Friday, 7 December 2007

Superawesome funtime science

Ok folks, sit back, get comfy, get ready to LEARN.

Tonight, for a college project, I have made one of those steady hand games where you have to pass a hoop round a wire structure and not set off the buzzer, as a desk toy for all them corporate types that might want to employ me some day.


Ace fun. Since I'm so nice (or dull) I thought I'd share the experience with you, so you can go off and make your own. Great joy.

First off, YOU WILL NEED:


1: Some florists wire, thick enough to be sturdy but also flexible enough to bend
2: Coated wire, preferably thin
3: Pliers, wire-cutters and wire strippers
4: A 9-volt battery
5: A buzzer, that can easily be acquired from eBay, but this will also work with a torch bulb
6: Sellotape, and electrical wire (not pictured, but I found this to be useful after I started out)
7: A box to put it all in.
8: Tea (essential)

Step 1: Make your wire frame, in a shape or just a random assortment of bends, using the florists wire. Remember you've got to be able to pass a hoop round all this, so nothing too complex. I went for the bird shape since it's the SugarSpun bird. I might also make a robot later. Eeeee.


Step 2: Using a little bit of the florists wire, make a hoop and twist it at the end.


Step 3: Strip off the coating from the ends of a strip of the coated wire. This should be long enough to be guided round your wire structure. Wrap one of the ends round the hoop, as so:


Step 4: Cut 3 holes in the box, two far apart enough to put the ends of your wire structure through, and another to the bottom right to put the wire-with-the-hoop -on-it through. As you can see, during this I am using VERY TECHNICAL LANGUAGE so it must be physics. Before placing any of the wires through these holes, first attach the hoop to the wire structure. This is very important as it saves lots of fiddling around later removing things because you were too much of a spazz to realise this in the first place. When that's done, then you can place the wires in their respective holes.


Step 5: Tape down the wire of the sculpture on the right to the inside of the box lid. Make a little hoop on the end of the wire on the left, and attach one of the wires from the buzzer. You'll probably need to strip the plastic off the end of this. Secure it with sellotape. Then attach the other wire on the buzzer to one of the terminals on the battery.


Step 6: Wrap the end of your wire sculpture (the bit before it goes into the box) in electrical tape, and make sure this is where the hoop is resting. This prevents the next bit from being noisy.


Step 7: Attach the end of the hoop wire to the other terminal on the battery. Do a quick test by placing the hoop on the wire sculpture. If it makes a noise, then you win (this is the only time this rule applies). Now place all the gubbins into the box and close the lid.


And YOU ARE DONE! Joy and glee, well done you, you win at everything. If you do decide to make one, then picz plz lolz, I'd LOVE to see the finished results.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Yay for swears.

I read an interesting article today. It seems they're not content with taking away our right to have a cigarette with a pint, now they'd like us to do it in the freezing cold. Yep, thats right, in this countries seemingly endless quest to go green (and in all the wrong ways) they are now proposing a ban on outdoor heaters.

You fucking what?

That's right! Using the ever-fashionable carbon footprint as their excuse, the powers that be would like to ban the only source of comfort us smokers have. So come October, when it's cold outside and the days are shorter, we'll all be lined up outside the pubs, swaddled in layers, huddling together for warmth...not exactly my preferred look for a Friday night out on the town. And yet this isn't my main bugbear with the situation....

Why, dear people of the internet, aren't we doing anything about it? There are somewhere close to 25 million smokers in this country, the majority of which I imagine are likely to go to a public place and need a cigarette once in a while. And yet we're just sitting down and taking this, like the proverbial gimp. Whatever happened to our spirit? Our punk? Our common bloody sense? They broke us. They broke us and now they've started the process of rebuilding us into the model country; healthy, green and energy efficient. Thats a laugh.

Monday, 16 July 2007

We Want a Robot

New technology is entirely underwhelming. Everything new that comes along is simply inevitable. I remember my utter joy at receiving my first walkman; it was incredible. I could listen to my music, but not bother my parents at the same time. I could walk down the road immersed in my own little dream world, just me and my music, my ultimate escape. In truth, it was awful. It ate batteries, the music went wonky when the cassette moved, the headphones snapped after a month. The inconvenience of turning the tape over, of having to carry lots of different albums with you, no special features to speak was useless. But at the time it was the most incredible, convenient and beautiful invention known to man. Now consider the iPod. Or rather the mp3 player in general. Its marvellous! Hundreds upon hundreds of tracks, all available at one time in a tiny little package, packed full of features and special tricks. Battery life that can last all day. No skipping! It is an absolute mammoth of a product. And while it was much hyped, and well received by the general public, there was nowhere near the amount of revolutionary praise you would expect. The same applies to everything. Mobile phones, HD TV, computers, games is coming along in leaps and bounds. So why are we so apathetic about it all?

MrA raised a good point last night. According to cartoons and Tomorrows World, we should all be flying to the moon for the weekly shop now, zooming about with jet-packs and getting the family robot to do odd jobs around the house. None of this is true. There are no rocket ships, no teleporters and, worst of all, no robots. For a generation of people who were promised this unique fantasy world, we are now severely disheartened. It's no wonder we can't get past the past. It was much more intriguing than the future.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Big kids

Hello. This is my blog. I'll post things here. Writings. Mostly on the subject of 70s and 80s nostalgia, because thats what my college mini-dissertation will be on, but I'll undoubtedly put other things here. Just because.

Anyway, first post. Enjoy!

We are the generation of fun and games, the logical product of an era that revolved around pop icons and big-screen heroes that then went on to create the mass consumer culture that we know today. We are born out of Star Wars, Transformers and Pac Man, all of which remain in todays society, as popular and collectable as ever. And why? Is it pure nostalgia? Is it because they remain as well-marketed to the younger generations as before? Or is it rather that the generation that it all began with have refused to grow up? The evidence is all around us, illustration has become a child-like dream world, character design remains quirky and cartoonish, advertising pays homage to the toy giants of yesteryear. Realism, and all the harsh realities of the present that go with it, has definitely gone out the window.

Modern society is a bleak place for us. We live in a world enamored with celebrity, where image is everything and fame and fortune is attainable with little or no skill required. For the less shallow of us (and I assure you, we exist), there has emerged an undercurrent of nostalgia and childish fantasy, dripping with all the cynicism and perversion of the big kid rejected. Our heroes, the role models we remember from simpler times, lie in action figures and video game characters. We can relate to them because we grew up learning from them. They are our mentors, our fantasy, our escape. You only need to look at modern art and design to see this; we have cute pink bears with bloody paws, tiny robots controlling giant machines that tower above the clouds, helpless animals tortured by artists hopes and fears. With age comes wisdom. And rejection, and responsibility, and bills...