Historical chainmaille

Alright a quick glance at my ibles will tell you i'm into armour. I really want to make some historically "accurate" maille, the problem is I haven't found a supplier for the right sized punched washers. At the moment I have started production on the riveted rings, I'm going for flattened rings with wedge rivets, holes are drifted not punched / drilled. My question is how far from accurate would it be to use all riveted rings in stead of half solid, half riveted? Any input will be appreciated (please add sources on historical pieces). Cheers, Knut

Posted by knutknackebröd 2 years ago


San Jose 4/25-4/28: Costume Con 26

" Costume-Con 26 is a 4-day weekend conference for everyone who designs, makes, wears and/or admires costumes. CC-26 will include a myriad of instructional workshops, panel discussions, displays, a dealers room, costume competitions, get-togethers, parties, and the broadest collection of creativity all focused on costuming that you have ever had the privilege to contact in one place. Nothing starts the creative juices flowing in new paths like the intensive exposure to fresh viewpoints, techniques and enthusiastic dialog. Here, there be passion....."

Posted by westfw 10 years ago


Knitting with Dog Hair

We heard a neat piece on NPR's Soundprint about knitting with dog hair.It's an overview of the history and process of knitting with dog hair, mixed with a bit of personalizing historical fiction. Definitely a good listen if you've ever considered turning your dog's sheddings into something useful.

Posted by canida 10 years ago


Pre-historic Video Amplifier Antennas useless?!

I've been learning quite a bit about video amplifiers recently. And it's brought me to a question. When antennas were the source of video-signal, you would often hear horror stories of people having to get up off of their couch to adjust the "bunny ears", to get a clearer signal. I'm just confused. Why would they have to be adjusted? The signals, if my understanding is correct, is electrical signals sent through the air, and the signal would cover thousands of feet. It surely didn't matter if the antenna was all but a few inches from one spot or another. The signal should be able to hit it just the same no matter what, correct? If you are in a car, it's one thing - you're moving. But in a house, you're stationary. Any explanation?

Posted by freethetech 6 years ago


What is the motorcycle of your dreams? Price is no object.

If money was no object, what motorcycle(s) would you want to own? For me it would have to be a Vincent Rapide, or a Brough Superior. Also, I'd like to own some historic bikes, like ones that belonged to : Pancho Villa, Evel Knievel, Lawrence of Arabia, Elvis, Bob Dylan, Steve McQueen, or maybe Peter Fonda's Captain America.

Posted by skunkbait 10 years ago


Knex viking war ship- v1

Knex viking war ship, the historic art of Knex. Well, to be honest, I don't really know where I came up with this idea, but it came to me in a flash. The designs pictured are just prototypes, but right now I am working on a way to get all of the paddles on either sides to move back and fourth at the same time (any suggestions or help would be appreciated)/ Anyway, tell me what you think, and remember, this is only v1.

Posted by Hiyadudez 8 years ago


Bricks by the Bay - 2012

LEGO!   This past weekend was Bricks by the Bay 2012, where amateur and professional LEGO builders of all ages from around the San Francisco Bay Area meetup to share amazing LEGO projects. The event was broken down into themed areas like: town and city, robots, fantasy, and space. There were scale replicas of historical buildings, fun twists on castles and cityscapes, Star Wars battle scenes, and an amazing pointillism portrait of a dog. Below are  some photos I took a the event, you can see the rest of the photos here. More Bricks by the Bay LEGO pictures here.

Posted by mikeasaurus 6 years ago


The return of DIY - the history of the maker movement

As a total beginner to the Maker movement who was born in the 70's, I am really excited about people returning to DIY, something that's been out of favor for the last 20 years. I wrote a brief article that gives some historical perspective, but I really want to capture a lot of the recent history of a really incredible movement. What are some of the significant events that shaped the maker movement?  http://www.goddardtech.com/blog/modem-%E2%80%98maker%E2%80%99-movement-and-return-diy-part-1

Posted by dkeith-lucas 4 years ago


Hand-Car Regatta and Exposition of Mechanical and Artistic Wonders!!

The Hand-Car Regatta blends art and science into one gigantic experience of moving parts, sounds and people. The Hand-Car Regatta supports art as an experience by taking art out of the gallery, into a public space and incorporating science, math and human ingenuity. This free, all day event includes live music, public art, kinetic sculpture and local food and drink. The Hand-Car Regatta takes place on the railroad tracks and around Depot Park in Santa Rosa’s historic Railroad Square. Please contact Dr. Erasmus P. Kitty from the link at www.handcarregatta.com September 28, 2008 Santa Rosa, Ca

Posted by little green 10 years ago


Floor lamp(s) that can be controlled from a remote control

I live in an old historic apartment building that only has over-head lights in the kitchen and bathroom. My living room, and both bedrooms have just floor lamps and bedside lamps. The problem is, if you come home when it's dark, you have to fumble through int eh dark to get to the floor lamp. I would like to have a remote control that I can fix to the wall just inside the door, so I can walk in, and basically switch on my lights, without having to grope for them in the dark.   There may already be a product on the market like this, but I cannot find one. So, I'm willing and excited about making one. Anyone got any ideas?

Posted by Dolmetscher007 3 years ago


What number are you?

With almost seven billion people alive on the planet, the BBC have produced a fascinating little widget for working out what number person you are.  All you have to do is input your date of birth. As you can see from the chart below, I was the three and a half billionth person on the planet when I was born. The set-up will also tell you how fast your home country's population is growing. What's scarier, though, is the data you get for today (27th October, 2011): as I type, almost 8.5% of all the humans to have ever lived are alive right now.  To put that in perspective, if the human population was stable, and not rising, then all 83 billion of humanity's historical population would have been born in the last 1200 years. 0_o

Posted by Kiteman 6 years ago


K'nex Spider-man Web-Shooter

I made a k'nex Gun that does not require the power of a spring or rubberband; It's made purely out of k'nex. I didn't really know what to call it, but I got the idea after I noticed that when holding it, it looks like you're shooting webs like Spider-man. I got the idea when I was watching a History Channel program about historical assassinations, and a famous gun that was examined was a gun that shoots when you make a hand-shaking gesture. The k'nex gun shoots about 30 feet. It also has an auto-ejecting shell, but it's single shot. You also have to load the bullet in cartridges. Baed on the definition, do you Instructablers think that this would be a worthy Instructable, or should it stay as a forum? P.S. I'll have pictures of it up soon.

Posted by DELETED_DELETED_DarthVader 9 years ago


Getting rid of humidity inside walls with electricity?

A friend in Europe wants to get rid of the humidity that comes from the ground up into the walls of his old house because of the high hygroscopicity of the building materials (stone and raw bricks), humidity that then goes out to the sides, ruining the plaster and the paint of the walls inside the house. The house is built directly on the ground. Apart from cutting the wall at the base and putting an insulating layer or making holes and pouring synthetic resins to isolate the section, all complicated and expensive procedures, he found an interesting system (called kalibradry, with some copycats around) that fights the capillary action of water by breaking up water dipoles through a magnetic field. Here is a link to the company's explanations on how the thing works : http://http://www.skm-italia.eu/skm/DocumentiProfessionisti/14_ITA.pdf (it is in Italian, but it has lots of pictures plus a simple google translate should do most of the job) and here is the link to the company website: http://translate.google.com/translate?client=tmpg&hl;=en&u;=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.skm-italia.eu%2Fskm%2Fit%2Fdefault.aspx&langpair;=it|en The system, to my surprise, seems to be quite effective, so much that it is being used all over Europe (mainly Germany, Austria, Italy), even in valuable historical buildings, such as the Unesco recognised Palazzo del Te in Mantua with frescoes of the Renaissance master Mantegna. I doubt they would allow anything dodgy or dangerous plus I called directly and the museum confirmed they are using the system succesfully and plan on expanding experimantation. I was wondering if anyone could think of a DIY version of the system, since the price for one is around 5000 USD, way above my friend's budget. As a secondary note, there is an even more astonishing system, although much more dodgy, called aquapol that seems to be using electrostatic electricity to deflect water, making it more difficult for water to "climb up" walls http://www.aquapol.co.uk/ http://www.aquapol-deutschland.de/ this also seems quite effective and is being used in historical buildings as well, but I wonder how it could ever work without an energy source.

