In case you didn’t believe Louie the Lightening Bug when he said “ya gotta stay away from power lines,” consider the fate of this gentle tree branch, who apparently never got to watch Saturday morning PSAs, or at least wasn’t paying attention if it did. It screams, literally, for about 14 seconds before bursting into flames like a vampire in a tanning booth.
For making mathematical models of polyhedra, a convenient and inexpensive material is the long clown balloon. This dodecahedron (made of ten balloons) and icosahedron (made of six balloons) are two examples from a study of Mathematical Balloon Twisting by Erik Demaine, Marty Demaine, and Vi Hart.
At several Math Midway events, the Museum of Mathematics has been pleased to have a balloon polyhedron expert twist balloons into octahedra for the museum visitors. Here, Vi Hart is making an octahedron from one balloon.
With practice, one can work up to more complex models, such as this cuboctahedron made from a single balloon. The balloon outlines the twenty four edges of a cuboctahedron, which consists of eight triangles and six squares.
Even more spectacular is this “orderly tangle” of six concentric regular pentagons, made from six balloons. Detailed instructions to start you making mathematical balloon constructions are available here.
Sadly, famed science fiction and space exploration artist, Robert McCall, has died. He passed away on Friday, of a heart attack, in his Scottsdale, Arizona home.
Anybody who’s paid even passing attention to sci-fi, the space program, or postage stamp art has seen Bob McCall’s work. He painted the images on the 2001: A Space Odyssey poster, painted the amazing space mural at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum, and created many of the images found on NASA mission patches. His friend Isaac Asimov once described him as the “nearest thing to an artist in residence from outer space.”
I remember pouring over his images as a kid and own a well-traveled copy of Vision of the Future, the Ben Bova book dedicated to McCall’s work. He will be sorely missed by spacey visionaries everywhere. [Thanks, Rachel!]
Today is the last day to take advantage of free shipping in the Maker Shed. So what’s the catch? The offer is available on orders of $125 or more, shipped to an address in the continental US. But what about all our overseas friends? No problem, you can save $10 on shipping for orders over $125. Just remember to use coupon code FEBSHIP at checkout.
Portuguese design students Diogo Aguiar and Teresa Otto built a temporary bar out of Ikea bins for the annual Queima das Fitas celebrating the end of exams:
Year after year, the students of Oporto School of Architecture are invited to think on a temporary bar to represent their institution with the expected dignity, as an outstanding architectural object. The given implantation, the fast construction and the low budget are some of the premises which must be considered.
The proposed bar stands as an iconic cube of light, composed of modular parts. Taking advantage of the IKEA build-by-your-own world, the project is a parallelepiped made out of different depth storage boxes which give it the modular diversity on its textured skin. After winning the competition, some adjustments were done and the bar grew to 4,7 metre high, standing as a visual reference.
Built in one week with the help of students, it was completed one month after the jury announcement. A total of 420 boxes were first fixed on a wooden structure and then attached to the main metal structure, on site. A huge LED net was fixed behind the boxes, allowing the bar to dramatically change its appearance: by day a white abstract and closed volume; and by night a box of changing light following the DJ set.
Via the use of “littered things” (from industry, handicraft), garbage, “residual material”, useless things shall become useable. The developed products shall be displayed for sale in institutions of employment promotion and generating so a social usability. The production of “clever”, “beautiful” and “useful” objects which award a prize conduce the environment and are a contribution for employment promotion.
This product by Löopa is called the “gyro-bowl,” in spite of the fact that, since it does not exploit conservation of angular momentum, there’s really nothing “gyroscopic” about it. I haven’t purchased, used, been given, been paid to endorse, or otherwise had any first-hand experience of this product, but the idea is certainly clever.
Check out Dave’s excellent prototyping box built from a child’s lap desk.
I frequently work on projects in the living room in front of the TV while sitting on the couch soldering away hunched over a disarray of wires, parts, wires, speakers, cords, breadboards, and tools. Whenever I want to work from the couch I have to go into the studio and make 15 trips up and down the stairs, cables, toolbox, parts boxes, soldering iron, etc. It’s always a major hassle. Then, when I’ve finally completed mocking something up on the breadboard and I want to test it I need speakers, headphones, a sound source and I have to connect it all with alligator clips. It’s really inefficient and makes me less apt to start a project because all I can think about is the huge mess it’s going to make.
Dave’s project write-up includes a great description of the build process as well as wiring diagrams. Awesome!