Blog
 
Gravatar

We live in the wild wonderful world of remix and always have.  But it’s only recently with the blossoming of the digital age providing infinite opportunity to alter things that this truth is beginning to emerge in world consciousness.

Remix is a term that’s been around for years, but its usage seems to be on the rise. I see it cropping up all over the place in my reading—particularly in literature from makerspace and digital circles.  Remix is a piece of media, which has been altered from its original state by adding, removing, and/or changing pieces of the item. A song, piece of artwork, book, video, or photograph can all be remixed with something else.

Looking at things from a philosophical as well as a literal perspective, everything is a remix—most especially human beings since we are a remix of our parents’ genetic codes.  Awesome to ponder isn’t it?  On the one hand we are not original because we were made from old stuff of our parents that was already around—and yet we are unique variations occurring only once.

That old saying “ . . . there’s nothing new under the sun” really isn’t true because anything that has been altered, however slightly, or made again (even on an assembly line) is not exactly like any other thing, even though it may appear to be so. Indeed, it is another entirely new thing under the sun. While we are remixes of our parents, and we may resemble them, we are nonetheless not the same. 

Everything Is Both New and Old Under the Sun

Despite the insane drive to apply the cookie cutter of standardization to carve out a new world order spawned by the Industrial Revolution begun in England in the 18th century and carried forth in full force in the USA throughout our 20th century mass production factories—the sameness and any comfort or security we may have derived from these activities of mass production have been largely illusionary. 

Perhaps at some level we knew what we were doing when we shipped our factories out of the USA.  Perhaps our leaders thought we had to make way for the digital age (even though digital doesn’t require a lot of space).  Still regardless the wisdom of that decision, few would argue that it may have been a tad hasty to sweep the remains of the Industrial age out the door before we had at least thoroughly remixed its salvageable elements with the new ones from the digital age. 

I guess that will always be a point of debate but there is little debate regarding the downward spiraling economic hardships such decisions have caused the majority of the American people for the past 25 to 30 years.  The devastated urbanscape of many cities today look like a set from a Mad Max movie that took place in a world left behind after an apocalypse.

Old with the New is a Critical Requirement for Makerspaces 

Makerspaces, if they are designed well, include opportunities for makers to learn how to use new technology as well as how to use old tools—such as blacksmithing, welding, wood carving, pottery wheels, needle and thread, pencils, paper, etc.  Mixing the old with the new often creates something new that would never have been possible if the maker did not have a broad exposure to various tools and technology.

The nano-material, Graphene, was made possible by Scotch Tape and a lead pencil

Scientists from 3M created Scotch Tape in 1930 by combining DuPont’s impermeable cellophane with another recent discovery, masking tape.  Seventy years later in 2004 Scotch Tape solved a problem in the lab that led to the creation of Graphene a nano-material (a category of materials that encompasses products up to 100 nanometers thick—one inch equals about 25 million nanometers).  Graphene is stronger than steel and more flexible than a rubber band.  It conducts heat and electricity.  It is transparent, almost weightless, and impermeable to bacteria and gases.  Truly, Graphene is a wonder material of the 21st century that will no doubt result in the creation of many new fabulous products.

The discovery of Graphene was made possible with Scotch tape and an old fashioned lead pencil.  In 2004, two physicists at the University of Manchester laboratory (Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov) discovered they could peel off thinner flakes of graphite from the lead pencil by peeling off a layer with Scotch Tape.  They were able to peel the graphite back to a layer composed of a single atom.

Science and Art Work Together in the Makerspace and the World

In addition to mixing old with new, Makerspaces remix science and art.  For so long we kept the disciplines of science and art separate.  A Makerspace environment makes sure to include both disciplines in its environment.  Today we make music with DNA code. There are even businesses now cropping up all over the internet that will isolate a person’s genetic .signature and translate its sequence into musical pitch and rhythm.  Your DNA song. [Source:  https://www.yourdnasong.com - accessed January 25, 2017]

The Organic and the Inorganic Can be Remixed

Scientists have been storing digital data in DNA since 2012 when Harvard geneticists encoded a 52,000 word book into snippets of DNA.  DNA has many advantages for storing digital data.  For one thing, it can last hundreds of thousands of years.  Storage is no problem.  A single gram of DNA is capable of storing 215 million gigabytes of digital information.  [Source: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/03/dna-could-store-all-worlds-data-one-room accessed January 26, 2018]

