Thursday, December 24, 2009

OLD WOOD TOYS FOR NEW GRAND CHILDREN

My first three grandchildren burst upon the scene in the past year or so.  Wanted to get to business with my grandfatherly duties.


Made some solid wood toys for the kiddo's for Christmas.  Especially, the 18-wheeler semi truck for the solitary girly grandbaby.   Annalise may appreciate that the truck is made of scraps left over from installing oak flooring in our home.  The truck cab is from a chunk cut from the end of a bannister end-post.  I tried to copy as near as possible a similar toy truck my father made for Paul when he was a toddler.



I also made Jacob's Ladders for the kids.  See this video.



I am posting a photo of an assembled puzzle here.  The 3-D puzzle has interlocking pieces in all 3 dimensions.  Except for a couple careless cutting errors, no two touching pieces are made of the same type (color) of wood (just 'cause it looks cool)


And the puzzle is loaded with "hints," to encourage Nolan's use of logical reasoning.  If Nolan simply looks for clues, the puzzle will "speak" to him about how to put it together.  (Although, the first time I tried to re-assemble the puzzle, it sure didn't speak to me very much.)


Now, here's a puzzle for you...
I wanted to make the puzzle without any two touching pieces made of the same kind (color) of wood.  How do you suspect I knew in advance that no matter how the design would come out I would need exactly four different kinds of wood?  Not three.  Not five.  Four.  Guaranteed.  Every time.


We covered it in a Topological Mathematics course in 1966.  No matter how crazily the politicians may have revised international boundaries, an inexplicable law of math has provided that no map in history has ever required more than four colors in order that no adjacent countries have the same color.  (It's kinda refreshing to know there are at least some laws that lobbyists cannot bribe Congressmen to violate.)  Ancient Greek mapmakers knew of this four-color phenomenon, but could not prove or disprove it. 

You can Google "Four Color Map Theorem."  Or read this paper, written in plain English by a mathematician at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, home of the A-bomb.

So, Nolan...hope you enjoy the apolitical puzzle.  Annalise, enjoy the 18-wheeler truck (don't all girls?).  Cole, I'll send the Jacob's Ladder asap.