i already took the steering wheel face off and pulled the cord for the airbag but i dont know how to take the remaining wire off, any advice?
Question by littlebastard | last reply
i already took the steering wheel face off and pulled the cord for the airbag but i dont know how to take the remaining wire off, any advice?
Question by littlebastard | last reply
Google Earth History After the Google Earth Software was published on the Internet and became a striking success, I noticed that this software made many basic features available, which were necessary for an idea I have carried around with me for a couple of years. Actually, the idea is connected to a question that many of us have asked ourselves: You are walking on 5th Avenue in New York and wondering how this street looked 20, 50 or 100 years ago. Of course you can look up photos in relevant books or magazines and obtain a certain impression of how life was at a certain point in time in this place. But wouldn’t it be great to be able to transform this impression and create a detailed picture; to be able to literally see more and truly visualize your impression? In addition to the one or two photos which can be found in old magazines or in history books, there must be other historical documentation, which can assist in creating the picture. Surely, you can look at movie documentation, but mostly the specific place that you are interested in, is only briefly shown – or not shown at all. So let us stick with the example of 5th Avenue, New York. A place which has existed for more almost 100 years in its current form; which means something to almost every person in the western world; and which has been visited by a vast number of people at least once. As tourists like to do, they photograph the places they visit to show family and friends, where they have been. It is safe to assume that 5th Avenue is one of the places on Earth, which is most incessantly photographed by a large number of people. What a pity that all these photos are brought back to their owners’ home countries, and thus spread all over the world. The final resting place of these photos is mostly a photo album, a dusty box in the attic, or - in this digital age – a hard disk or a CD-Rom. The sum of all these photos of 5th Avenue would probably form a breathtaking historical view of this street: millions of pictures documenting all small and large changes throughout decades, pictures of well-known people visiting the avenue, events which happened here, the rise and the deterioration of different buildings. This collection of documents resembles traveling back in time in a way, that nobody has ever done before. If the owners of all photos would run their pictures through a scanner or make already digitalized photos available to the general public, you would quickly obtain an unusual diversity of photo documents. Especially, you would gain a multitude of different pictures of well-known places like the implied 5th Avenue. Once more we’ll look at an example: assuming I have a color photo from September 1994 taken on the corner of 5th Avenue and 23rd Street in New York City on which you can see e.g. the Empire State Building. I scan the photo into my computer and use the appropriate import function from Google Earth. Thus, the scan of my photograph is saved on a Google server. With the 3-D view of my Google Earth program I can now head for the corner of 5th Avenue and 23rd Street. On the exact location, where I took my picture in the real world in 1994, I now save the photo in the program’s virtual space. If many other Google Earth users would do the same thing with their photos, we would slowly have a collection of pictures from 5th Avenue. All other users now have the possibility of viewing all saved photos. So, if another user saves a photo of 5th Avenue and 28th Street, all I will have to do is to virtually move five streets north and position myself behind the digitally stored picture in order to view it. Of course, we would soon have chaotic conditions if enough people upload their pictures of 5th Avenue to the Google server: One has a photo from December 1980, another person a photo from June 1982, the third a very recent photo from 2006. All these photos will be saved geographically correct in the Google Earth program, but content-wise they will not fit together at all in such a chronologically un-sorted manner. Therefore, the program Google Earth would have to contain a new function: the depiction of the fourth dimension, time. In short, before you save a picture from June 1971 in the correct virtual place in Google Earth, you will also have to set the correct time, i.e. June 1971. In reverse, for the viewer this means that he will have to select from which time in history, he wants to see photos of the chosen 3-D surroundings, before he views the pictures in the Google Earth 3-D world. So, what is it all for? Just as Wikipedia to this day has proven very impressively, that the accumulation of individual persons’ knowledge on the Internet in sum constitutes a high value of total knowledge, so this collection would form a library of historical documents. Again we will remain with the 5th Avenue example: with a sufficiently large collection of photos the viewer has the option of looking at the street from different perspectives AND from different points in time, which may even be many years apart. History has probably never bee so easy to observe. In the end maybe he sees himself taking his photo in September 1994 while somebody other shot a photo with me in the picture. Strange, isn´t it?
Topic by joho123 | last reply
Everybody knows that rising gasoline and fuel prices are taking a toll on consumers' wallets. But few anticipated this problem: a shortage of numbers at gasoline stations. Since gas prices have easily surpassed $4 per gallon, gas stations in New York don't have enough 4s to advertise their prices--so they've had to improvise and make DIY numbers.Of course, with gas expected to hit $5 per gallon soon, some stations are prepared: On Monday, at a BP station on Coney Island Avenue and Lancaster Avenue in Gravesend, Brooklyn, a 2 had been turned upside down to make a 5 for the large sign on the corner.When the price hits the $5.20 range, though, they'll probably have to start improvising again.New York Times
Topic by joshf | last reply
Hi! I just want to know where I have to go on your website to gain a means of getting in touch ,re.write you a letter concerning any personal questions about my membership, I may wish to ask? For example, If I want to be a paying member,but,at the moment I cannot afford it,however ,in the future I may be able to afford it,...Therefore,what avenue of communication do you have for me to be able to discuss this matter ? With Kind Regards Glennbo.