Gravatar

Photo Courtesy Xerces Society

Bumble bee citizen science training programs hosted by Bumble Bee Watch partners contribute much need data and expand public awareness of bumble bee conservation. These programs have significantly increased submissions on the website and the demand for verification of many new records. In an effort to supplement verification of bumble bee records, early in December, we solicited the help of expert verifiers during a one-week Bumble Bee Watch verifier blitz! Please keep reading for summaries of training programs and results of the blitz. Also, we want to hear from you! If you are a Bumble Bee Watch contributor, please take a few moments to share your experience by completing the survey below. [Select the Bumble Bee link above to see this survey and other information.]

________________________________________________________________

I got a notice this morning from the Xerces society that I belong to regarding their Bumble Bee Watch Citizen Science program described above and thought I would share with my readers.  Citizen Science programs are great ways to get people outdoors and interacting in healthy ways with nature.  They are excellent and inexpensive ways for urban park departments to add meaningful programs with little cost to their offerings--along with activities like Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Bathing).

_________________________________________________________

Garland Community Garden Update

Speaking of citizen science projects, Loving Garland Green, official stewards of the Garland Community Garden, launched our first Citizen science project for 2018 on January 6.  This story is featured on another one of my posts--The Tulip Project.  This project is sponsored by Journey North.  So far, the Garland Community Garden is one of a growing number of gardens in Texas participating in this particular project. We planted the fifty bulbs 7 inches deep according to instructions and last Saturday, Jane and I removed some of the soil from one area of the bed to discover the tulip stem  is a little less than 2 inches from breaking through.

_____________________________________________________

ADDENDUM:   Added Jan 25 11:25

NEW WORLD/OLD WORLD BED

I forgot to mention that we have two new special beds planned at the Garland Community Garden this year.  We will have one bed filled Old World plants the European settlers brought to the New World and the other bed will be filled with New World edibles that were taken back to Old World.

____________________________________________________________

Bumblebee in Garland Community Garden - August 2017 - Photo by E. Berry

Informal Observation about Bumblebees in our Garland Community Garden 

In April of 2014 we planted our first garden bed.  Then that summer some beekeepers installed a honeybee hive at the edge the riparian area. In the late summer of 2016 the hive was removed.  In 2017 we noticed a huge increase in the number bumblebees and native bees.  Prior to 2017 I would guess that I noticed one or two bumblebees now and then when working down at the garden.  In 2017 the bumblebees and other native bees were countless.  The European honeybee is not known for its friendly manners and some say that it drives away our native bees (who do the lion's share of pollination of our crops).

_____________________________________________________

Update on Activities of the Garland Makerspace Discovery Group

Thanks to the amazing collaboration among members at our last meeting on January 23, we are now moving  at a momentum approaching the speed of light toward nonprofit certification and our official public launch.  You will be able to come and meet us at one of the April Garland Market Place events where we are planning to have a booth.  I'm almost as thrilled to be part of this great community-connected project as I am thrilled to be part of the activities at the Garland Community Garden.

 

 

Gravatar

We are living in exciting, transformational times for discovery.  Even Columbus might feel envy if he could look down upon us and realize all the things waiting for discovery. As Carl Sagan so eloquently put it:  “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”

All the materials we need to create just about anything our imaginations can dream up are here now and most of these materials have been here since the beginning of time.  It is up to us to discover these materials and to use existing materials to make new materials to create useful things to grow our prosperity and health.

Makerspace Discovery Group is the perfect name for an unlikely collection of people from many different walks of life and political affiliations that I’m associated with because that is exactly what we are doing—discovering the best makerspace possible for our community.  [By the way, that’s one of the great things about makerspace groups: politics don’t matter. Makers come in all political and religious hues.  In our own group we have everything from right-wing survivalists to liberal independents and we all respect one another and get along fabulously. Too bad we can’t ship some of our magic off to Washington.]

