I’ve had some great foraging experiences in the past couple weeks — just quickly, below are some pawpaws from the east coast. In some places they are endangered or threatened, although in others they are considered “common” — these were from Maryland, where they are apparently not uncommon.
Best enjoyed on a freshly made waffle (HOW?!?! By the magic of my wonderful hosts, whom I’ll gladly cite if they wish.)
Great trivia about these — they were a fav. dessert of George Washington, the leaves contain a natural pesticide, and they were likely originally propagated by North American megafauna before those were all eaten by humans. Now we eat pawpaws and are likely their primary propagators.
Then, outside Portland Oregon, I (in collaboration with other Public Lab staff) found several large Leccinum Manzanitae (or variants of), which are great when roasted in slices:
…and Boletus Mirabilis, which I did not have an opportunity to actually eat:
All among an array of other interesting discoveries. At bottom are some Bitter Hedgehog mushrooms, which are beautiful if inedible.
First, partial day of Antfarm class at Parts & Crafts today. Much excitement and some bugs found (lol). A queen was quickly suggested and implemented, who spawns new ants, too quickly, then too slowly. New ants won’t change color, unfortunately — https://github.com/jywarren/antfarm/issues/6
In prep for a class I’ll be teaching at Part & Crafts, I made this little simulator for “ants” — just like I used to when I was a kid, learning how to program. I’m hoping to get a bunch of kids into refining and building out the simulation to include things like resources, reproduction, sensing, phermones, etc. This was one thing that really motivated me to learn to code as a kid, and is just lots of fun.
This simulator is pretty darn simple, but does include a base canvas upon which the ants leave trails (nod to StarLogo!) The ants have internal states, including a simple event-based user-modifiable script. To edit one, just double click on an ant, and an editor comes up. Nothing is saved after a page refresh, for now! Trail colors, ant properties, and other things are accessible, documented in the wiki.
Open source, of course: https://github.com/jywarren/antfarm/
Owen, at Parts & Crafts, already got started; see this video where he made them “eat” yellow phermones and grow (a little too big):
Here’s a Gosper curve cut into paper with a Silhouette Cameo desktop paper cutter. Thanks to Owen Maresh for showing me the Gosper curve, which is a space-filling curve formed with a single line, and therefore, here, with a single cut.
With it, you can snap a photo with your phone, and immediately vectorize it for use in print, laser cutting, or desktop paper cutting. I always thought this should exist as a web service, since it can be a pain to open up Inkscape sometimes, and this is supposed to be a pretty well-solved problem.
It works on Android, fastest in Chrome – and only on Safari on iOS, probably due to Apple’s closed-browser strategy.
Here’s a snap of the output from the above image, opened in Inkscape to show the vector lines:
András’ library does a fantastic job; all I did was connect it to a file upload form and ensure the SVG downloads well, and make a nice interface with a settings dialog. This last could be expanded, as well.
Parts and Crafts is a wonderful local Somerville institution, and one which has hosted many Public Lab events! They’re doing a drive to raise money for free scholarships for kids who couldn’t otherwise afford to attend their programs.
DIY culture, and P&C in particular, is such a wonderful thing — PLEASE help to ensure that it reaches those in need. Everyone deserves the opportunity!
Don Blair and I needed to know, unambiguously, what “arms akimbo” meant today. There was some uncertainty.
This is not only a great new band name, but also a great opportunity for pseudo history:
Pictured above is Anne Akimbo, the 1967 inventor of the Akimbo posture. All proceeds from the use of the posture at public events go to the Akimbo Foundation, which provides support and education for attitudinally challenged youth.