Posted by wilson14 7 years ago


4 Reasons why we believe in Conspiracy theories

Did NASA really land on the moon?Did the government cover-up involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks?Is Elvis still alive and kicking? What about Michael Jackson?Was John F. Kennedy assassinated at the hands of multiple shooters?Do the Freemasons control the United States?A small but fervent group of people believe there was more than included in historical record about the aforementioned events. Conspiracies, they call them. And every generation has its own.Some of them turn about to be true, after all: Pearl Harbor was a Japanese conspiracy and Nixon’s Watergate break-in was a coverup.But with so few that turn out to be true, why do people believe in conspiracies?HERE is the link to the Rest of the story.And one final note:so, NOW we know who was on the grassy knoll and shot JFK LOL It was JFK himself !!!

Posted by Goodhart 8 years ago


Hydrogen-powered plane carries human crew for first time.

The first manned, hydrogen-powered plane has been successfully tested in the skies above Spain, its makers say.The small, propeller-driven craft, developed by aviation giant Boeing, made three short flights at an airfield south of Madrid, the company said.It was powered by hydrogen fuel cells, which produce only heat and water as exhaust products.The tests could pave the way for a new generation of greener aircraft, the company said.Boeing's chief technology officer John Tracy said the flights were "a historical technological success" and "full of promises for a greener future".Small futureThree test flights of the two-seater aircraft took place in February and March at an airfield at Ocana, south of Madrid. The plane was modified to include a hybrid battery and fuel cell system used to power an electric motor coupled to a conventional propeller. Hydrogen-powered planes have been flown before, but never with a human pilot onboard.BBC Story

Posted by Kiteman 10 years ago


SketchUp Competition: Design a bridge and win $5k

Have some SketchUp skills or at least have a good eye for a bridge? Then check out this SketchUp contest where you need to submit a killer bridge design that's open to students and top prizes are $5,000, $2,500, and $1,000.Don't worry about knowing how to use SketchUp. It's easy to learn if you follow the tutorials. Are you in awe of the engineering that goes into designing a bridge? Do you have a favorite local, famous, or historical bridge you'd like to see in Google Earth? Now you have a chance to show off your modeling skills and make that dream a reality by entering the Google SketchUp International 2009 Student Bridge Modeling Competition. Simply model the bridges of your choice in Google SketchUp, geo-reference them in Google Earth and submit them by uploading to the Google 3D Warehouse to earn lasting online glory and, for the winners, a handsome prize. Link via Make blog

Posted by fungus amungus 9 years ago


A Carbon Tide: Past, Present and Future

The New York Times has a really nice graph showing the world's historical and projected carbon emissions here at A Carbon Tide: Past, Present and Future Global emissions of carbon dioxide, measured by the weight of carbon it contains.Their choice to display it in flash rather than a similarly-sized image is somewhat annoying, but the chart itself does a nice job presenting a type of data that is often difficult to comprehend. Getting people to truly grasp the size and scale of some of the world's energy issues is one of the key challenges in making progress on those issues. In 2004, 7.9 billion metric tons of carbon were released -- did you make good use of your metric ton?Here's a thought experiment in that same vein: The San Francisco oil spill was originally reported as a 140 gallon spill, but turned out to be approximately 58,000 gallons. How much worse is a 58,000 gallon spill compared to a 140 gallon spill?

Posted by ewilhelm 10 years ago


There is for sale an unique books

Here isHereThe book of Russian author Alexander Vorobeva is printing in 1998, three years before tragedies in New York. In book twice describe explosions of two towers of WTC. Probably, this book can throw light on the true reasons and originators of the occurred tragedy in the history of the American people in 2001.Item number: 270298527468 on ebay AndThe valuable, exclusive book about the Kremlin in Moscow, with pictures and descriptions of building complex history. This book has special deed of gift: To the members of the komsomol of Chernobyl Atomic Power Station from the members of the komsomol - chekikists (i.e. from USSR Committee of State safety young members) 24.10.1986. The book has not only artistic value but and historical. It is connected with crash in Chernobyl Atomic Power Station(26.04.1986) The book has unusual action on people. This book has been charged by energy of the Kremlin. When the book is at you the house or on work you feel new forces. The book has been shined by security officers of the USSR as a talisman on good luck. Item number: 270298456265 on ebay .

Posted by Adwords 9 years ago


October 12th Grand Opening-Fremont CA

Schmartboard, The World’s Greatest Electronic Circuit Prototyping System, has relocated to the historic Centerville section of Fremont, CA. Join us on October 12th from Noon to 3 P.M. as we celebrate our new location. • Come and meet and have your photo taken with Oakland Raiderettes: Chanel Nichols and Ashley Brown • ***Hand solder a chip using Schmartboard’s patented “EZ” technology which makes hand soldering fast and easy • Contest with prizes from Schmartboard, other technology companies and local Centerville businesses. • Special offers not available to the general public. • Giveaways, Food SchmartBoard is the destination for people who want to hand solder surface mount (SMT) components. Are you an engineer, technician, educator, student or DIY hobbyist who has avoided utilizing SMT components? Those days are officially over, because with SchmartBoard practically anyone can hand solder SOIC, QFP, PLCC, QFN, BGA and discrete surface mount components. More Details

Posted by nealgb 5 years ago


Science of Irrational Behavior

A lovely book review from The New Yorker. The book sounds like fun:In "Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions" (Harper; $25.95), Dan Ariely, a professor at M.I.T., offers a taxonomy of financial folly. His approach is empirical rather than historical or theoretical. In pursuit of his research, Ariely has served beer laced with vinegar, left plates full of dollar bills in dorm refrigerators, and asked undergraduates to fill out surveys while masturbating. He claims that his experiments, and others like them, reveal the underlying logic to our illogic. "Our irrational behaviors are neither random nor senseless -- they are systematic," he writes. "We all make the same types of mistakes over and over." So attached are we to certain kinds of errors, he contends, that we are incapable even of recognizing them as errors. Offered FREE shipping, we take it, even when it costs us.Another review from The NYTimes with an entirely different set of examples. This is definitely starting to sound like a fun read.

Posted by canida 10 years ago


Help participants submit their data - Citizen Science Contest

The SciStarter Citizen Science Contest is live! This is your opportunity to help millions of citizen scientists contribute to real scientific discovery. Make their experiences better by coming up with solutions to some real annoyances that hinder their participation. To get you started, here is a specific--and very real--challenge sent to us by project organizers. HELP PARTICIPANTS SUBMIT THEIR DATA Background: Project BudBurst engages the public in making careful observations of phenophases, such as first leafing, first flower, and first fruit ripening. Scientists compare this valuable environmental information to historical records and learn about the prevailing climatic characteristics in a region over time. The Problem: Prospective and current volunteers are often unsure if they have correctly identified plants and phenophases. This may lead to them not submit the data they've collected. Other volunteers simply forget to add their data. The Challenge: Find a way to encourage and remind participants to submit data after making field observations. Enter now! Contest closes January 21, 2013

Posted by scistarter 5 years ago


Three Sided Truth

Global Consciousness Project – Long Term ExperimentI've been watching the GCP for over 4 years. I would like to create a permanent visual installation based on acquired data from the EGG database. The installation will be a tetrahedron, displaying past, present, and the "so-called" probable data. No explanation of what the display portrays. Mysterious as it will be, time and historical data will stir subconscious minds to recognize patterns. I believe this is the perfect device that will develop questions within closed minds and thus in time, answers.Read up on GCP here: Princeton GCPI have a physical design in mind for the installation. I would like to lead the creative task force for creating such a device. I'm wondering if I can find people here that would be interested in helping with the internal electrical and mechanical engineering that will be needed to operate the device. Serious minds needed only. This is a long-term project possibly taking several months to a year to complete. Funding will be provided once the preliminary concept is thoroughly defined. I would like to see that these devices are scattered across the globe and placed in highly visible areas.The domain name ThreeSidedTruth.com has been registered for this project. I hope to find some interested minds.threesidedtruth@gmail.com~ Demannu