We’ve already discovered many truths about makerspaces and have begun to apply this knowledge to how we will build the Makerspace Garland.  In my opinion, the most important discovery we’ve made thus far is the few to almost none connections that makerspaces all over the USA have to their local community.  Frankly that may be key to some of their failures. Thus in building our design, we are going overboard in our efforts to connect Makerspace Garland to the community even before it is built.  Some of the unique connectors we are considering include the possibility of creating a local currency called “Garland Bits”.

For the most part, makerspaces are disconnected from the community to which they belong.

It’s true.  Look at the Dallas Makerspace for one example.  They could not even locate in their community due to their inability to find an affordable space.  They are stuck off in an industrial park in Carrollton, another city—not because of safety reasons, as some on our Garland City Council purported, but simply because of affordable rent.  Shame on you, Dallas! You subsidize all kinds of corporations who come into your community from the outside and yet you do nothing for a grassroots local organization that with just a little support could become a job-generating machine.

 However, the Dallas Makerspace has continued to thrive for seven years now—in spite of its location and in spite of its membership fees of $30 a month.  It is the largest makerspace in the USA and perhaps in the world.  Thus they are certainly doing many things right and other things such as community connectivity that could perhaps be improved upon.  We will certainly continue to rely on input from leaders of this great organization who have been so kind as to extend a hand up to us over in Garland.

One of the Best Kept Secrets:  Garland Texas already has what may be the most beautiful makerspace in the world.

Funny thing about Garland that few seem to be aware of—including six members of our City Council, we already have what is probably the best and most beautiful makerspace in the world.  It’s the Gilbreath – Reed Career and Technical Center opened in late summer of 2017. 

It is a makerspace, regardless the name.  I invite you to tour it and see for yourself and compare these spaces to those of the Dallas Makerspace.  You will be looking at many similar areas. By the way, in terms of makerspaces being “dangerous places that should be located in industrial parks,” please note the Gilbreath-Reed Center, a makerspace, is located directly across the street from Naaman Forest High School on one side and a hotel on the other side—hardly a dark corner of some industrial park. 

And yes, like all the other makerspaces, our Gilbreath- Reed Center is not, in my opinion, well connected to our community.  It is part of our Garland ISD and membership, while free, is limited to Junior and Senior high school students here in our Garland ISD.

The Emerging Future for Makerspace Garland – Community Connections, No Membership Fees, and a Garden

We are still discovering and creating plans based on our discoveries about existing makerspaces, communities, and the new world of bottom-up community collaborative business development.  For example, based on our discovery that makerspace are not as connected to the community as they could be, we are making sure that all kinds of community connections are built into Makerspace Garland.  In fact, several of these connections in the form of local nonprofit cooperatives may be established even prior to the Makerspace itself.

One path to discovery is to ask questions

Here are a few questions we have asked and are answering as part of our planning process:

How can we create connections to ensure the Makerspace Garland members will not have to pay dues?  [Some answers have been discovered.]

How can we create Makerspace Garland and its supporting satellites after initial needed capitalization as self-sustaining entities? [Some answers have been discovered]

What rewards can we build into the Makerspace Garland system to ensure continued participation of volunteer labor needed to sustain our operations?  [Some answers have been discovered.]

Other discoveries we are still seeking in finding answers to these questions:

How can we connect Makerspace Garland to local Garland businesses in mutually beneficial relationships?

How can we connect Makerspace Garland to educational institutions in the DFW area?

How can we include children into the mix of our makers?

Gravatar

 

Emperor Tulips – courtesy Journey North Test Gardens

Garland Community Garden becomes one of two gardens in the entire state of Texas to participate in a citizen science project to measure global warming in the northern hemisphere. 

On Saturday January 6, 2018, members of Loving Garland Green planted fifty tulip bulbs and joined 237 communities across the Northern Hemisphere who participating in this citizen science experiment to measure global warming.  The Garland Community Garden and a garden in Lufkin, Texas are the only two gardens in the state of Texas to participate in this experiment.

_______________________________________________________________________

Is Global warming real?

There is no argument that our planet has undergone climate change since the beginning of time.  It is true, as many of the naysayers to global warming point out: Throughout history the climate of the Earth has changed. For example, in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat.  The abrupt end of the last ice age took place about 7,000 years ago. That event marked the beginning of the modern climate era and human civilization. These climate changes can be attributed to very small variations in the orbit of the Earth that change the amount of solar energy planet Earth receives.   

