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Kickstarting Scratchjr: Scratch programming for under-eights!

Mitchel Resnick runs the MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindergarten lab, from which came the amazing, kid-friendly Scratch programming language. He writes, "We just launched a Kickstarter campaign for ScratchJr, an introductory programming language that enables young children (ages 5-7) to create their own interactive stories and games. As young children code with ScratchJr, they learn how to create and express themselves with the computer, not just interact with it. In the process, children develop design and problem-solving skills, and they use math and language in a meaningful and motivating context, supporting the development of early-childhood numeracy and literacy.

ScratchJr is a variation of our Scratch programming language, used by millions of people (ages 8 and up) around the world. In creating ScratchJr, we redesigned the interface and programming language to make them developmentally appropriate for younger children, carefully designing features to match young children's cognitive, personal, social, and emotional development."

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Carved crayons -- now with color!


Both Mark and I have sung the praises of Hoang Tran's hand-carved pop-culture crayons (I have one in my office!).

But Tran has really gone to a new level, adding detail and sparing color not seen in the earlier works. These new pieces are on display in a Tumblr called Wax Nostalgic, and they're magnificent.

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Just look at this bicycle banana-hammock.


Just look at it.

Banana Holder (via Julian Bond/Boing Boing G+)

Getting started with the Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a $35 Linux computer the size of a credit card. I'm running a Minecraft server on one (above photo). In observance of today's holiday, MAKE is running an excerpt from Matt Richardson and Shawn Wallace’s excellent book, Getting Started with Raspberry Pi.

As makers, we have a lot of choices when it comes to platforms on which to build technology-based projects. Lately, microcontroller development boards like the Arduino have been a popular choice because they’ve become very easy to work with. But System on a Chip platforms like the Raspberry Pi are a lot different than traditional microcontrollers in many ways. In fact, the Raspberry Pi has more in common with your computer than it does with an Arduino.

This is not to say that a Raspberry Pi is better than a traditional microcontroller; it’s just different. For instance, if you want to make a basic thermostat, you’re probably better off using an Arduino Uno or similar microcontroller for purposes of simplicity. But if you want to be able to remotely access the thermostat via the web to change its settings and download temperature log files, you should consider using the Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi 101: What is the Pi Anyway?

Eggbot design: Pi Egg for Pi Day


Tomorrow, 3/14, is Pi Day in the USA (it will not be Pi Day in the rest of the world until the Martian Emperor subjugates us all to his sinister 14-month calendar). In celebration, Thingiverse user Thor4231 posted this great Eggbot design, ready to be automatically sharpied onto your favorite ovum by means of the wonderful Eggbot printer.

Pi Egg for Pi Day

New Disruptors 66: Crowded House with Joshua Lifton

Joshua Lifton is one of the founders of Crowd Supply, a company that crowdfunds around products. They take a very different approach to preparation, funding, and follow-up than Kickstarter. Kickstarter just announced that it had crossed $1bn in pledges in its five-year lifetime. Of that, it's disbursed nearly $850m. It's on track to facilitate perhaps half a billion in 2014 alone.

The name Kickstarter may be used interchangeably with the term crowdfunding, and it is the 800 lb. gorilla in the space. (Watch out for the shipping charges on that gorilla, especially internationally.) But in its wake, hundreds of millions of dollars are being raised from all sorts of other sites which fill in important aspects of ecosystem, and Crowd Supply is one of them.

The New Disruptors: RSS | iTunes | Download this episode | Listen on Stitcher

This episode is sponsored by:

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Mailchimp helps more than five million people and businesses around the world use MailChimp to send email newsletters. They sent 70 billion messages on their behalf in 2013! They also have hats for cats and small dogs.

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Dual-chambered beer-glasses for mixing the perfect black-and-tan


Etsy seller Matthew Cummings of Kentucky's Pretentious Beer Glass Company created a set of four cylindrical, dual-chambered beer glasses, which allows you to mix any two beers without regard to their specific gravities and without a lot of mucking around with jigs. He also takes custom orders. A set of four is $125.

Dual Beer Glass, Set of 4 (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Crowdfunding a smart, open source beehive to monitor hive-collapse

Tristan writes, "The Open Source Beehives project is a partnership between the Open Tech Collaborative and Fab Lab Barcelona crowd-sourcing a solution to the bee colony collapse issue.

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Putin your butt


Reddditor Amzfx created a Putin butt-plug by way of commentary on Russia's invasion of Crimea, and he's selling them on Shapeways for €20.22. The print medium seems a little too porous for safe sex play, and the nose looks like a likely candidate for painful snagging. Amznfx has more political 3d prints in his repertoire.

Check out my 3d printed Putin Butt plug (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

See PIG in San Francisco

Next Saturday (Mar 15), the SF in SF people will host a screening of indie movie PIG, an award-winning sf movie, followed by a Q&A with producer Mark Stolaroff, founder of the No Budget Film School. (Thanks, Rina!) Cory 4

Harlequin Creature: a zine where every copy is individually hand-typed by volunteers


Janice writes, "The Harlequin Creature is a journal of poetry and prose that is hand-typed at typing bees by a circle of friend and volunteers from Los Angeles to Ann Arbor to New York. Copies are hand-bound and numbered; a limited number include artwork by a feature artist. The journals are available at 9 bookstores and shops across the globe, as well as by pre-order online for the next issue. As an organization, Harlequin Creature is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation founded in 2012 in New York."

Harlequin Creature (Thanks, Janice!)

Hapheads: new web-series from Jim Munroe and the "Ghosts With Shit Jobs" crew

Jim Munroe sez, "Ten years from now, videogames are so immersive that teenagers learn lethal skills just by playing. They're called hapheads. The folks I made Ghosts With Shit Jobs with made this trailer I adapted from a book-length story I'm working on. Don't know if we can honestly call what we do lo-fi sci-fi anymore -- with fight scenes and full-on special effects, it's way more in the mold of traditional action sci-fi. I'm thinking what'll set it apart is the characterization of the father & daughter (my emotional entry into the story, thinking about my relationship with my daughter in 10 years) and the subcultural millieu that'll emerge."

Haphead (Thanks, Jim!)

SXSW founder tells his story

Adam sez, "This is the first episode of an original Dailymotion production called 'That Was Me' which highlights the achievements of pop culture icons. 'That Was Me' episode 1: A profile of the founder of SXSW -- one of the largest music, film and interactive festivals in the United States. The festival takes place annually in Austin, Texas."

Who Created SXSW? - That Was Me (Thanks, Adam!)

HOWTO make glowing, 3D printed cyberpunk spikes

Phil and Limor from Adafruit write, "Make your own flexible, spiky, glowing accessory using NeoPixel strip diffused by NinjaFlex flexible 3D printing filament! Magnets let you attach the spikes to anything in your wardrobe. The soft flexible enclosure holds GEMMA, the tiny microcontroller that animates the LEDs, and a rechargeable lipoly battery."

Cyberpunk Spikes (Thanks, Pt and Limor!)

Building a kid-sized Dark Knight Batpod

Eric sends us this site documenting the construction of a kid-sized, 2/5-scale Batpod as seen in The Dark Knight: "My friend Travisis a pretty rad maker. He successfully built a 1:4 scale electric Sherman tank for his son. And judging by the finish work of the tank, I am sure this is going to be even more killer."

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