Posted by Demannu 11 years ago


The Lost Ring ARG

We just sat in on our friend Jane McGonigal's SXSW talk on how life could be far more awesome and rewarding were it organized more like alternate reality games, and were lucky enough to get a peek into her new game, The Lost Ring.The concept is pretty neat: Ariadne woke up blindfolded in a corn maze outside of Johannesburg with no memory, Olympic-calibur athletic skills, and a tattoo bearing the words "trovu la ringon perditan" -- Esperanto for "find the lost ring." She sets out to find what is happening to her, and discovers others with similar stories.There's already a wiki, and the game will almost certainly spawn offshoot projects all over the net and physical world.Background info:The Lost Ring is a global alternate reality adventure created in partnership between McDonald's, AKQA and Jane McGonigal. Designed in collaboration with the IOC, The Lost Ring invites players from across the globe to join forces online and in the real world, as they investigate forgotten mysteries and urban legends of the ancient games. The Lost Ring recognizes McDonald's historic sponsorship of the Olympic Games, and brings the spirit of the Games to people around the world.It started a week ago and should run for around 6 months. Go check it out, and join up!

Posted by canida 10 years ago


fishbowl with floating tv

Can someone tell me if this has already been done or where i might find some information? (beg pardon if answer is painfully apparent / easy to find and i didnt) backstory: i bought a house. in historical documents of 1905 a lighted "french" sculpture was mentioned. it is now gone but there is a convenient hole with a electric switch for said hole. i was thinking of what to put in the hole and i remembered watching the Chris Isaak tv show something like ten years ago and aside from the amiable goofball lead the show also had an wise advisor character who was dressed up like a mermaid and through the refractive index of a fishbowl and some other feats of science appeared to be floating and moving in a large fishbowl mounted on a table in a bar. question1; does anyone know the conditions necesary to set up a similar trick? maybe with a small tv, cell phone screen, clock, camera, or something else set up on the bottom of a glass ball with the image floating in the ball? question 2; could you set up a large trapezoidal cube made of glass on top of a flat screen tv on the floor where the light bending quality of the glass would redirect the image on the tv on all the surfaces of the cube? sub-question; could you make said cube with slightly convex surfaces to enlarge the image of a very small image projector?

Posted by brazenfaith 9 years ago


Home-X does Mouse Taxidermy

James Powderley's Home-X class had a mouse taxidermy session using my taxidermy Instructables. They made some great mice! Pictures here and here and here. They also learned to knit, solder, and do some chemistry; textbooks include the Cartoon Guides to Chemistry and Physics. Doesn't this sound like awesome fun? Check out the course description:Welcome to the Disruptive Home Economics class at Parsons New School for Design. To the initiated, the class is called Home X. The goal of this class is to expand our ability to make things at home, whether for entertainment, expression or survival. Home X will take us all through the center and to the fringe of what it means to make-it and do-it-yourself. We will start by making or modifying existing DIY and How-to projects and studying the way other makers solve problems and create documentation. Over the course of the semester, we will get hands-on experience researching, designing, documenting and sharing our own DIY projects. We will take a generalist's approach and gain experience with a wide range of mechanical, electrical, computational and chemical processes. We will combine novel tools and materials with common ones and build projects for ourselves as well as tools for others. Along the way, we will also look at the way cultural and historical contexts influence the technologies we make and use, as well as the implications of open source production by the masses. Students will be encouraged to release their work as openly and widely as possible and to experiment with traditional and contagious distribution of their projects.More info hereAs they say in Home-X: D.I.Y till you R.I.P.

Posted by canida 11 years ago


Could a Change of Plaques at a Museum Help Engender True Philosophy?

I visited a famous museum of art a while back, and was awed by the breadth of their collection.I spent most of a day there, and as I walked through, something occurred to me; the historical plaques I read only told the story of our current understanding of history. They did not mention how our ideas of, for example, 12" Egyptian stone carvings, have changed from thinking they were idols to something like spirit "vessels" for the departed. This one-sided view gave the impression that we knew all about Egyptian culture. Yet, our understanding changes all the time. Translations of the "Book of the Dead" from 1930 hardly resemble recent translations.I wonder, if we mentioned on a plaque how a particular artifact changed our views of ancient cultures, and did this for several artifacts, or even mentioned briefly some key research along the way, we might jog the minds of museum goers a bit more. Maybe get them thinking that the world is more open than presumed. Thus some visitors might get excited at the unanswered questions and have a desire to do further research in a topic on their own.If a change of plaques could tell a larger story of how our ideas and "what we know" is challenged and changes all the time, then perhaps . . . it might even jog the visitor to challenge some of his or her own ideas, thus beginning to inspire true philosophy.

Posted by royalestel 10 years ago


Timemachine in Google Earth - Concept Extention for Google Earth

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?

Posted by joho123 6 years ago


The Last HOPE....

I realized I mentioned this before, but anyone that is interested in the last HOPE convention to be held at the HOtel PEnnsylvania, before the historic site is torn down; it will be held in New York City, at the Hotel Pennslyvania ( info on the last HOPE convention can be found at the link ). Steven Levy to keynote. As part of a social experiment, attendees HOPE in July will be issued badges with electronic tracking devices. Large displays will show in real-time where people go, with whom they associate, for how long and how often.The tracking technology, known as RFID, is fast becoming an unseen part of everyday life. This July, for the very first time, the general public will be able to participate in the transparent operation of a major RFID tracking program.Conference attendees will participate in games built around the tracking system. Players will seek ways to protect their privacy, find vulnerabilities in the tracking system, employ data mining techniques to learn more about other participants, and choose how much personal information they will disclose in order to play.This demonstration will be open to the public at The Last HOPE conference from July 18-20 at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. The first 1500 pre-registrants will be guaranteed an RFID badge enabling them to participate in the game.Segway Racing Back by popular demand, we will once again have the Segway "personal transporters" available for attendees to ride and race.Vintage Computers Playground Also returning, The Mid-Atlantic Retro-Computing Hobbyists (MARCH) organization will be bringing in an assortment of older machines for people to play around with.Floor LayoutThe Last HOPE. If you miss this one, there's nothing left to say.In lieu of donations, flowers are requested. I MISSED the Last HOPE !

Posted by Goodhart 10 years ago


Thin edge of the wedge in Texan education?