Question by Glennbo111 | last reply
In the quest to make things we need tools. Some are expensive and some are not. I found a place to buy tools that is very reasonableNorthern Tool. This link, for example is for their brand of rotary tool. I've used this tool and it meets or exceeds a Dremel's capabilities, and no I don't work for them. I saw some designs for jewelry made from industrial junk and I needed a rotary tool. Since I'm a little short in the cash department right now I explored other avenues. Glad I did.
Topic by Phoghat | last reply
Hello fellows DIYers! :D Instructables is with no doubt one of my passions. Another one is lightsaber combat! This sport is very popular in Italy, thanks to Ludosport, one of the first sport association devoted to the study and practice of the lightsaber combat. I can personally confirm that this is a FANTASTIC sport activity, and now it will land @ SAN FRANCISCO! Jan 30-31, 2016 @Studiomix 1000 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94109 Come and try a new amazing sport activity, not just for Star Wars fans! Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1251151791565704/ Book your place at: http://www.ludosport.net/en/ Stay great!
Topic by Darthorso | last reply
This looks like fun: the BUST Spring Fling Craftacular.It's an indie craft fair + dance in Brooklyn, NY on April 27.From their website:You are cordially invited to BUST Magazine's first ever Spring Fling Craftacular in Brooklyn! Save a dance for us and 50 of the finest indie designers and crafters at our Spring time craft fair and 90s themed dance!While shopping, sip on spiked punch and strike a pose at our Spring Fling photo studio (crowns and corsages provided) while dancing to the hottest jams from the 90s. $2 admission enters you into the Craftacular raffle featuring over $2000 worth of prizes!DATE: Sunday, April 27 from 11 am to 9 pmLOCATION: The Warsaw in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 261 Driggs Avenue.
Topic by canida
Event: GOT CRAFT? Date: Sunday, May 3rd, 2009 Time: 11:00am to 5:00pm First 30 people through the door receive a FREE swag bag full of goods! Location: Legion - 2205 Commercial Drive (at E. 6th Avenue) Admission: $2.00 (kids 10 and under are FREE) More information: www.gotcraft.com Vancouverâs largest indie craft fair featuring over 50 local and handmade vendors from clothing to jewelry to childrenâs accessories to bath and body products. Bringing a modern twist on the conventional craft fair, Got Craft? is a one stop shop showcasing the best talent Vancouver has to offer while providing the general public with an opportunity to purchase one of a kind items. ... because MALL is a four letter word.
Topic by gotcraft | last reply
Hi guys, I essentially need a device that emits a signal, while simultaneously tracking whether another device emitting the same signal enters a certain distance. If another device enters said distance then it will alert the wearer. I think this is possible, but haven't quite got the knowledge on whether it is possible. I thought about using GPS to relay wearers position to a server, which can calculate whether another device is in the vicinity and to send a reply back to the wearer, but to send data would be a continuous cost, something I'm trying to eliminate. Radio frequencies may be another avenue to go down, but again, not sure. In my mind I would have say 10 devices attached to different people in a rural area, and each person would be able to tell if there was another person (and device) in say 100m. Anyone got any ideas?
Question by kief54 | last reply
Howdy folk, The Problem; I need some experienced assistance with changing the output of a transformer from 8.5VAC @1200ma to 9VDC @1000ma. Thanks in advance for any & all assistance. The Back Story; The left channel went out in my PC speakers, which is designed for 230VAC, I had to destroy the woofer case to get to the transformer, and discovered that it outputs 8.5VAC @1200ma. I have another set of PC speakers (different manufacturer) that takes US voltage (110v) and steps it down to 9VAC @1000ma. I must first plug that transformer into a 100watt 230>110 step down (because I'm currently in the Philippines) and I want to get at least one transformer out of the "equation". I would just buy another system set up for local voltage, but I'm on a fixed income (until I can return to the States) that prohibits this avenue. I CAN afford some small components, but that's about it. Thanks again for any help. -Z-
Topic by Zclip | last reply
Ok.... I have literally exhausted every avenue I can. All I can find are already done bottle cap beads and their finished jewelry. NO WHERE have I found the instructions on how to actually make the beads themselves. I need help. This is driving me INSANE! Basically you take to bottle caps(and MAYBE you round em out with a ball peen hammer) Then you weld? glue? them together and drill holes thru them. I have hundreds and hundreds of bottle caps for this project. All I need are the instructions to do this project. I am begging anyone out there who knows of, or has made these please, please... Write me here, communicate with me telepathically.... Something.. Anything! I am begging my fellow Instructians for assistance! Thank you in advance!! Johana P.S. I am posting a picture of what the finished things look like. Some have the wavy edges and some don't I don't care if they have one of the other. I just need to make these guys!!
