I’ve been taking Miles to Maker Faire every year since it launched in 2006, making this our 8th. It’s different every year – sometimes better, sometimes worse. No question it’s become more popular (for better and for worse) and less dangerous over time. With every passing year, there are fewer exhibits that can take your head off, singe your eyebrows, or help you lose a limb. And there’s an increasing emphasis on crafty stuff, things you can do with kids, etc. The maker movement has become more mainstream, less Burning Man, and more accessible. But there’s still no better place to experience such an awesome array of things to do with your kids, concentrated in one place. Despite the crowds and the impossible traffic, we still consider it worth going.
A few highlights from this year’s event:
Giant vat of the stuff they fill disposable diapers with. Neither wet nor dry, it feels surreal and rubbery to the touch. Amazing in large quantities.
The usual amazing Tesla Coil demonstration
Guy playing a homemade didgeridoo/drum kit rig
Cupcake cars driving around
Biggest bin of iron filings and rare earth magnets I’ve ever seen
Immense arrays of bubbles being dispensed from long loop/string invention
Giant replica of Milton Bradley’s original Mousetrap game, including 400-lb steel bathtub and real bowling balls.
Adam Savage in person!
Miles got to make a bizarre vuvuzela-type noisemaker
Bike-like vehicle driven by the motion of the rider pumping up and down rather than pedaling
Solar powered cars
Mind-blowing 3D printer creations
Hands-on metal stamping with 1-lb brass hammer
Pedal-powered llama-shaped cars with articulated head
The usual assortment of crazy bicycle-like inventions
Entire city made of tightly wrapped masking tape (hard to describe, but incredible)
Make your own steampunk goggles booth (for kids)
Biggest paella cooking trays you’ve ever seen
Blue Man Group-style PVC acoustic marimba
Stilt walkers everywhere
… and we didn’t even get to see 50% percent of it.
The reason you don’t see a full complement of marbles is that the cats methodically knock them to the floor one at a time and then bat them around the room endlessly – their favorite make-humans-crazy game.
An animal so impossibly beautiful, so psychedelic, it leaves us slack-jawed in the face of nature’s awesomeness. From Wikipedia:
The normal size of this species is up to about 3 cm, depending on the animal’s age. It is silvery grey on its dorsal side and dark and pale blue ventrally. It has dark blue stripes on its face. It has a tapering body which is flattened and has six appendages which branch out into rayed cerata. Its radula bears serrated teeth on their blades.
When was the last time you experienced this much bliss?
Aleksander Gamme had been trekking the South Pole for 86 days, living on a meager diet of health food. He had lost nearly 50 pounds. Before he began, he had planted caches of supplies at 200k intervals. He had purposely not kept track of what each cache contained. Nearly out of food, he came across one of his last caches. This was his moment of extreme bliss, discovering a bag full of Cheeze Doodles, chocolate, and Mentos.