Maker Faire Bay Area is approaching fast – only 15 days! And this means that you have only one more week to score Early Bird ticket discounts.
If you order before midnight PDT on Wednesday, May 11, you’ll get $5.00 off all ticket prices. Order yours here, and we’ll see you there!
Calling all braaaaaaains… The deadline to submit a solution for the MakeShift that was featured in MAKE Volume 25 is June 3! This one was a personal favorite. (Also, I’m the zombie in the bottom left corner of the window!) Check out some fun outtakes from the photo shoot on the article page.
The Scenario: You’ve noticed a few underground reports on the web of a spreading epidemic causing hordes of undead to rampage through suburban neighborhoods in search of new victims. You dismissed the postings as just hype to promote some new horror movie. But now you’re home at night relaxing with a friend when you hear screams of panic. You look outside to see a throng of, well, zombies terrorizing your street — a pack of which is shuffling hungrily toward your house. Good God, the internet was right!
Grabbing your cellphone and laptop, you quickly retreat to the garage and lock yourself in, trying to shut out the methodical pounding on your walls and the moaning cries of “Brraaaiiinnnnssss!” Furiously surfing the web and calling, you learn that the police are overwhelmed but have secured a school two miles from your house from which they can evacuate the uninfected by helicopter. Too bad your car is at the repair shop tonight.
The Challenge: Trustworthy sources say that the mindless zombies can be kept at bay by flames of sufficient size and — worst come to worst — incapacitated by a forceful blow to the head. But it’s clear from the shaking of your garage door that you have at most an hour before you face those suckers head-on. Bottom line: You’re going to need whatever’s in the garage to fight your way out and through the zombies to get yourself to that school on foot!
What You’ve Got: You have your set of tools (hammers, saws, screwdrivers, wrenches, etc.), a working sink, two towels, a first-aid kit with adhesive bandages and hydrogen peroxide, an acetylene torch, a chainsaw (out of gas), a propane grill (with a ¾-full tank), 50′ of Class 315 PVC pipe, a framing nail gun with a box of 500 3½” framing nails, 3 full cans of oil-based ceiling paint, a bottle of turpentine, a case of 10W-40 motor oil, a six-pack of empty beer bottles, your camping gear (backpack, tent, sleeping bag, and a handful of lighters and matches), a disassembled lawn mower (half full of gas) and 3 bottles of 30W lawn mower oil, a cricket bat, and of course, some duct tape and your Swiss Army knife or Leatherman.
It’s time to show those zombies what happens when they cross a real maker. Good luck and
Send a detailed description of your MakeShift solution with sketches and/or photos to email@example.com by June 3, 2011. If duplicate solutions are submitted, the winner will be determined by the quality of the explanation and presentation. The most plausible and most creative solutions will each win a MAKE T-shirt and a MAKE Pocket Ref. Think positive and include your shirt size and contact information with your solution. Good luck! For readers’ solutions to previous MakeShift challenges, visit makezine.com/makeshift.
This morning I saw several tweets about DNA testing and Osama Bin Laden:
“All I’m sayin is, if they took DNA samples for bin Laden, who did they match it against,& that was one ruddy fast PCR, can I have your machine?” – upulie
“Did they bring PCR machine on the site to confirm Bin Laden’s death?” – seanjeon
The US military used DNA to identify Osama Bin Laden very quickly after he was killed. How? Although we don’t have intimate knowledge of Osama’s DNA identification, here’s one way that OpenPCR thermal cycler could potentially be used in a similar situation, and how with a PCR machine and a few other tools you could try this at home.
DNA Fingerprinting Osama bin Laden
MAKE guest citizen science author Tito Jankowski works on making biotech easier to do, including developing open source tools for gel electrophoresis and PCR. Got other citizen science or garage biotech projects you want to hear more about? Comment on this article below or email him at tito at openpcr.org
Very clever viral vid from director Dulcidio Caldeira for MTV Brazil. The balloons are mounted on a track. A cart bearing a camera and a sharp pin starts rolling at one end, filming and popping as it goes. Each balloon has a single frame of the animation hand-drawn on its surface. Looks like they may have stopped it a couple times to clear balloon bits from the lens. [via Dude Craft]
Celebrate the ingenuity and inventiveness in our community. Make Day at the Science Museum of Minnesota gives local engineers, artists, tinkerers, and inventors the opportunity to showcase their DIY creations and innovations to museum visitors. This family-friendly event features arts, electronics, musical performances, green technology, crafting and more!
Festivities will take place throughout the museum. The event is included in the regular admission price.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Those photos above are from 2009; our very own John Edgar Park can be seen in the top pic.
Do you, or did you, make Heathkits? If so please post up your fond memories (or anything else) in the comments, I’m writing up a Heathkit related column and I wanted to include some comments from folks who grew up making these or have/had interest in them!
Heathkit… From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Heathkits were products of the Heath Company, Benton Harbor, Michigan. Their products included electronic test equipment, high fidelity home audio equipment, television receivers, amateur radio equipment, electronic ignition conversion modules for early model cars with point style ignitions, and the influential Heath H-8, H-89, and H-11 hobbyist computers, which were sold in kit form for assembly by the purchaser.
No knowledge of electronics was needed to assemble a Heathkit. The assembly process did not teach much about electronics, but provided a great deal of what could have been called “electronics literacy,” such as the ability to identify tube pin numbers or read a resistor color code. Many hobbyists began by assembling Heathkits, became familiar with the appearance of components like capacitors, transformers, and tubes, and were motivated to find out just what these components actually did. For those builders who had a deeper knowledge of electronics (or for those who wanted to be able to troubleshoot/repair the product in the future), the assembly manuals usually included a detailed “Theory of Operation” chapter, which explained the functioning of the kit’s circuitry, section by section. Heath developed a relationship with electronics correspondence schools (e.g., NRI). Heath supplied electronic kits to be assembled as part of courses, with the school basing its texts and lessons around the kit.
Heathkits could teach deeper lessons. “The kits taught Steve Jobs that products were manifestations of human ingenuity, not magical objects dropped from the sky,” writes a business author, who goes on to quote Jobs as saying “It gave a tremendous level of self-confidence, that through exploration and learning one could understand seemingly very complex things in one’s environment.
By the 1980s, the continuation of the integration trend (printed circuit boards, integrated circuits, etc.), and mass production of electronics (perhaps especially computers overseas and in plug in modules) eroded the basic Heathkit business model. Assembling a kit might still be fun, but it could no longer save much money. The switch to surface mount components and LSI ICs finally made it impossible for the home assembler to construct an electronic device for significantly less money than assembly line factory products. As sales of its kits dwindled during the decade, Heath relied on its training materials and a new venture in home automation and lighting products to stay afloat.
Post up in the comments!
We owned an Atari 800, when I was a kid, and also owned the full-size original version of this drive, as I recall. Rossum built this tiny simulacrum around an MicroSD drive that uses 8 GB cards. The case is a 3D print from Shapeways. [via Boing Boing]More: Momento Mori