Juggler's World: Vol. 42, No. 1

Academic Juggler

Scientific Minds Respond to Latest Inquiry

by Arthur Lewbel

The previous installment of the Academic juggler (in the Winter 1990 Juggler's World) brought in more than the usual amount of mail. Champe Ransom would like to see articles about terminology, and would like to see some standardization of terminology.

In the past, the only tricks that have gotten standard names are ones that are either so basic (like the cascade) or so popular (like Mill's Mess) that everyone needed to talk about them. I expect that the publicity of Dave Finnigan's new book, The Complete Juggler, and the activities of his Juggling Institute will result in many of the terms Finnigan used becoming standardized.

People have also tried to invent juggling notations from time to time. For example, see The Juggler's Handbook, by B.W. Stone, available from Spiritwood publishers, c/o 2400 Glenwood Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55405.

Dan Fitzgerald wrote asking about articles relating math and juggling. He said there is an article in the Nov. 1989 edition of "The Physics Teacher" called "The Physics of Juggling" by IJA'ers Bengt Magnusson and Bruce Tiemann. There is also an interview with Claude Shannon in a recent issue of Scientific American. There is also a new book (actually a published Ph.D. thesis) called Juggling Dynamics by Peter Jan Beek, published by the Free University Press in Amsterdam. I hope to report on this book in a future installment of the Academic Juggler.

My brief discussion of juggling software and suggestion that computer-minded jugglers get together brought many responses, most of them via electronic mail. A juggling program that currently exists is called "JUG - The Juggling Simulator," by David Greenberg (Albuquerque Custom Software, 422 Harvard Drive S.E., Albuquerque, NM 87106). It runs on IBM PC's using CGA or EGA graphics.

Gerald Martin (7336 Lyndale Ave. So., Richfield, MN, 55423) suggests creating a Macintosh juggling program that would use a juggling notation like Stone's as input and show the pattern on the screen.

Bob Waltenspiel at the ATE software team, HP signal analysis division (email: Bobw@hpsad, Bitnet IN%"Bobw@hpsadpk.hp.com"), suggested building up a user interface for a juggling program by having the user enter the spot a throw would start from and its angle and force. Then the computer would trace out the resulting arc the object flies in, after which the user could either change the input, or specify a point on the curve where the next catch occurs, and build up a pattern from there.

Rob Seaman, who is a scientific programmer at the National Optical Astronomy Observatories in Tucson (email: seaman@noao.edu on internet or bitnet through a gateway, uunet!noao.edu!seaman on UUCP, and NOAO::SEAMAN on SPAN/HEPNET), wrote with many useful suggestions for juggling software writers, including the idea that a program generate output on a laser printer that could be pasted together into a flip book. He also proposed that a juggling program permit the user to change the point of view (i.e., in front, over head, etc.), that the user be able to choose different props, that bounces off walls or floors be included, that a soundtrack for hearing rhythms (and for fun) be included, and that the output include printouts in some standard juggling notation.

Other jugglers interested enough in juggling software include Arnold Ward at Purdue University (email: arnward@ei.ecn.purdue.edu), Duane Starcher (Bitnet email: IN%"Duane@Kean.ucs.mun.ca"), who suggested that email addresses be included in the roster, and Andreas Meyer at the AT&T National Systems Support Center (email on uucp: ..!ulysses.att.com!nsscb!ameyer or ameyer%nsscb@ulysses.att.com, on bitnet: IN%"nsscb!enigma!ahm@ulysses.att.com"), who reports having a little cascade juggling demo program that runs on an AT&T 5620 terminal.

In addition to my own suggestions for juggling programs in last issue, I would add the idea that programs be coded in C, Basic, or some other readily portable language so as to run on as many machines as possible. There are obviously a million ideas out there. Get coding you guys, and let me see what you come up with. Also, any of you who wants to start coordinating a computer network of jugglers should feel free to start now!

"The Academic Juggler" is an occasional feature of Juggler's World, and is devoted to all kinds of formal analyses of juggling. Commentary should be addressed to Arthur Lewbel; 3 Audubon Rd.; Lexington, MA 02173; 617/862-3089; or Email (Bitnet address Lewbel@Brandeis).

Academic Juggler / Index, Vol. 42, No. 1 / jis@juggling.org
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