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Ambigram 2 - CAFEBABE
This second ambigram uses the 'magic number' that is the first four bytes of every Java class file and identifies it as such. The value in hexadecimal is CAFEBABE = 1100 1010 1111 1110 1011 1010 1011 1110 (binary). It is claimed that this value was chosen for the first four bytes long before the name Java was chosen for the language. You had better believe it!
This ambigram is completely different from the first one which had a 180° rotational symmetry (in other words it read the same rotated through 180° = turned upside down). CAFEBABE has a horizontal mirror symmetry. Go and get yourself a hand-held mirror and hold it to the screen horizontally just under the CAFEBABE image. Aha! Upside down it is meaningless.
Having had some success with Java, the repeated letters in CAFEBABE attracted me (A, B, E). Both B and E could easily have mirror symmetry by balancing the top and bottom halves, and so could C. A and F posed problems. A was easily disposed of by using one of its many forms, in particular a cursive form with a round bowl. I struggled a bit with F, since making it into a near E is not an option. Finally, I settled on a slightly distorted long cursive form of f, relying on the fact that you pay more attention to the top of a letter than the bottom. And there it is. Still a pretty simple ambigram .
Incidentally, any hexadecimal number that contains only some combination of the digits 01-3----8-ABCDEF can be mirror-reflected in a similar way. I'll do some thinking about 2-4567-9.
Oh! The answer to the puzzle onthe previous page is that a mirror does not reverse left-to-right. It reverses depth perpendicular to its plane (in other words front-to-back). We look at ourselves in a mirror as nearly vertically symmetrical beings and make a wrong assumption to fit the image to what we know we are like. The assumption shows up when we see a photo (which is not reversed): 'I don't look like that!'.

© Copyright  2000, 2001  AHJ Sale
Page last modified on 2001 February 3