Yesterday and today I focused on a really fun self-contained programming project. It was part of a larger project, but it possessed its own clearly defined goals and boundaries.

First, some context. I’ve been creating an interactive computer graphic woolly mammoth for a project we are doing here.

If you’ve ever animated a pachyderm, you know the most important and also the most difficult part to get right: The trunk.

After all, an elephant’s trunk is its pride and joy, its superpower, its primary way of expressing itself and for interacting with the world, possessed of both incredible power and incredible delicacy.

In that way it is very much analogous to that great superpower of our own species — our capacity for language.

My project these last two days was essentially to build something in software that moves just like an elephant’s trunk. And this afternoon I finally got it right.

So now I have what you might call a “standalone trunk”. It works just fine on its own, but it has not yet been integrated.

Which is just fine, because that gives me two fun things to work on tomorrow: Attaching a trunk to my computer graphic woolly mammoth, and then teaching the mammoth how to use it.

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