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He lives in Canada and does woodwork. He comes up with some ingenious things and has a really neat little web site. His name is Matthias Wandel and there is a range of really fascinating things that I found interesting enough to want to share with the rest of the world.
The thing that first got me to the web site was when I was looking for animations of binary adders. I had no idea if anyone did such a thing but I was looking around. There is far more out there than I had expected but there is also a lot of tosh. But Matthias had done a video of his binary adding machine that he built out of wood. I loved it and you can watch it in action at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcDshWmhF4A&feature=fvw
He has developed an interactive test or game where you have to line things up or find the centre of a circle or split an angle exactly in two just by looking at it and estimating the correct position of the cursor. You get scored according to your accuracy and at the end of the test you can see how well you score against the thousands of others who have tried it. He calls it his eyeballing game and you can try it at http://www.woodgears.ca/eyeball/. It's fun!
He also likes to rant a little and his rants are readable and interesting. I was particularly taken by the one about flying small planes and the environment issue. You can read all about it at http://www.sentex.ca/~mwandel/rants/flying.html.
And he even has something interesting to say about programmers and how their personalities affect their coding techniques which he calls programmology (being the anal perfectionist that I am this should be spelt programology since "programme" with two "m"s is the original word meaning a list of events or a schedule and when computer "programing" came along one "m" was dropped to distinguish the subtle difference between the usage of the word in the different contexts) at http://www.sentex.ca/~mwandel/rants/programmology.html. I seem to fall into too many categories for my liking.
He also indulges in macro-photography and has a page with some nice photos of salt, needles and the edges of pages in a book at http://www.woodgears.ca/macro/more.html. He has invented a wooden pen shaking machine with dubious success but it is really worth watching the video for pure entertainment at http://woodgears.ca/gear/cycloid.html and a Lego domino row building machine at http://www.woodgears.ca/domino/index.html with a cute little video too.
And he has made the most fascinating and useless marble machine which is worth a look at because it is just amazing. You can watch it in action at http://www.sentex.ca/~mwandel/marbles/machine2.html.
Matthias Wandel is simply brilliant and planet earth wants more like him!