Any Texans out there? Did you know what (revisionist?) plans were afoot in your education system? Even as a panel of educators laid out a vision Wednesday for national standards for public schools, the Texas school board was going in a different direction, holding hearings on changes to its social studies curriculum that would portray conservatives in a more positive light, emphasize the role of Christianity in American history and include Republican political philosophies in textbooks. There have also been efforts among conservatives on the board to tweak the history of the civil rights movement. One amendment states that the movement created “unrealistic expectations of equal outcomes” among minorities. Another proposed change removes any reference to race, sex or religion in talking about how different groups have contributed to the national identity. - A greater emphasis on “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s.” - A reduced scope for Latino history and culture. - Changes in specific terminology. Terms that the board’s conservative majority felt were ideologically loaded are being retired. (The new recommendations stress the need for favorable depictions of America’s economic superiority across the board.) - A more positive portrayal of Cold War anticommunism. Disgraced anticommunist crusader Joseph McCarthy, the Wisconsin senator censured by the Senate for his aggressive targeting of individual citizens and their civil liberties on the basis of their purported ties to the Communist Party, comes in for partial rehabilitation. - Language that qualifies the legacy of 1960s liberalism. Great Society programs such as Title IX—which provides for equal gender access to educational resources—and affirmative action, intended to remedy historic workplace discrimination against African-Americans, are said to have created adverse “unintended consequences” in the curriculum’s preferred language. - Thomas Jefferson no longer included among writers influencing the nation’s intellectual origins. Jefferson, a deist who helped pioneer the legal theory of the separation of church and state, is not a model founder in the board’s judgment. ... Heavy emphasis is also to be placed on the founding fathers having been guided by strict Christian beliefs. - Excision of recent third-party presidential candidates Ralph Nader (from the left) and Ross Perot (from the centrist Reform Party). - A recommendation to include country and western music among the nation’s important cultural movements. The popular black genre of hip-hop is being dropped from the same list. None of these proposals has met with final ratification from the board—that vote will come in May, after a prolonged period of public comment on the recommendations. Still, the conservatives clearly feel like the bulk of their work is done; after the 120-page draft was finalized last Friday, Republican board member Terri Leo declared that it was "world class" and "exceptional." First paragraphs from New York Times Headline paragraphs from Yahoo News It occurs to me that it may be appropriate for some members to have a rather forceful word with their elected representatives - at all levels - about the damage these proposals will cause in the American education system...

Posted by Kiteman 8 years ago


Something from Nothing: Films on Design & Architecture

If you're interested in Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' TechnoCRAFT exhibition, you might also want to know about the design film series we're hosting this summer.  See below for more information. SOMETHING FROM NOTHING: FILMS ON DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE Sundays, Jul 11 thru Sep 5, 2 pm In conjunction with our TechnoCRAFT gallery exhibition, we present these eight matinee screenings, covering not only design, but architecture, motion graphics and craft. Sun, Jul 11, 2 pm Refrigerator Fetish: Vintage Industrial Design Films We kick off the series with a selection of funny, bizarre, and maybe even educational vintage product design films, from the 1920s forward. Examining the sensuality of the fridge, the rhapsody of the pencil and the mysterious polishing of unknowable objects, this promises to be a one-of-a-kind day at the movies. Presented live by film archivist Dennis Nyback. Sun, Jul 18, 2 pm Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio By Sam Wainwright Douglas Citizen Architect chronicles the work of the late activist architect Samuel Mockbee, and his radical educational program known as the Rural Studio. The program teaches students about the social responsibilities of architecture and charges them to provide original and inspirational homes and buildings (mostly from salvaged materials) in rural west Alabama, one of the poorest communities in the country (2010, 60 min, digital video). Preceded by the short Robin Hood Gardens (Or Every Brutalist Structure For Itself) by Martin Ginestie (2010, 17 min, digital video) Sun, Jul 25, 2 pm wow+flutter Assembled by onedotzero, the London-based cutting-edge new media group, this compilation program showcases the most progressive and unpredictable work in motion graphics and short-form media. Fresh talent and celebrated masters alike strive to expand, blur and explode traditional notions of what future moving images could be as a playground for creative expression. (2009, 70 min, digital video) Sun, Aug 1, 2 pm The Greening of Southie By Ian Cheney This incisive new documentary is set in the traditionally Irish-American working-class neighborhood of South Boston, where a new kind of building is taking shape. From wheatboard cabinetry to recycled steel, bamboo flooring to dual-flush toilets, the Macallen building is a leader in the emerging field of environmentally friendly design. But Boston's steel-toed union workers aren't sure they like it. And when things start to go wrong, the young development team gets a little more than they bargained for. A film about building the city of tomorrow…today. (2008, 72 min, digital video) Sun, Aug 15, 2 pm Infinite Space: The Architecture of John Lautner By Murray Grigor John Lautner was the Southern California architect. Even if his name isn’t familiar, you have likely seen pictures of some of his most famous works, such as the space-age “Chemosphere,” the octagonal house on a hill, which has become a Los Angeles landmark. Lautner believed that the purpose of architecture is to create timeless, free, joyous spaces for all activities in life. Infinite Space traces the lifelong quest of a man to create “architecture that has no beginning and no end.” (2009, 90 min, digital video) Sun, Aug 22, 2 pm Rem Koolhaas: A Kind of Architect By Markus Heidingsfelder and Min Tesch Rarely has an architect caused as much sensation outside of the architecture community as Rem Koolhaas. His outstanding creations such as the Dutch Embassy in Berlin, the Seattle Library, and the Casa da Musica concert hall in Porto are working examples of his visionary theories about architecture and urban society. An engaging portrait of the man and his work, the film takes us to the heart of his ideas. Koolhaas has stated "it's the only film about me that I have liked." (2008, 97 min, digital video) Sun, Aug 29, 2 pm The Visual Language of Herbert Matter By Reto Caduff SPECIAL SNEAK PREVIEW! A revealing look at the life story of a highly influential mid-century modern design master. Known as a quintessential designer's designer, Swiss-born Herbert Matter is largely credited with expanding the use of photography as a design tool and bringing the semantics of fine art into the realm of applied arts. Through never-before-seen footage, personal photography and stunning graphic design, the film explores the social and cultural impact of his personal visual language that influenced a generation of designers and artists. (2010, digital video) Sun, Sep 5, 2 pm Handmade Nation By Faythe Levine This charmingly low-fi film documents the contemporary crafting community. These artists, crafters and designers marry historical techniques, punk and D.I.Y ethos while being influenced by traditional handiwork, modern aesthetics, and politics. (2009, 65 min, digital video) Where: Something from Nothing: Films on Design & Architecture – 701 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103 – YBCA Screening Room Public Info: 415-978-2787 or ybca.org $8 regular; $6 students, seniors, teachers & YBCA members Enjoy same-day gallery admission for all YBCA presented films!

Posted by YBCA 8 years ago


Mac VS PC?

