Attitude Indicator...For a car....

How would one make a cheap attitude indicator for a jeep...i go offroading and i just thought it would be cool to make my cockpit look more like a cockpit, im putting up some toggle switches and a couple other cool accents but i thought the coolest would be something that shows me how far my jeep is tipping when i flex it.  So if anyone has any crazy ideas on how to pull one off let me know, ive had some ideas of like pinning a floating compass to an axis so it only tips back and forth...but the real electronic ones for aviation are thousands of dollars and very impractical.  Help me out here people....  email me at artbynathanmenke@gmail.com if you have any ideas

Topic by NathanMenke 7 years ago  |  last reply 7 years ago


I am CRUSHED.... :-(

I had finally gotten my "project" (for the gift exchange) finished, well except for some cosmetic touches to make it look nicer then it did.  I tested it for the last time, and a wire crossed and the speaker when POOF in a puff of smoke. This thing has me so depressed at not being able to finish it and get it sent that I am having troubles just getting back in and tearing it all out to replace the speaker and maybe put in a dampener resister to prevent it from happening again......I AM going to finish this one way or another......just wanted you all to know I am having to deal with a lot lately (my Mom becoming ill and maybe needing full time "residence in a facility" and being the only one left in the family willing to do anything, a whole lot has been dumped into my lap since July. But I DO intend on getting this out somehow, but Tuesday...but I am so sorry for this horribly long delay.

Topic by Goodhart 8 years ago  |  last reply 8 years ago


Analyse me!

Elsewhere, another, well-respected, ibler referred to himself as having a kiteman like attitude for a few days.What on Earth does that mean?What is my attitude? I wasn't aware of having one.Go on. Be honest.(And should I use this image as my new avatar?)

Topic by Kiteman 10 years ago  |  last reply 9 years ago



Interview: the man who makes the smallest engines.

I lone this guy's work - tiny, working, hand made models of IC engines - but I love his attitude even more...

Topic by Kiteman 6 years ago  |  last reply 6 years ago


My Appleseed Processor (for making biodiesel)

I just built my first appleseed prototype. What d'you guys think?So, for the sake of discussion... What's the general attitude in the instructables community towards biofuels in general? Who here's boycotting ethanol? If so, are you boycotting all ethanol, or just ethanol made from food-crops? Who else on i'Bles makes biodiesel? -DMC

Topic by drinkmorecoffee 11 years ago  |  last reply 11 years ago


Where lame computers go to die.

If you're like me you probably have an "out of sight, out of mind" attitude towards garbage. Usually, when I throw something out, I don't give too much thought to where it is going to end up. The problem with such an attitude is that the garbage ultimately has to go somewhere; it is unlikely that we are going to start blasting our trash into space any time soon. So, the question is, when we toss out really toxic things like old computers or televisions, where, in fact, are they ending up? The edge of town? The edge of the county? The next state over? West Africa? A small shanty in China?National Geographic has an amazing article in their current issue about the fate of such e-waste."People have always been proficient at making trash. Future archaeologists will note that at the tail end of the 20th century, a new, noxious kind of clutter exploded across the landscape: the digital detritus that has come to be called e-waste."Photograph by Peter Essick

Topic by randofo 11 years ago  |  last reply 11 years ago


condition yellow group created

Condition yellow offers video tutorials and tips on a variety of life skills, from first aid and fitness training, to hacking everyday objects. There is very much a diy, do-it-on-the-cheap attitude to all the tips and tutorials we offer, as we believe the best things in life come free. The site was born out of a desire to make life-enhancing, practical information easily available and digestable. By adding them to this group, your instructables will be considered for a feature on condition yellow.http://condition-yellow.com

Topic by sam noyoun 11 years ago


How does someone with very little mechanic experience learn to fix a classic car?

My husband and I are both in our twenties, and neither of us have much mechanic experience or knowledge. You could say I have essentially none. But this is something I have always wanted to learn! My dad just passed away and I now have his 1967 SS Chevelle. Unfortunately, it hasn't had an engine in it for several years since he blew it up when I was a little girl, and it has been sitting ever since. I know we have a 396 block for it and many of the parts...although I can't exactly say what. I am pretty resourceful and a quick learner. Eager to put this car back together in memory of my Dad, and excited to learn, but don't have any idea where to start. We have family friends who are mechanics but I hate to ask them for too much help. I'm always of the attitude that I can "figure it out" but given the fact that I know so little about mechanic work, I don't know if that attitude applies here. Any advice/thoughts/resources on how and where to learn how to do this?

Question by slr1967 3 years ago  |  last reply 3 years ago


Science and Spirituality -- not necessarily in opposition

There's a cute little article (blog entry) in New Scientist, about a collaboration between a Buddhist monastery in India and San Francisco's Exploratorium. Buddhism, especially under the 14th Panchen Dalai Lama, has had a very favorable and welcoming attitude toward science. Traditional Buddhist practice toward enlightment stresses observation, experiment, and reproducibility (all classic hallmarks of "scientific" investigation), and elevates personal questioning above outside authority (unlike traditional Judeo-Christian-Islamist "revelation").

Topic by kelseymh 10 years ago  |  last reply 10 years ago


Altered Barbie in San Francisco

It's time for another Altered Barbie exhibition in San Francisco - perhaps the best thing that's happened to Barbie since her introduction over 50 years ago. Here Barbie "breaks out of the mainstream American concept of beauty and social stigma. The new Altered Barbie metamorphoses and naturally blossoms into a diversity of attitude, social roles, politics, and culture expressed through the medium of art." If you've seen lavonnesbarbies at Maker Faire, you already have a good idea of what you're in for.  If not, check out the great gallery hosted at Altered Barbie and find out more about the upcoming exhibition!

Topic by scoochmaroo 8 years ago  |  last reply 7 years ago


Fort Of July

Anyone heard of this: ~ Fort of July ~ = playfulness + community building + irrelevant revelry team awesomes all over the globe unite and celebrate in the name of awesome, fun-enabling, just-for-the-heck-of-it attitude, the spirit of nevernever land, and because building forts is just downright sweet! so on July 4th: * get a gang together * brings fort supplies – sheets, pillows, boxes, ladders, tree fronds, whatever-is-clever! * build an awesome fort * play together, in the flesh and using fun flashy techy tools to connect forts in worldwide ideas = welcome! spreading the idea = super welcome! making it blow up = well duh! high 5! team awesome ________   From Fort Of July I'm totally going to celebrate, are you?

Topic by frenzy 8 years ago  |  last reply 8 years ago


How to make a better Trumpet section?

 Hello, I am a Junior in High School and next year I will be Trumpet section leader for both Marching and Concert Band. Our Trumpet section is not very good, I am sorry but we just aren't. Except for one person, this year we are losing an awesome Senior who most of us underclassmen have leaned on at one point or another. As section leader I am taking on the attitude of "This year is going to be the best yet…Brass…lets kick some a*s". Unfortunately I don't think the section will. Does anyone out there have any tips on any music/warm-ups or technique's that I might consider looking into so that our Trumpet section is the best it can be, so our band can shine?

Question by 1953woody 9 years ago  |  last reply 9 years ago


Agnostics, Atheists, Skeptics: Help us Christians out!

Ok non-believers, Here's your chance! I am genuinely interested in what BEHAVIORS among Christians truly offend or irritate you. I'm not really interested in biblical inspiration, theology, and belief systems here. "Free-will/Predestination", "Creation/Evolution", and "biblical inspiration/made-up-stories" have been done to death, and I don't really want to discuss those issues in this topic. I mostly want to know what attitudes and actions on the part of Christians, really rub you the wrong way. I will not argue: Biblical accuracy, the existence (or not) of God, or church history here. I also won't dispute your individual experiences with "church people". To be honest, I just want to know how to be a better person. So keep the comments: nice, to the point, and constructive. I will give all genuine criticisms a fair shake.

Topic by skunkbait 10 years ago  |  last reply 9 years ago


Kiteman Recommends: Punk IPA

I just came across a beer (bought in Tesco) from a brewery that is new to me, but I'm definitely going to keep an eye on.The beer is Punk IPA: Post Modern Classic Pale Ale, from the BrewDog brewery in Fraserburgh, Scotland. A fresh, clean beer, with an ABV of 6%, it's an easy drinker.According to their website, they have a range of beers, mainly ales and stouts, but with one pilsner as well. They are all modern, pure-ingredient takes on classic brews.I'm not a beer expert, but I am a beer snob. Based on this IPA, and the brewers' Maker attitude, I plan on making BrewDog a regular presence in my beer stocks.Even better news for our resident brewers (Lemonie and moaner70 to name two), they have a vacancy - if you have it in you, and can commute to Scotland, They are looking for a new brewer.

Topic by Kiteman 9 years ago  |  last reply 9 years ago


Maker Internship at Klutz (paid)

Klutz, publisher of Juggling for the Complete Klutz and other cool books, is looking for a summer intern with tech skills, creativity, and a fearless attitude toward taking stuff apart and making interesting art and toys. Job Summary This intern will learn the ins and outs of the publishing world according to Klutz while helping develop books and kits. Responsibilities • Assist in creating and testing tech-oriented books and kits. • Assist book editors with daily tasks including changes to brainstorming, creating handmade mock-ups, and assisting at photo shoots. • Test toys and book ideas. • Test toys and books with children. • Run errands. • Assist other groups as needed. Qualifications • Creativity, motivation, and the ability to learn quickly. • A solid knowledge of electronics. Robotics experience a plus. We’d love to find someone who has experience tinkering with toys, robots, soft circuits, and such. • Experience with art and music a plus. • Able to write basic instructions that a novice could follow.

Topic by ayeola alexander 11 years ago  |  last reply 9 years ago


Experienced internship in China

Hi,everyone:                                                    This is Elly from Ningbo Wencheng International Student Internship Inc Nice to meet you! This is a very good chance for your getting more international experience when you are a students and you are willing to invest on abroad internship or tour.If do so,it makes more success in your future career and how to use your right view to know this world.Also,with development of economy of the larggest comsumer’s market,the more and more company will enlarge their business in China and so these company hope to employ some working experience in China for developing their business in China.At the same time,when you work with chinese together,you will know more chinese working ways or working enthusiasum to change your attitude to live. We are specialized in supplying the service of student internship,student tour and student mandarin Training in China.Please check on www.nowisi-internship.com. If you have any interesting or any plan,our Nowisi team will help for practise your plan Happy Everyday For You! Service Manager : Elly

Topic by nowisi 7 years ago


INSERT_GREETING_HERE

It's been a LONG time since I've done any sorts of running around this neck of the woods. Instructables is a lot cooler now than it was before and that's really impressive. Kudos to the guys who run this shindig along with everyone who keeps contributing awesome projects. It brings a smile to me face :D It's good to see some names here I remember - it wouldn't surprise me if you had no clue who I was. That's quite all right, because, well, I'm here now and that's all that matters :) I just got done my first semester of engineering (what a shocker) at Virginia Tech. I plan to move into Industrial and Systems Engineering at the end of the year if any of you all are familiar with that. Just curious, are there any Hokies here? Maybe someday I'll finally get around to more than commenting/viewing/posting and actually post (and FINISH!) some of the projects I've started/done/conceptualized. I've got a bunch of old computers sitting on my floor and a pair of cafeteria lunch trays ... hmm ;) Keep up the positive attitude guys!

