LEGO Voltron can still arrive in time for Father's Day

The 2321 piece LEGO Voltron is the first non-Star Wars set I've really, really wanted in a long time.

Make no mistake, this is Lion Force Voltron, and it looks awesome!

Amazon is offering one-day delivery in my area, so it'd still arrive in plenty of time for a Father's DAy build.

LEGO Ideas Voltron 21311 Building Kit (2321 Pieces) via Amazon Read the rest

A(nother) Lego Turing machine

Making a Turing machine is a kind of nerd rite of passage, like manually editing your X11 settings or building a two-second time-machine. As far back as 2005, we were chronicling the adventures of Lego Turing-machine builders (the state of the art advanced rather a lot by 2012), as well as the ongoing effort to attain Turing completeness in wood and also baked goods. Read the rest

My daughter loves LEGO, maybe their creative toolbox will encourage her to code

I am hoping the LEGO Boost creative toolbox will pair one hobby my kid loves with another she doesn't yet have.

My child builds LEGO as if she were Zach the maniac of old. We have a very large collection of Star Wars and some Ninjago LEGO sets. Slowly she has taken over every bookshelf I'll let her. She loves to build LEGO. Maybe this set will also teach her to code.

I used to play with Mindstorms. I just saw my two OG sets with a few expansion packs, as I cleaned out a basement and packed things into storage. This I hope this set brings her as much fun as those did for me back in the 90s. Boost seems to be the modern evolution of Mindstorms.

My friends and I used to build LEGO Mindstorms robots and pitch them against one another on a conference room table, late at night at our Dotcom-era start-up. The idea was to throw the other person's robot off the table. We'd devise all manner of sticking ourselves to the table, or prying, bashing, smashing and disassembling the opposing Mindstorm. People got frustrated after a few sessions as the robots took hours of assembly and moments to become LEGO pieces once again.

This set is more structured than I remember Mindstorms as being. This 847 piece set has instructions to make Vinnie, a dancing and guitar playing robot, Frankie the robo-cat, a working guitar and some other things I can't quite identify. Coding occurs via an IOS, Android and Windows app. Read the rest

The LEGO San Francisco skyline includes the Salesforce schlong

LEGO has released a wonderful diorama of the San Francisco skyline!

Sadly, the San Francisco skyline is now dominated by the giant Salesforce tower, atleast until the Millenium tower falls into it.

LEGO Architecture Skyline Collection 21043 San Francisco Building Kit , New 2019 (565 Piece) via Amazon Read the rest

The functional LEGO Pop-up Book kit

This new 859 piece LEGO Pop-Up Book is at the top of my must-have LEGO list.

This new for 2019 set comes complete with pieces to build two functional pop-up scenes from two different fairy tales.

Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk associated minifigs are also included in this one of a kind LEGO set.

LEGO Ideas 21315 Pop-up Book Building Kit , New 2019 (859 Piece) via Amazon Read the rest

Star Wars Trench Run LEGO set

For under $25 the X-Wing Fighter and Turbo Laser LEGO set is getting snapped together soon!

With Luke, R2 and Storm Trooper minifigs, this new smaller Star Wars kit is one of many I'll be picking up this year under the guise of "gift for my daughter."

LEGO Star Wars X-Wing Starfighter Trench Run 75235 4+ Building Kit , New 2019 (132 Pieces) via Amazon Read the rest

Volkswagen microbus made from 400,000 LEGO blocks

This VW van made of LEGO is amazing. There are more photos on the VW site.

The van was designed and built by Rene Hoffmeister, one of only 12 officially certified LEGO® professionals in the world. Along with colleague Pascal Lenhard, the duo used 3D modeling to assemble a plan for the van, including a precise figure for the number of bricks needed. Beyond ensuring the major flexible pieces like doors worked, the pair also had to ensure structural rigidity in the side walls and other vertical surfaces to keep all the bricks from collapsing.

Read the rest

Classic A New Hope LEGO: Tantive IV escape pod and a dewback

I can not wait to give this small LEGO Star Wars set to my daughter.

The kit includes some great minifigs: R2, C3P0, and a really nice Stormtrooper, however I'm most excited about the escape pod.

At 177 pieces this set will be a short activity for her, but for less than $20 delivered I can't pass it up.

LEGO Star Wars: A New Hope Escape Pod vs. Dewback Microfighters 75228 Building Kit via Amazon Read the rest

Young engineer upgraded the LEGO bionic arm he built for himself

Bioengineer David Aguilar (aka "Hand Solo") continues to upgrade his DIY LEGO prosthetic arms that we posted about previously with this fantastic fourth generation model. From Reuters:

All the versions are on display in his room in the (Universitat Internacional de Catalunya) residence on the outskirts of Barcelona. The latest models are marked MK followed by the number - a tribute to comic book superhero Iron Man and his MK armor suits....

After graduating from university, he wants to create affordable prosthetic solutions for people who need them.

“I would try to give them a prosthetic, even if it’s for free, to make them feel like a normal person, because what is normal, right?”

Read the rest

Lego bricks are a better investment than gold bricks

"We find that LEGO investments outperform large stocks, bonds, gold and other alternative investments, yielding the average return of at least 11% (8% in real terms) in the sample period 1987-2015," write the authors of a study titled LEGO - The Toy of Smart Investors. "Small and huge sets, as well as seasonal, architectural and movie-based sets, deliver higher returns. LEGO returns are not exposed to market, value, momentum and volatility risk factors, but have an almost unit exposure to the size factor. A positive multifactor alpha of 4-5%, a Sharpe ratio of 0.4, a positive return skewness and a low exposure to standard risk factors make the LEGO toy an attractive alternative investment with a good diversification potential."

