Friday, August 10, 2012

One thing leads to another...

Klein Bottle
Klein Bottle

Driving up to work recently, I was surprised to see a delivery truck with the name ACME on its side; they were delivering paper and plastic goods. I was surprised because I didn't think there really were companies called ACME, having only seen them on the Roadrunner cartoons. (I half expected to see Wile E. Coyote on the loading dock!) I had to look up this company, of course, and found out they are a locally based company and have been around since 1946, which just predates Chuck Jones' cartoon. All this searching around naturally lead to the origins of ACME and an interesting discussion about the topic in a Guardian forum. Which then led to further surfing and the discovery of the ACME Klein Bottle company, started by Cliff Stoll (yes, he of The Cuckoo's Egg fame). So, what's a Klein Bottle? It's actually a mathematical concept which I won't pretend to understand, but it's a manifold without boundaries - you'll just have to read about it to grasp it. Now, Cliff Stoll actually makes glass Klein Bottles, which are primarily purchased by mathematicians. He discusses his work on his company's faq and explains the concept of the Klein Bottle. Finally, a word about Wile E. Coyote - he actually filed suit against ACME some time ago.

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