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: Sumana, Adam and I went to the Exploratorium today. It was a lot of fun! And (though it leaves tomorrow) they have the old math exhibit from the Los Angeles Museum of Science and Industry, with the bell curve demonstration and the Mobius train track and the multiplication with light bulbs and the gravity well and the timeline that goes from 1100 to 1966. Turns out the math exhibit is by Eames, designers of the Eames chair and espousers of the 1960s fulleresque (not to be confused with fullerene) using-technology-to-solve-social-problems idea I find so seductive.

There was also a 'mathematical film festival' of sorts, though the connections to mathematics were only rarely non-stretched. The best film was the Oskar Fischinger 1935 film "Composition in Blue", which played like a Vorticist Art Clokey version of the 1939 World's Fair. Gumby: this is the future! It was filmed in GASPARVISION, the amazing filming technique which survives the death of the filmmaker!

Honorable mention, for being a really cool hack, goes to "Synchromy", a 1972 film by Norman McLaren. The soundtrack for a film is stored in graphical form in a little bar to the right of the film frames. McLaren had the idea of using the same shapes as both the graphics and the soundtrack. So you hear Atari-esque sounds corresponding to how the sound interpreter interprets the blocks you see on the screen. Also, the film is Canadian and so everything has to be in both English and French: the title card says "Synchromy" and is replaced a couple seconds later with "Synchromie".

Finally: in the gift shop of the Exploratorium I bought three packages of astronaut ice cream, something which, when I was a kid, I was either not allowed to buy at museum gift shops, or I was allowed but it was too expensive for its purchase to be feasible. It's certainly not cheap, but now that I can afford it, why not the best, for "the best" equals "three packages of astronaut ice cream"?


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