I'm posting this to share my experience and opinion of Mac's VS PC's. I welcome you to read and share your story. For many years I was a PC. I believed whole-heartedly that I needed Windows, and I needed Microsoft. Then I bought my last laptop. It wasn't cheap. I used it everyday for work and therefore it was important that it ran efficiently. Like many of you, I suffered from "blue screens" and on occasion a "crash". There were viruses and trojans and attacks from all places, you'd think I was engaged in war! Then the proverbial "last straw" occurred. I needed to upgrade into some new software, and I received a simple message that I needed to also upgrade the Windows Service Pack. Hmmm.... Seemed easy enough. (Been there. Done that.) So, off I went to download the SP (from a reputable source) and then "Success!"... I got a message that said "Successfully installed. Windows must restart to complete process". Hmmm... Ok... I pressed through the process to restart my machine and there it began.... The long and never ending cycle had started! My laptop shut down, started to boot and then upon seeing the (dare I say it?) Vista Start Up Screen, my laptop promptly repeated itself and began to reboot... o_0 ??? This went on for sometime... *anger growing*... NOTHING I did would stop this, or should I say NOTHING would START my laptop. It was forever entangled into a mysterious vortex of computer "Neverland". I was NOT impressed. I had to borrow another computer to do some research and found very little at the time to explain this conundrum. Then I tried Microsoft. I used their "so-called" online customer service department and was put in touch with someone who was younger than my oldest pair of shoes. He also couldn't speak English very well, so without being incredibly rude I requested another agent. Upon conversing with agent #2, I knew I was in trouble... (Was Agent #2 related to Agent #1???) ... o_0 ??? *shakes head* I will give credit to Agent #2. He was nice. He tried his hardest to suggest everything under the sun, but alas, we both concluded it was hopeless. The final bluescreen error number confirmed the toe tag on my machine. So I was left with having to reinstall the entire system and lose EVERYTHING on my laptop. *fuming mad now* Then it occurred to me that "Windon'ts" (as I affectionately call them now), opted not to provide me with necessary disks to reinstall their OS during my purchase. It seems that the cost of a CD has become so expensive for Microsoft that they are forced to leave it up to the consumer to fend for themselves. Clearly, they are suffering financially, No? When I rationalized this logic with Agent #2, he suggested that I purchase Windows 7 as it had just come out and was much better than Vista (No kidding.... *rolls eyes*). But why? Why prey-tell should I have to purchase anything? My laptop was only 14 months old (conveniently out of warranty) and may as well have been a pre-historic dinosaur as far as Agent #2 was concerned. So where did me and Agent #2 leave off? He suggested I "borrow" an installation disk from someone and reinstall windows vista and start over... *tics forming now...* He assured me that my "service call to Microsoft" would remain as "unsolved". (Oh btw, at this point we were regulars on the telephone). So my ONE LAST QUESTION to him was: "What assurance do I have, after reinstalling Vista and then the SP I need, that this problem won't just start again?" - His reply was, "Well, it shouldn't"... Straw officially broken. Now we come to my life with my new MacBook. Clearly much more expensive than a Windon'ts PC, but wait... Is it? Let's review. There are more "open-source apps" available to a Mac (meaning you get them for free), and in most cases I find they are the same if not better than the paid for MS version. The critical applications that I use everyday for work, installed fine and without issue. I also received "DISKS" from Apple. Apparently they can afford to give customers what they pay for.... Upon opening the box, I was running my new laptop within 5 minutes. Easy Peasy... The time alone that I save from all that aggravation is money in the bank. Do I miss anything? Yes, actually I do (or maybe I don't). What I miss out on are bluescreens, viruses, trojans, attacks, intrusions, crashes and all the other fun stuff I got to know and expect with a PC. So why tell all of you about this now? Well yesterday I noticed that the bottom of my MacBook had a slight bulge in the case. *Heart skipped a beat*. Then after some mild panic, with visions of my last ordeal swirling in my head, I went online in search of why, and found the answer within 5 minutes. Apparently this was something Apple became aware of and had a simple solution. Fill out a contact information form along with my serial number and I got a confirmation message. Not only would I receive an ENTIRELY NEW bottom to my MacBook, I would receive a full set of screws AND a screwdriver!!! All FREE OF CHARGE. NO SHIPPING FEES. COST ME NOTHING!!! *shocked* Now I was beaming. *ear to ear grin* I felt validated for my departure from PC. Then in some kind of absurd customer service universe, I received a knock at the door. My replacement parts had arrived!!! - Less than 24 hours later... *mouth gaping and eyes wide* So I thank you for reading this. I encourage you to share your opinions. If you don't know who I am. I am canucksgirl. I'm a Mac. Not a PC.

Posted by canucksgirl 6 years ago


Yuri's Night Bay Area 2007 Hosted at NASA* Ames Research Center - SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MARCH 9

Please note that our email server was down this past week so we are extending the deadline for Art Installations until Friday, March 9, 2007. If your submission bounced please resubmit it again by emailing submissions@yurisnightames.netWe will contact all those submitting within a week of the submission deadline.Yuri's Night Bay Area 2007 Sofia Hanger 211, NASA Ames Research Center*, Moffett Field, CAhttp://www.yurisnightames.netFriday, April 13th, 20076:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. - VIP Event Hosted by Keynote speaker, Anousheh Ansari . The first privately-funded female space explorer!10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. - 3,2,1, Lift Off!, An all-night collective experience toward the Overview Effect. Art Installations and Science and Technology DemonstrationsMusic Line UpPlaid ( Warp Records, UK) Luke Vibert ( Ninja Tune, Warp Records, UK), Telefon Tel Aviv (Hefty Records, USA)Interactive Experiences and Second Life KiosksSponsors List To Be Announced Shortly Affiliate / Collaborating Organizations (Partial List)4c design studios - NASA* - Nexus - Space Generation Advisory Council - Yuri's Night - Zero Gravity Arts Consortium Yuri's Night World Space Parties celebrate humanity's first venture into space (by Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin). The event connects diverse communities to pay tribute to our shared global heritage in space exploration. Through one long simultaneous celebration Yuri's Night bridges national, cultural, generational and social barriers to ignite excitement about what is new on the horizon in space exploration and to remind us of how much more humanity is capable of. Yuri's Night Bay Area 2007 is just one of many worldwide parties sharing the same mission.How to ApplyPlease submit the following by Friday March 9, 2007:-Artist name, address, phone, email and title of artwork.-Philosophical Statement, as related to the Yuri's Night Bay Area 2007 Theme (See Below)-Documentation of work: image, video, and/or sound files -Space requirements and special needs-Current state of completion-Required crew-Power requirements-Time to set upYuri's Night Bay Area 2007 will be held on Friday, April 13th in the Sofia Hangar 211 and on the adjoining tarmac at NASA Ames Research Center*, with several thousand people attending. The sizeable combined indoor and outdoor space lends itself to large-scale installations. We are looking for art installations, interactive works, science and technology demonstrations, video, sound works, light works, and large scale sculpture. Geodesic domes will be installed on the tarmac to showcase smaller and more intimate works. Other activities at the event will include:- Music from world-renown international talent (coming from the UK and beyond) and video artists.- A sundown keynote speech by Anousheh Ansari, the first female private space tourist (recently returning from a 10 day stay on the International Space Station) and the woman who is largely responsible for making the Ansari X PRIZE project possible- An environmental "greening of space" sub-theme, manifested through the use of environmentally friendly biodiesel and vegetable oil-fueled power, compostable plates and utensils, and tree planting in the name of our guests to balance out carbon emissions.Please give special consideration to the following:Yuri's Night Bay Area 2007 is a celebration of humanity with a focus on space and technology, art and performance while honoring the historical nature of the space and the spirit of the people who once worked in and still inhabit the AMES Sofia Hanger 211, in which our event is hosted. Within the context of NASA AMES Research Center* we feel our contemporary relationship to space and sense the incredible possibilities for the future of human and robotic space exploration.Simultaneously, this place exudes a feeling of another time, a time of science fiction fantasy and early space exploration and its potential for fulfillment, some ideas made real, some not: rocket ships of the past, an International Space Station of the present and airships of the future, flying cars, and time machines, terraforming, robots, and settlements on other planets. We will share an interpretive journey into outer space starting with the arrival of 'space cadets' at NASA * Ames's Yuri's Night Spaceport who, after a communal 3-2-1countdown to LIFTOFF! will jettison into a magical journey through time and space, as we discover new communities, interactive art installations, science and technology demonstrations, performances and space art interwoven with simultaneous influences from the past, present and future educating us to new possibilities socially, ecologically and technologically. We will reach the zenith of our journey as we sense 'The Overview Effect', an unexpected gift given to many astronauts who travel into space when they gain a new profound insight and understanding of our planet Earth, when confronted with the presence of our world as seen from the distance of space. The results of this experience can reinforce personal sensitivity to environmental conservation and the greening of space and 'The Overview Effect' has the capacity to transform all patterns of human existence and evolution toward greater potentials in human diversity and creativity. With all 'space cadets' having experienced changed perceptions of space, time, sound, and weight all we will have the potential to transform the evolution of humanity as they experience a new dawn on planet Earth.In creating Yuri's Night together, we create a new narrative, a new science fiction for the future and given the spirit of Yuri's Night, our night, our dance is a dance of inspiration, joy and celebration!Special notices:Unfortunately, despite our desire to do so, we cannot accomodate traditional media in the form of paintings, drawings, or prints. No fire, explosives, or works that are potentially damaging to property or persons.Send application or questions to:submissions@yurisnightames.netMore information about Yuri's Night Bay Area 2007: http://www.yurisnightames.netGeneral information about Yuri's Night:http://www.yurisnight.net/2007/*References to NASA Ames shall not be construed as official NASA approval or endorsement of any non-Governmental or commercial entity or activity pending final legal approvals.

