BEAM Robots–little insects made of recycled electronics

One of these days I will build a swarm of these to crawl all over my apartment and tease the cat. They’re self-sufficient, powered by a solar cell, and do nothing but run around looking for more light and avoiding shadows. I suppose in Finland they might end up hibernating under closets in winter, or perhaps attacking you en masse when you return home and turn on the light. Here’s where you can buy kits, if you’re not feeling all hardcore.

Solarbotics – Your BEAM Robotics Resource

August 7, 2006 at 2:33 pm Leave a comment

Quakers–the nice guys in the back

Had dinner with some Quakers from Vermont today. Was suddenly reminded of encountering lots of Quakers in New England during my high school years, and of my impression then that it’s one of the nicest forms of Christianity out there. It draws many intelligent people to it because of its emphasis on being open, thinking, and figuring it all out for yourself, and generally believing that everyone has value. Of course, this takes a lot more work than going to a massive stadium and having someone else’s ideas and rules spoon-fed to you while they stroke your ego for being there and not being one of those dirty sinners outside. Quakers don’t tend to have megachurches. They also don’t go door-to-door harrassing people to join them, so the Jehovah’s Witnesses have them beat on the recruitment front as well. But for a reasonable, simple, thoughtful religion that is also considerate and respectful of other religions, I can’t think of a better option. Especially for these cross-and-crescent-waving times.

(quotes are from here)

“Friends generally believe that first-hand knowledge of God is only possible through that which is experienced, or inwardly revealed to the individual human being through the working of God’s quickening Spirit…the concept of the Inner Light is twofold. Firstly, the Inner Light discerns between good and evil. It reveals the presence of both in human beings, and through its guidance, offers the alternative of choice. Secondly, the Inner Light opens the unity of all human beings to our consciousness. Friends believe that the potential for good, as well as evil, are latent in everyone.”


July 13, 2006 at 10:30 pm 1 comment

Leap tall buildings, etc

I’m quite a bit behind on this bandwagon, but it looks like fun, especially since all the wall climbing walls near me were torn down after the trendiness wore off:
Training days in Helsinki

Note the training section on the “” site. Insane videos. Mad skillz. To prepare yourself, here’s the drill:


June 21, 2006 at 5:32 pm 2 comments

Magnet implants in finger

A close-up shows the discolored, raised area caused by the sheath failure of Quinn Norton's implant. People have been implanting magnets into their ring fingers, to get a kind of sixth sense. I’ve had something like this thanks to my steel engagement ring–I can tell where the security magnets are in shops, etc. I was thinking of making a magnet ring, problem might be keeping it clean and unspiky, considering all the metal filings that would leap up and stick to it? Might work as an emergency compass, though.

Here’s the link to the story: Wired News: A Sixth Sense for a Wired World

June 21, 2006 at 5:14 pm 3 comments

Something to read when you’re off the grid

The Complete Modern Blacksmith The Complete Modern Blacksmith by Alexander G. Weygers is a labor of love written and illustrated beautifully by one guy who was obviously fascinated by detail, frank about his intentions, and delighted by the ability to create something out of nothing. Make tools, like gardening tools, chisels, pliers, hammers, scythes, etc, out of car parts from the dump. A study in ingenuity and commitment of a kind rarely seen these days, worth having (I think) even if you never intend to forge anything, because the attitude is one worth keeping in mind. Serves as a reminder that all those tools at the hardware store really are just machine made for our convenience, not because they wouldn't be available otherwise. Old-style thinking out of the box. Available at Amazon, of course.

A Book of Instructions Along the same lines, the Art of Engraving by James B. Meek is a painstakingly detailed book with incredible drawings that covers everything you ever wanted to know about how to turn metal into your canvas, from basic cuts to gold inlay in steel. Hardcore. Not that this will catch you rabbits or light a fire when the lights go out, mind you. But you'll get to hunt with a really pretty gun.

June 21, 2006 at 3:51 pm 2 comments

The Consolations of Philosophy–Alain de Botton

Philosophy made clear and relevant. (Another arabella referral) Convinced me to like Seneca:

"Never did I trust Fortune, even when she seemed to be offering peace. All those blessings which she kindly bestowed upon me…I relegated to a place from which she could take them back without disturbing me…I have kept a wide gap, and so she has merely taken them from me, not torn them from me."

and really like Epicurus, who "recommended that one try never to eat alone." and prescribed the key to happiness as being Friendship, Freedom, and Thought. He also lived in the original Organic Hippie Commune.

Oh yeah. One more thing:

"Montaigne knew a Gascon nobleman who, after failing to maintain an erection with a woman, fled home, cut off his penis and sent it to the lady 'to attone for his offence'."

The Alain de Botton shop also has a list of the author's other books.

June 16, 2006 at 11:26 pm Leave a comment

Days of War Nights of Love–Crimethinc

AKA Crimethink for Beginners.

These guys have a huge agenda, and more ideas about changing your world and rethinking your place in it than you can digest in just one sitting. Best of all, they don't want you to convert. They want you to DO. Whatever it is that you really, really want to do. No excuses. No whining. No blind compliance, even with them. In a nutshell, Never Work, Never Rest, and Raise the Stakes. Remember you'll be dead soon. Get off your ass. Available here.

June 16, 2006 at 10:31 pm Leave a comment

Help stop torture

YES there is something you can do about it!

If you're American, contact your officials here:
If you're British, write your MP or support Liberty here:
If you're European or from elsewhere, support Amnesty:
Also: Amnesty's response to the European role in "extraordinary rendition", and a link to take action.

June 16, 2006 at 7:28 pm Leave a comment

Not technically a blog, but the best site I´ve found for when you can´t think of what random DIY to do next. Fantastic inspiration and something I wish would have existed when I was a kid and had more time. Then again, I have real tools now…

June 16, 2006 at 6:03 pm Leave a comment

Petition against limiting fertility treatments in Finland

“May 31st 2006 the legal committee of the Finnish parliament has decided to ban fertility treatments from everyone not living in a heterosexual partnership.

Do something about it. Sign the petition. And go see the site.


June 16, 2006 at 11:12 am Leave a comment

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Today is a good day to play

A collection of potential future projects, to dig deeper into when I find the time. links