However, I join with the overwhelming number of qualified scientists who agree that Global Warming is a fact. The following excerpt from Skeptical Science along with information from NASA scientists sum it up for me: 

Authors of seven climate consensus studies — including Naomi OreskesPeter DoranWilliam AndereggBart VerheggenEd MaibachJ. Stuart Carlton, and John Cook — co-authored a paper that should settle the expert climate consensus question once and for all. The two key conclusions from the paper are:

1) Depending on exactly how you measure the expert consensus, it’s somewhere between 90% and 100% that agree humans are responsible for climate change, with most of our studies finding 97% consensus among publishing climate scientists.

2) The greater the climate expertise among those surveyed, the higher the consensus on human-caused global warming.

And here are few facts from NASA scientists that seal my concurrence with these scientists: 

  • The current warming trend is proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia. [ Source: IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Summary for Policymakers ]
  • The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated and accepted as scientific fact in the mid-19th century. Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many instruments flown by NASA. There is no question that increased levels of greenhouse gases will unequivocally cause the Earth to warm in response.
  • Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in greenhouse gas levels. Ancient evidence can also be found in tree rings, ocean sediments, coral reefs, and layers of sedimentary rocks. This ancient, or paleoclimate, evidence reveals that current warming is occurring roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.[ Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalWarming/page3.php

 __________________________________________________________________________________

 

Loving Garland Green Plants Tulip Bulbs in the Garland Community Garden—Jane Stroud, President at left; Charles Bevilacqua center and Burgi Bartlett, Board member – Garland Community Garden January 6, 2018

Loving Garland Green Launches its first Citizen Science Project for 2018

January 6, 2018,  Loving Garland Green joined hundreds of other people across the northern hemisphere who have planted Red Emperor tulip bulbs in Journey North Test Gardens to monitor seasonal change in a scientific way.

This spring, when the tulips emerge and bloom, Loving Garland Green will report our observations and data that will then be added to a larger body of data from other test gardens to reveal the relationship between climate, geography, and the arrival of spring. Specifically, we will be reporting:  

1) the date our garden was planted (January 6, 2018) 

We planted this tulip bed according to exact instructions from Journey North:

            -raised bed at  least 8 inches deep

            -plant during first week in January (based on USDA Hardiness zone)

            -plant Red Emperor bulbs

            -plant 50 bulbs

            -plant each bulb 7 inches deep

            -space bulbs 4 to 5 inches apart

            -put a little bone meal in bottom of hole before planting

            -provide protection from critters digging up the bulbs

2) the date the first tulip emerges

3) the date the first tulip blooms

237 of these test gardens have been planted across the northern hemisphere.  Garland has one of the two Tulip Test Gardens planted in the state of Texas.  Go here to read our reports as they come in:    http://www.learner.org/jnorth/maps/tulips_spring2018.html

 

Garland Texas and the Garland Community Garden in particular, are on this page of the 237 gardens participating in this citizen science project.  Loving Garland Green, the official stewards of the Garland Community Garden, participate in many citizen science projects each year.  For example in 2017, our organization tagged and released 98 Monarch butterflies to enable research on Monarch migration.

____________________________________________________________

 Permaculture Repurpose Principle in Action

We put a mesh to keep rascal squirrels from digging up our bulbs over the top of our cedar-sided raised bed (one of our many ongoing donations that we receive from generous local Garland residents).  Jane (our smart retired microbiologist President) repurposed wire coat hangers to hold the mesh in place. Strategically cutting the hanger in three places will result in three clips to hold things in place—such as critter covers and irrigation hose and I’m certain that you can think of more uses. Cut each of the sides of the hanger about a quarter of the way up each of the sides of the hanger.  The bends will serve as the hook for two of the clamps.  The hook at the top of the hanger will serve as the hook for the third clamp.  The longer end of the wire is inserted into the ground to secure the clamp.  You can easily with your hand squeeze the hook/clip part to fit the thing you are attaching it to—whether it is the wooden side of a raised bed or an irrigation hose or a wild child or pet.

 

Burgi Bartlett, Loving Garland Green Board member holds the three clamps that can be made from one ordinary coat hanger – Garland Community Garden – December 6, 2018