Posted by lannanh 11 years ago


Profile Page Updates

Hello Everyone! Many of you have noticed and commented on the site updates that went live on Thursday, October 20, which included substantial design changes to the member profile page. The profile page is near to many of your hearts as the front door to your substantial investments in Instructables, and while some have found these changes disturbing, we believe that they're very much in the community's best interests. I wanted to reach out just to let you know that we have given the new design a great deal of thought and attention, and to share with you some of the reasons behind the changes. First, to clear up some ambiguity about the current state of affairs: The public member profile is stage one of two major changes to the site that will work together. Stage two, which is well underway but not released yet, involves the private profile page (currently the "you" page) and will make access to aspects of your presence on the site much more accessible. Full lists of your own content will soon be available on a full-featured (and much more beautiful) private view of the member page; meanwhile, this content is all available in the "you" section. So the sense that your own content has gone missing is temporary. Second, the High-Level Goals: Clearer, more accessible design. Our old member page, say what you will, had a lot of buttons and options. On the whole, we know that most people don't take the trouble to drill down into the various categories. We want to help you all build large audiences of new appreciators, and while an infinitely detailed catalog of an author's content is appropriate for some, the breadth of activity on Instructables can make it difficult for new users encountering the site for the first time to understand what Instructables is about. Fundamentally this is what the new design is for: to help people understand, at a glance, what a given author is up to on Instructables. Highlighting Engagement vs Cataloguing Activity. Different people interact with Instructables in different ways, but our member page has never reflected this subtlety. It has always presented the most recent Instructables and comments, even for authors who contribute exclusively to the forums, or through favoriting and following other users. We felt that your activity on Instructables should be presented front and center, because it more evenly describes the way in which you participate in the community. Many members participating in this very discussion have benefitted from this choice, even as they challenge it. Forum posts used to live buried under a tab on the left; now, the contribution of a forum topic can appear right at the top if that's how the author participates in the community. We wanted to see how authors engage, and we felt it was ultimately more important than being able to drill through every piece of historical content hierarchically. Audience vs Self. The old profile page served "my view of me" and "my audience's view of me" somewhat evenly. With the changes we've made, and the changes in the pipeline, we're taking a stance. The public page is for my audience, the private page is for me. We're confident the new design better serves authors' audiences, even if it has some weaknesses for the author's own view. The author-centric side is coming, please hang in there! Surfacing Older Content. At HQ, we have frequent discussions about the "evergreen-ness" of the Instructables authors post. A great project from 2009 is still a great project, even though the wider internet has a strong preference for "new" over "good". But it's a struggle for us: we can't put every good project on the homepage forever, or new projects wouldn't have a chance. So we have to strike a balance. The new member page helps in this regard: if your old-but-awesome project still gets some attention and activity, it'll show up in your timeline as people favoriting the old project. So your profile becomes a place of discovery, where I can see "whoa, look at that cool thing that this person made 3 years ago!". Previously, the old project would have been buried under several clicks from the landing page, generating almost zero traffic. Add to that the new ability to select "top projects", and you can see that we're trying to help you keep your best projects in the limelight. See new features below. Third, New Features to Help Authors: Top-Five Projects. DIY Projects are at the core of the Instructables experience, and we listened to authors who make different kinds of things, but want to treat their Instructables Profile like a Portfolio. Randofo is one of the community's best-known and prolific Arduino Gurus, but it's a fact that an Arduino Project of his is a much bigger time investment than some of his smaller food projects. In fact, did you know that he's authored 38 food projects? Now, randofo has the opportunity to present his most-relevant work first, rather than leaving it to his audience to figure out. Right now, he seems to be all about Halloween. Activity Feed. Love it or hate it, it's here to stay. We felt that having an activity feed on the member page was the most effective way to answer the most important question for a member page to answer: How does this member participate in the community? While that information was certainly available in the old layout, divining it required an audience member to click through all the tabs, reading every piece of content to completion. There was nothing "glanceable" about the information architecture, except perhaps the achievements (which we've kept). We believe that the activity feed, with the "top Instructables" feature in particular, makes it much easier to determine at a glance how a member participates. Fourth, It's a Living Document: We're watching your comments and feedback closely, and I expect that you'll see some pieces that you're missing return. I can't comment on specifics right now, but I know there are some statistics and counters that may have value. We agree, and we'll respond. But there was a whole lot of "extra" information on the page to begin with, and we wanted to start over as cleanly as possible. UX & Bugs. With a big feature like this, there are bound to be growing pains. Hopefully, you've already seen some improvement with regard to the delay in setting your "top Instructables" and having those reflected on your page. There's still a little blip, but it's down to about 10 seconds now, vs the 20 minutes when we first released it. Sorry about that! We'll also be looking carefully at how the page looks, making sure that we aggregate activity events such that no one event type (ahem, favorites!) takes over, etc. That's all for now. Hope having a little context helps put the changes in context. If it can't bring everyone onto the same page, we at least hope that it'll make them a little less out-of-the-blue. Thank you to you all who have written your comments, and who care so deeply for the community of Instructables!

