Its been a great week of unschooling! On Tuesday I went to Noisebridge, probably the most popular hacker space in the Bay Area. It was abustle! Equipment-wise they have a laser cutter, a wood shop, a few 3D printers, a small kitchen, electronics tools and scrap supplies and lots of workspace. People there were friendly.
On the negative side I went for the LED and micro-controller workshop that was listed on their website. However, only myself and one other guy named Yoni showed up and nobody to teach us! Fortunately a large bearded man was very helpful and sold Yoni a LED kit for $10. I didn’t have $10, but I know how to solder and Yoni didn’t, so he offered that we work together. We followed instructions and built a thing that lit up. It almost worked perfectly, and we had a good time. Coincidentally Yoni went to high school with my sister 2,500 miles from here.
I definitely want to go back to Noisebridge, but it is a 30 min- 1 hour drive depending on traffic. I will have to find out how I can check if a workshop is actually happening. They have a lot of great workshops on their calendar I would love to check out.
Here is a video about Noisebridge:
Here is a tour:
Here is an excellent Ted Talk by the founder of Noisebridge talking about hackerspaces, followed by another wonderful Ted Talk by another hacker space founder. The two together give an excellent picture of how amazing the hacker space can be and how important the movement is:
I hope I can meet the founder of Noisbridge sometime soon!
Hacker spaces have been noticed by the big boys. DARPA, the US military’s research branch, is interested in putting funding into hacker spaces, which has sparked a big debate. Though they truly come from all walks of life, like myself hackers and makers are generally anti almost everything the US military does. They also generally don’t need much money to accomplish a lot. On the other hand, a lot of amazing things could be accomplished with that money as well. I think the bottom line is that the trust in the system has eroded so much that even if DARPA sincerely just wants to provide funding for innovation in the US, and sees that hacker spaces are a great place to put that money; if they TRULEY have no ulterior motive, nobody will believe them. Here is a debate about accepting DARPA money at hacker spaces:
On Wednesday I went to Rockit Colabs, a co-worker/ hacker/ maker space for a presentation about how to create your own community bank on the internet for free! Wow!
Rockit Colabs has the nicest space I’ve seen. It is clean and modern and has large windows and natural light. I didn’t see much of the facility or get the tour, but it was really nice.
Again, only myself and one other person showed up, but this time the presenter, Jean Claude, was there and he’s actually the co-founder of the website puddle.com which provides this amazing service! They were recently written up in Forbes Magazine! (I’m obviously really excited about this.) He told us about the website and how it works and answered my many questions. For now it is invite only, but soon I will be able to invite you. Please comment if you are interested or contact me. I am helping him put together another presentation and Q&A in Oakland (hopefully at The Sudo Room) so let me know if you would like to attend that as well!
Jean Claude was smart, sincere and all about the cause of individuals and communities controlling their own lives and creating networks of trust in communities! I asked if I could volunteer more, and he said possibly in the future. I would love to work for this company.
The other guy who came was a bright young fellow fresh out of school, and was volunteering to help with a solar start up company called Sunsynchrony. They have a patent on an inexpensive and efficient solar and are just getting of the ground. He recruited me to help too, and I met one of the founders who I liked. We’ll see what happens with that!
OK, so on to China. Here is a great documentary my father sent me about how many modern machines “invented” by Europeans a couple hundred years ago were first invented by the Chinese 1000 years ago!!!
This past week I also rediscovered Terrance McKenna. I was a huge fan of his when I was big into psychedelics. Than I had a few scary psychedelic trips and for sanity reasons I dismissed much of what I was into as hogwash, and he was the proverbial wet, now cold baby. I’m sorry baby McKenna! I love you!
Mr. McKenna is written off as a nut by the strait academics and to be fair has a few VERY STRANGE ideas. It’s wonderful. I can’t say I agree with everything he says, but its all very interesting. He has an overwhelming quantity of knowledge in his head and has novel and fascinating theories on everything from how human consciousness began (stoned ape theory), to what time actually is (novelty theory). He is also funny. Regardless of how many of his theories turn out to be “correct” I think he is one of the smartest people I’ve ever read/ listened to and he has hours and hours of lectures on Youtube.
Thank you for reading! Please share this with friends who might be interested and subscribe or “like” or just express yourself however you normally do!
Finally, here is my favorite recent smart and funny thing from the great Louis CK: