Posted tagged ‘Sublime to Ridiculous’

Prescience, or Claude Shannon Anticipates Sen. McConnell’s Procedural Maneuver Today

December 6, 2012

Claude Shannon is best known as the founding titan of information theory — which was an idea of such pervasive impact, some have ranked it along side relativity theory as the most significant intellectual creation of the 20th century.

He wasn’t simply a brilliant mathematician and logical thinker, though.  He was as well a lifelong tinkerer, builder, and whimsy merchant. You can get a sense of that side of his life from this catalogue of MIT’s collection of Shannonania.

Among those creations you can find a simple device, apparently inspired by Marvin Minsky (himself no stranger to orthogonal humor), one that Shannon dubbed the Ultimate Machine.

I happened across mention of it today while reading Jon  Gertner’s excellent new book about Bell Labs, The Idea Factory, looked it up, and on seeing it, realized it was a perfect model for both Minority Leader McConnell’s decision today to filibuster his own bill — and for the Republican approach to the whole concept of governance.

Check it out:

As a lagniappe, enjoy this demonstration of the boss donkey’s approach to tech:

You’re welcome.