Posted by pseaton 1 year ago


Walking with Dinosaurs

WALKING WITH DINOSAURS the Live Experience is no longer produced or presented by Immersion Edutainment -- please revise your copy appropriately. For 200 million years the Dinosaurs ruled the earth Now, they’re back roaming the arenas of America in an extraordinary new theatrical production WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – The Live Experience Based on the award-winning BBC Television Series Now on a two-year North American tour June 10, 2008--- Dinosaurs once again roam the earth in a spectacular theatrical arena show, WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – The Live Experience, based on the award-winning BBC Television Series. WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – The Live Experience is now on tour in North America. Over one and a half million Americans have already seen the production since it opened in July 2007. The show originated in Australia, where after years of planning, WALKING WITH DINOSAURS came to life at Sydney’s Acer Arena in January 2007. The show proved itself such a sensation, that this North American tour was fast-tracked. It began a short three months after completing its sold out engagements in Australia. WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – The Live Experience is brought to North America by The Creature Production Company, headed by CEO Carmen Pavlovic. Pavlovic said, “The BBC Series was a brilliant blend of special effects, escapism, excitement and information. Our show brings together all of that, plus something extra - it’s live! In this production, fifteen roaring, snarling “live” dinosaurs mesmerize the audience – and are as awe-inspiring as when they first walked on earth.” Pavlovic continued, “The dinosaurs are life-size, making the show so immense, it could only fit in arenas. It’s a $20 million arena spectacle of unprecedented size and quality, which captivates young and old alike. With Walking with Dinosaurs, we really believe we have created a new genre in entertainment and we hope to continue to bring new product to arenas for years to come ” WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – The Live Experience has sold out performances and broken records in arenas all over the America – generating more than $50 million in ticket sales to date. It has been seen on "The Today Show," Good Morning America," "Live with Regis and Kelly," and has been written about in Newsweek, The New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor and the Wall Street Journal. It was the subject of a Discovery Channel Really Big Things episode and a video clue category on Jeopardy. more WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - Page 2 The production has won the 2007 THEA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Touring Event. The THEAs recognize excellence in the creation of compelling educational, historical, and entertainment projects. Artistic Director William May developed the creative vision of the show based on an original idea by entrepreneur Bruce Mactaggart to create an arena version of the Walking with Dinosaurs television series. A talented and experienced team of creative artists came together to produce WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – The Live Experience. The show is directed by Scott Faris, a Broadway veteran who has worked side by side with Harold Prince, Trevor Nunn, Michael Blakemore, Gene Saks, John Caird, Tommy Tune and Jerry Zaks. The creatures are designed and built by Sonny Tilders; the set and projected image design are by Peter England; the show’s lighting is by John Rayment, our score was composed by James Brett; and Warner Brown wrote the script. Tim Haines, creator and producer of the original BBC series, which was seen by a worldwide audience of 700 million, serves as Project Consultant to WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – The Live Experience. The series won six Emmy and three BAFTA Awards. Ten species are represented from the entire 200 million year reign of the dinosaurs. The show includes the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the terror of the ancient terrain, as well as the Plateosaurus and Liliensternus from the Triassic period, the Stegosaurus and Allosaurus from the Jurassic period and Torosaurus and Utahraptor from the awesome Cretaceous. The largest of them, the Brachiosaurus is 36 feet tall, and 56 feet from nose to tail. It took a team of 50 – including engineers, fabricators, skin makers, artists and painters, and animatronic experts – a year to build the original production. The show depicts the dinosaurs’ evolution, complete with the climatic and tectonic changes that took place, which led to the demise of many species. With almost cinematic realism, WALKING WITH DINOSAURS has scenes of the interactions between dinosaurs, and the audience sees how carnivorous dinosaurs evolved to walk on two legs, and how the herbivores fended off their more agile predators. The history of the world is played out with the splitting of the earth’s continents, and the transition from the arid desert of the Triassic period is given over to the lush green prairies and forces of the later Jurassic. Oceans form, volcanoes erupt, a forest catches fire -- all leading to the impact of the massive comet, which struck the earth, and forced the extinction of the dinosaurs. Variety said, “The dinosaurs are stunning, life-size and faultlessly nimble. In act one, the beasts parade into the arena gnashing and cavorting as a safari-suited paleontologist describes their attributes … in the second half, the action cranks up, culminating in a spectacular clash as a T-Rex mom defends her baby from predators. Sonny Tilders' triumphant creature design ensures ‘Walking With Dinosaurs’ is a truly spectacular spectacular. It is everything a dino-phile could want.” The New York Times said that in this show dinosaurs make "a thundering comeback after 65 million years." Gloria Goodale of the Christian Science Monitor said, “When the dinosaurs start pouring out onto the stage, if you don’t have to stifle the natural flight response of any living breathing being, then it’s your pulse that needs checking.” Newsweek called the show, "that rare entertainment beast that parents and kids can enjoy together." More WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - Page 3 It took artists and technicians one year to build the show. The 15 dinosaurs were originally “hatched” by Tilders, the head of creature design, in a Melbourne Docklands workshop big enough to park a 747. For the North American tour, the only building large enough to house rehearsals for the dinosaurs – some as large as 36 ft tall by 56 ft long, was the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center! Artistic Director William May is known around the globe for co-producing shows with Malcolm Cooke for the past 30 years, including The Hobbit and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. He produced Marilyn An American Fable on Broadway and co-composed and wrote the musical Always for the West End. Director Scott Faris directed Michael Crawford in EFX at MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, which at the time was the biggest stage production ever conceived, and was on the production team that created Siegfried & Roy at the Mirage Hotel. Faris has directed Chicago the Musical in 16 countries around the world in over a dozen languages. Most recently he directed Bette Midler in her new Las Vegas show, The Showgirl Must Go On at Caesars Palace. Faris said, "We take the audience on a journey back in time and show them how the dinosaurs might have actually looked in their prime - huge, sometimes frightening, sometimes comical monsters - that fought for survival every day of their lives. Our dinosaurs move exactly like they are real -- with all the roars, snorts and excitement that go with it. The realism is mind-blowing!" Sonny Tilders, who designed and built the creatures has been, for the past decade, one of the major creative forces of the high-tech world of animatronic puppetry for film and television. He was one of the lead animatronic engineers for Jim Henson’s Creature workshop on the Farscape series, followed by work on Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Peter Pan, Ghost Rider and The Chronicles of Narnia. Tilders said, “Many of the technologies we are using on WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – The Live Experience are borrowed from film. The computer software and hardware we have developed is based on the systems used to control animatronic creatures in feature films.” “To make it appear that these creatures are flesh and blood weighing six, eight or even 20 tons, we use a system called ‘muscle bags,’ made from stretch mesh fabric and filled with polystyrene balls, stretched across moving points on the body. These contract and stretch in the same manner that muscle, fat, and skin does on real creatures.” “The puppeteers use ‘voodoo rigs’ to make many of the dinosaurs move. They are miniature versions of the dinosaurs with the same joints and range of movement as their life-sized counterparts. The puppeteer manipulates the voodoo rig and these actions are interpreted by computer and transmitted by radio waves to make the hydraulic cylinders in the actual dinosaur replicate the action, with a driver hidden below the animal, helping to maneuver it around the arena.” Suited puppeteer specialists, who are inside the creatures, operate five of the smaller dinosaurs. More WALKING WITH DINOSAURS - Page 4 Warner Brown wrote the script of WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – The Live Experience. He is an accomplished writer whose works include the book of the musical Flickers on Broadway, the screenplay of Nijinsky for Regent Entertainment, the musical The Black and White Ball, which features music by Cole Porter and The Truth About Light, written with composer Jimmy Roberts. Other credits include a new version of Half A Sixpence for the West End in 2008, Garbo – The Musical with music by Jim Steinman and Michael Reed, playing in Europe, and the plays and musicals Scandal, The Biograph Girl, Six for Gold, Cinderella, Talullah for a Day and Dance for Life. The score of WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – The Live Experience is by James Brett whose work can be heard on soundtracks including 10,000 BC, Alien vs Predator, Miramax's Ella Enchanted and the forthcoming UK feature Outpost. He also helped create the groundbreaking collaboration between Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony. The album S&M has sold over 5 million copies worldwide. The sets and projections are by the multi-award winning designer Peter England whose work has toured the world extensively. A frequent collaborator at Opera Australia, the Australian Ballet and Bangarra Dance Theatre, he also designed sections of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies, three City of Sydney New Year's Eve Celebrations and in 2002 was a finalist in the international design competition for the Pentagon Memorial in Washington DC. Lighting Designer John Rayment lit the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games; Hong Kong’s original A Symphony of Light, a massive cityscape permanent lighting display involving over 18 buildings; Singapore’s 2002 National Day Parade stadium event; and Singapore’s Marina Bay annual New Year’s Eve Countdown display. Rayment also works frequently at Opera Australia and has lit 30 productions for Sydney Dance Company. WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – The Live Experience was originally produced in Australia by Gerry Ryan, Malcolm Cooke and Jill Bryant and is brought to North America by The Creature Production Company. For more information, please visit www.dinosaurlive.com. Video of the show is available on our site under “The Dinosaurs” tab in the middle of the front page. # # # For more information about WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – The Live Experience, or to set up coverage about the show, please contact: David Barber, Davidson & Choy Publicity 323-954-7510 ex 19; d.barber@dcpublicity.com Walking with Dinosaurs word mark & logo TM & © BBC 1998

