Week of 14 September 2009
Update: Saturday, 19 September 2009 09:39 -0400
Monday, 14 September
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
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.
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
- 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.
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
Thursday, 17 September 2009
- 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.
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.
Friday, 18 September 2009
Saturday, 19 September
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.
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.
Sunday, 20 September
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