Spelling out why the WWII “Enigma” machines were considered to be unbreakable… presented by an awkwarldy adorable mathematician

While working on technical things at the ‘puter or offline-within-speaker-range, I like to throw on some audio stories about random subjects that are interesting. It makes me feel like I have a chatty knowledgeable companion in the room who doesn’t mind that I don’t add to the conversation because I’m just so engrossed in work, and they’re totally OK with that. In a Youtube-lecture-suggested-clickfest, I found a neat one on cryptography that I found particularly creatively explained. Mathematician (and, um, unfortunately employed by the NSA at vid-post time) David Perry explains some of the history and the mathematics behind the Enigma’s cryptology approach, all while awkwardly holding his tie clip to his mouth (and all the technical cringes in effect) but he still manages to keep the crowd … Read More

BBC Documentary: “To Engineer is Human” (1987)

This 80s-retro documentary is hosted by a socially awkward engineer who fumbles his cuecard-reading way through uncomfortable, scripted segues with props that illustrate the point being made. It’s a decent documentary on engineering, nonetheless.

Letter to Lego: “Why you still have sausage party?”

[Emailed to Lego on 5/2/2012 since they have a charlimit on their comment form] Hey guys, I’m a woman who has been a Lego fan since I was a little girl. I loved cars, and I loved hotel rooms, and I made the coolest spaceships and space stations from the random Lego sets my parents bought me. My style was “Airstream meets 2001: A Space Odyssey, plus Holiday Inn” (because, c’mon, every space cruiser needs a pool!). It was super fun building vehicles for imaginary adventures. Luckily, I still create stuff as an adult even though they aren’t space Winnebagos. I gotta say though… I have yet to see one girl represented in your “Cool Creations” shout-out spread where you feature works by kids. Granted, I may have … Read More