staff editor Arwen O'Reilly asked a bunch of makers what their New Year's resolutions are. The answers, posted on the Make blog, are surprising and inspiring.
1. Learn something new from a child or teenager, especially in your area of greatest expertise. I find the perspective of innocent novices to be most refreshing and enlightening.
2. Revisit an old science book you read growing up and see how your (and society's) perspective on things have changed.
3. Find someone you've always admired and tried to emulate, and thank them for being such an excellent role model, and ask them about some good stories about the "way things used to be done".
4. Find an important social topic and dig as deep as you can; follow up and look for citations, references, and raw data. For example, I learned that some theorists dispute the carbon-reduction ability of certain hydroelectric technologies, because the dams flood large regions causing them to decay, releasing methane (20x more potent greenhouse gas than CO2) into the atmosphere. Global warming appears to be a very richly textured topic with lots of unintended consequences just being realized. Unfortunately, a lot of important issues are summarized with a few "talking points" by the press and political groups. As technologists, I think we have the responsibility to always question our assumptions, and to listen to both sides of the story, and to make sure that we are moving deliberately and cautiously as a society.
5. Learn a new tool. Maybe that means picking up a new programming language, or perhaps it means learning how to use a new kind of CAD software. Or maybe it means learning a new kind of calculus or statistics, or perhaps getting into the shop and using the mill you always meant to use. Putting aside your well-worn and efficient tools is often hard to do, but it's also hard to grow when your tools limit your abilities. My new tools for the year are Solidworks and a laser cutter--I have little mechanical engineering background, and I'm hoping that learning tools like these will expand my understanding of the world and my capabilities.
The Cobham catalog, exposed by The Intercept, features countless pages of surveillance gadgets sold to U.S. police to spy on American citizens: tiny black boxes with a big interest in you. In the creepily bland feature lists and nerdy product names is a whisper of a dark future; perhaps darker than anyone can imagine.
This image depicts the most commonly-found stylesheet colors on the web’s top sites—Paul Hebert did an amazing amount of analysis and this is just one of the intriguing visualizations he came up with. Most of these are obvious staples, especially HTML red and blue, though it’s interesting how far the blue “cluster” is from the […]
With the cacophony of an election year ablaze with unparalleled drama being fought on the front lines of Twitter, we find ourselves slowing down and staring at it like a bad accident. The need for escapist relief is perhaps more dire than usual right now. This fall, if it’s drama you crave, but the Hillary […]
I’ve never really felt the need to purchase a smartwatch because a lot of them aren’t very functional, but at just shy of $30, the Martian Notifier Smartwatch was worth checking out. For that low of a price, it actually does feature an impressive amount of functionality, and comes in handy when you don’t want to be carrying around your […]
Geek Fuel is a subscription delivery service that caters to those of us that love comics, gaming, and general geek culture. Every month, Geek Fuel will assemble a box of goodies with a value of $50 or over. The specific items are a mystery, but you’ll always get an exclusive t-shirt not found anywhere else, a full […]
If you like to DIY and you like helicopters, you’re going to really love the Flexbot Hexacopter Kit. This copter blows traditional models out of the water: it includes everything you need to actually build your own hexacopter, and then pilot it like a pro, too.The construction is complicated enough to give you a challenge, […]