Maker Faire 2014

Another year at the Bay Area’s greatest assemblage of welders, hackers, crocheters and other makers – haven’t missed a Maker Faire yet! Crowds actually weren’t as bad as anticipated, though the overall danger level does seem to go down a bit year after year (or maybe our perceptions are changing?)

Loved this jet engine transformed into a musical instrument:

And the Inflatable Forest:

And the Canjos:

Biggest disappointment for us is that the Cyclecide collection seems to get smaller every year. Only one bike-powered carnival ride, and none of the usual freak bikes available for the public to ride – we look forward to those more than just about anything. They did bring back the Spanking Bike though! Here’s M enduring some self-inflicted anguish:

Still, got to witness the great El Pulpo Mecanicco, doing its Busby Berkeley meets Burning Man thing. The heat radiating off its tentacles was almost too much to be near.

Here Miles plays Ode to Joy on eight well-connected zucchinis, jacked into a Makey-Makey board, connected to laptop via USB. Scratch app process changes in electrical resistances into musical notes.

Not to mention the return of Arc Attack – 50,000 volt tesla coils jamming with a live band, as kids dance safely in Faraday cage.

Never gets old! So much creativity on display, endlessly inspiring.

Flickr set:

Knoll Organic Farm

Took the day off work to chaperone school trip to Knoll Organic Farm with sixth graders. All about biodiversity. First image shows apricots, figs, rosemary, barley and 20 others all growing in the same space – they get more than 3x more yield per acre than conventional farms by growing like nature does, where everything is entangled with everything else. Second image shows biodynamic soup – rainwater, molasses, figs, whatever else, left to stew until almost kombucha, then trickled into the irrigation system like homeopathy for soil. Third image: half-walnut as pig-nose.

Amazing: “When we have snails, someone from Chez Panisse drives out here to pick them up.”

Glorious afternoon!

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot – Numbers Stations / The Conet Project

“It’s like the Harry Smith Anthology of American Folk Music for Get Smart fans”.

New at Stuck Between Stations: The eerie phenomenon of spy radio transmissions on “number stations,” using one-time pad crypto.

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot – Numbers Stations / The Conet Project

Kind of connects in a neat way to the whole “stuck between stations” theme.

conet

Also: New Audio Playlist feature built into WordPress 3.9 – it’s now effortless to embed MP3 audio, either as single tracks or playlists. Worked great.

WTB: Muzak Control Knob

Remember these? If you ever worked in a restaurant or hotel in the 70s or 80s you probably had one on the wall in a closet or back room somewhere. Now I’m on the lookout to find one I can wire up to the living room dimmer switch. If you know where to find one, let me know! (eBay is turning up squat).

muzak

Kraftwerk 3D Live

New at Stuck Between Stations, my review of recent amazing experience watching Kraftwerk on their Live 3D tour:

Soon after their very early Can-like Krautrock years, Kraftwerk began to develop and refine a hardcore man-machine aesthetic, imagining themselves as cyborg musicians, as much enslaved by technology as liberated by it. The amazing thing is that the band-machine has been able to sustain itself on that track. Almost any other group would have gone on to other things after the vein ran cold, but Kraftwerk continue to tap the mineshaft of digitalized culture as deep as it wants to go.

More:

kraftwerk

Can Science Ever Be “Settled”?

Over the years, I’ve been engaged in many discussions wherein people suggested that because scientific understandings change over time, that science is therefore no more trustworthy than any other means of understanding the universe. This article does a fantastic job of explaining what it means for the science in some realm to be “settled.” A must read!

Can Science Ever Be “Settled”?

inflation

h/t Mike Knapp

Water Reservoirs in CA

Custom Google Map I built in about 5 minutes with Google Maps Engine, in the midst of a Google for Media workshop for journalists in SF.

Numbers to right of markers represents the percent of capacity for each reservoir. Marker point hues are proportional to the percentage.