I got the idea from a photo of a clock that I found randomly on eBay. I thought that it was a novelty clock with a very unusual industrial design, but after a little while, I realized that what happened was that the seller took the hands part, and placed them haphazardly on the clock face.
But it got me thinking, clock hands don’t have to rotate around the center, if they are mounted on rotating discs.

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Collection of Sand is a collection of book reviews, exhibition reviews and travelogues that Italo Calvino wrote in the 70’s and 80’s. The quality varies. The best of them are unsurprisingly ekphrastic essays where Calvino described gardens, historical sites, and paintings in exquisite details. Those where he tried to regurgitate scientific or historical knowledge from academic books are less inspiring. But still, it is the variety of things that Calvino cared to write about that charms.

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Nobel laureates Alan Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley are sometimes called the fathers of computational neuroscience, because they developed the first mathematical theory to explain how neurons communicate with each other with electrical signals. I read in a textbook that when they published their model in 1952, all the numerical calculations were done manually, because the computer at Cambridge was not working. It was “computational” all right, but it was the labour intensive variety.

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Disk point picking is an elementary problem in geometry. To evenly distribute points on a disk, an intuitive idea is to sample pairs of numbers in polar coordinate (radius and angle) randomly from uniform distributions. After all, “uniformly” is just another word for “evenly”, isn’t it? But it doesn’t work. When the points are sampled this way, the density of the dots fall off linearly with the distance to the origin.

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