Posted by David BPR 10 years ago


Technology Makes Cheap Drinking Water from Air

INTRODUCTION:   How can we best apply basic technology to help the underprivileged and/or disaster-hit countries like Haiti? Daily hygiene and nourishment are among the top needs for disaster ridden regions!  Simply put, no water means no hygiene. The Romans understood that over two millennia ago and created their complexly beautiful aqueduct networks for handling both fresh and wastewater! Other ingenious water systems like “air wells” have been found in the city of Theodosia (cf: discovered in 1900 by Zibold, see Zibold’s Collectors/Dehumidifiers) dating back to Greco-Roman times during the Byzantine Empire. These were strictly passive systems that naturally dehumidified air, collecting its potable water in underground basins. All air, even in relatively dry desert regions, will precipitate or release its natural water content (initially in the form of vapor) through condensation when it hits its dew-point temperature and below. That means you “chill” it to an appropriate level that is anywhere from 5F to 50F below its current air temperature, depending upon how much water content (relative humidity) it has locally absorbed. The condensation of the water vapor releases its internal latent heat (reheating the cooled air) which must be constantly dissipated (absorbed by something) in order for water formation to steadily continue. So how do we dissipate this resultant vapor-heat and chill our air without any infrastructure or electricity, in an underprivileged or disaster-ridden region? We simply bury a long cast-iron or any metallic drain-pipe sufficiently underground where the temperature of the earth is naturally held to a constant at around 45F to 55F. That’s our “free” chiller gift from nature. One end of the pipe, Figure-1,  sticks out of the ground to suck-in local outside hot air, and the other end dumps cooled dry air and water into an underground cistern where it gets collected and is piped to the surface to both exhaust the cooled dry air and connect to a water pump. We need a hand operated water pump to lift up the water above ground, and we need an electric fan to constantly pump air through the ground-chilled piping system. We can even force the cooled piped air to exhaust into a tent-like structure where it provides air conditioning as an added bonus, but this adds the penalty of both power and the increased fan size necessary to drive our required airflow further into an enclosure! While this concept is not “passive” (requiring electricity to work) like those clever Byzantine air-wells, it will produce much more potable water and within a smaller volume than those elegantly passive historic devices. The electricity for our fan power requirements can be produced by any one of four ways using either “active” or “passive” techniques: 1) An active playground or bike-pedaling-person or oxen-driven mechanism-generator, 2) A passive windmill generator, 3) A passive solar energy collection system that directly generates electricity, or 4) A passive thermo-electric system that directly generates electricity using the Peltier effect, operating solely on temperature differences between the cell’s top and bottom surface (we jury-rig the cool pipe and hot ambient air to contact separate sides of the cell). Depending upon how much water is needed, the required air volume plus pipe length and diameter, together with the fan will be sized accordingly. We can also configure groups of parallel fan-driven air pipes that are radially fed into the cistern. The sizing of this underground network depends upon the ambient air’s local average temperature and relative humidity (how much water gets absorbed into the air) plus buried pipe depth and effective underground temperatures achieved. The basic concept is one where we “wring” water from air at some given humidity content. The higher its relative humidity the more water is recovered from the air. The air-wringing process simply chills the air as it scrubs along the cooled internal pipe surface until it starts to rain inside the pipe from condensation onto its surface. The condensation is like the dew that forms on car windows, grass or any cooled surface in the early morning, before the sun comes out and evaporates the dew back into the heating air. A further bonus is that our dew-formed water is naturally distilled and very clean. It is potable water ready to drink without the need for additional sterilizing agents. Of course, we must make sure that the interior piping and cistern network is biologically cleansed before burying it underground. The hand pump with its 10 to 15 foot extended piping to reach the underground cistern must also be cleansed. The beauty of this constantly replenishable water supply is its convenient underground installation anywhere! After the in-ground installation, we have a virtual, partially passive, no moving parts, non-breakdown system containing above ground total access to all moving parts that could breakdown, namely the water pump and electric fan. Also, it is easily maintained, with few moving parts (water hand-pump and electric fan) and basically lacking any technical complexity which makes it ideal for technologically backward regions. The example below uses a relatively small industrial fan moving air at 1500 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) with a DC motor rated at 1kW. This fan together with our underground piping system will conservatively generate 12 GPH (Gallons Per Hour) of potable drinking water without need for any purification chemistry. Based on an average electrical cost of 14-cents per kWh (kilo-Watt hour), the typical commercial distillation of one gallon of drinking water costs roughly 35-cents as compared to our cost of only 1.2-cents. Furthermore, if we decide to go green and use solar energy for generating our water, it would effectively cost us nothing beyond the initial installation! USING A PSYCHROMETRIC CHART TO SIZE OUR WATER SUPPLY: The following gets a little technical and is only provided for those die-hards who are truly interested in how the science works. Those non-technically schooled may skip this part and not miss the basic concept. Figure-2 shows a Psychrometric Chart for air. This chart summarizes some of the basic thermodynamic properties of air throughout its typical range of operating temperature. The chart uses six basic air properties that defines the physical chemistry of water evaporation into air:  (1) the enthalpy or total energy contained within a unit of air which is a combination of its internal and external energy, expressed as the amount of BTU-energy per unit mass of reference dry-air, (2) the specific volume or the ratio of a unit volume of local air to its mass of reference dry-air, (3) the humidity ratio or the amount (mass) of moisture in a local unit of air divided by its reference mass of dry-air, (4) the percent relative humidity per unit of local air, or the mass ratio (expressed in percentage form) of the partial pressure of water vapor in the air-water mixture to the saturated vapor pressure of water at those conditions (the relative humidity depends not only on air temperature but also on the pressure of the system of interest),  (5) the dry-bulb temperature or the locally measured air temperature, and (6) the wet-bulb temperature or saturation temperature which is the local air temperature experienced during constant water evaporation (a wet-bulb thermometer is typically used:   a thermometer that measures resultant temperature while wrapped in a water wet-gauze and spun to generate local air movement and max-evaporation)  1.0   The Process and A Sample Calculation Our Psychrometric Chart uses six thermodynamic properties that help to determine the amount of water available for extraction from the local ambient air as a function of its temperature, pressure and relative humidity.  Let’s assume the following local ambient conditions for the region we plan to construct our water system at:  (1) Typical daily air temperature Td = 106F and one atmosphere pressure assumed at sea-level, (2) Relative Humidity, RH = 55%, and (3) Typical underground temperature down at six feet is measured at Tu=55F (at 12ft. it drops to ~45F). This yields the following calculated results for obtaining a steady-state supply (changes at night) of water to fill the cistern:      1)      In our example, the “local” air (dry-bulb) temperature is Td=106F, at a relative humidity of RH= 55%.  Fig-2 indicates that the resultant Humidity Ratio is HR= 0.0253 Lbs-water/Lb-Dry-Air (intersection of Td=106F line and RH=55% line, then horizontal to HR value).  We then determine the “gulp” of air volume containing the HR Lbs-water which corresponds to the point of intersection of Td and RH. Interpolating on specific volume “mv” yields mv=14.7 ft3/Lb-Dry-Air (this value sets the optimum unit airflow for our given ambient conditions, and creates a ballpark pipe length to diameter ratio needed later). It represents the basic unit of air volume that will enter our underground pipe per given time, and ultimately defines the size of our fan and piping network. For increased water creation, multiples of this unit volume will scale up the additional amounts of water that can be collected. 2)      As the inlet air cools down to a temperature of Tu=55F, from contact with the relatively cold underground pipe, we follow the constant enthalpy line (red upward left-diagonal) from the intersection of Td and RH to its saturated air temperature condition of Ts= ~88F, which is its dew-point temperature where the corresponding local RH=100%.  At this temperature or under, the air precipitates and releases its moisture content, resulting in water condensation onto the pipe walls.  Since our air will chill to a final pipe temperature of Tu=~55F, we follow the RH=100% saturated curve (green) down to yield an HR=~0.009 Lbs-water/Lb-Dry-Air. This is how much water is left in the air when it gets to 55F.  Therefore for every pound of local outside air that enters the pipe, mw=0.0253 – 0.009 = 0.0163 pounds of absolute pure, distilled potable water precipitates onto the inside pipe wall (per pound of dry air that is cooled and dehydrated) to gravity-flow out the pipe exit and into the cistern. 3)      We now convert pounds of air per unit time into a unitized volumetric airflow that yields gallons of hygienically pure potable water production per unit time. For every Va=100 ft3 of local volumetric air movement per minute (CFM) through the pipe, which translates into ma=Va/mv= 100/14.7 = 6.8 lbs. of dry air per minute or 6.8 * 60 = 408 lbs. per hour (PPH), to yield a water-flow of mwf=ma * mw = 408 * 0.0163 = 6.65 PPH or 6.65/8.345 = 0.8 GPH of water.  An industrial fan rated at 1kW DC will typically move 1500 CFM at a pressure of 8-iwc, to continuously produce 15 * 0.8 = 12 GPH of pristine potable water. 4)      Not shown here are the design details of sizing our pipe, fan and solar collection system for electric power requirements using heat transfer principles coupled with a thermodynamic heat balance, and aerodynamic fan performance assessment. These details help to size the electric power generation requirements plus margin used to properly size a solar collector containing further margins for overcast days. The engineering involved here is straight forward but beyond the scope of the current project.

Posted by RT-101 6 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

Posted by lamedust 6 years ago