Topic by mikesty 11 years ago  |  last reply 11 years ago


Is this site for us any more; or is it just all about promoting sponsors' products?

This site used to be fantastic...it really felt like a community where people were generous with what they had discovered and wanted to share with everyone else, and I think most contributors come here, still,  and share with that same attitude. But the vibe has very much changed...and quite clearly the site has become far more focused on its sponsors. What has happened with the search function? When functionality has been limited you know that the site is more about what they want you to see and less about what YOU want to see. And how long before the site only contains Instructables using Duck tape and that modelling clay stuff I had never before heard of but which now seems to be everywhere on this site? I am very disappointed that this site isn't really about its users anymore. I used to recommend it to everyone, but when I brought a friend here yesterday I realised that it isn't what it was. It is a very great shame. (will be interesting to see how long this thread lasts)

Topic by Tinworm 6 years ago  |  last reply 6 years ago


parental advise?a REAL question for a change.?

Ive got two young daughters age 8 and 10 and im concerned about there latest attitude regarding pop music and sexy dancing.The 10 year old is very bright (a+ mathematics) the 8 year old is also bright but lazy and very rebellious (bad grades) How can two kids be so different?Soon they will be awful teenages and im concerned as i live in a somewhat wild lawless society with a huge diverse social soup of weird cultural ideas and many truly dangerous narcotic substances on every street corner.How do i keep them away from all this?I see this pop music obsesion is taking there attention away from sensible things.I wish to create a hunger for knowledge into them but feel im loosing the battle against mass media.My instinctive reaction is to restrict there access but i dont feel this will work and i already see rebelion.I am now taking them out hiking and camping regularly to counter act the pop stuff.How do you walk this fine line with young kids?

Question by afridave 8 years ago  |  last reply 8 years ago


Photojojo hiring photo-lovin' bad-ass to run our online store

Photojojo (www.photojojo.com) is looking for a creative, web-savvy person to join our team of photography lovers in San Francisco. Your job will be to manage and help grow our online store -- a job that requires sleuthing skills to unearth unique and interesting products to sell (via the internet and occasional trade show visits), analytical abilities to project sales and manage inventory levels, and negotiating kung-fu to work with vendors to obtain the best possible pricing.You'll also have a hand in writing appealing product copy, planning and executing photo and video shoots, and planning and measuring promotions and advertising.Superhuman organizational skills and a self-starter attitude are a MUST.Preference given to those who are also excellent writers, understand social media, have excellent people skills, and an innate sense of marketing and promotions. It sure doesn't hurt if you happen to be a great photographer or have experience in online retail, forecasting, or a deep love of metrics and data driven decision-making! (Not knowing things is okay, but you must be a good learner.)If you've got an entrepreneurial bent and crave freedom and the opportunity to learn how to start a business from the inside, this is for you.more: http://photojojo.com/jobs/

Topic by superamit 10 years ago


Funky Ball Challange

Funky Ball Idea. I had a crazy idea pop into my head last night.  These things happen. I call it Funky Ball.  I am not quite up to the task at the moment as I have my hands full of several other projects. I consider my ideas "Open Source" so hope someone with more time and talent will find this a challenge and run with it!  The only "Licensing" condition, post pictures and a video here and let me copy them to my personal project page. Here is the idea posted on my site. ------------- Here it is here ! ( same thing but I might update stuff on the site later ) --------- This idea came to me...I have no idea why. A transparent or translucent ball with illumination inside so there is a glow when seen rolling down the sidewalk. The tough part. Only one side glows! The tougher part. That side is always NORTH !  ( or South depending on your politics ) So here we have a ball rolling down a dark path with the same side always illuminated.  It should appear as if it is floating down the path because the illuminated side never changes position. Options: One color on NORTH and one on South. Perhaps color changing RGB LED's? Perhaps a "head light" always illuminating direction of travel with a tail light. The illuminated side is always the side in the direction the ball is rolling. Methods: Arduino and compass  or gyro/attitude shield? Anyone ?

Topic by paulckruger 4 years ago


Album Review: Timbuk 3 - Greetings From Timbuk 3 (1986) *****

Timbuk 3 - Greetings From Timbuk 3 (1986)NachoMahma's Rating: *****Pat MacDonald - acoustic, electric, bass and MIDI guitars, harmonica, vocals, drum programmingBarbara K. MacDonald - electric guitar, mandolin, violin, rhythm programming, vocals10 Tracks, total time 37:0301 - The Future So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades (3:24)02 - Life Is Hard (4:12)03 - Hairstyles And Attitudes (2:53)04 - Facts About Cats (3:22)05 - I Need You (3:59)06 - Just Another Movie (4:15)07 - Friction (3:46)08 - Cheap Black & White (2:55)09 - Shame On You (5:09)10 - I Love You In The Strangest Way (3:03)Timbuk 3's debut album is quirky, to say the least, but I love it. I think it's the harmonica that does it for me, but the lyrics are exceptional, also.Many of you may remember the opening cut from all the radio play it got (their only song to make the charts), but that's not the only gem here. I give all ten tracks five stars, even "Facts About Cats."

Topic by NachoMahma 11 years ago  |  last reply 11 years ago


How to Unlock All Super Smash Bros. Brawls Characters Within Two Hours EASY!!!

WARNING!!! IF YOU READ ANY FURTHER THE FUN OF THE GAME MAY BE RUINED OR MAY BECOME MORE FUN DEPENDING ON YOUR GAMER ATTITUDE NOT LIABLE FOR ANY OF THE CONSEQUENCES BECAUSE AFTER YOU READ THIS YOU MAY BE TEMPTED TO DO THIS!!!!! Use the following trick to unlock all characters in under two hours. Enter VS. mode, and select Special Match mode. Set it to Stamina and Flower modes. At the character selection screen, give the CPU 1 health and your character anything over 1 health. Also, make sure that it is on 1 Life Stock mode. Set the map to Shadow Mosses Island, at least until Snake appears and you defeat him. Keep playing this way for approximately two hours and you have around 500 VS. mode games played. By then, you should have unlocked all characters. Note: Make sure you are using a character you are good with because after a certain number of rounds, you will unlock each character and have to face them in a fight. It is 1 vs. 1 -- so it is recommended that you use a character like Ike, who hits very hard. However, do not worry if you lose; after one more VS. mode round, you will get to try again.

Topic by PizzaPlanet 11 years ago  |  last reply 11 years ago


Should I work at Squid Labs/Instructables - A questionnaire

I just discovered this gem of a mock questionnaire kinawera wrote a few months ago that is a primer for prospective Squid Labbers. While it's full of inside jokes, I still think you'll find it humorous. Employment questionnaire:SHOULD I WORK AT SQUID LABS?Has something you learned on MythBusters saved your life? How many times?A) OnceB) TwiceC) More than twiceThe difficulty with string theory is:A) it's too short at one endB) the wrong gauge of stringC) not enough of it is made into bridlesOn a one-to-ten index of snuggling, where would you position yourself?How would you characterise your approach to body odour?A) TolerantB) Very tolerantC) (There is no third option on this one)Are at least three major components of your car entirely constructed out of kitchen implements and/or braise?Have you ever used an air compressor for personal hygiene?Can you perform rudimentary kiteboarding maneovres, including permanently alienating beachgoers, preferably through incidents requiring ongoing hospital treatment?Do you have a communal attitude to futons and 40 foot school buses?Define: Mank, munted. Use both in a sentence.Do you like squid?Is a sense of shame a strong, medium or weak motivator in your daily life?You are given a pair of Crocs. What colour are they?Have you ever mapped out a sexual position on Solidworks and/or Matlab?Define the term: bicycle

Topic by ewilhelm 11 years ago  |  last reply 10 years ago


Uncharted Play is looking for talent

The creators of the SOCCKET, the first energy-harvesting soccer ball, are currently seeking creative thinkers with engineering backgrounds for our our 12-week Product Development Internship Program. All associates will be working on Uncharted Play's new product lines, as part of a multidisciplinary team of engineers and designers. The program is based in New York City. Scheduling is flexible, with a minimum of 20 hours per week required. As this is an unpaid internship, school credit may be offered as compensation, as well as consideration for joining our team after program's end.  Openings: Mechanical Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Operations Engineer Personal Characteristics: Go-Getter Attitude Fast Learner Creative Thinker Problem Solver Technical Aptitudes (Mechanical Engineer): Excellent visualization and 3D CAD skills Demonstrable Prototyping skills Knowledge of manufacturing processes Product development experience is desirable Knowledge of Design for Manufacturing knowledge is a plus Technical Aptitudes (Electrical Engineer): Ability to design, develop, test and troubleshoot analog and digital circuits Demonstrable prototyping skills Robotics experience is desirable Experience in the DIY community is a plus Technical Aptitudes (Operations Engineer): Knowledge of Supply Chain Management principles Willingness to interact with suppliers, both domestically and internationally Ability to construct models and metrics for operational efficiency Experience in the manufacturing industry is a plus If you are interested in becoming a Product Development Associate, please email your cover letter, resume and a brief example of your technical and/or creative skills to info@unchartedplay.com with "Product Development Candidate" in the subject line. You will be contacted within 7 business days on the status of your application.

Topic by vangelUP 6 years ago  |  last reply 6 years ago


Creative Movie Ideas: Youtube

I wanted to ask for some advice and feedback on my youtube channel as well as some new movie ideas. First off my Youtube Channel is very special to me and i think with the right work and attitude i cant get to to go farther: my youtube channel is http://www.youtube.com/user/Thelostrolo. Why the name Thelostrolo? well i created the channel when i was 11 (now nearly 15) and i thought i might as well keep the name! (I am working a big hunger games related project which will be uploaded to another channel) I am not sure if i should create a new channel. but that would mean starting from scratch and trying to get recognition again, but maybe you guys could help!? Anyway back to my idea: I had a phew ideas and of course ill need help as i cannot film on my own! The first idea is a simple idea called: 'The Confrontation" which is a simple action thriller type movie with gun movie effects and explosions! THe other on was: "Never look back"  a more serious film in which there is a kid who is bullied and one day is knocked out. He wakes up at home, but no-one was at home, so he decides to go out for a dog walk, he then comes across the bullies except they're afraid of him. etc etc and it ends with him finding out that he is not who he used to be! I could really do with some peoples feedback... not just because this took me a long time to type up! Also if you did check out my channel post your below and i might subscribe :D Thanks for the help Rowan Prosser- Rowans Movies - Thelostrolo RATE, COMMENT AND SUBCRIBE!

Topic by Rowans Movies 6 years ago


Are you to blame?