Topic by JosiePosie76 | last reply
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 | last reply
I'm not proud of this, I don't know very much about electronics, electricity and the components used. However, what I do know is that when there are three poky things on the end the thing-a-mabobber you either have to put it into a thingy with three holes or, if there are only two holes, you have to get a hammer and beat in the third hole. After that my electrical knowledge wanes.So I'm trying to find an avenue to increase my knowledge about the subject but I'm having a hard time at it. I've checked out books from the library but, being that those books are written by engineers, they're coded so that only those who posses the engineers genome can understand them. I stopped by a local community college, explained to an instructor there what I was wanting to learn and after a few minutes he tells me that I'd have to spend the next year or so learning electrical theory before I could even get started doing what I'm interested in doing. Maybe he's right, but I just want to cover all my bases before diving in.I have no urge to become an electrical engineer, but I would like to know things like how to repair an extension cord correctly and safely. I'd like to know how to hook up a small DC motor to an AC power supply, use a bread board to make blinking lights or something then transfer them to something more permanent. I'd like to know how to wire up a light table, know what rating of switch I would need and why. So nothing all that difficult, or should I say nothing I think is all that difficult.I know the standard reply here is "just start playing with stuff" but considering that this is electricity and components can add up money wise, there is a risk of fire, and I have no urge to give myself electroshock therapy, I was wondering if anyone here could at least point me in a direction to start. I've considered getting one of those electrical sets that you get for kids to learn with but I don't know if that's a decent place to start or not.So any feedback would be very much appreciated.Take Care, ChrisP.S. I'm just joking about getting a hammer and beating in a third hole. Instead you get a pair of wire cutters and cut off the poky thing that doesn't fit ;)
Topic by astro347 | last reply
What the Candidates Say About Energyhttp://www.energycentral.com/centers/news/daily/article.cfm?aid=9641919RepublicansRUDY GIULIANI: Says "every potential solution" must be pursued, including nuclear power, increased energy exploration and more aggressive investment in alternative energy sources. Says energy independence can be achieved through a strategy that emphasizes diversification, innovation and conservation.MIKE HUCKABEE: Wants to lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil by pursuing "all avenues" of alternative energy: nuclear, wind, solar, hydrogen, clean coal, biodiesel and biomass.JOHN MCCAIN: Wants to limit carbon dioxide emissions "by harnessing market forces" that will bring advanced technologies, such as nuclear energy, to the market faster. Seeks to reduce dependence on foreign supplies of energy. Wants the U.S. to lead in a way that ensures all nations "do their rightful share" on the environment. As you may know,McCain was AWOL in December on the key Senate vote to secure an 8-yearSolar Investment Tax Credit extension -- and he could have been the hero by casting the 60thvote (it failed 59 to 40 with only McCain being AWOL).MITT ROMNEY: Wants to accelerate construction of nuclear power plants as part of a "robust, cleaner and reliable energy mix." Seeks energy independence not by halting all oil imports but by "making sure that our nation's future will always be in our hands."DemocratsHILLARY CLINTON: Says she's "agnostic" about building nuclear power plants. Prefers renewable energy and conservation because of concerns about nuclear power's cost, safety and waste disposal. Wants to spend $150 billion over the next 10 years to cut oil imports by two-thirds from 2030 projected levels, with some money going toward alternative energy.JOHN EDWARDS: Opposes nuclear power because of cost and safety concerns. Favors creating a $13 billion-a-year fund to finance research and development of energy technologies; wants to reduce oil imports by nearly a third of the oil projected to be used in 2025.BARACK OBAMA: Says the U.S. can't meet its climate goals if it removes nuclear power as an option but says such issues as security of nuclear fuel, waste and waste storage need to be addressed first. Wants to spend $150 billion over the next 10 years to develop new energy sources. Seeks to reduce"oil consumption overall by at least 35 percent by 2030."
