[Sa. May 4, 2013] Pumping Station One Hackerspace Birthday Party

Chicago’s coolest hackerspace, Pumping Station:One is having a 4-year birthday party / open house thingie on Saturday. In case you’re not familiar, hackerspaces are, well–pretty self explanatory. You sign up for a membership, like a gym, and then you get to play with all the neat toys–oscilloscopes, 3D printers, drill presses, sewing machines, and a scanning electron microscope (duh!). It’s $40-$70 per month for a membership, for all that access to awesome future-creation. Also, they really do have a Tardis on the roof, just like that photo up there shows–not shopped. 7PM – Demos and reception 10PM – Live music @ Pumping Station: One, 3519 N. Elston, Chicago IL (near Addison and Kedzie) They also have a THUNDER SLINKY (I don’t know what that is, but it sounds … Read More

Idiots explaining science: Computers, Television, and the Large Hadron Collider

Here’s a hilarious book explaining how computers work, referencing meat needed as fuel, puppies, and a washing machine as integral parts. In a classic internet video, Bjork explains how television works, comparing the electrical components to buildings in a city, and the wires are “elevators.” It bothers me that people find her “adorable” when she is acting like a child simplistically justifying the “magic” of electronics. What’s also sad is she is an electronic musician who should have technical knowledge of her tools (however, she relies heavily on producers, which could explain why she thinks electronics is a magical process). She is a grown woman and it is sad that this is considered cute. Condensed Soup: 10/23/08 by JDG6385 Finally, presented without comment, I will leave you with … Read More

How to Start Making Electronic Music — A List of Resources

Here’s a nice article over at Memeshift with a lot of resources from all over the intertrons for getting started making electronic music. Even though it’s a bit old (2008), it focuses on basic principles and components, like oscillators, filters, synthesizer programming, and sampling. A nice resource for people just getting started. The author recommends Ableton Live as the sequencer of choice, because it allows for both live performance and more traditional sequencing and I agree. I would also add that to get some really advanced sound and have control over it at a very granular level, look into MAX / Msp. Despite the steep learning curve, and somewhat unintuitive interface, it allows for some very interesting, interactive and experimental projects, like these over at Musicthing and these … Read More

"Outdated representations of African-American nerds are simply not cutting it anymore"

A coalition of African-American activists and scholars released a strongly worded statement Monday citing the “urgent need” for popular media to depict a new black nerd archetype that more accurately reflects the full spectrum of 21st-century American dorkdom. “Outdated representations of African-American nerds are simply not cutting it anymore,” the statement read in part. “Perhaps in the ’80s and ’90s it was possible for young people to identify with Steve Urkel’s hiked-up pants, nasal voice, and lovable catchphrase of ‘Did I do that?’ But today’s black nerds are different.” “They may not carry slide rules and calculators, but they do carry smartphones to make posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare,” the statement continued. “Yet where are the modern-day nerds of color in our films and television programs?” African-American … Read More

“Benoitbot” Benoit Mandelbrot Paper Toy

Benoit Mandelbrot spent his life explaining the complexity of nature by studying mathematical self-similar structures with infinitely repeating complexities, which he termed “fractals.” They were the key to explaining non-smooth objects, from mountain ranges and shorelines, to blood vessels and fluctuations in the stock market. His discovery went on to revolutionize technology, such as computer graphics and wide-spectrum antennae; and in medicine, such as in treating Parkinsons’s disease and advancements in antibiotics. Print, cut out and fold along the dotted lines to make your own cute robot version of our favorite chaos scientist. Benoitbot Paper Toy [PDF] Join our mailinglist for more cool free stuff!

RIP Benoit Mandelbrot, Fractal Innovator

Benoit Mandelbrot, the creator of fractal geometry died at the age of 85 this week. Fractals are a visual representation of an equation that is self-similar and based on recursion, and just so happen to mimic an incredible array of natural processes and formations, from mountain ranges to coral reefs, and interestingly, as the above video explains, explains not only the way branches of a tree are differentiated but how trees in a forest differentiate themselves. Pretty hot. Mandelbrot Set featuring the song “Mandelbrot Set” by Jonathan Coulton Here is a zoomed Mandelbrot fractal set to a song aptly entitled “Mandelbrot Set.” Mr. Mandelbrot also did a lovely TED talk, which you can watch above. For the geek boutique I run, Fractalspin (namesake obvious), I designed a paper … Read More