OK, I know it's a deliberately attention-grabbing topic name. Sorry about that.There was a post on the Bamboo bike frame, essentially saying "a disclaimer that this could be dangerous isn't enough; people aren't qualified to judge the strength of their homebuilt bike frames so might still get hurt even if they are careful", which attracted a lot of ire, but also a response from whiteoakart reframing the question, thus:As a maker and writer of an Instructable, what is your responsibility to keep your readers safe? How far does your culpability extend?This is obviously a knotty issue, and one that seems to have a range of attitudes across the board- some people say "pointy things are pointy, hot things are burny, don't hurt yourself" and leave it at that, some people list all the grievous injuries possible from their Instructable.In my opinion, there are two major things to consider:Is a person likely to do themselves harm even taking reasonable precautions?An Instructable on how to weld, with clear advice on breathing protection, eye protection and not electrocuting yourself should be "safe"An Instructable on free rock climbing, even with all the advice in the world about how to climb well, could easily get someone killed because free climbing is inherently dangerousIs the intended audience capable of accurately assessing the risks? The risks of a table saw are obvious- put your hands in the wrong bit and it will cut them off- but the risks of high-voltage electrics are harder to judge with simple "common sense" because a seemingly minor fault could be lethal.Both of these have an element of "reasonable" to them- if you make your instructions foolproof nature will give you a bigger fool, but there is a point at which it is reasonable to assume that a sensible person following your instructions with care and attention will not injure themselves.More thoughts?

Topic by PKM 9 years ago  |  last reply 8 years ago


Youtube Ideas

I wanted to ask for some advice and feedback on my youtube channel as well as some new movie ideas. First off my Youtube Channel is very special to me and i think with the right work and attitude i cant get to to go farther: my youtube channel is http://www.youtube.com/user/Thelostrolo. Why the name Thelostrolo? well i created the channel when i was 11 (now nearly 15) and i thought i might as well keep the name! (I am working a big hunger games related project which will be uploaded to another channel) I am not sure if i should create a new channel. but that would mean starting from scratch and trying to get recognition again, but maybe you guys could help!? Anyway back to my idea: I had a phew ideas and of course ill need help as i cannot film on my own! The first idea is a simple idea called: 'The Confrontation" which is a simple action thriller type movie with gun movie effects and explosions! THe other on was: "Never look back"  a more serious film in which there is a kid who is bullied and one day is knocked out. He wakes up at home, but no-one was at home, so he decides to go out for a dog walk, he then comes across the bullies except they're afraid of him. etc etc and it ends with him finding out that he is not who he used to be! I could really do with some peoples feedback... not just because this took me a long time to type up! Also if you did check out my channel post your below and i might subscribe :D Thanks for the help Rowan Prosser- Rowans Movies - Thelostrolo RATE, COMMENT AND SUBCRIBE!

Topic by Rowans Movies 6 years ago  |  last reply 6 years ago


Arch Reactor Hackerspace At Critical Mass & Moving

Be a part of Arch Reactor's Move. Help our Hackerspace Double in Size & Increase Our Community Impact Come & help us to grow through our crowdfunding campaign! Learn more about the exciting things the educational non-profit, Arch Reactor is doing in St. Louis, Missouri. http://igg.me/at/archreactorstl/x/11766633 Arch Reactor is Moving Welcome to Arch Reactor, the St. Louis community educational 501(c)(3) nonprofit hackerspace (sometimes also referred to as a makerspace). We are the oldest and largest organization of it's type in the St. Louis area. We specialize in collaborative learning, a DIY attitude, and inspiring interest in S.T.E.M. related fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics). Our focus is on education and teaching classes in electronics, programming, manufacturing, robotics, woodworking, and arts that are open to the general public. We are currently in the process of relocating to a much larger building about one-and-a-half miles away, at 2215 Scott Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri. Where we will be breathing a new breath of educational maker life into an old building and local community. This gem of a building at our soon to become new location has a rich history of being home to the Dixie Cream Donut Flour Company for several decades. The building has basically been used as storage for almost 20 years.  However, the expanse of the first floor interior is in need of a complete overhaul in order to be transformed into the new and updated Arch Reactor. Our members and supporters have been planning, procuring, cleaning, and doing everything we possibly can in order to complete this move project. In order to make such a large undertaking possible, we need your support too! Also, please help by sharing this post on your social media! #education #hackerspace #makermovement #community #building #moving #makerspace

Topic by GeekTinker 3 years ago  |  last reply 3 years ago


Blues , Rock & Oldies Online DJ Needed

I am a Internet Oldies Radio station owner seeking out talent for my legally licensed professional internet radio station. My goal is to find people that want to have fun on air and practice their talents as a professional Jock learning the way that FM radio runs without all the stringent rules that FM radio has in place. The station has rules that need to be followed obviously , but their rules are simple and not so hard to follow that you feel like it is work. It is alot of fun. The site has alot to offer in terms of what is on it for activities and it is state of the art. What this position is for is 3 different styles of DJ , Blues DJ , Oldies DJ and a Country DJ , perfect for someone who loves music , has a LARGE collection of MP3's , enough to fill at least a 2 hour or 3 hour show. Maybe have some knowledge about the artist's being played to throw in some great little tidbits to the listeners. This show would air once a week and be promoted by all staff members at their convenience. This is a NON PAID position and to gain experience ONLY, while having fun and meeting new people from all over the world. If you interested and want to apply you must first have : * A good connection that is reliable to the internet * A fast PC able to handle chat , music , messengers going to be able to deal with possible requests. * A positive and upbeat attitude about your show * Plenty of music to fill the time slot * A good quality mic that doesnt sound tinny or cheap * And the ability to be able to commit to whatever time slot agreed upon * Be able to agree to some simple station rules regarding promo's being played , DMCA compliance rules , announcements and things of that nature. You will get alot of exposure and alot of interaction on this site. The intent of this message is to find good on air talent that wants to be part of a professionally run station, while having lots of fun and meeting lots of new people and learning how internet radio runs. So please if you are truly interested in this , or knows someone who is . . . . send me a email at : info@bullseyeradio.com and you'll be responded to with more details and be setup for an interview with the DJ Mananger. Thanks everyone !

Topic by johnm34 4 years ago


Indianapolis 2015!!!

What's up K'nexers? It's Nerfrock', your local K'nexer-turned-temporary-lurker here to let you know that anyone interested is invited to a little party I'm having later this summer! Indianerfolis 2015 is basically the foam dart version of K'nex War 201#, and will include many military simulation and dart tagging games intended to provide lots of active fun! If you don't have any Nerf guns, K'nex guns are also welcome, as long as they don't have the ability to hurt someone. So far, Nerfrocketeer, JonnyBGood, a few NerfHaven members, a few of Nerfrock's friends, and possibly a few extra tagalongs will be there! More information can be found below: ---------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Saturday, June 27th, 2015 Time: 1:00 PM to around 4:00 PM. Location: Southeastway Regional Park, 5624 S Caroll Road. Park Info | Park Location ABOUT THE WAR:  This will be a general combat, capture-the-flag style war with two teams that will take place across a medium-sized field. We will play other games later in the day if everyone wishes. WHO'S INVITED: Anyone older than 14 years old who has a Nerf blaster that complies with the below rules and regulations is welcome to come. WHAT TO BRING: Nerf weapons, ammo, and equipment (complying with rules). Light/Tactical Clothing Lunch Anything you may need in an emergency. This may include special medication, money, a cell phone, and so on. Eye protection, closed-toed shoes, and a ride are mandatory. Friends! RULES: Modified Titans, Big Bad Bows, and other over-powered blasters that have the ability to cause serious injury are not allowed. Homemades and modded guns are welcome, as long as they follow these rules. Modified Nerf Ammo with sharp edges, points, or explosives, besides straight foam and hot glue stefans and slugs with washers, are absolutely not allowed. Blasters that look too realistic are not allowed. No mind-altering substances of any kind. Eye protection, closed-toed shoes, and a ride are mandatory. No homemade swords or shields. Five tags with a dart is out for the current round. Hit in the arms, blaster, or face doesn't count. Nerfrock' is a referee. Nerfrocketeer reserves the right to eject anyone from the war. No bad attitudes, vandalism, or other illegal/ socially unacceptable behavior. You can bring your dog, as long as it's friendly to strangers. No real weapons. You can trade/sell if you wish, but all responsibility for trading falls to you and the person you are trading or selling with. NOTE: This topic is in the K'nex section because this war is open to K'nex guns as well as Nerf guns, and a few K'nexers are going. -NK

Topic by nerfrocketeer 3 years ago


Belated I'bles Birthday! (I'm Do_Not_Turn_Off_The_Power BTW)

So, yeah! I just realized that I've been a member of the community for over a year! A lot's been happened, but I just wanna say I'm glad for joining I'bles. When I first joined, I never thought I would become an overall well-known regular on this website, but I did, so that's awesome, I guess. Thanks to Eric for making this wonderful website, the I'bles team for being really cool and helpful admins, and to all the friends I've gained on this website. I would like to thank these friends of mine in particular:DJ Radio: Thanks for keeping it real with me, man. You're one of the first people I befriended with here on I'bles and also the best one. Continue keeping it real, brah!Berkin: You're awesome, period. Your ideas are just great and I would like to thank you for helping me with various problems I face in real life.bkreed: HAI HAI! THXMUCH FOR EVRYTHANG *GLOMPS*! Seriously though, you're just great. I really like how you can instantly spice up a boring chat just-like-that. You're the coolest dudette friend I have, better than the ones I have in real life. *GLOMPS AGAINZZ* The Jamalam: Thanks for cheering me up with your awesome jokes and antics and standing up to me in arguments. Also thanks for being a really good friend ever since the first few weeks I started I'bles. HAZPIE! (I'm sorry whoever you are if you're not included here. I think all my friends are cool, it's just that I never did get to know you better, I guess.)Oh yeah, I would also like to apologize to all the people I've dissed on I'bles, Lithium Rain and Keith-Kid in particular, because I attacked both of you even though I have nothing against you two (wait, cross that. I was really ticked of at Keith at the moment, but using Lithium as a subject for inappropriate jokes directed at Keith is just wrong and immature). Sorry again to everyone else, my attitude is just part of who I am and I can't change that.And lastly, I would also like to thank everyone who thinks my homemade weapons are cool. Thank you very much, the compliments meant a lot to me.So, yeah! Thank you to all of you for making these two years a very valuable and enjoyable one.Best Regards,Izanagi Telos.

Topic by Camisado 9 years ago  |  last reply 9 years ago


The new me

It's been a toughweek for me, people. School started a week ago and something strange happened. Friends have been abandoning me one by one, and everyone acted soulless in front of me. It seemed like everyone was unhappy with somehing. Then i started to realize that everyone was unhappy with me.  This morning, i received messages from my friends saying why they hate me. Apparently i was an arrogant little ****. My friends were trying to deal with my arrogance for too long, and they couldn't take it anymore. I then logged on to instructables, yet having more controversy on my 'ibles. If you want to know why i am arrogant, I was considered to be a 'perfect kid'. I have a 3.8 gpa in high school now, and i am taking 4 AP classes, and one honors. I also made varsity tennis and JV basketball in freshman year, so i was considered good at sports (not bragging). I also won 3 karate sparring tournaments, which raised my self confidence even more higher, to the point where i almost became a kanye west duplicate. I was incredibly egotistical and happy with my self, because i was good at almost everything. I felt as though i was on top of everyone else, and i have always tried to maintain that position. But that happiness vanished during this week. Even in my first couple of 'ibles, i was overhappy and arrogant, and i used to demand respect and recognition. But i later realized that this wasn't right. I have made my mistakes of being an arrogant D-bag, and i am introducing the new me: a still happy person who doesn't cross the line towards arrogance. - IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Everyone has done bad things and made mistakes. If you haven't done bad things, you are a liar. Ask yourself this: How many times have you cheated on anything? Did you steal from anyone (even something worth a penny)? How many times have you lied to anyone? How many times have you broken the rules of your household, school, or anywhere else? There are many questions i can ask, but i will stop right here. We all make mistakes, but you are a good person as long as you LEARN from your mistake. I have learned from my bad things i have done in the past. I will be more mature and still maintain above a 3.8 gpa and still do my sports, but i will change my attitude and i won't be so arrogant and immature. This is a new me.

