So yesterday I had an unexpectedly awesome day. My dad is helping out with a group called Minddrive. Its a really cool program that takes a group of underprivileged city kids and with the help of a group of professionals they build an electric car. This is the second year of the program and one of the cool things they do is go to a bunch of trade shows to show off their work. Here’s what they’ve been working on for the last couple of months. It’s pretty awesome. (please excuse the bad picture of the awesome car)
So yesterday they were down at Union Station for the KC Maker Faire. I love Make Magazine, its in my RSS feed, and I read it everyday but somehow I missed that this weekend was the Maker Faire in KC.
It was a lot of fun. Tons of different kinds of projects and groups were showing their creations. My favorites were all of the 3D printers. I really wish I had the need for a 3D printer for prototypes but alas I’m not a mad scientist yet. Soooooon, but not yet. And yesterday I took another step toward scientific villany, or heroism.
I learned how to solder! Soo awesome, and really easy! Now I’ve just got to spend some quality time with my electronics kit so I know what I’m doing.
The comic you see in the corner of the picture was an incredibly helpful and informative how-to for beginner solderers. I found it online at MightyOhm. One thing I adore about the maker culture is the general desire of makers to help everyone around them hack their world.
The last couple of days have been project time for my dad and me. We finally cleaned out part of the unfinished section of our basement and have started setting up a nice little workshop. I’ve always loved making things, I just usually don’t have the equipment/space/money/time to do a whole lot. Well, I guess I have the time, but I do try and finish the important things first. i.e. the second Mercator book.
The space is perfect, it even has a garage door to wheel in and out ambitious future projects. (I have my eyes on our aging riding lawnmower.) I’ve even used the space before for cool projects. Back in 6th grade we were required to come up with a project for our Egyptian History unit and I built a four foot tall sarcophagus with a mummy and scepters painted gold with researched hieroglyphics and everything. I had a lot of help, but I had a blast. Needless to say, I aced it. I even made the local paper with the project. I wasn’t trying to over achieve, I just thought it’d be fun.
Yesterday we cleaned out all the junk, re-organized, got rid of cobwebs, and swept out the mouse poop. Today we bought a nice heavy vice and grinder and mounted them with bolts on the work table. There is still a lot to do, but it’s a nice start. Soon we’ll have all our tools organized and join the table to the wall for stability and with a little extra lighting we’ll be in business!
I’m not a train nerd, but this video of replacing tracks is pretty darn awesome. I’d love to see a resurgence of train use in the US. Perhaps in the post oil days we’ll rediscover how awesome rail travel can be. I know that while I went to school in Wheaton, one of my favorite things about living near Chicago was the light rail system. It might take a few extra minutes to get downtown, but you didn’t have to mess with traffic, and you could zone out and just enjoy the ride or get some work done.
And I’m sure everyone’s seen this video of a certain Pulp Fiction/Snakes on a Plane Star reading a bedtime story that parents can relate to by now. I’m sorry if the language offends, but I think once a word can be used in a children’s bedtime story without major backlash it has lost it’s bite. (NSFW or kids, seriously if you’re not old enough for Pulp Fiction don’t watch. I don’t want to get in trouble with your parents.)
The more I art, the more I realize that all art is in some way derivative. Like the Bible says, “There is nothing new underneath the sun.” It’s not nearly as depressing as you think. The way a great artist steals you might not even recognize what it was they stole. It may be an idea or just an element from the work of another artist, and it’s usually re-purposed and twisted into something shiny and new that has little resemblance to the original. Think of it more as recycling. If you know who the artist/author lists as their influences then you might be able to see the stolen bits. Art builds on what came before just like science, engineering, and everything else.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to go hack out a lung and get to writing.
Just spent a few day’s at my grandma’s trying to get some quality writing time in. I always love going up there, it’s idyllic. My grandma is 91 and still lives on her own, except for her German Shepard, Greta. And Greta gets two walks a day in the pastures around the farm. I swear that North Missouri is the Shire.
I went up there partially to write, but mostly to keep my grandma company. My great-aunt, her sister, passed away last week and I just thought it would be a good idea.
Now that’s just a cool word, don’t you think? Sounds…magical. Or something.
They look pretty awesome too. This particular one is round. I didn’t even know they came in “round.”
But here is the real reason for this post. This particular video came across my path by way of Lifehacker. I’ve always wondered how these shiny brass navigation/time tools worked. Human ingenuity at its finest. Someday I intend to build one for fun (a.k.a. an SCA project)