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Week of 14 September 2009


Latest Update: Saturday, 19 September 2009 09:39 -0400

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Monday, 14 September 2009
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09:18 - The MAKE: Science Room officially launches today at 3:00 p.m. EDT, with a combination of hands-on science articles we're posting to the Science Room section of the MAKE blog and a large Science Room section in the Maker Shed on-line store. Over the coming weeks, months, and years, we'll build out both the content--articles and videos--and the product offerings in Maker Shed to cover every aspect of home science for both DIY science enthusiasts and home schoolers. In effect, the Science Room will do for hands-on, DIY science what MAKE and Maker Shed have already done for hands-on, DIY technology.

I started doing the initial research and groundwork for this project back in early April, but the project really started to come together in late June. Since then, the whole team has been working flat-out to make this project a reality. That team is, bar none, the best group I've ever worked with: Becky, Cindy, Dan, Daniel, Gareth, Heather, Marc, Rob, and Tatia. All of us have been juggling a huge number of balls. Any time one of us let a ball drop, someone else was there to pick it up and run with it. Any time someone saw something that needed to be done and wasn't getting done, they just did it.

What you'll see if you visit the MAKE blog and Maker Shed today is necessarily incomplete, but will be rapidly filled out in the near future. For example, although we're launching with only a dozen or so science articles, we have more than 100 articles currently written and in the pipeline, which we plan to roll out at a rate of five to ten new articles per week. Initially, those articles will focus on chemistry and forensics, but before long you'll also start seeing articles on astronomy, biology, earth science, physics and the other science disciplines. We also have a bunch of videos in the pipeline. You'll see a few of those pop up on the site over the next few weeks. Before long, there will be dozens, and eventually probably a couple of hundred or more.

So, although this launch is obviously an important milestone, that's all it is. A snapshot of a moment in time of a growing and evolving project. That said, we're all delighted to finally be going live.


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Tuesday, 15 September 2009
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10:50 - 


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Wednesday, 16 September 2009
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11:30 - I wrote the following post yesterday and apparently forgot to publish it...

The MAKE: Science Room is officially launched, both on the Make blog and in Maker Shed, but I have about a zillion things left to do. This morning, I put together a proposed list of articles to be posted over the next few weeks. We'll be posting them in batches, probably twice a week. Right now, I'm tweaking the product descriptions, categories, and so on in Maker Shed. I'm live-editing the Maker Shed database, which makes me more than a bit nervous. I can imagine a mushroom cloud over Maker Shed caused by me pressing the wrong button. Oops.

Then there's my to-do list, most all of which is absolute top priority, and none of which I have time to work on at the moment. Oh, well. As I said, this is a journey rather than a destination, and I'd rather be busy than not. But I am so busy at the moment that posts here will be sparse and sporadic.


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Thursday, 17 September 2009
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00:00 - Here's PZ Myers' take on what may well be the most important science book published this year, Richard Dawkins' The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. It won't be released until next week, but I'm pre-ordering my copy today.

This book is written for non-scientists, so I don't expect to find much factual information in it that's new to me even though I'm not a biologist. But, surrounded as I am here in North Carolina by young-earth creationists, it'll be useful to learn from Dr. Dawkins how best to rebut their ignorant beliefs and rhetoric. If you have any interest in the fake "controversy" about evolution, buy this book and read it. You'll learn why there is no real controversy or debate among the scientific community about evolution. Evolution is true and indisputable, and as certain as the sun rising tomorrow morning. A warning, though. If you have even the slightest creationist leanings, be prepared to be disabused of them, decisively.


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Friday, 18 September 2009
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00:00 -



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Saturday, 19 September 2009
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09:39 - Thursday afternoon, I made my first doctor visit since Richard Nixon was president. Wednesday afternoon, I was working and suddenly felt dizzy. I wrote that off to too much caffeine, and switched to drinking Sprite. I was fine Wednesday evening and through the night. On Thursday morning, I got out of bed, bounced off the wall, and fell back into bed. The room was spinning, and the only way I made it down the hall to the den was by keeping my hand on the wall.

I convinced Barbara against her better judgment to go to work. She'd already planning on leaving work at 2:00 p.m. to take her truck in to our mechanic. I told her I thought I was just exhausted from overwork and I'd just stretch out on the sofa all day. I was no better when she got home, so she hauled me over to Prime Care. The PA I saw there was a sensible guy. He did several quick checks and said the problem was most likely simple vertigo caused by an inner ear problem. He did say there were other, more serious causes for vertigo, but he wasn't inclined to recommend a CAT scan or other extreme measures just yet. We told him we had a follow-up visit scheduled the next day with Barbara's GP, who is also technically my GP, although he'd never seen me as a patient. He prescribed 25 gm meclizine taken every 4 to 6 hours.

That helped. That evening, I was able to watch TV without the screen bouncing around so much I couldn't tell what was going on, although I still wasn't able to use the computer. Yesterday afternoon, I saw the PA at Dr. Dalton's practice. She did a bunch of similar tests, having me follow her finger as she moved it around and so on, and came to the same conclusion. Apparently, I have labyrinthitis, which is an inflammation of the inner ear. She said it's normally self-limiting, with a course of from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, and that if I hadn't improved in the next few days to call them again about setting up a CAT scan or whatever. I'm enough better this morning that I suspect that won't be necessary.

This has been very disconcerting. I'm used to other people being ill, but not to being ill myself. At any rate, I appear to be on the mend. Per the second PA's instructions, I've cut back to one meclizine every 8 hours, and I hope to be off of them completely in the next day or two. At this point, the computer screen is still kind of jumping around on me, so please excuse any typos. I'm going to see if I can read and reply to some email now.





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Sunday, 20 September 2009
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