Saturday, June 28, 2014

Maker Faire KC 2014 - Solar Car

Quick update from Maker Faire Kansas City.

I saw this neat solar car cruising down the street next to Crown Center today, then when we got into Maker Faire, it was parked right out front of Union Station, so I was able to get these pictures.

There's obviously some pedals inside.  I'm not sure what they're for.  I suspect you can either A) pedal yourself back home when you run out of sunlight/battery power OR B) extend your range by pedaling to take some of the load off the motor/battery.

I saw another solar car called the TWIKE and actually talked to a guy who knew something about it.  It also had pedals.  On the TWIKEI had assumed the pedals were for "A", but the guy informed they didn't really work for :"A", they were for "B".  I didn't get to talk with anyone on the green car in these pics, so I'm not sure if the pedals are for "A", "B" or both.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

High-tech art (with a sense of humor)

This is a fun little TED talk about using technology to create whimiscal, interesting art installments that capture your attention because of some physical thing that's happening.

The whole talk is only about 8 minutes long, and the whole thing is interesting, but the part that got stuck in my head from when I first watched it a year or more ago, and the part that causes me to re-visit it now, is a few brief seconds of video showcasing a piece call "the pygmies".  In it you can see they've programmed some very rudimentary "pygmies" to hide when they hear a sound and come back out after all is quiet.

The thing that captures me so much about this is how a simple, programmed action can give such a lifelike quality to something so rudimentary.

Watch the video and you'll see what I mean.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Virgin Galactic's Spaceplane

Just a quick link to the latest information on Virgin Galactic's space plane.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Whizzer motorbike replica is one of my favorite websites.  Probably my most favorite website.  If someone made me pick only one site that I could ever go to again in my life, it might be Instructables.

Having said that, here is an a example of why.  This is a gorgeous replica of a 1940's model "Whizzer" motorized bicycle that some kid in Australia put together.  This a absolutely awesome and, if you watch the video, it sounds awesome, too.

I plan to build something similar (only not nearly as polished) using and antique motor and an old bike frame I have in the barn.

When I have time.  (Sigh....)

The link to the original page on (which includes the video) is here:

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Spring is here.

Look what I found in barn a few short weeks ago.

Hmm...Looks like he's eaten something recently.

Probably should have sliced him open so I could post the contents of his stomach, but I didn't.  I just took him out and cut his little head off.

BTW, for those who don't know, there are only 3 type of poisonous snakes in Oklahoma:  rattlesnakes, water moccasins, and copperheads.

Rattlesnake and water moccasin bites can be fatal if not treated, but copperhead bites are considered "nuisance" bites.  They're rarely deadly, the greatest danger being from allergic reaction or secondary infection.  The worst damage is usually done from the painful swelling, especially if bitten on an area that doesn't have much room to swell, like a finger.  In that case the swelling can be so severe that the flesh splits open.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

CVAPA 2014

The Caney Valley Antique Power Association annual tractor show and swap meet was this last weekend.  It's a small affair, but only about an hour away from home and still a fun event.  Here are some pictures I took of the highlights (for me).

This first one is a little runabout that uses a vertical shaft lawnmower engine as it's power plant.  You can buy instructions to build these online.  I've seen several of these at various shows.

Here we have a pair of Nash Metropolitans.  Very cool, funky, tiny cars.

A 191x or 192x Chevy pickup.

And a very early moped.

"I thought you said it was a tractor show.  Where are all the tractors?"

The truth is, I'm not that interested in tractors.  I'm always more drawn to the other old, odd things at the show...