I finished putting together the June issue of the IEEE Central Texas Section newsletter, The Analog, earlier this week. It contains information of interest to engineers and those interested in technology in the Central Texas Area. Included are a list of the scheduled technical meetings to be held in the area. All of the IEEE technical meetings are open to the public.
Check out the June issue for yourself.
I had never heard of ‘Repair Cafés’ until I read the article “We Need More Repair Cafés“. As the name implies these are locations where people can take items and get assistance to repair them. Some of these are permanent locations, while others are pop-up locations. As their website says:
Repair Cafés are free meeting places and they’re all about repairing things (together). In the place where a Repair Café is located, you’ll find tools and materials to help you make any repairs you need. On clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, appliances, toys, et cetera. You’ll also find expert volunteers, with repair skills in all kinds of fields.
Visitors bring their broken items from home. Together with the specialists they start making their repairs in the Repair Café. It’s an ongoing learning process. If you have nothing to repair, you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. Or you can lend a hand with someone else’s repair job. You can also get inspired at the reading table – by leafing through books on repairs and DIY.
Most of the existing locations are in Europe which makes sense since this movement began in Amsterdam. You can find out more about them at https://repaircafe.org/en/. You can also find the Repair Café closest to you at https://repaircafe.org/en/visit/. Unfortunately there are not many (around 50 at the time I write this) in the US yet and none in Texas.
You, or your organization, my be in the position to start up a Repair Café in your local community.
Disney – Many, myself included, are looking forward to seeing the new Disney World land of Pandora that will soon open in the Animal Kingdom.
Part of what will make Pandora unique is the environment that has been created. Above is a clip that gives you an idea of the night time experience with the bioluminescence and interactive nature of the engineered environment.
One of the key attractions will be the Na’vi River Journey ride that shows off the flora and fauna of Pandora. The animatronic “Shaman of songs”, which can be viewed in this clip, is a particularly good work of Disney engineering magic.
The other main attraction will be the Flight of Passage ride. This clip doesn’t reveal any of the ride itself, but does show a very detailed and rich sensory experience in the long queue to the ride.
Guests staying in Disney Resort accommodations will have access to special hours in Pandora: for a limited time, May 27 – July 4, 2017, enjoy “Extra” Extra Magic Hours only in Pandora − The World of Avatar from 11 p.m.-1 a.m.
This Disney expansion looks to make a visit an experience not just the opportunity to ride some cool rides. I am hoping that this continues with the Star Wars land that is scheduled to open in 2019.
The Maker Faire is happening again in Austin this weekend (May 13-14) at the Palmer Event Center. I attended the first two held in Austin, but have missed the past 6 events. I do hope to drop in this weekend.
The article “Austin Is on a Mission to Keep Maker Faire Weird” gives you a little insight to what you might see there. If you have the free time, these are great events to visit. Kids who are interested in STEM careers or just tinkering will find the event fascinating. Likewise, us older ‘kids’ who like to create new gadgets or inventions will find the event equally interesting.
I finished putting together the May issue of the IEEE Central Texas Section newsletter, The Analog, earlier this week. It lists many events coming up in Central Texas. IEEE meetings are always open to the public, so please come join us to learn and to expand your professional network.
You can read the May Analog here.
I came across the article “There Are 7 Types of Learners: Which One Are You?” recently. Those of us in technology and engineering face life long Continuing Education (CE) to keep current with the state of the art. However as we consider the various means of satisfying our CE needs, we need to understand that there are different styles of learning, and what works well for one person, may not for you.
The styles that have been identified are (from learning-styles-online.com: The Seven Learning Styles):
- Visual (spatial): You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
- Aural (auditory, musical): You prefer using sound and music.
- Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
- Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands.
- Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning, and systems.
- Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
- Solitary (Intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study.
We each probably have an idea of which styles are best for us, but we can find out for sure by taking an easy on-line test at Memletics Learning Styles Questionnaire. The results can then guide you to the most effective types of CE content for your learning style.
Disney – In today’s issue of “Now I know” titled “The Nose Knows“, Dan Lewis tell about how Disney has for years been using the “Smellitzer”. This device, for which Disney holds the patent granted in 1984, is able to blow odors at the guests.
Many report tantalizing odors near candy stores, popcorn stands and similar venues. The next time I go to Disney I will be on the lookout for these odors. I think that it is interesting that the Disney engineers have been working all these years to immerse us in a variety of ways when we enter the Disney properties.
Disney – Disney seems to be taking their Imagineering efforts to an entirely new level with the new land of “Pandora”, particularly with the flora of the fictitious world. “Pandora”, from the glimpses in the video above, looks to be visually stunning during the day. At night the effect will be amplified by some of the plants being bioluminescent.
One thing that seems to be different with “Pandora” is that Disney is attempting to immerse you in the world of Pandora. There appears to be a great deal of engineering effort that has gone into the animatronics for “Pandora”. For science fiction fans this will be a great experience.
I’m looking forward to exploring this alien world the next time I visit Disney World. It will be the closest we can get to visiting an exoplanet.
The documentary “Fight for Space” will arrive May 19. In it Neil deGrasse Tyson and Jim Lovell, among others, talk about NASA’s past achievements and where it is headed. If you are interested in space exploration, this looks to be a video you will want to see.
Predictions are that Robots, Automation and Artificial Intelligence will have an increasing role in our lives.
This week is National Robotics Week. This has been an annual recognition since 2010. Events are going on all over the country this week, most aimed at K-12 STEM. The list can be found here.