Instructions for a Truly Awesome Card Trick

There are things that every Maker needs: a good hammer, a good workspace, a good joke…and of course one good card trick. You may not have the opportunity to demonstrate it often — all the better! But when you need it, you need it. Here, in case you don’t have it yet, is a truly awesome card trick.

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How to Can Plums (Without Giving Your Kids Botulism!)

Last week a friend ended up on my doorstep. She has 3 plum trees in Wheatridge, Colorado and she had 5 pounds of plums – for me. For me this was akin to wishing for a pony – and then getting it. It was a lovely gesture and plums are great eats and all, but now I have to do something with plums. Five pounds of them.

I’m a canner, I admit it. A cabinet full of Ball jars full of different foods is my nirvana. My mom chastises me for this, saying that canning is so violent on the food. But I say that anything that is left to stew in its juices for a few months is awesome. I’m kind of a foodie, so just putting plums up in jars was never really an option; I had to step it up a notch.

That’s where the booze comes in.

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Folding Instructions for the World Record Paper Airplane

Paper.Plane.InstructionsEarning a world record allows paper-plane designers to own football teams and yacht off the Croatian coast. And according to aerospace engineer and record holder Ken Blackburn, you need master only three things in your quest for paper-plane glory: good folds, a good throw and good design.

Let’s polish off the first two in a couple words: Good folds are extremely crisp, reducing the plane’s profile and thus its drag. They also make the plane perfectly symmetrical. And a good throw means different things for different planes (we’ll get into specs later), but for a world-record attempt, you use a baseball-style throw to launch the plane straight up, as high as possible — there’s video of Blackburn’s Georgia Dome launch and subsequent 27.6-second, world-record flight online at paperplane.org.

Now to design, wherein lies the true makery of paper planes.

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Study Finds That Fatherhood Suppresses Testosterone

Science is a now kind of thing, but every so often I find a study at least peripherally relevant to the Maker Boulder community study that somehow slipped unnoticed through the cracks of time. Such is the case for a September, 2011 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences titled, “Fatherhood decreases testosterone in men.”

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Study: Will Screentime Pwn Your Children?

Usually when scientists wonder if something affects something else, they set up a randomized control trial — some people get “stuff” and some people get “not stuff” and then they watch with bated breath and spreadsheets to see how these two groups differ. But you can’t prescribe everything and in these cases, instead of randomized control trials, scientists are increasingly turning to “natural experiments” that happen to split people into “stuff” and “not stuff” groups. One of these things you can’t prescribe with any accuracy is media consumption — and so a review by UCSD economist Gordon Dahl uses natural experiments to show how media affects families.

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Kids’ Social Connection Trumps Academic Achievement in Making Adult Happiness

Feeling good was good enough for Janis Joplin and her Bobby McGee, but most parents want a little more for their kids, perhaps including a sense of coherence, positive coping, social engagement, and pro-social values. In short: well-being. A study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies shows how children and adolescents get this well-being as adults.

In short, social connectedness massively overwhelms academic achievement.

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Study Shows How Kids Learn to Conform

For the most part, 4-year-olds don’t care a whole lot about social norms. But then 9-year-olds do. An article published in the journal Child Development looks at what happens between these two ages: how do kids become aware of the norms that bind us and eventually them? Knowing the answer can help us help our kids avoid it.

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Multitasking and the Curious Phenomenon of “Supertasking”

I don’t multitask. Or, I do it so badly that I end up dropping everything in a massive tangle of badness with me standing baffled at its center. This frustrates my wife to no end. She can balance on a beach ball while writing things in her calendar, listening to Radio Lab, text-messaging, and juggling chainsaws (it’s a neat trick — and also kind of hot). I hold that monotasking allows me to get a string of things done right, one at a time. Kristi thinks that multitasking is a prerequisite for inclusion in post-Stone Age society and that monotaskers should be rounded up and reprogrammed at underground government facilities.

The question is, is there hope for us monotaskers? Should monotaskers like me strive for less inept sessions of multitasking, or should we just give it up completely?

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