Topic by CODawesome 5 years ago  |  last reply 5 years ago


What makes a Knexpert?

Alright simple question, complex answer--what makes a knexpert? What do you guys think? Maybe now we can settle exactly what it takes so that there aren't anymore arguments about it. When Mepain and the rest of the knelders were around I remember it was rather tough to become a knexpert. Expectations were high. They were the ultimate judges and if you weren't good you just weren't good. After they left it was rather easy because we were left with few skilled people and mostly unskilled people. The slightest innovation impressed the people now. Overall expectation wasn't quite as high so people like me were considered easier. But it wasn't just my guns that made me a knexpert. I know people like IaC were not only liked for their awesome one of a kind projects but also for their personality. These are my opinions on what makes a knexpert. For all of you approaching knexperthood you should make sure you have all of these plus what others post below checked off.-First off they should have at least a couple of guns above 3.5* Best chance also is having at least one gun on the front page at one point-This isn't really important but I think one should have at least 4-5 instructables before being considered-They should have a wide range of weapons to prove skill in everything.-They should be modest. It's alright to brag about your weapons and other creations sometimes but you shouldn't be overdoing it nor should you demand attention for an innovative feature.-You should have a nice personality and good attitude. Never say a gun sucks unless it's a simple block trigger. Rating an instructable .5* otherwise is like giving someone the death sentence. You should be as constructive as possible.-You also should be well known to everyone. Everybody should have a feel for you and stuff like that. You wouldn't let a complete stranger take control of your. What else do you guys have? It's always the community who decides who's a knexpert so what are some of those things that the community settles on?Can I also say sorry to those that weren't considered a knexpert for the tournament? It didn't mean we didn't want to include everyone but the contest was made with the question of who was the greatest knexpert in mind. Please stop making tournaments based off of ours from now on as you don't have an excuse. I'm not stopping you from making you're own but oodalumps was right when he said tournaments here suck because there is one every other day thanks to the sore people.

Topic by TheDunkis 10 years ago  |  last reply 9 years ago


Talking about my Summer

I have to admit that I was skeptical before starting my Residency at Instructables. I never felt comfortable calling myself a "Maker" and here I was, walking into the belly of the beast at Pier 9. I felt like the term "Maker" was starting to read as cold, technical, robotic and...frankly...stuff really geared towards young boys. I felt as though I was coming into the program as a spy, an outsider looking to infiltrate and be critical of the hype around 3D printing. My project was really my attempt to talk openly about how I felt about these things in a way that people who design and use these machines might take notice. I was expecting to walk into an office full of dudes that wanted to make crazy things just because they could but I was created by quite another experience. The other AiRs were all interesting, questioning, infiltrating. The entire company was full of creative, open-minded, artsty folk and I can't tell you how good it felt to be in the electronics lab one day with all these different amazing and creative women coming in and out. I end my residency (the full-time part anyway) with a different attitude and the realization that people are pretty open-minded, excited and down-right nice! I never imagined people would go to the lengths they did just to help see the project along and it felt great to help and encourage others to see their ideas though. I think I leave the summer with a few new friends. On my presentation day, I felt like I wanted people to sign my year-book - it's that kind of place.   My favorite thing about the residency was also made the residency difficult. The space and people are so interesting and engaging that conversations start all the time. It's so great, but also makes it really hard to get work done! There is so much going on that its hard to stay on top of what people are working on - especially with the residents that aren't around everyday. It would be interesting to find ways to facilitate feedback and collaboration in different ways. We do an exercise in a class I help with at Berkeley where people put their projects on the wall and the other students add post-its with feedback. Maybe if we had a wall like that in the Air-ea it could be a way to keep tabs of all the work and also give short snippets of feedback without interrupting someone's flow. It wouldn't be a way to replace other ways of sharing what we're working on, but a sounding board for just quick, "have you seen X" kind of ideas.  I can't say thank you enough. I had a great, productive summer and I'm excited to be sticking around for a bit longer and seeing the new AiRs that come in and out. I would (and have) recommend the program to anyone - it was a really wonderful experience!

Topic by ldevendorf 4 years ago  |  last reply 4 years ago


The Social Problems That Plague Instructables - A Discussion for Everyone

Disclaimer: Nothing I say relegates to any sort of EULA/terms of service instructables may have. This is strictly concerning a matter of taste and public interest. I don't really know anything about the "legal" matters here, in fact, I could care less - I'm just seeking a practical solution. Before I begin my ranting and raving, I'd like to begin with these few questions. I don't expect you to respond tit-for-tat in list answer form - these are broad questions that you may choose to answer in your response I suppose, but the purpose of them is to get you thinking a bit: 1. Do you feel as though the quality of an instructable is important? 2. Does it bother you when you read an instructable that is very sloppy and appears as though no effort was put into making it appealing to the reader? 3. Does it bother you when you see instructables that tell you how to create things that appear to be ostensibly simple, as if you are being instructed on doing some menial thing? 4. Do you ever feel as though people post instructables in order to gain attention and don't seem to care about the instructable itself? If so, does that bother you? It appears to me that many people feel as though the content of Instructables.com is crummy at times. It looks as though more often than not as of late, people are posting a lot of negative comments on certain instructables. The populace is simply becoming frustrated with the amount of poorly-written, lame duck, perhaps "half-assed" instructables that are popping up on the site. Allow me to purge a bit before I create a storm: I am a man who preaches "For each, his own." I usually fall towards a laissez-faire policymaking attitude and I seek to just "let it lie" if necessary. I find that things work better uninterrupted. This is why I think I have held back here for a while about my thoughts on Instructables I didn't appreciate. Usually I would just mark it with a "-", leave a comment about what could be improved, and flag it if it was inappropriate. The problem is, I started to do this too much over time. Maybe I just became too acquainted with the functions, but it feels to me as though it is the quality of the instructables that have waned. I am evidently not alone with this feeling. I have remained as reserved as I can, but I think it is time to speak out about something because other people are starting to shed light on it. Perhaps we should be a little more conscientious about what we post. As the site grows, I think it is important we keep it tidy and nifty looking. There will be tons of new instructables every day, but I think we should reduce the number of them that many of us find pretty crummy. Perhaps a more overt ranking system. Instructables is a really awesome site that has a very strong backbone - it was founded by people who really cared about it's potential. They actively upgrade the website to our whims and make it as best as they can make it. At the least, we owe it to these people to post our best and brighest works and make instructables look like a decent site. My personal opinion: I hate to sound like an elitist jerk, but there are a lot of trashy instructables... they're not worthy of being labelled as instructables. It seems like every day the number of atrocious posts increases. At times, it seems as though instructables is no longer treated as a decent site, rather, it's just a landfill for people to post their junk. I won't name anyone or any specific instructables, but honestly, there are some that are just there to garner attention and get our juices flowing. It's not fun. Tear this to shreds, gents. G'nite ;).

Topic by mikesty 12 years ago  |  last reply 11 years ago


How to Go to Maker Heaven

Dear Pier 9, You are a place like no other, and I’m so glad you came into my life.  I was a full time Artist in Residence at the Pier for 4 months, and I doubt I have ever been so simultaneously intellectually stimulated, inspired and intimidated at any other point.  When I came to the Pier I had been living in New York for 8 years, and I had just decided to make a permanent migration back to my homeland on the West Coast.  I’d heard rumors about the rampant culture of innovation in the Bay Area, but I was still totally unprepared for the explosion of creative energy and excitement that is the nerdy artist heaven called Pier 9. Maybe I’m just getting older and less jaded… but in the last few years, I have felt a change in the world, a shift in attitude from angst to optimism, from critique to creation, and I think places like the Pier exemplify this new positive force.  The fact that a multinational corporation like Autodesk has allocated a significant amount of resources to giving the imaginations of a bunch of madcap inventors, artists, engineers and other creatives free reign in a beautiful lab with a bunch of cutting edge machines… well, to me that says good things about the direction of the world.  But what really makes the Pier special, I think, is the fact that all the creativity taking place there is fundamentally motivated by the philosophy of Instructables; by the idea that knowledge should be shared.  I have never encountered a group of people so willing to share their ideas and skills, and so excited to help make other people’s dreams a reality.  And the feeling was really infectious!  Everyone was so ridiculously helpful, that on the rare occasion I had the opportunity to teach someone else a skill, it felt like a treat. That’s not to say that my experience at the Pier was all sunshine and roses.  It was exhausting and draining, and very ego challenging.  When I first arrived I was incredibly overwhelmed by all the new information I was intaking.  I had projects in mind, but those ideas were quickly swept away in the tide of new ideas that arose with every fascinating technology, and possibility I encountered.  Having nearly unlimited options can be paralyzing, and I fell pray to this paralysis many times at the Pier.  One of the pitfalls of having so many amazing minds in one place is that someone always has a new idea that will either revolutionize the project you are working on, or cause you to completely change direction and start working on something new.  That can be great, but if you aren’t careful it can cause acute artistic ADD. I think most creative journeys have a similar arc.  When you are learning new skills, it can take a while for the quality of the work you are producing to catch up with your creative vision.  I definitely felt that way at the Pier.  During my time there, my work ended up going on a journey from two dimensions to three dimensions.  I started out by experimenting with laser cutting.  I am a costume designer, and was interested in creating a wearable mechanical flower that would illuminate and open and close in response to its environment.  My first attempts to create this form felt very flat and lifeless to me, so I stepped away from the flower project and focused on figuring out how to create something much more three dimensional with the two dimensional process of laser cutting.  The result was a costume constructed from laser cut leather and el wire.  After that I decided I was ready to tackle 3D modeling and 3D printing, so I went back to my flower idea, and spent the rest of my time at the Pier testing and developing this form.  It was a really new and interesting process, 3D modeling and prototyping with the amazing Objet printers.  It also gave me the chance to work closely with two other awesome Artists in Residence, Paolo Salvagione and JoeJoe Martin.  It really underlined for me that the most important resource at the Pier is the people.  No matter how many incredible machines you have under one roof, they are only as good as the minds running them.  Noah Weinstein and the other amazing innovators who run the Pier have done such an incredible job of gathering together a diverse, brilliant, exciting, and truly kind-hearted group of people… the place practically buzzes with welcoming creative energy as soon as you walk through the door.  Also, putting relatively self-actualized creators in an environment where there are so many options and resources results in some incredibly interesting glimpses into individual human passion and curiosity.  I might not have fully understood why some of my fellow AiRs were so fascinated by stacking tetrahedrons, drawing graphically detailed pictures of intestinal parasites, or creating physical bodies for virtual bots, but witnessing each artist’s commitment to their singular pursuit was in itself a fascinating and beautiful experience. So much of our lives are spent trying to make practical things happen, it’s an rare opportunity to get to spend a dedicated amount of time just exploring the potential of creative ideas.  I really think that is what Pier 9 is about, providing a place that nurtures our human desire to create, explore and learn… with a kick ass set of resources to facilitate that exploration.  Honestly, during my time there I wish I had been able to let go and enjoy that process more.  It’s not always easy to escape the concepts of deadlines and expectations, but sometimes freeing yourself from those constraints is the only way to create anything truly new.  I very much believe that what is growing at Pier 9 is a new and exciting kind of creative ecosystem, and I hope it will inspire the creation of many more similar environments.  I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten a chance to be an explorer on the frontiers of Maker Land.  Thank you so much Noah and Vanessa.

