An old, never-used sketch, circa 1995 (click to enlarge at your own risk):
Old MacDonald: Cow. C-O-W-E-I-E-I-O. [buzz]
BETTER?: Old MacDonald is asked to spell GEICO.
Old MacDonald: Geico. G-C-E-I-O. [buzz]
The first iFlush book, Swimming in Science, is available now — ahead of schedule.
After all these years, it’s my first-ever hardcover book, so I’m all in a tizzy. The publisher has even splurged on embossing and spot gloss for the front cover and schmancy endpapers inside.
What’s in it? You can read about the premise by clicking on the book, but I’ll add to that by listing some of the science topics in it:
Extremophiles • Tesla’s earthquake machine • Elektro, the Moto-Man • science fiction • Sophie Germain • Pong • Professor Laura Bassi • quackery • Shen Kuo’s Brush Talks • grille codes • Mario Molina • autism • fossil hunter Mary Anning • the Baghdad battery • Titanoboa • Friendly Floatees • thorium energy • Lewis Latimer • the Tunguska event • bee queen Eva Crane • Hector the astro-rat — even quantum mechanics! (O.K., so that’s like half the topics.)
But, wait, there’s even more! Each article has a related puzzle that’s different and fun and cool.
For smart kids and curious adults (ages 7 and up); 96 pages; $12.95 list price, $9.32 on Amazon.
The difficulty increases and variations are introduced as you go, including illustrated anagrams.
Puzzles by Patrick Merrell • puzzle concept by Stephanie Spadaccini • published by Portable Press • 288 pages • 5 x 7″ • $9.95.
BLAST FROM THE PAST DEPT.: This recent talk of ambigrams dredged up memories of a crossword I put together for Scientific American in 2006. It was written before I dabbled in ambigrams, so I hadn’t thought of it in those terms, but that’s what it is.
Sciam‘s website still has it up [CLICK HERE]. Since the crossword appeared on two pages, the grid (“blank puzzle” is how its described) and clues are on separate PDFs.
TIP: Download the PDFs (using the arrow icon in the upper right) rather than printing directly from the site. When I printed directly, the image didn’t rotate and ended up getting cropped.
Answer: [ T O M K I T E in 1986 & 1997]
• Click “first name” to see a visual hint.
• Click “last name” to see another visual hint.
• Highlight the bracketed space with your cursor to reveal the answer.
Ambigrams Revealed, a new book by Nikita Prokhorov, makes a great addition to your ambigram library … or a great start to your ambigram library.
What’s in it? Insightful discussions with top ambigram artists, including John Langdon and Scott Kim. In-depth analysis of selected designs with step-by-step sketches showing how they were created. Helpful advice on creating ambigrams. And a whopping 40-page section showcasing ambigrams from all over the world, over 170 in all.
A few of my favorites: A flowing-metal Ringworld ambigram by Bastian Pinnenberg [page 127], Labyrinth graphically spelled out within the path of a maze by Krysztof Sliwa [page 120], a highly readable Rock n Roll by Kai Hammond [page 138], and a clever variation by Scott Kim, the numbers 1-12 used to spell Schönberg, the composer who invented 12-tone composition [page 32].