Weekend of Geekery

I suspect this won’t be the first time I’m tempted to call something a weekend of geekery. Last weekend consisted of:

— a cloud computing meeting, hosted by eBay

— volunteer orientation at The Tech

— discovering the MLK public library,

all of which was very enjoyable and makes me want to grab people off the street and yell technobabble at them. You’ll be glad to know I refrained, and am instead subjecting the internet to my opinions.

Cloud Computing and the Future: Talk Cloudy to Me!

Decided to archive this (I don’t know if I’d call it blogging) over at my other blog. There are far too many concepts that I’d like to learn, but at least I now have a list of terms to research.

Time to start learning JavaScript.

Orientation at The Tech

The orientation itself was  a little bit of a downer, to be honest. It wasn’t bad per se, but the attendees mostly seemed very, very quiet, no matter what their professed dedication to geeky things was. When we toured the galleries, they seemed rather… sparse of material; I got the sense that there was more space than information.

After two training sessions, I’m glad to report that I was incredibly wrong.

These exhibits are packed with information, and they’re a heck of a lot of fun (even if you’re not science-inclined). For instance, Tuesday’s training consisted of us going around to different exhibits and playing around with them, including a gorgeous panoramic view of anywhere on earth with the Google exhibit; messing around with design shapes on a scrolling screen, courtesy of Adobe; trying out the genetics wet lab, inserting jellyfish genes into bacteria; and trying out the clean energy challenge (tiny windmills! solar panels that fit in your palm! triumphant music when you win!)

Just to wrap that all off, yesterday’s training included earthquake simulations (actual earthquake waveforms were used) and scooting around in a jetpack.

One of the best parts is that you can scan your ticket and then visit a site online that saves some of the work you’ve done in the museum — pictures of the earthquake area, photos of your bacteria in the incubator.

I can absolutely see this being a place kids love visiting.  Volunteers really do get an excellent opportunity to interact with guests, get them to learn the science behind the exhibits, see everyone having fun, and even learn from knowledgeable visitors.

Did I say I couldn’t yell technobabble at people off the street? Hah! Spoke too soon.

There’s something rather mischievous and transgressive about hanging around a place after it’s closed. It’s one of the reasons I loved doing backstage work when I was in theater — you learn the secrets of the background work, you get to be a puppetmaster. At the same time, it’s a little bit of freedom, no screaming schoolchildren, just you and the science.

The volunteers  — diverse in both background and age, which is fantastic — seem like a lot of (responsible) fun. I might even make friends! And now I’m thinking of dragging Nl to the after-hours cocktail event; this week’s was PJ-themed, apparently.

The MLK Public Library. 

That acronym just can’t be escaped. The library is rather pretty, what with the towering glass and steel facade, right smack in the middle of downtown SJ and about 5 minutes from the light rail, bless its heart.

Borrowers’ cards are free (YAY) but my temporary card only let me borrow one measly book. I’d wanted to get something recommended by this article on The Browser; as it turns out, it was the interview subject’s book and it’s called Blood: An Epic History of Medicine and Commerce. (I do also want to borrow every other book on that list).

It’s been very entertaining so far, so much so that I’ve shoveled down my breakfast while being engrossed in all kinds of gory procedures of the 19th century (although that might just be me). The ingenuity of some of these doctors seems to have been matched only by their utter willful blindness towards the harm of bloodletting. Ever seen a barber’s red-and-white striped sign? The white is for the bandages, and the red’s for blood. Because really, who else would you go to for all your bloodletting needs but your barber?

I shall now leave you with a slideshow of assorted robots. Just for kicks.

Robots Mania

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