Klein Bottle

Until lunchtime today I didn’t know what one was either.

I’ve been watching the TED Talks on my AppleTV, I still have about 20 of the normal video quality ones to watch before I start on the HD variations. Because they’re only 18 minutes long, I watch a few eating breakfast, then a couple at lunchtime and maybe one or two whilst eating in the evening. I am quite the fan.

Today I watched this talk by Clifford Stoll

It is such a wonderful and amazing talk made by someone who looks like Dr. Emmett Brown but occasionally has the voice of Emo Philips. No disrespect intended to anyone concerned.

Cliff StollCliff Stoll
© Cliff Stoll 2008

As Cliff mentions in the talk he makes klein bottles. I certainly hadn’t heard of them but I had heard about Moöbius and his loop with only one edge and one side. So later in the afternoon, and certainly not on company time, I found his website and ordered a big klein bottle.

In the evening I received an email from Cliff Stoll (Chief Bottle Washer) thanking me for my order and saying that he took some photos, which would arrive shortly. A couple of minutes later an email with eight photos attached arrived in my in-box showing the klein bottle, the bottle in bubble wrap, the bottle in a box with packing quavers around it and one with Cliff holding the taped and labelled box.

I’ve bought many many items via the internet, and I’ve had a few email chats with the sellers, but I’ve never had such a fantastic experience. And I haven’t even received the bottle yet, that pleasure is between a week and ten days away.

For someone selling something that they’ve produced, and in limited quantities, this would be a remarkable idea. To see the person who has made the product and see it being packaged isn’t such a huge drain on resources, and it adds so much to the overall experience.