Small Streams


A Toy Store
August 16, 2014, 4:25 am
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Whirligig Store

Me with a metal whirligig in front of the Whirligig store preparing for the Lorne Michaels Look-Alike Contest.

Whirligig is the name of a toy store in Brighton, England, that gets it. They have items and kits with which kids can actually engage: paper toys, wooden toys, automata, etc. It’s run by two people who don’t just sell toys but take delight in them. The owner, Peter Allinson, I believe, creates crocheted versions of the some of the town’s landmarks including a Ferris Wheel.  

The whirligig itself is a pinwheel. I consider a Gyroscope a type of whirligig with an added dimension. Sometimes whirligigs can be windmills to drive automata. They can be used to create additional Holland or to make a gnome wave.

 

 



Volvelle Possibilities
August 14, 2014, 4:08 am
Filed under: art, awareness, maps, math, media, toys, Uncategorized

Volvelles

Volvelle Possibilities

Just a little doodle to set me thinking. Even limiting myself to concentric circles for the most part, I kept coming up with possibilities for using Volvelles. I started with the idea of surveying what could be done with a circle and a pivot. Information can be obscured, indicated, or illuminated with a Volvelle. The second circle below could be a changing face. I’m not sure how you illustrate or derive a function with such a thing. But, like I say, “just a little doodle.” Transparent colored circles could illustrate combinations and layered traces could illustrate circuits. The final Volvelle on the bottom right plays with the idea of a spiral around a pivot, that is a turntable. Is the needle on the top or the bottom? Is there a needle guide? Maybe musicians could use them to demonstrate a musical passage. Just run an amplifying stylus through the grooves and you have yourselves a tune. 



Copper Tape Switch
May 6, 2014, 3:57 am
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Copper Tape Switch.



Matilda
May 5, 2014, 3:46 am
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Matilda

Lollie M. as Matilda. She was wonderful singing “Naughty,” which reminded me of what a Billy Bragg song would sound like if it were made for the West End. The play amazed me, made me cry, and made me laugh with my belly. I’m not a fan of musicals, many times there’s too much spectacle and glitz that the book doesn’t warrant, but I’d place “Matilda” up there with “The Music Man” as reasons why we need musical theatre in our lives.



Hardware Startups
April 23, 2014, 4:57 am
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http://www.meetup.com/Hardware_Startup_Lab/Image

 

David Bellisario introduces a speaker from Here East.



Pollock’s Toy Museum
January 26, 2014, 5:45 am
Filed under: art, education, eutechnics, technology, thinking, Tourism, toys | Tags:

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Pollock’s toy museum has been a destination for us since we moved to London. How things make us think has been a hobby horse of mine for the past couple of years. So I was happy that Liz and I could take a short excursion to Central London and walk amidst the toys.

The museum is housed in, well, a house, or at least an “up and down” with not too many conversions. The downstairs holds the toy shop and the lobby, and the staircases and the upper floors display the dolls, dollhouses, games, etc.

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Some of my fascinations are construction toys …

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I also found the war games interesting. Never too early to build a distaste for the kaiser.

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Of course, the reason for Pollock’s being is the toy theatre. There must have been a hundred of them.

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They also had some interesting specimen boxes.

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If you ever want to get the imaginative juices flowing or at least cop some ideas for your doll house, I highly suggest it.



The Gift of Science
December 6, 2013, 3:30 am
Filed under: business, education, math, mind, technology | Tags: , ,

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I saw this lava lamp display at the V&A’s Museum of Science. Honest to Pete, I think there should be a whole room devoted to a lava lamp display. Who doesn’t love lava lamps? That and oil and glycerin on a projector, the psychedelic “wet show.” Maybe some polka dots and mirrors like the Mattress Factory‘s Yayoi Kusama installation.

The trick would be to create a room that excited the senses but didn’t make you physically ill.

If there’s any problem I have with lava lamps, it’s that science gift shops devote so much shelf space to them. Many science museums’ gift shops concentrate on the “ooh, shiny” distractions rather than objects that indulge people’s (not just children’s) love of the methods of science. I have to admit that people who run museum gift shops know more about what sells and what sells the experience.

If you’re just out for a happy trip, you don’t want to be scolded into homework at the end. No one likes to take a trip and bring home a memento that reminds them that they are not expanding their minds enough. So I really can’t advocate for a gift pack of Euclid’s Elements — though there are some great geometry puzzles that would make great gifts. The Science Museum does have a great book section and a lomography section and Technology Will Save Us shelves. When I was there last, they had someone demonstrating paper gliders.

I don’t expect science museums to check their impulse to cater to their audience any time soon. I just hope they can do more to indulge people’s desire to think about things. I will now stop ranting and leave you with the instructions for making your own lava lamp.




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