Topic by MikaelaHolmes 4 years ago  |  last reply 4 years ago


China's first Maker Faire !

April 6th was a long night that would be followed by an even longer day. Hours stretched like taffy as the Airplane pulled me across time zones. I was on my way to the Shenzhen Maker Faire which was being put on by Eric Pan, the founder of one of the largest open sourced businesses I know. Eric is a visionary, and his vision to inspire more makers in China connecting them with a global maker movement through the concepts of openness, sharing, and innovation inspires me and hundreds others to come to Shenzhen to share in the first Maker Faire in China! Hours ago I was at Instructables cooking my Last Breakfast for the office and gaving my Last Hugs. Qarly, my new friend, had helped my stay up all night organizing my tickets and suitcase. She went with me to the Payless shoe store on her bike as I walked barefoot. Yes, I started my journey shoeless. I had traded in my Vibrams at REI for a large backpack so I could cram as many arduinos and 3D printers into it as possible before leaving to go spread the good words. Here are the good words as I see them right now: "It Can Be Done." Yes, with a solid mission, a relentless attitude and accepting being shoeless (or jobless, or hungry, or ...) it's possible to accomplish the things you dream. Boom, back in that tin can flying over the Pacific. My schedule starts with a trip to Hong Kong to meet up with instructable's member Prank. Alex Hornstein and I had recently completed an adventure in 3D printing called the Pocket Factory in which we traveled across America seeking the business models behind low cost 3D manufacturing. He is now back in east Asia being the revolutionary philosopher engineer he is. I land at 8pm and head out into the city of the future. Hong Kong is a city of millions, beautifully lit tall buildings, zippy public transportation, and the largest pay inequality in the world. Looking out the window I keep wondering if this is the rich part, or the poor. Then I was there. I made it to IFC - a gigantic mall in the heart of Hong Kong. The metro stop inside it is called "Hong Kong Station". Yep, shopping is big here. We hung out on the roof of IFC talking projects. Without giving too much away too soon let's just say Alex is on his way to revolutionize the micro solar industry. We took the familiar ferry route home and I spent the night organizing and updating the social world since I knew in a few hours I'd be in China... and in China, no one can hear you tweet. Before I knew it I had to be off! It was 6:20am (HK time) and the ferry leaves at 6:40, I had a long day ahead of me and I haven't slept yet. Holy crap! I ran and got right back on that ferry from Lama to the mainland. Passing all the tall buildings once again and rushed onto the MTR. As we sped along the Hong Kong landscape of tall towers slowly turned into green rolling hills and the people on the train spoke less and less english. I crossed the border into Shenzhen and it was there I met Ani, the Monk. What a beautiful lady! We had a great conversation involving LOTS of smiling, drawing and almost no words. She was from Hong Kong and we were now friends. We traded bracelets and now I have one more reason to learn Mandarin! I finally made it all the way to Xi Xiang, the metro stop which was walking distance to the Maker Faire! I was getting pretty excited, I had lugged all this stuff across the world, and finally I was going to meet the makers of China! After a long and potholed walk I finally made it to the gate where a nice young Chinese lady helped me carry my stuff, we walked down a long outdoor hallways at F518 the "First Experiential Sharing Space in China" which was filled with sculptures and art. Billboards around me advertised hip hop dance classes and robots peeped from the windows. I knew I was in the right place. Right near the entrence of the Maker Faire was a strange robot. It was the size of a small house and it served books. They have robot libraries in Shenzhen. Wow! The more I learn about this place the cooler it seems! The faire is a large three story space with a media space on the first floor where people can buy "chinese make" a magazine called Radio that has been teaching people how to make stuff since 1955. The publishers of this magazine are also the ones who do the translation for Makezine! The second floor is filled with long tables of makers, a huge hall filled with running robots, dancing droids, DIY laser 3D scanners, touchless IR interfaces, octocopter (no, not tacocopter) and all the awesome stuff you'd expect to see in San Francisco, except this is Shenzhen. There are makers everywhere! Upstairs there are people making clay figurines, another instructables user - Star - runs a workshop around Canidu (yes, you can do!), her company which makes an electronics learning tool. This movement is obviously global and the Shenzhen Maker Faire has pulled makers not only from all over China, but all over the world. Eric Pan, the founder of Seeed Studio employs 70 people through an open source project and through this faire has inspired hundreds. At the after party, you can really tell how proud Eric was to have brought amazing makers like Mitch Altman and David Li from the Shanghai hackerspace together. Eric has a new project in the works right now. He's soon to be a father! I can only imagine how proud he will be when baby Eric Pan picks up his first blinky LED kit. Now that's some serious making! +Bilal Ghalib PS. Eric in the last picture is not dead, only extremely exhausted!

