events: March 2011 Archives


SciCast stand at Maker Faire 2011

Maker Faire UK is huge, ridiculous, messy, and glorious. It’s almost the opposite of the corporate polish of the Big Bang Fair, with exhibitors from all walks of life showing off things they’ve made — which could be anything from knitted neurons to tiny rollercoasters for ball-bearings to radio-control daleks (one wearing a fez and a rather dapper bow tie) to bits of electronics to… films.

Yes, SciCast was there, showcasing the films you’ve made over the years and introducing the project to scores of families. We were mostly doing the spinning straws trick, and got through more than 2,000 straws over the weekend. That’s a lot of snipping, bending, and blowing.

Huge fun, and we hope to see lots of films from families in this year’s competition.

Wave machine - Maker Faire 2011

Just before the doors opened on Sunday morning we knocked up a quick jelly baby wave machine, which miraculously survived the day. Lots of teachers and home-schoolers seemed very taken with it — if you’d like to know more, see the old SciCast film about it, or this more recent film we made for teachers.

Thanks to everyone who dropped by the stand over the weekend, it was lovely to meet you all.


A new climate survey began last week and everyone in the UK is invited to take part. There’s a list of four things you can do to help:

  1. Look out for aircraft trails (contrails)
  2. Watch cloud movement to record wind direction
  3. Record how hot or cold you feel, and
  4. Blow bubbles to measure wind speed and direction near the ground.

Yes, you’ve read number four correctly: blow bubbles. You don’t even have to buy a bubble blowing kit — just watch this video from Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) and learn how to make your own bubble blower cone using only a couple of sheets of paper:

OK, fun and easy, but… why? It’s not as loopy as it sounds — if you blow bubbles outdoors, the way they move can help you determine airflow patterns and speed close to the ground. The meteorologists at the Met Office and the Royal Meteorological Society have written a well-illustrated field guide to show you what to do, and explain what they hope to learn from the data you and thousands of others submit.

The results from all four activities will be published on the OPAL website. You can ask experts questions about the climate, find activities, games and the latest news, and share your weather photos.

Also: lovely idea for a film, no?

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the events category from March 2011.

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