Easy Electronics book is an excellent introduction to electronics

Charles Platt's growing series of electronics books are the best I've come across. He explains concepts very clearly, and his illustrations are excellent. His latest book in the series is called Easy Electronics. It covers voltage, resistance, capacitors, transistors, integrated circuits, and more. No tools are needed to complete the projects in this book.

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MasterClass: Your dad teaches loading the dishwasher

Learn from the world's best.

Written and directed by Kathleen Cameron; starring Jim Cameron; original music by Bensound.com.

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Watch: Social psychology for kids

I've been enjoying this new YouTube series that Dan Shapiro (Glowforge founder) and Ari Shapiro (NPR) have created to help kids learn at home. In this episode, we hear from Dr. Philip Costanzo, Duke Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, who teaches Dan's twins "about social psychology, peer pressure, how kids' attitudes develop, and psychology experiments you'd never believe." Read the rest

Here's something fun and productive to do with the kids: Make: launches annual Maker Camp

Maker Camp, Make:’s annual virtual camp for kids has launched for 2020. Make: Community staffer, Keith Hammond writes:

Cooped up with the kids like I am? Maker Camp 2020 is now live! Every kid can join because Maker Camp is online, and it’s free. Since 2012 over a million campers have connected through Maker Camp, learned to make stuff, and shared their experiences with other campers. As you build and make, share your pictures on social media with the hashtag #makeathome and they’ll appear on our site!

The projects you’ll find at Maker Camp have been researched, tested, built, and thoroughly documented so we’re absolutely sure you can replicate them at home. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year we’ve focused on projects you can do with what you might have on-hand, already in your home. We’re sure there’s something there for you!

Find out how to get started on the Maker Camp landing page. Read the rest

This suture practice kit would be a great birthday present

This suture practice kit, which lets you stitch rubber wounds, comes with training videos created by a board-certified surgeon. What a fun gift idea. You can buy them on Amazon.

This suture kit that allows you to practice stitches: from r/Damnthatsinteresting

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Rats trained to drive tiny cars in pursuit of Froot Loops

Researchers successfully taught rats how to drive small cars in the pursuit of Froot Loops cereal. Video below. Psychologist Kelly Lambert and her colleagues at the University of Richmond conducted the experiment to gain insight into animal cognition. Learning to drive also lowered the rats' stress as measured by hormone levels. From New Scientist:

They constructed a tiny car out of a clear plastic food container on wheels, with an aluminium floor and three copper bars functioning as a steering wheel. When a rat stood on the aluminium floor and gripped the copper bars with their paws, they completed an electrical circuit that propelled the car forward. Touching the left, centre or right bar steered the car in different directions.

The ability of rats to drive these cars demonstrates the “neuroplasticity” of their brains, says Lambert. This refers to their ability to respond flexibly to novel challenges. “I do believe that rats are smarter than most people perceive them to be, and that most animals are smarter in unique ways than we think,” she says.

Researchers could potentially replace traditional maze tests with more complex driving tasks when using rat models to study neuropsychiatric conditions, says Lambert. For example, driving tests could be used to probe the effects of Parkinson’s disease on motor skills and spatial awareness, or the effects of depression on motivation, she says. “If we use more realistic and challenging models, it may provide more meaningful data,” she says.

"Enriched Environment Exposure Accelerates Rodent Driving Skills" (Behavioral Brain Research)

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New animated YouTube series for kids: Think Like a Coder

TED-Ed just released the first episode of a 10-part series called "Think Like a Coder." It's an animated adventure starring a teenager named Ethic who wakes up with amnesia in a prison cell and befriends a hovering robot named Hedge, who will do anything she tells it to do in the form of pseudocode instructions. In this first episode we learn about for, next, and while loops, which Ethic uses to get Hedge to pick some locks. Read the rest

If Bob Ross taught math

From Toby's "Tibees" YouTube channel: "A math lesson about logarithms inspired by the legendary painter Bob Ross."

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List of free and amazing online courses from top universities

Open Culture and Class Central compiled a list of thousands of enticing free MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and lectures from top-shelf educators at great universities like MIT, Stanford, and Harvard. Read the rest

Young taekwondo champ demonstrates her skills

This is me when I take any kind of lesson.

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Great price on an Arduino starter kit

This is the least expensive Arduino-clone starter kit I've seen. It's just [amazon_link asins='B07BGS524V' template='PriceLink' store='boingboing' marketplace='US' link_id='626c1229-2ad6-4252-a7c8-fc55a1155ae1'] on Amazon, and comes with an Arduino Uno clone, a solderless breadboard, resistors, LEDs, jumper wires, pushbuttons, and a lot more.

