse of the World Wide Web came in 1993 on a visit to Fermilab, the physics playground near Chicago. Tom Nash, head of the computing division, showed me a screenful of text with a few highlighted phrases. When … Continue reading

Posted in computing, modern life | 4 Comments

Sudden Deaf

My erstwhile employer, mentor, and dearest friend was Dennis Flanagan, who edited Scientific American for 37 years. He is the larger of the two aquatic specimens in the photograph below. One of the quirks of life with Dennis was that … Continue reading

Posted in biology, off-topic | 4 Comments