In Our Own Image

Voltaire wrote, "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him." Let's say, for the sake of argument, that this is what happened. The artificial gods that humans did create assumed, to varying degrees, control over large swaths of the natural and human world. But, as the Enlightenment began to reveal, this was not necessarily the case--systems based on increasingly better understood scientific principles controlled the world and all those living within it.

In Kevin Kelly's Wired article, "We Are the Web," Kelly asserts that our collective involvement in the Web is feeding its intelligence, when we consider it as a single machine and the nodes within it as the interconnected neurons analogous to the human mind. By naming the things we place on the web, by contextualizing these thing with links, by asserting their importance by our degree of chattering about one thing over another, we are teaching the Internet in a way not dissimilar from the way humans learn.

Cisco Systems - Binary Game - Cisco.com

Cisco Systems - Binary Game - Cisco.com - [My del.icio.us]

Thanks to Lena Ghaleb for sending me this. I think this game would be really useful for teaching the basics of binary in a lot of contexts. Nice example of worthwhile educational game--fun and challenging.

IR Tracking Test

So I had some free time during this break (not really, but I didn't feel like doing the work I'm supposed to do.) I've been wondering for a while if we could have made the infrared (IR) stuff work, so I posed that as a challenge for myself. Turns out, it wasn't all that hard.

First thing I had to do was make a IR camera. Very easy. Initially, I just taped two pieces of photo negative to my webcam (the darkest stuff at the end of the strip.) That worked well enough to pick up the LEDs shining out of a remote control.

Then I got a little more adventurous and hacked open the webcam. That was pretty much just one screw and some careful dismantling of the rest. Right in front of the lens is a square of iridescent glass; that's the IR filter. I popped that out with a screwdriver (it kind of chipped at first until I broke away enough to pry the whole thing out.) I replaced it with two small squares of the negative and put the thing back together. Props to Cameron Browning for teaching me this trick.

Flow in the Snow

So I had my first cross-country skiing attempt yesterday. Fun. Painful and humiliating. Lots of falling. But fun!

One thing I discovered was that the entire aim of the sport is to maximize efficiency. I'm oddly drawn to that aspect--the less energy you spend, per unit distance traveled, the better you are. There's a nerdy quality to that that's hard to not like.

And this led to my other observation. As I got more and more weary, I started trying to achieve the right kind of form, within the limits of my remaining muscle control. And I think that my greatest "flow" moments occurred when I was flat out exhausted. I totally gave up on thinking and just started to get the glide going.

Omigod, omigod, omigod!

I don't know how I missed this:

Processing for mobile devices

Holy crap! This could change everything, especially for us. We're neck deep in processing coders, and this opens up huge avenues for development.

Sunday Building Sunday

Here are a few snaps of our build day on Sunday for the Trauma Bear project. It has really come together:

Guts Of the MachineGuts Of the Machine

More Trauma Bear Guts

On the heels of our wildly successful play test of the trauma bear, I bring to you images of the ursine innards.

ArduinoArduino

BreadboardBreadboard

Breadboard and Arduino ConnectedBreadboard and Arduino Connected

And here's a brief video of the experience:

Google Searches

Okay, so I have insane amounts of work to do, but I wanted to share this while I was thinking about it. One of the nice things about Drupal is that it's fairly easy to go through your visitor logs without additional software. So I often check them out, usually to see what kinds of search engine results point to me.

Apparently, if you're looking for a super awesome site, you need look no further. I have no idea how that happened, and I take no credit for it.

Apples To Apples As a Learning Game?

So, I'm thinking about adapting Apples to Apples as an educational game. I'm jotting down a couple ideas I've had so far.

  • Every "noun" card is an animal.
  • Every "adjective" card could describe an animal. These could be words like "aquatic," "big," "gray," "squishy," "slimy."
  • Instead of the judge player picking just one card submitted by the other player per round that describes the animal, the judge is free to pick as many that work.
  • The cards are either then saved as a stack to be reviewed by the teacher at the end of the activity or the words and animal are written down on a worksheet.
  • The point values for winning will probably have to be increased because more cards will be able to be picked by the judge.

Working Game Code

So, we have working game code for the trauma bear. See the attachments for that.

The first file the processing code and the second is the arduino code.

Photos and videos to come.

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Copyright Mike Edwards 2006-2009. All content available under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license, unless otherwise noted.

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