Topic by lamedust 7 years ago  |  last reply 7 years ago


The Middle East and the Global Hackerspace Movement

Please follow me and imagine this. You're in a city and are taking a rattling train somewhere to the edge of town. The buildings get shorter as they get wider. You are entering the industrial area where the jobs dried up long ago. Where there are more broken windows than whole ones in each building. You pass the streets your parents warned you about and a street covered in "DO NOT CROSS" tape. Two stops later you get off at the stop your friends told you about questioning your sanity and wondering why your friends brought you out there. The graffiti is beautiful though, and somewhere in the distance you can hear the thump of heavy bass. The address your friend gave you can't be right, you look up and see a massive complex thankfully this one seemed to have more of it's windows intact. You push the rusting door noticing the rough texture and surprising heft. You walk in and see a roughly refinished hallway. The drywall isn't yet painted but it appears that this massive factory has been transformed on the inside. You pass a few drywalled off artists studios on the first floor and they smile at you with plaster in their hair. It smells like lavender and you notice you just passed an artist making candles. The "hackerspace" your friend told you about is on the second floor. So you walk to the cargo elevator and push the call button. It makes a horrifying rattling sound as it descends to meet you, instead of a door it has a grate. You take it up and as it slowly moves you can see concrete, then wood and suddenly the thumping bass get's louder - Hello Skrillex. It's too much to take in at first, you only notice the chaos. There are tools everywhere and in every state of operation. A wall of computer monitors lines the back wall. There's someone binding books in the corner, and what appears to be a viking with knitting needles sitting in what appears to be a lounge, he looks up and smiles at you and says "welcome to Scrumspace*!" you've arrived at your first hackerspace. Notice an open basket of dollar bills and place a 2 dollar donation in the basket near the fridge and grab yourself a drink from the fridge in the kitchen. You walk into a common area painted like a scene from Super Mario with what appear to be server racks painted as the tubes. Finally you see your friend. He walks in with a scorched shirt and you see his eyes twinkling through the welding goggles. "Told you this place is awesome!" he says. Hackerspace Values and Culture Hackerspaces like this exist almost all over the world. These places collect (and perhaps helps inspire) people who are passionate initiators. Walking into one you might find someone who wants to share a new iPad application which monitors the GPS on the weather balloon they've released -"It's over //CHINA// right now!!". People in hackerspaces are happy to share, it's a part of the culture! Interacting with them is often uplifting and inspiring. They are building and creating things they think is amazing. They may be playing with technology or science or art without concern for the categories. The only apparent question they ask themselves is how AWESOME is this!? It's a contagious atmosphere of capability where people learn from each other constantly. They can't help it! People are so passionate about what they are doing, they inadvertently teach. The other feature of a hackerspace which is more important is that they give people a venue. It's an open space that is owned by the members. Need a place to host a workshop on hat felting, it's yours! Need a place to build the first prototype of your product? Just make sure you pack it in the lockers when you're done working on it! The atmosphere is fundamentally collaborative. It can't be anything except participatory because of the way the spaces are most often organized and run. There is no single owner. Everyone pays for a portion of the rent, and more importantly everyone brings something new to the table. They might bring with them a new tool, their coffee machine, a desire to set up a program to run a STEM program for children. The spaces become a snapshot the local community of amazing people and their projects. Many of these people started developing their projects during their final years in university. But their is a gap between a school project and feeling capable to take it and turn it into something yourself. I'd love to start here. With these fresh graduates. These young people who (perhaps not coincidentally) are also the driving force behind the revolutions of the middle east. This is a great place to start. These are the young people changing their countries today. They feel empowered to change long standing traditions and the culture of oppression in their governments. Perhaps it's also time to give them the tools to do the same for their local communities. Where they have the ability to have a more direct impact. Who the heck cares about the government if you are free to repave your roads, create alternative energy from solar power, clean your own water and start your own online webstore distributing products that are rapidly prototyped and drop shipped to other places around the world. Sure you might call this line of reasoning anarchistic. But when the systems around you are falling apart, banding together to pick up the pieces is the admirable thing to do. Social entrepreneurship in the states often focuses on countries outside the states. They basically act as for profit NGOs. Non profit organizations as they operate in America don't exist in the middle east. Thus I'm beginning to think that the concept of social entrepreneurship might just be a great way forward for these countries. Doing well by doing good! This concept is a development hack, and one that could possibly have it's roots in the Hackerspace scene. There are features of hackerspaces that I see can give rise to more DIY social entrepreneurship in the middle east. They are: 1) The culture of good. Make something wonderful. Share it with others online and off. Be inspired and inspiring. 2) The availability of tools along with the docracy culture. If you want to see it, do it. 3) A supportive global and local community which has within it stories of other successes to emulate. Where does this culture come from? It appears to be derived from the open source movement. Open source technology is often spearheaded by a few individuals but is maintained, built and supported by a global community of makers who want the tech for themselves as well. Do you want to see that feature? Write it? But don't edit the program and keep it to yourself! Share! That's a doocracy combined with the culture of sharing that the internet helps so much to support. All of this seems to be directed by the common value for people of all ideologies. The golden rule. Do for others as you wish to have done for yourself. Do you want free tools. Freedom. Access to clean water? A cheap space to build projects? Free vector drawing software? Be a doer. Be a part of the change. And then share with others. Your vision is what makes the future. These are some of the amazing features of these spaces. This is why I am in love with hackerspaces, open source technology and makers of all types. They are beautiful people who come from all types of backgrounds who get together to create a culture of sharing and collaboration that enhances their local communities and connects them globally. If you have not visited your local hackerspace yet, visit it. If you live in a place without a space, put your name up on hackerspaces.org, I'm sure you will find like minded people who crave this type of community. Hackerspaces in the Middle East Now that we have described hacker culture and hackerspaces can a space like this become a the hub and home of amazing people in the Middle East? Does the west have a monopoly on awesome. Absolutely not. Are middle easterners creative Heck yes! Are they inspired to work collaboratively? Heck yes! Are they educated? Heck yes! Do they want to fix the problems they see around them? Heck YES! Are they powerful? Heck YES! Again and again I've seen example after example of the young people in the middle east (yes, those that are 30% unemployed) showcasing example after example of incredible projects. And talking to them a message I hear over and over is that they want to show the world that in Beirut, Baghdad, or Cairo things other than violence is created. They want to create positive news that goes out to the world. They want to reach out to the world and participate in sharing! Here's a short list of incredible people I've met personally in my two short trips to the middle east: Bassam Jalgha Tarek Ahmed Ahmed Tohamy Salma Adel Rami Ali's Smart Breadboard Marc Farra Maya Kreidieh Cairo Hackerspace Book Scanner Project An awesome home automation system in Baghdad Iraq Mustafa Elnagar Furkan Alp Pehlivan Hind Hobeika's Butterfleye Project Jad Berro's Tank Robot Mounir Zoorob Octocopter! Here's a video of Munir's octocopter: Beirut is beautiful:   One incredible graduation project by Cairo Hackerspace organizer Salma Adel is one that focuses on the very heart of the maker movement and looks at the artisan as the creator of value. How do you take new design, match it with old technology and create amazing new products. I'm proud to know she's an active memeber at Cairo Hackerspace:  I hope I have shown you that there are already "hackers", makers and entrepreneurs there in the middle east. People with the open source attitude Arabs with the culture of sharing and collaboration. There are many here that work with the Google Technology User Groups or other open source initiatives. Linux user groups. Tons of coworking spaces. And some incredible incubators and entrepreneurship cultural development projects. Android phones are more popular in Egypt than the iPhone from my own small survey. It might have initially started as a cost issue has turned into a passion with Ubuntu, firefox, Android and other open source technologies really taking off. A few things were missing though. If you read hacker news you will begin to think that anyone with a desire to make foursquare mashups is an entrepreneur. In the middle east we have incredibly skilled people languishing after college while their counter parts in the west are out attempting to recreate Facebook. Why?! I think it has to do with the lack of proper story telling about entrepreneurship in the Middle East. Wamda seems to be helping greatly in that regard, but we need more publications talking about this issue! This also comes in concert with an inability to find cofounders. Why? A lack of collaboration? Why? A lack of self initiated projects? Solution? Do stuff. Just do it. Where? Here. At your local hackerspace. Do you have an interesting idea you want to try? A drone to take ariel pictures of the pyramids? Or a service like Utlub which delivers soap to bathers who are wet and realize they ran out of soap. Well in a space like a hackerspace you can do it! The tools are there. But more importantly you will find collaborators! People who are willing to jump on board to help!al Patterns of Propagation The Arab world is not just ready for Hacker culture, hacker culture is already there. My work with GEMSI is simply to connect the right people together and showcase the awesome possibilities hackerspace afford their communities and attempt to create the right environment to allow these amazing people to take their own future into their hands like they already are, but to do it not only politically, but financially, and with direct community education and organizing. Before I went to the middle east I was privileged to participate in the rise of the hackerspace movement in the United States. In 2007 there were very few (if any self identified) hackerspaces in the United States. That same year Mitch Altman, Bre Pettis, and Nick Farr went on a trip to Germany visiting the hackerspaces that were there. Being filled with inspiration and the realization that these spaces were created by PEOPLE who wanted to set them up. They came back to the states and started Noisebridge, NYCResistor and HacDC respectively. Due to the culture of sharing, they started putting up projects online. They shared the process of creating these spaces. And slowly at first people started noticing that they too could start their own local community spaces for creation and we started seeing them grow rapidly. The mathematical name of the function that describes this type of growth is exponential. The more spaces that existed that have this culture of sharing the more people heard about them and wanted them in their own cities. Then something wonderful happened. The economy collapsed in 2008 which had two very positive effects on the development of hackerspaces:  People were freed from their jobs  Space was becoming cheap as tons of manufacturing facilities were abandoned. Check out this chart which shows the rapid growth of hackerspaces and the acceleration around 2008/9. Hacker culture is an attitude that anything can be done by any resource available. MacGyver will make you a mouse trap from your sunglasses and your underpants. A hacker would use it to make a one way privacy screen for your cellphone. But how do you transmit a culture? This is why a space is so important. Having a place where people can sit with others and recognize the possibilities. To see the value in the stuff they know, to share it with others and to build together. The first few hackerspaces that are being set up in the middle east have the same property of viral transmission as we saw in America. Istanbul Hackerspace and Base Istanbul are both hackerspaces in Turkey. Istanbul Hackerspace being in the European part and Base Istanbul in asian section. As widely spread apart as they are, they both have something in common. Both founders had visited a hackerspace, one in Japan and the other in Germany before coming home and deciding they wanted to start one there. It's kind of incredible to see the same pattern repeat in the middle east. This appears to be a universal need, the need for community, creativity and having a open space to build your future. The pattern has been proven in Egypt as well. Alexandria's hackerspace initiative was galvanized after a delegation of students visited  Cairo Hackerspace two hours to the south. It's exciting to see the very same forces at work that took the hackerspaces from being a concept barely known to having a large impact on the American Entrepreneurial and cultural landscape in five short years years at work in Egypt. Cairo Hackerspace currently is without their space but is actively seeking a new one and it's one of my current goals to help in any way I can. Let's conclude with the list of hackerspaces just starting up in Egypt and Beirut. This is just the start. Keep an eye on these guys and know that there will be many many more to come: Egypt: Cairo Hackerspace El Minya Hackerspace Alexandria Hackerspace Mansoura Hackerspace Egypt Fablab (Same idea ;) Lebanon: Beirut Hackerspace (link coming soon) If you'd like to talk more about the global development of hackerspaces. Let's continue talking online at GEMSI's facbebook group. *Scrumspace does not exist as a hackerspace. If you like the name take it!

Topic by lamedust 7 years ago  |  last reply 6 years ago


Is working with your hands better than just with your head?

I saw this on the BBC, and was so impressed I've reproduced the whole thing here: By Tom de Castella Journalist If the new year and inevitable return to work leaves you yearning for change, is working with your hands the answer? The time for reflection is nigh - a new year, a new you. But is that workstation you've slotted back into looking depressingly familiar? As millions of workers drag themselves back into the office to contemplate another 12 months of drudgery, many will be wondering if they are in the right job. Writer and mechanic Matthew Crawford thinks a lot of us would be better off trading in our mouse for a screwdriver. His recent book, The Case for Working With Your Hands, has been a huge hit in his native United States, praised by critics and politicians alike. Mr Crawford, who used to run a Washington think tank but now mends motorbikes, says it is no wonder people are miserable at work. Jobs have become so specialised and process driven that it is hard to see what difference you are making. And in those rare cases where one's impact is obvious, the result may seem pointless. Jealousy "A lot of us are plagued with a sense of uselessness," he says. "I've created a brand - what good is that? So I've persuaded people to buy something they didn't need." When running a think tank, he says he honestly could not see the rationale for being paid at all, and wondered what tangible goods or services he was providing to anyone. Then he opened a motorbike repair shop and was surprised to find he was not just happier, but more intellectually stimulated. The life of a tradesman is a varied existence, mixing practicality with logic and problem solving, he says. "Imagine you're an electrician, you're installing a conduit pipe and have to bend around the corners to make everything line up. It's the kind of work that requires improvisation and adaptation. It can never be reduced to following set procedures." Not only that, the earning potential for a tradesman is greater than in many office jobs. For instance, a skilled mechanic is likely to earn more than a sociology graduate working in publishing, he argues. Not everything about manual work is rosy. He warns that furniture making is not a good career move - Ikea can undercut you by employing workers in China for a fraction of the price. But a range of trades that need to be done on site cannot be outsourced to low wage economies. After new year introspection, January and February are traditionally one of the busiest periods for moving jobs. Mr Crawford believes doing a trade can make you happier. 'Middle-class paradox' "It offers small moments of confirmation, like when the bike you're mending starts up and runs. Small satisfactions like that can be elusive at a huge organisation with vast layers of management, where the criteria by which you're measured are ambiguous." The Times columnist Giles Coren recently tried working with his hands for the BBC Two show Giles and Sue Live the Good Life. Despite his on-screen schtick of appearing to hate everything the duo are asked to do, he fell in love with it. "I found chasing the chickens and weeding the allotment immensely satisfying," he says. "The pain... was making the television show." He agrees with Mr Crawford that modern life has been blighted by a series of alienating processes, often carried out on mobile phone, laptop and e-mail. In this way, his chosen career - journalism - has been stripped of its sense of adventure and human contact. "Even 15 years ago when I started as a reporter, you left the office to do a story. You went to investigate, visited people and used the cuttings library. Now I just sit... and Google. It's terrible, I wish I was a fireman." Despite his columnist's salary, he is jealous of those whose jobs have a clear purpose like the gardener and cleaner. "My gardener Brian comes in to do the garden every two weeks. He takes his shirt off in the summer and smokes a rollie. I can see him through the window, but I'm sitting indoors, staring at the screen to pay for this guy - it's the classic middle-class paradox." Rory Sutherland, vice-chairman of advertising firm Ogilvy UK, agrees that working with your hands does offer greater satisfaction in the short term. But manual workers lack something many of us crave - influence. Jobs like advertising where you "work with your head" may seem futile, but the ideas they come up with really do change the world, he says. "Five years ago someone worked out that you could have one size lid for the three different sizes of coffee cup that cafes have. Ok, it's emphatically not the cure for cancer, but it's through millions of little ideas like this that we get richer as a society." Perception of value Television dramas like Mad Men depict the office to be a place of invigorating competition, sexual tension and creativity. However stylised the portrayal, Mr Sutherland says there is a definite buzz to working around like-minded people - one that tradesmen miss out on. "People partly enjoy work because it's social, but working with your hands can be lonely." And he believes that experienced trades people are often economically undervalued due to the perverse way that consumers ascribe worth. He cites the behavioural economist Dan Ariely's story about a locksmith. As a young apprentice, the tradesman used to take half an hour to mend a lock, at which point he'd be thanked wholeheartedly and given a tip. When he became more experienced, the locksmith could fix a similar problem in a minute. He charged the same rate and completed the job much faster. But instead of being pleased at his speed, customers complained about his rates and refused to tip him. "It's about our perception of value." And in this respect the skilled tradesman will often struggle, he says. In the course of researching his book The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, Alain de Botton concludes that we all want to make a difference in our job, however banal that change may be. "At the end of the working day we want to feel we've left the planet slightly healthier, tidier, saner than it was at the beginning," he says. "I'm not necessarily talking of huge changes - the difference might merely involve sanding a stair banister, removing the squeak on a door or reuniting someone with their lost luggage." And yet, it is a mistake to romanticise working with your hands, he warns. "At heart, what you're talking about is the charm of craft work. And it's my sense this can happen in places far removed from the workshop. If you're writing computer code you are in a sense displaying many of the same skills as a craftsperson, even if the finished product can't be held or touched." But following the financial crisis, Mr de Botton says attitudes to all types of work may be changing. He detects a move away from the middle-class idea that work lies "at the heart of our self-fulfillment", to the working-class view of employment as a means of feeding yourself and your family. So maybe job satisfaction is slipping down the list of what is important when it comes to work.