[via Bonnie Burton's article, "Lego bricks outshine gold bars as investments, study finds" from CNet, January 28, 2019]

Image: 299 Warm Gold, Drum Lacquered/Gold Metalized/Gold Laquered / Metallic Gold, by Ryan H./Twitter. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) Read the rest

LEGO Bowie contemplates post-Ziggy Stardust character ideas: Cobbler Bob? A Mad Deus? Viscount Jizzmark?

Yesterday, we paid tribute to the 42nd anniversary of David Bowie's iconic album Low by featuring The Brothers McLeod animation of comedian Adam Buxton's hysterical radio tribute to Bowie from 2013. We follow it up with another animation done from Buxton's radio show, this time with Chris Salt of Oblong Pictures using LEGO stop-motion to lovingly lampoon our favorite alien rock god.

In the video, David pitches his wife, Angie Bowie, on new character ideas after deciding to "kill off Ziggy." After running through a series of candidates: Cobbler Bob ("I could have giant shoes, with massive platforms big enough for the band to fit inside of"), A Mad Deus ("A composer of classical music who comes to believe that he's God"), The Groovy Gardener, Viscount Jizzmark, finally, he shows Angie Aladdin Sane. "Who is Aladdin Sane?," she coos. "Well, he's like Ziggy, but with a different name, and some sort of strange fluid leaking out of his collarbone," David replies.

This cute little bit does make you wonder what other characters David may have contemplated but ultimately rejected. Read the rest

LEGO stop-motion short film by 8-year-old girl animator

This 8 year old is a lot more patient and creative than most adults I know. What a cool little kid-made short film. Read the rest

Donating unwanted LEGO to someone less fortunate is a great way to bring more joy to the world

Lots of folks continue to build fabulous creations out of LEGO well into adulthood. Others tire of it, as they do many of their other childhood belongings, at an early age. Both are fine. What's not OK is being a kid who, because of their parent's financial situation, doesn't know the joy of having a box full of LEGO to call their own. Given the years of imagination-stretching enjoyment the wee plastic blocks can bring into a life, that's a damn shame.

Here's what you can do to put a dent in this unfortunate state of affairs.

Lifehacker had a recent post on what to do with old LEGO, if you're not able to pass it down to a younger member of your family or hand it off to friends for their kids to mess around with. They mention that you can sell the blocks online but, better than this, there's organizations out there that specialize in putting LEGO bricks in needy hands:

Sites like Brick Recycler, The Giving Brick and Brick Dreams have launched in recent years in order to address the unique supply and demand problem presented by LEGOs. Each has its own requirements for donations, but in general they accept donations of LEGO bricks of all kinds: mixed up, all together, dirty or clean. Brick Recycler says it has “repurposed” more than 3 million LEGO pieces.

The groups clean and sort bricks and then donate them to children’s support groups, hospitals, daycare facilities and more. Some sell cleaned sets that were donated in order to pay for operations.

Read the rest

Good deal on a LEGO Star Wars Porg

Amazon is offering the LEGO Star Wars Porg for $55, which usually sells for $70. Read the rest

Emmet’s Holiday Party: A LEGO Movie Short

Warner Bros. has just released Emmet’s Holiday Party, a cute nearly-2-1/2-minute-long short that has The LEGO Movie's Emmett decorating Apocalypseburg for the holidays. It doubles as a promo for The LEGO Movie 2, which hits theatres in February 2019. Read the rest

Researchers got 6 people to eat Lego heads and then search for the toys in their poop

Kids eat the darndest things. Dead flies, half-sucked candy found on the ground, erasers... and one of the most popular items, besides coins, are small toy parts. But once swallowed, do these toys always find their way out? And if so, how long does the journey take?

These burning questions inspired a team of pediatrics workers to conduct a study, which was just published in The Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. They got six adventurous volunteers to dine on Lego heads, and then poke around after each potty run until they spotted the bright plastic pieces in their poop. Fun times.

The researchers constructed the study with a sense of humor, using a Stool and Hardness Score (SHAT) and Found and Retrieved Time (FART) score. According to Forbes:

Before they swallowed the Lego heads, each participant had to keep a 3‐day stool diary, which could be quite disconcerting if confused with a regular diary. The researchers developed a Stool Hardness and Transit (SHAT) score to measure the frequency and looseness of their stool. A higher SHAT score meant that the participant had more frequent and looser bowel movements, which could affect how fast the Lego head was you-know-what out of the person. Each patient has a pre-SHAT score, calculated for the 3-day period before the Lego head meal, and a SHAT score for the time between the ingestion and the pooping out of the Lego head. Thus, each participant was given 2 SHATs.

After the Lego head was swallowed, the next step was to keep track of the subsequent bowel movements and keep looking for the Lego head.

Read the rest

LEGO's Saturn V rocket on sale for $79

Holiday pricing on giant LEGO sets continues as the LEGO Apollo Saturn V Rocket goes on sale for $79.

Cleverly this LEGO set comes with 1969 pieces. I bought it last year for $119, and do not regret a dime of it.

LEGO Ideas Nasa Apollo Saturn V 21309 Building Kit Read the rest

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