If you need to learn how to use an Arduino, may I recommend my Skillshare video class? If you sign up here you can get 3 months of Skillshare videos for 99 cents. Skillshare has thousands of great videos to teach you about programming, art, animation and more. I've been a happy paying subscriber for years. Read the rest

Kevin Kelly, Adam Savage, Norm Chan discuss continuous learning, knowledge sharing, and how tools open up possibilities

I love it when really smart people, especially those well-versed in science, technology, and DIY, sit down and ramble on about whatever's currently tickling their proverbial fancies. In this video, Adam and Norm from Tested.com chat with the always-informative Kevin Kelly. While the conversation is free-ranging, there is a loose theme about learning-on-demand, knowledge sharing, and the power of tools to inspire possibilities.

Here are a few useful take-aways from the discussion:

Being your own signal-to-noise ratio – Kevin and Adam chuckle over instances of searching on a subject online and mainly scooping up what they’ve written about that subject. E.g. Kevin looking up “superorganism” for a talk he was giving and finding out that the Wikipedia definition was taken from him. Adam talks about the joys of lifelong curiosity and the time that Richard Feynman and Danny Hillis were trying to have dinner together but got sidetracked when the two of them became fixated on the physics of breaking dry spaghetti (i.e., how the pieces never break cleanly in two; there's are always multiple fractures). BTW: You can find out more about this here. To learn more about a product your are interested in, search for the highest price of that object on eBay to find out the broad landscape of the object, from the most expensive, feature-rich, highest quality expressions of it, on down. Use the Incognito Mode on Google to experience something you are searching for without your previous interactions influencing the search algorithms. The trio talks about how great it would be if YouTube’s algorithms were better at taking you to new places with suggested videos (rather than the same “murder’s row” of channels that you already know about). Read the rest

Learn about adjustment layers and layer masks in Photoshop

I've been using Photoshop for years, but I don't know what I'm doing. When I get stuck, I often turn to the YouTube channel Phlearn to learn how to do something. In this easy-to-understand 10-minute video, I learned how to use adjustment layers to make changes to all colors in an image and how to use layer masks to changes the colors of certain areas of an image. I wish I'd learned about these a long time ago. Read the rest

Scientific tips on how to cram for an exam

ASAP Science provides some excellent tips for intensive, last-minute studying of just about any subject where you need to remember a lot of information. The video covers a lot of ground, from memory palaces and cortisol to metacognition to other things I can't remember because I didn't study enough.

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Excellent starter kit for people interested in learning about Arduino

Arduino is an easy-to-learn prototyping platform that lets you create interactive electronic projects. This Arduino compatible kit is the one I recommend to people who ask me how to get started. The reason I recommend it is because it's very cheap and it has a bunch of components that would cost a lot more if you were to purchase them separately.

Two things it doesn't have, but should if you really want to have fun with Arduino: a potentiometer and a servo motor. This kit, which has these components and many more, is available for about twice as much as the basic kit above.

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The best maker YouTube channels

Over at Cool Tools, Kevin Kelly reviews over 40 YouTube video channels by makers, experimenters, and explainers. It's a great list. I'm subscribing to all the ones I haven't already subscribed to.

I have descending into the YouTube click hole. Forget TV, movies, Netflix; I spend most of my discretionary media time watching YouTube tutorials. I go to them whenever I need to learn anything, and in particular when I need to make or repair anything. Nothing appears missing in the YouTubeverse. The most obscure esoteric subject, item, skill, technique, problem will have five videos dedicated to it. At least one will be good. Against this very uneven quality of the average random YouTube episode, I have discover a good shelfful of dependable high-quality YouTube channels dispensing amazing information on a regular basis. Below are the YouTube channels I currently subscribe and return to often. They are informational, rather than entertaining, and they are biased to makers and do-ers. I have divided them into four groups: Experimenters, Makers, Explainers, and Nichers -- esoteric interests that probably won’t appeal to many. Don’t take the categories too seriously; there is much overlap. I emphasize that these are the channels I personally subscribe to, and so reflect my interests, and do not include such obvious other maker-type channels like food, cooking, travel, makeup simply because those are not my interests. But I for sure have missed some great channels. So in the comments please tell me what channels you subscribe to. To be most useful, state what they are about, and why you think they should be included.

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Fun and helpful blog on homophones is coming out as a book

The blog Homophones, Weakly helps young learners and iffy spellers master English homophones with fun and simple graphic mnemonics. Now, it's coming out as a book. Read the rest

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