Topic by Kiteman 8 years ago  |  last reply 8 years ago


How much Mercury is in Compact Fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, watch batteries, and coal-fired power plants?

In Brennn10's Compact Fluorescent Instructable there was a short discussion about the amount of mercury contained in CFL bulbs. The same topic came up in a mailing list I read, and there was some interesting analysis worth sharing.Statement:The Stranger (the Seattle weekly) has a column called "Dear Science" where the typically quite intelligent author argued that CFL bulbs weren't all that "better" for the environment because inevitable improper disposal put more mercury-n-shit into the environment. So unless you got all your power from a mercury spewing coal plant, you shouldn't use CFL's . And Seattle, getting a majority of it's power from hydro, shouldn't use CFL's.This was called into question for being selective analysis that encourages an attitude of "there's not currently a solution, so keep doing what you're doing", and elicited the following response:Just so I can bore everyone with what I think is the current level of knowledge about mercury and CFLs, here's some of the current information.NRCan did a study on how much mercury is actually in CFLs, and compares them to other typical consumer sources (e.g., watch batteries--if you throw one of them out, you've throw out five times as much mercury as in a CFL):http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/energystar/english/consumers/questions-answers.cfm#mercuryAfter reading this, I actually worked out these numbers for myself on how CFL savings compare to mercury releases a few months ago. Of course, this is all more environmental destruction brand X vs. brand Y discussion that was being talking about.I was curious about what the numbers work out to, so I went to dig for some data; this is what I came up with.In 1999, about 1.75 trillion kWh were generated by coalEnergy Information Administration Annual Energy Review 1999, Figure 26In 1999, 47.8 tons/year of mercury emissions came out of coal-fired power plants.Source: U.S. EPA, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards.1999 National Emissions Inventory for Hazardous Air Pollutants.http://www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/net/1999inventory.html#final3haps.This calcs out to a figure of 0.025 mg mercury per kWhAssuming 5 mg mercury per CFL, the equivalence point is about 200 kWh--a CFL would need to save 200 kWh before getting tossed in the trash. A quick calculation shows that this is about how much a CFL saves in half a year, if it were run 24-7: 75 W for an incandescent; 25 W for an equivalent CFL = 657 vs. 219 kWh/year, or 438 kWh/year difference.Of course, this assumes that the coal mercury emission rate is the same as it was in 1999; I'm not sure if measures have been taken since then to reduce mercury emissions. Also, this is assuming that 100% of the power saved by the CFL would be generated by coal-fired power plants. But even with that assumption, coal is such a large fraction of the power generation (typically about half)--it would jump from six months to a year, instead. Of course, this period gets longer assuming a realistic duty cycle, but still, those numbers all seem to pencil in below typical installed lifetimes of CFLs.Finally, there's a article from Home Energy magazine (behind a subscriber link), where somebody did a similar calculation with more current numbers, I think.http://www.homeenergy.org/article_full.php?id=457&article;_title=Understanding_CFLsHome Energy MagazineNovember/December 2007Understanding CFLsby Richard Benware"Although the use of CFLs is steadily spreading, public understanding about how to dispose of them responsibly has not kept pace."Life Cycle BenefitsIn order to disprove the myths about CFLs, let's begin at the beginning. When CFLs are created, manufacturers dose the bulb with a small amount of mercury. This mercury, when electrically stimulated, releases UV light, which subsequently reacts with a phosphor coating to create visible light. Thus mercury is an essential part of every CFL; without it, the bulbs would not produce light. The typical dose of mercury is about the size of a pen tip, and these doses have been getting smaller and smaller. One reason for this is that the laws resulting from the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive have made it illegal for CFLs in Europe to contain more than 5 milligrams (mg) of mercury.In the United States, there are no such laws limiting the amount of mercury in lightbulbs as yet, but members of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) have voluntarily agreed to limit the amount of mercury in the CFLs that they produce to 5 mg for bulbs of up to 25 watts and 6 mg for bulbs of 25 to 40 watts. The average CFL on store shelves today contains about 4 mg of mercury, and nearly all the CFLs in production contain less than 5 mg. The mercury used in all the CFLs produced in the United States represents 0.18% of the mercury used in all U.S. products andindustrial processes.CFLs do not release mercury as long as they are intact. In fact, they reduce net mercury emissions in the environment by conserving energy. For every kWh of electricity used by consumers, the average power plant emits over 1.5 lb of pollutants. If a 75W incandescent is replaced by an 18W CFL, the CFL will use 456 kWh less energy than the incandescent over its 8,000 hour lifetime. The Emissions and Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID) contains data on the emissions of the average power plant. Using eGRID's information to calculate the average emissions per kWh, we find that this single CFL has prevented the release of 2.72 lb of sulfur dioxide, 1.05 lb of nitrogen oxide, 5.67 mg of mercury, and over 700 lb of CO2.It is important to note that these are the reductions from the average U.S. power plant. The eGRID data show that, on average, nonbaseload emissions tend to be dirtier. And in addition to reducing emissions, CFLs save money for the consumer. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) gives a 2006 average residential electricity cost of $.1008/kWh. Using the example given above, and basing our calculation on this figure, we find that a consumer would save about $46 on energy over the lifetime of the CFL.When these bulbs finally do reach the end of their useful life, there are several pathways they can take. In the best-case scenario, the bulbs are recycled. Recycling rates are increasing, thanks to state regulations -- California and Minnesota have banned altogether throwing CFLs in the trash -- and improved consumer awareness. In 1999, it was estimated that only 15% of all fluorescent lightbulbs were recycled. Currently, that number has increased to around 25%, with higher levels in commercial applications. Since an average of 98.9% of the mercury is successfully recovered in the recycling process, this pathway generates minimal emissions.Even the CFLs that are discarded in the trash are unlikely to release much of their mercury. Although most of them break under current trash disposal methods, some remain unbroken, and will not release any mercury. But those that do break are not likely to release much mercury. EPA estimates that only 0.2% of the remaining mercury in a spent bulb is elemental vapor. The rest of the mercury is in the glass, the phosphor coating, and the electrodes of the bulb. Mercury absorbed in these areas is not readily released. In fact, an EPA study found that only 6.8% of the total mercury in a broken bulb will be released. Since the average bulb on the market today contains only 4 mg of mercury, it will release only about 0.27 mg, even if it breaks when it is thrown in the trash.The only disposal option that could lead to the release of any significant amount of mercury is incineration. Today, many incinerators have advanced mercury control technologies. CFLs disposed of in such incinerators would release up to 90% of their mercury, but those emissions would then be removed by these technologies. Incinerators without these technologies are not capable of removing the mercury. But even after accounting for all of the emissions that occur via all of the routes listed above, CFLs represent a mere 0.01% of total U.S. mercury emissions annually.It is important to note that even if CFLs released all of their mercury, the environment would still be better off than it would be if nobody used CFLs. This is true because the average power plant releases 5.67 mg of mercury to power each 75W incandescent bulb. In short, replacing incandescents with CFLs is a great way to save energy, reduce mercury emissions, and save money (see "Discounting CFLs").

