For Enquiring Minds: Information on Flu Pandemics

Published in 2005, this booklet does an excellent job of explaining how influenza works, how it is transmitted, and how our immune systems react.

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Ada Lovelace Day: A Woman in Technology

In celebration of the grandmother of the computer, today I’m going to gush about a contemporary woman in technology: Leah Buechley.  

There are thousands of women out there who deserve recognition, but I’m picking Ms. Buechley’s work because she’s mixing high tech and “low” tech to make technology more accessible–both in terms of understand it and having access.  Plus, she’s a contemporary by two definitions: she’s working right now and we graduated from the same college in the same year.  

Here’s a basic thing: making your own electronic sewing kit. You can make a singing shirt, finger puppets that blush, or a bag that blinks on your command. No previous electronics experience required. It’s probably the only good use for puffy paint, honestly.  Don’t know an LED from your CFC?  She explains it.  Circuits?  Ms. Buechely has your back. I’m feeling like a slacker here.

There’s even a microprocessor available, if you want to get very fancy! LilyPad Arduino is open source, soft to the touch, and there’s a full tutorial

I’ve always had a soft spot for interactive performance, and here’s her take on that.

It’s not as easy to see the benefits of her works as, say, someone doing cancer research, but by using simple tools and advanced materials she is helping to open up the potential creativity of all kinds of people–artists, crafters, medical professionals, sociologists, event planners, media, you name it. This has the potential to create a new hybrid medium, and there are few things as powerful as a new/revised means of expression.

Bonus:  Sock it to ‘em, Ada! (scroll to the bottom)

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Ready to make the change happen.

Are you?
Work To Do (Obama for America REMIX)


On it now being 2009.

In lieu of some belated chirpy push to infect you all with enthusiasm for a string of of half cocked resolutions, I offer 2 things.

1. Chinese New Year starts on 26 January 2009.
2. This link to a book that you can read by scrolling it across your screen, and that you really ought to see. It has more pictures than words, even!

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Happy holidays.

This one goes out to my family.

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I never thought I’d say this.

There’s a Barbie doll I wouldn’t mind getting for Christmas.


A finer expression of how I feel than words could ever say


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Upping the ante for fridge art

A familiar rite of passage for many: your art, however hastily scrawled, be-stickered or dotted with glued macaroni appears on the most vaunted surface of the family: the refrigerator. It hangs there until someone spills soda on it or the season changes or, gasp, you do something else.

Now I’m not going to knock the creativity of children or the need to display the finest in coloring book art, but there’s now some competition for this venue! Remember those magnetic poetry kits? well, this is even better:

Magnetic mosaic tiles. In greyscale and different color sets.

Every kit can make the many cool images (mostly portraits) featured on the site (in case you don’t think in 8 bit).

The current selection is, however, limited. They are working on bringing out new colors and getting new design ideas.

Think you have something?

I’m not the type to shill for a product, but I’m totally psyched at the idea of making it easier for people to express some creativity and individuality. If I know one thing about the people who check in here, it’s that they have a mind for making cool stuff. Head over to Random Good Things and enter the contest. If you win, you’ll get a free set with which to experiment and earn the admiration of all who enter your kitchen! Bonus points if you have a steel door somewhere, or another large magnetic surface.


Si Se Puede


Originally uploaded by Barack Obama

There were fireworks and people driving around honking in the neighborhood, and I cheered so hard that Zoe got spooked and flew across the house.

It seems that a little hope may even be able to illuminate the darkest corners.


The light at the end of the tunnel.


Originally uploaded by patita pirata

I think we lost radio contact for a while in there… still here?

Not much worth telling as the intervening time is the sort one wills to pass with every breath and absolutely no strength, none left. Head down, in the trench.

Outlook is much better now, thanks. I used to think of fall as the beginning of a new year, but as I finally adapt to the ceaseless character of the grown up calendar (and Texas heat) it seems to have more potential for bittersweet. The black dog suffers in the long summer and makes us all feel it a bit, you know?

Anyway, enough about me. How have you been?