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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Claude Shannon had The Knack (video)





From Wikipedia:
Shannon showed an inclination towards mechanical and electrical things. His best subjects were science and mathematics, and at home he constructed such devices as models of planes, a radio-controlled model boat and a wireless telegraph system to a friend's house a half-mile away. While growing up, he also worked as a messenger for the Western Union company.
His childhood hero was Thomas Edison, whom he later learned was a distant cousin. Both were descendants of John Ogden (1609–1682), a colonial leader and an ancestor of many distinguished people. 


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And he he was part of a scheme to beat Vegas at the roulette wheel through the use of what may have been the first wearable computer: 
http://www.engadget.com/2013/09/18/edward-thorp-father-of-wearable-computing/


An excerpt from that site: 
After their initial meeting, Thorp says, "we got right to it," and he spent about half his time for the next eight months working away with Shannon in that basement lab in Shannon's house, on one of Massachusetts' Mystic Lakes. In his paper, Thorp described the lab as a "gadgeteer's paradise," with what he estimated to be about a hundred thousand dollars' worth of electronic, electrical and mechanical items. The regulation roulette wheel, ordered from Reno for $1,500, was set up on an old slate billiard table.
Thorp describes Shannon as the "ultimate gadgeteer," and recalled in his paper that the man he met in that office was a "thinnish alert man of middle height and build, somewhat sharp-featured," and that "his eyes had a genial crinkle and the brows suggested puckish incisive humor." That humor would become evident as the two worked together at the house on the lake. Thorp wrote that Shannon taught him to juggle three balls, and that he rode a unicycle on a steel cable strung between two tree stumps. "He later reached his goal," he wrote, "which was to juggle the balls while riding the unicycle on the tightrope."
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