Topic by ewilhelm 11 years ago  |  last reply 11 years ago


TEDxBaghdad - Iraq - violence, dust storms and open sourced manufacturing

Baghdad Iraq. It was once the jewel of the Muslim empire and epicenter of knowledge in the Eastern world. Now it is best known for corrupt governance, bombings, and dust storms. It was also my parents’ home. After visiting once in 1991 as a child the few memories I have of Iraq seemed to be shouting matches as my parents yelled over the phone making overseas calls. Names of Uncles I had never met were mentioned and a phone was handed to me and I was left to nervously fend for myself with my weak Iraqi slang and an Uncle who apparently knew all about me while I knew nothing of him. The country was an impenetrable black box to me that would spit out another refugee somewhere in the world every few years or so. Sixteen years later the first wall between Iraq and me was broken. In 2007 my nuclear family had traveled to Syria and for the first time I met family members who still lived in Baghdad. I knew them now. My uncles and cousins grew flesh and blood. I could feel their prickly faces as we greeted with the traditional Iraqi 4 sided cheek kiss. They could graciously give me their dishdashas as gifts. Names finally had faces, but those faces were deep, sunken and afraid. 2007 was a bad year of sectarian war in Iraq, which is why the Damascas district of Harasta was flooded with Iraqis. The sound of construction continued through the night to keep up with the massive (ab)use of the "tourist" visas. I saw something in the Iraqis in Syria that I hadn't seen before; something that scared me. I saw hopelessness. It was then I settled on a long-term project to return to the country and share something that I had just discovered around the same time: the future doesn’t come prepared -- we make the future. The do-it-yourself attitude that was growing in America was being combined with the culture of sharing that you find in hackerspaces, at instructables.com and in open source technology. This atmosphere made anything possible. You want to build a vertical generator without any spinning parts? Sure! How about a walking quadraped robot with a sofa? Do you want to quit your job, write zines and sell them in the crafting circle? Sure! Start a business! Write a novel! Organize a benefit concert! Sure - sure - sure! “Make your own future” was the message. It was a message of hope - it was the message that I wanted to share in the Middle East, and especially in Iraq. In 2011 the opportunity to work on sharing this beautiful message in the Middle East presented itself to me, so I quit my robotics job and took it (sorry Andrew). A few friends and I started a tiny organization called GEMSI - The Global Entrepreneurship and Maker Space Initiative. We funded ourselves through Kickstarter and our first project was a Three-Day Maker Space hosted at Makerfaire Africa. We were hoping to let people experience the feeling of the Maker Movement first-hand. We collaborated with Emeka and the team from MFA, Cairo Hackerspace, along with many amazing egyptians from all over the country. We had a successful first attempt at sharing the message of "Yes you can!” It was a great start, but Iraq was still an impenetrable fortress to me. It took till 2012 and a chance encounter with friends in Cambridge, MA for me to find my first avenue back into Iraq. Via my friends, I met someone who’s friend was affiliated with TEDxBaghdad. A few steps removed, sure, but when I heard about TEDxBaghdad I knew I had found my way in. I knew TEDx and the types of programs they hosted; I knew they were hopeful, inspired, and shared a vision for a brighter tomorrow. I started communicating with Emeka from MFA, who also works with TED, and he put me in touch with Yahay. After my first skype call with Yahay I knew I was going. Someone else had done it - someone broke that barrier, did amazing work in the country, and survived. It wasn't the death trap my family was telling me it was. There was a new narrative being woven and I knew what I needed to do. I booked my flights before I even finalized any workshops. I needed to meet the TEDxBaghdad team. Later, I called my parents and told them I was going to Baghdad and they said, "Shinu?! Inta Makhabal?!" That probably means exactly what you think it does. Needless to say, they had their concerns, but I was going regardless. Now that the tickets were bought, we started planning. Yahay put me in touch with Abdal Ghany, one of the Iraqi organizers living in Baghdad. He coordinated everything. It was amazing. These guys kick some serious planning butt! Ghany basically told me, “Show up and give your workshop. We'll take care of the rest.” This was a welcome change from the hours of facebooking, planning, and coordination I usually have to go through to schedule events. It really seemed like this was possible. I was going to give an Arduino and 3D printing workshop in Baghdad and I was really excited! I sent an email to Sparkfun and Makezine asking them for open source electronics donations since I knew bringing my electronics box through the airport wouldn't be a good idea. They sent me a nice goodie-bag of beautifully packaged Maker products. These two organizations have given me a tremendous amount of help throughout the years, for which I am extremely thankful. I packed a suitcase filled with 2 3D printers, 25 Arduinos, an assortment of other open source hardware and sensors and headed out looking a bit like a bomb development lab. Yeesh! Somehow I made it through China, Saudi, and Turkey without any serious interrogation. Mostly just really quizzical looks from my unzipped bag up back to me... "You're a teacher?" they ask. "Yes," I say, "yes I am." Turkey was the stop before Iraq. Turkey was brilliant, sunny, lush, and seemed to be comprised of mostly happy smiling people walking by the sea. Coming from the deserts of Mecca, this was a welcome sight. I let the green of Turkey wash away the dust of Saudi Arabia. The mishmash of cultures, sounds, foods, religions gave me a great feeling of liberation. This was a lively place and the two hackerspaces I met up with there, Base Istanbul and Istanbul Hackerspace were fantastic hosts. Furkan and I spent a lovely day together chatting about Maker culture as it spreads through the Middle East and then in the end we had a potluck BBQ with members from both hackerspaces by the rocks of the sea. It was great to see these two Turkish hackerspaces and to be reminded that this movement is truly global. My dream of hackerspaces empowering people globally is really possible – and it’s great to know that it is a dream that is shared by others. I left them full of enthusiasm and flew directly to Baghdad. Landing in Baghdad was strange and a bit concerning. Looking out of the window all I could see was a brown cloud. We were landing in a dust storm. I had heard about the turab (dust) of Iraq, but this was the first time I saw it in person, and it would be one of the things most often on my mind. Getting a visa for me was surprisingly easy, except for the fact I forgot my passport on the plane and two guards had to escort me one to each side back to the airplane to retrieve it. But once I had my passport, I told them my laqab, which is the full name that includes ancestry. Showed them a copy of my dad’s passport and my Iraqi birth certificate and I was in. I was hoping for a nice stamp, perhaps with some Iraqi relic on it. But they took my passport and wrote in it: "Originally Iraqi", so there it goes, it's official. Ahmed, my cousin, was not at the airport when I took my paper work and headed out to the lobby. The airport was sparsely populated and heavily regulated. I barely managed to snap a picture before a guard came up to me and had me delete them from my phone. In the lobby I met a man just released from a Swiss prison. The Swiss had given him the option to be sent back home to Iraq, or be jailed. He chose to leave and come back to Iraq. This becomes a theme later as I see more and more people, all of whom desire to leave the country to become refugees elsewhere. It seems that when hope runs out for the country you live in, the only option is to find a new one. This story is one of a million various stories of struggling to find a new life. Each varies in its details, but all have survival at their core. Ahmed arrives 30 minutes late, apologizing. He's wearing jeans and a polo. His hair seemed freshly cut and his face was serious. We had never met before. The only thing I knew of him was that he thought I was reckless for coming. He had been spending hours on Skype with me attempting to convince me that coming would be a bad idea: "You have no idea how bad the bugs are. Just wait till you see the dust storms. The heat will kill you... etc" But once I saw him in person it all changed. I didn't think I'd grow to like Ahmed, but I grew to appreciate his ways and he became like a brother to me before I left. He took me to Mansour, a neighborhood in Baghdad, telling me stories about Iraq as we travelled. This is the neighborhood where the house my dad designed and family built stands. On the ride home we had our car checked for bombs at least 4 times by what Iraqi's call Saytarat, which is the equivalent of a checkpoint and, to me, seemed a total nuciance. They were the reason he was late. What would normally be a 20 minute drive can become three hours long because every car is checked for bombs. They are everywhere; throughout the city, on every road. We passed the guard who watches over my family’s neighborhood, and he takes his hand off his machine gun to wave at Ahmed, and I begin to recognize that weapons, car inspections and burned out cars are normal here, so they don't think to comment on it - like an empty lot in Detroit, or the homeless in San Francisco. We got to my family home with no time to rest. I had to leave to meet up with Abdul Ghany and the crew at a Cafe in an hour and then conduct the workshop in two. Ahmed comes with me - he doesn't trust people we'd never met before and won’t let me out of his sight. I trust first till proven otherwise, he has learned to do the opposite. It’s a telling sign of how different our lives are on a day-to-day basis. As soon as I met the TEDxBaghdad crew, I felt at ease. MNA, Abdul Ghany and the entire crew were thoughtful, hardworking, and inspiring people. I was really happy to have intersected with them and they helped me in more ways than I could count. We first met up at Everyday, a local Mansour café. Everyday cafe was hyper airconditioned and everyone seemed to think it was hotter than it was. The crew was awesome, they were really a great first introduction to the excited young people of Baghdad and they certainly have the famed Iraqi hospitality. But here's a tip: do not order a fajita in Baghdad ;D. Mohammed Al-Samarraie pulled out their iPads and started showing me video production work he was doing for TEDx. Abdul Ghany comes a little late and we have head out to the workshop. The workshop was held in a two story office building surrounded by palm trees. Looking out the the tinted back window we could see the muddy river run past, winding and dark. Slowly the TEDx people started trickling in. Then I started to get nervous. The checkpoints didn't bother me, the tanks in the streets were not an issue, but here were these people coming to learn something from me. What could I share that would really matter to them when they had so much to deal with daily? What could I share that could be relevant to people who see bombings as I experience lightning storms? I have been to other places in the world to share this kind of information, and some of those places have had political problems and ongoing revolutions. But Iraq was the first country I had been to that really seemed like a war zone. I decided that first I needed to learn from them! What were their projects? What did they hope for? I hoped they would learn from each other and get excited about their projects and I wanted to be able to share things that were relevant to them. Thus, everyone was encouraged to talk about who they are, how they learned about TEDxBaghdad and to share their project, share with us their mission, or share an inspiring story. I was amazed to hear about all the incredible initiatives the crew was doing. From intercultural exchange programs, to street clean ups, to historical artifact preservation, each of them shared and I started realizing something. They were not as interested in new technology as they were interested in arts and culture and after hearing about a few of their projects I started realizing why. Learning about culture and paying attention to the arts gives people the ability to pay attention to details. They can look at another human being and see all the subtleties that make us who we are. We each fall in love, we struggle, we question, and have doubts. Arts give depth to a black and white world. Sectarianism is difficult when we pay attention to the commonalities that tie us all together. What would the world be like if anyone who wanted a weapons license was required to have visited India, could pass an art history exam and could play stairway to heaven on the guitar? We were in a sort of office building near the river which ran by dark and muddy looking through the tinted windows. One by one, they stood up in front and gave their short presentations. There were doctors, engineers, and designers in the crew. They each stood up and told the story of how they found out about TEDxBaghdad and it was incredible. Each of them had a friend recommend it to them, and it was mostly done through Facebook. Some people's projects were related to health, culture, antiquity preservation, and connecting Iraqis with the rest of the world. While they spoke I made a graph of the things that connected all of their ideas together. It was a beautiful thing to see. The common themes were to help Iraq as a country through the integration of new ideas and how to bring a new face of Iraq and present it to the world. To have the news about Iraq be about amazing things, inspiring things, rather than explosions. Being in that room with that energy made me feel like we were already on our way. I pulled out the boxes of donations given to us by Sparkfun and The Make Shed and now it was my turn. I told them about my story coming into contact with my friend Alex through instructables.com, how being in San Francisco and Cambridge opened my eyes to a new way of entrepreneurship using communities and open source technology. And how they could make anything they could imagine if they got together to do it. We discussed how sharing and collaboration was a common value that held the entire system together. I used the concept of the LED throwie, which is a simple idea by Graffiti Research Labs to connect an LED to a coin battery and a magnet. They used it to throw at ferrous buildings as a form of electronic graffiti but once they uploaded it to instructables the idea was out there and people were inspired to take it and derive many other projects. You can never know what will happen when you share something or when you create a tool and share it. People created outlined throwies, LED floaties in balloons and finally we start seeing LED floaties which are sequenced to act like a light show at a phish concert. Hahaha! We then talked about the Arduino an easy to use microcontroller designed for artists. It's a bit of technology that is a simple and easy to use platform to build interactive projects. We talked about how the open nature of the project people can use the Arduino and then use shields to add features like being able to connect to the internet or play MP3s. Open source tools make building new products a lot like using legos. We were in the middle of using some of the sensors The Maker Shed had sent us to make a DIY heart rate monitor when the power went out and all went dark except for the LED throwies we had made. It suddenly felt very intimate. We put all the LED throwies in the center of the room and huddled around it for story time. The feeling of connection was palpable for me. Sure the lack of power meant that we were not going to be able to 3D print, but being in the dark with TEDxBaghdad was one of my favorite memories of this trip. The lights went on and we had a long question and answer session / photo shoot. Some of the doctors were interested to use the Arduino based heart rate monitors to replace the broken ones in the hospital. I heard about this and was flabbergast that the most basic and cheap tools I had brought with me might have a direct impact and may even save lives. Technology might not solve the political problems of the country but it seems that there was a lot of room for development and that the crew I was with was creative and excited to make use of it. I passed out 20 Arduino kits that day, including the Lillypad which is a version of the Arduino intended to be sewn into clothing. Although there were very few engineers in the audience, everyone seemed to be buzzing with ideas and ways to use the Arduinos. What a great workshop! I was super excited because not only had they understood the message, they seem to have been infected with the feeling of capability! Now to seal the deal, we were all going to go out and eat a classic Iraqi dish Simach Masguf. Ahmed has been calling me hourly making sure that I was OK, but I felt safe enough with my new friends so we all headed out to a fish spot by the river. Hours go by, lots of fish is eaten, and lots of juice is drunk. Some of the crew smoke some sheesha. It was like I was with new old friends. My Iraqi slang was improving hourly and although we had just met I knew me and TEDxBaghdad we're going to be working together again very soon. I would have stayed all night eating and chatting about future projects and the problems to solve in Iraq, but the cerfew was about to set in and we had to jet. Yeah, there is still a curfew. On the ride home my head is filled with contradictions. Hope and confusion mix in my head as my family rings 4 more times. I get home safe and decide that the only way to deal with the complicated situation in Iraq was to act with irrational hope and optimism. That's the way TEDxBaghdad seemed to work. And that's going to be mine as well. The next day there were five explosions in Baghdad so TEDxBaghdad and I decided against going out to the Iraqi National Museum even though we had to request permission to go. We meet instead back at Everyday and there we solidify our commitment to working for a more beautiful Baghdad and a country which will become a producing nation once again. Sharing with the world it's art, science and literature like it once did years ago. +BG

Topic by lamedust 7 years ago  |  last reply 6 years ago