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Archive for puzzles

What a Great Gathering!

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

This past weekend I made my bi-annual trek to the Gathering for Gardner, a four day celebration of recreational intellectualism held in honor of Martin Gardner, who was for many years the Mathematical Games columnist for Scientific American.  Martin is a hero to generations of mathematicians, magicians, metagrobologists (puzzle lovers), skeptics, Lewis Carroll and L. Frank Baum scholars, and assorted polymaths, this conference is a true “gathering of the clans”.  And yes, it is as amazing as it sounds.

Martin Gardner (still going strong at age 95) was a hero to my father; I have vivid childhood memories of the yellow jacketed Mathematical Carnival, Mathematical Circus, and Mathematical Magic Show books that he kept on his bookshelf.  One of my grand ambitions when we started Binary Arts/ThinkFun in 1985 was to someday meet Martin… and one of my proudest achievements has been that we developed Visual Brainstorms 2 with him.  I have visited Martin several times and we are friends… wow!

Making this experience video was a lot of fun, thanks to all who were included.  And, to read more about the G4G9 experience, read the blog post from our own ThinkFun Puzzle Hunter, Tanya Thompson.

Categories : Problem solving
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Friday, March 5th, 2010

Hello World!

This is the official start of “Bill’s Big Picture”… my take on the whacky world of creativity, problem solving and general out of the box thinking.
Today is a good place to begin… I’m on my way to the New Jersey Regional FIRST Robotics Tournament, where I volunteer as a Team Attribute Judge. Read more about this at my guest post blog here.
Recognizing that very few people will be reading this post, I’m now going to do a little name dropping in the interest of learning how to create links and other basic blogging procedures…
I heard about FIRST nine years ago, when legendary engineer Dean Kamen (inventor of the Segway) pitched the program from the TED stage, and invited the audience to come see the world championships that Spring, which were being held in EPCOT Center that year. I loved the idea, my 13 year old son Sam loved the idea when he heard it, so we made the trek to Orlando and had a blast. Sam ended up interning for Dean’s company DEKA, in the Summer of 2008 and now works for TED, so that worked out pretty well!
Well, I’m reaching the end of my time at Union Station, my Amtrak train beckons. Trenton, here I come!

Categories : Heroes, Problem solving
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