Quote of the Day
What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?
— Stephen Hawking. It seems that everyone at some point wonders why mathematics works. Wigner probably articulated this sense of wonder most effectively in his "Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics" lecture. When I was at university, I attended a similar lecture given by Hamming.
I was looking at some photographs of a fiber-optic deployment, and I thought you might find it interesting seeing the details of what goes into the "green yard furniture" that quietly sits in the yards of many people (Figure 1). The fiber electronics is slung on a metal bar above the hole in the ground – all the cabling comes up from the hole. The plastic green cover behind the hole is intended to provide some environmental protection and a decent appearance.
As you can see, the hole is flooded. I could not describe all the snakes, frogs, salamanders, ants, bees, and other critters that we find inside these enclosures. I am very careful when I pull the plastic covers off. That has not always been the case. During a trip to Florida, I started to pull a plastic cover off rather cavalierly when a technician warned me that he uncovered a coral snake in this particular enclosure during his last inspection. At that point, I decided it would be wise to proceed more carefully.
I should mention that you will see also these metal electronic enclosures hung from utility poles as well (Figure 2).