Topic by ewilhelm | last reply
So, you've recently discovered you're addiction to Instructables. Its alright, this 12 step program will help even the most entangled Instructables junkie to become more tangled than ever before! Step 1: Admission of the problem and the fact that it is inadequate compared to where you want to be, quite a few people have admitted they have a problem already Step 2: Give up trying to get worse, you cant and its not your fault. Look to the robot for help, The androgen will assist you on your quest of self destruction. Step 3: Make the decision to turn a larger amount of time over to the robot as it is the way to more. Step 4: Look back at your Instructables browsing history and see for yourself that you have not visited enough! There is always more fix waiting here! Step 5: Admit everything about your habitual abuse to a site member or two(they can be found [https://www.instructables.com/community/Instructables-Chat-Room/ here]) (conventional 12-steps also say to admit your issue to the higher power and yourself, but both you and the robot know your habits) Step 6: Now that you have exposed your inadequite browsing habits, you must be ready to let the robot overlord help you. Step 7: Ask our androgenous overlord to aid you in becoming a more addicted internet unit. Step 8: List the I'bles you havent visited, made/finished.submitted, entered into contests, voted for in contests, commented on, colab'd on, faved, or rated, forums you havent visited, made, or commented on, questiones you havent asked, or tried to answer, groups not visited, joined, made, or contributed to, and commit yourself to changing all that. Step 9: Do everything you listed to fix in step 8, then go and do more that you havent thought of yet. Step 10: Reevaluate your limited addiction again and compare it to your first realization of your problem. Step 11: Think about your questionable morals and habits(pertaining solely to the robot and its web domain) and find every avenue imaginable to exploit them. Step 12: Now, being a more addicted individual and worthy of praise, you must assist the n00b junkies get to a currently unatainable level of addiction.
Topic by The Ideanator | last reply
It is truly a shame that judgments in our contests have again been made which serve to promote rehash and discourage creativity. After having watched the Make It Fly! contest make this mistake last month, I could only shake my head as the DIY Summer Camp Challenge also fumbled the ball and awarded a prize to an unoriginal post. Once again, unoriginal projects have landed in the winners' circle while new creations have been left to flounder. On a site that prides itself on people doing things for themselves, this is cause for alarm. Posting someone else's creations under your own name is not doing it yourself. It's high time that that be acknowledged and it be discouraged. Rewarding unoriginal projects is not an avenue to promoting new ideas, developments or breakthroughs. On the contrary, this approach provides an incentive and a compelling case to not pursue new ideas. Instructables' successes are based on its being a center for new ideas, not old hat. Nevertheless, we are teetering dangerously toward that point with moves like this. Rehashes' qualifications are questionable The statements made in the commentary for the contests--the language of the competitions themselves--speak a resounding "no" against unoriginal content. In the header for the DIY Summer Camp Challenge, it is asked: "What interesting things can you do or make to keep the kids entertained this summer? [...] Share your games, activities, craft projects, and more." In the header for the Make It Fly Contest 2016, the opportunity is given for: "Three, two, one… ignition and lift off! The Make It Fly Contest has taken off and that gives you the perfect excuse to let your creativity take to the skies." There is nothing indistinct about the terms. They clearly outline the project is to be your own, not someone else's. If you are reposting another person's creation, you are upholding neither the contests' specifications nor spirit. In the standard contest terms for each contest, the judgment criteria is given: "Judging. All entries that are in compliance with all terms and conditions of these Rules will be judged on the basis of the following criteria (the "Criteria"): clarity, ingenuity, creativity, quality of presentation, and execution of the Instructable." Rehashed projects which contain contents from others' makings are neither ingenious nor creative. As a result, they ought to receive the minimum score in the sections of ingenuity and creativity if they are not barred from the competitions outright. What this means for makers now: Speaking in reference to how I had handled the contests myself, I spent several weeks perfecting several entries of my own. One of the projects, entered into only the DIY Summer Camp Challenge, was the result of many months' worth of development and refinement. The news that my efforts in those months were all for naught while similar themed but wholly unoriginal projects were selected as winners only served to tell me one thing: the time I spent developing and fine tuning the new projects was all for naught. Currently, the appeal for a person to set their best DIY foot forward and actually do something for themselves has become troublingly shaky. There is now a track record of rehashed projects taking home prizes while other original projects have faced ignominous defeats. There is a precedent to unoriginal trumping original. With rehash supported and honored, it is now reasonable for users to conclude that creativity is neither valued nor worth its costs and that unoriginal copying is a better way of doing things. This could ultimately promote a worsening spiral of disinterest in, apathy toward, and the stagnation of new developments in the numerous fields of endeavor makers strive to go forth in. The chances at falling into this trend draw increasingly close and they cannot be allowed to continue if we wish to see progress. Where we need to go from here: Creativeness must be shown to be valued by Instructables or makers are not likely to pursue it in future competitions. As I did a year ago, I recommend the Instructables staff and judges: Judge unoriginal projects as such and give them the earned low marks for ingenuity and creativity based on their lacking in both regards (if they are even legally fit to continue on in the competition) Not promote unoriginal designs by featuring them Reposting old things is a slide to the past, not a ladder to the future. Makers must act today to make a better, more creative tomorrow and copying is no way to do that.
Topic by OrigamiAirEnforcer | last reply
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 | last reply