Posts Tagged ‘SCIENCE’

Haven’t blogged for a while. Will have to rectify this in the near future.

In any case, here’s something awesome. Astronaut Chris Hadfield has a Tumblr, on which he posts pictures of the earth from space. OVER THE SAME INTERNET THAT WE ALL USE ON EARTH.

It’s a cliché to say it at this point, but at some point not too long ago, it became the future and we didn’t even notice it.

~ Ian

(Gorillaz, “Broken”)


Today, I turn twenty years old.

Now, we all know that a year is the amount of time it takes for the earth to travel around the sun, and the earth is 93 million miles (on average) from the sun.

So, what does that mean for me?

Well, that means that in the last year, the earth has traveled 584,336,224 miles around the sun.

During my lifetime, it has traveled 11,686,724,472 miles.

I’m not just twenty years old. I’m eleven billion, six hundred eighty six million, seven hundred twenty-four thousand, four hundred seventy two miles old.

That doesn’t make me feel big. That just makes me feel very small.

~ Ian

I know that this is a little late (or rather, internet-late, which really means a day after the event), but I thought that I’d give some thoughts on the passing of Neil Armstrong.

I feel that the moon landing is one of the most important things that humans have ever accomplished. Not because of its political significance, or because of the difficulty of the task. These were both important things, but that’s not what the moon landing will be remembered for.

No, the reason why the moon landing will be remembered is because it was a young, fledgling species taking its first steps out of the nest, finally learning how to fly. For a brief moment, we walked on the surface of another world. For a brief moment, we transcended the bonds of gravity and flew. Not as individuals, but as a species.

I feel sorry that we didn’t choose to go further out, establishing bases on the moon and Mars, journeying to the outer planets and setting foot on the cold, frozen moons of Jupiter and Saturn. That instead of reaching for the stars, the United States instead decided to bomb Southeast Asia into a bloodstained pulp. That the moon landings were of their time, instead of being timeless, like they should have been.

With Neil Armstrong gone, the number of people who have walked on the surface of another world decreases. And that’s a sad thing.

Maybe one day, we’ll get our priorities straight, and instead of pouring money into building instruments of destruction, we can use that instead to transcend our planetary bonds. Maybe one day that’ll happen.

It isn’t happening now, though, and that makes me sad.

~ Ian

The epic trilogy CONCLUDES!

Okay. Now the afternoon winds down at Maker Faire. As the epic trilogy of blog posts concludes, we come to the anticlimactic climax of my adventures at Maker Faire 2012, which does not contain tiny teddy bears with spears. However, it does contain Warhammer 40k cosplay, Bradburian fire trucks, and bubbles.


After seeing the MOST AWESOME SCULPTURE EVER, I came over to the midway to listen to some music.

These guys (I didn’t catch the name of their band) sounded like a combination of the Dresden Dolls and Queen– which, of course, is a good thing.

Now, if you look over to the right of the picture, you can see people on bicycles, pedaling. These people were providing all the power to the amps for the band.

I pedaled for a little while, turning gyro into G-chords, and helped the following band to make wonderful music.

It was fun. And good exercise.

My legs were tired afterwards.


A jeep! That you can affix Legos to!


Guess what you just lost?


Here at Maker Faire, the fire trucks don’t shoot water. Rather the opposite, actually.




I don’t know what kind of beast is being summoned here. All I can guess is that it’s from the Elemental Plane of Water, and it hates all life.




This was really cool.

It’s a working replica of the 1960s teaching computer, the Digi-Comp II. But instead of electrons, it calculates things using billiard balls.

I find it shocking and amazing that humans from the Digi-Comp II to the PlayStation 3 in just forty years. And that the PS3 costs far less than a DCII did in its day.

People are awesome.


Jannek was delighted to see an antique German fire truck at the Maker Faire.

And I got to learn an awesome new word: Feuerwehr!

(It means Fire Department. Unfortunately, ich kann nur ein bisschen Deutsch sprechen.)


A Lego metropolis– Legopolis, if you will.


Finally, we end with this picture that really demonstrates what Maker Faire is all about: a man riding a gigantic bicycle through the fairgrounds, a thing that should not be and yet his, a thing that he built with his own hands.

Maker Faire demonstrates something important that we’re in danger of forgetting. Creativity isn’t something that is taught. It’s not something that you have to go to school to learn. It’s inherent in all of us– whether we’re high school students building a BSG flight sim in our garages, a bunch of friends who get together to make music in the sunshine, or a guy who gets snails to eat through paper. Nobody has a monopoly on creativity. Ideas come from everywhere. Science isn’t something done by stern men in white coats in secluded desert laboratories– it’s something that surrounds us and permeates everywhere we go. And people should never let what other people say is possible get in the way of doing something awesome.

Godspeed, Maker Faire. I’ll see you again in 2013.

~ Ian


PS: If you want to go to the Maker Faire, but are one of those people who live in the secluded hinterlands, despair not. There are other Maker Faires, including ones in New York and Detroit which are coming later this year, as well as dozens of mini Maker Faires held all over the world, from Ghana to Gujarat, from Melbourne to Minnesota.

Here’s a link to the main Maker Faire page.

But look at me still talking when there’s science to do! Be good to each other. ~ Ian

Today I went to Maker Faire.

It was awesome, as usual.

For those of you who don’t know, Maker Faire is an annual DIY festival held in San Mateo, and it is awesome.

The closest description I can give to Maker Faire that comes close to portraying the whole thing is that it’s half hacker convention, half industrial art exposition, and half street fair. But this description is absolutely nothing like what it is.

(Yes, I know– there are three halves in there. But Maker Faire is so cool that it defies the laws of mathematics.)

Fortunately, for those of you who weren’t there (I’m looking at you, Steve), then I took pictures.

Lots of pictures, actually.

Almost two hundred, in fact.

So, I’m dividing my account of the Maker Faire into three parts. This first part, which I have chosen to designate as Episode IV, contains cyborg plunger-monsters, lightning-producing supermachines, and  hats.


A view of the West Entrance of Maker Faire.

Observe the man in the robot costume in the foreground. As you may not be able to tell, his costume is also a soundsystem.


These teens built a flight simulator of the Viper from Battlestar Galactica.

All that I could think about while watching this was, damn, I wish I was that creative and brilliant when I was in high school.


The Dalek was popular with the children…


…as was the fleet of Astromech droids.








Personally, I can think of no higher aspiration for humanity than to put children in a cage and shoot lightning at them.

(Oh, don’t look so shocked. The children were fine– except for one who came out with white hair and the ability to control electricity with her mind. But personally, I count that as a net benefit.)


A typical form of public transportation at the Maker Faire: Peyote.


As usual, the steampunks were out in force.


Steampunks, with their newfangled Horseless Carry-azhe™.




I decided to try on the most manly of the hats.

In case you’re wondering, this is the second installment of the ever-growing chronicle of Ian Photographing Himself Wearing Strange Hats (the first being, of course, my Jayne Hat picture).


And finally, as a sign of What Is To Come…

You will come to notice that Sculptures That Shoot Flames™ are a recurring theme at Maker Faire.

More tomorrow,

~ Ian