My first puzzle is an 8-clip puzzle made by linking clips clip-to-clip to form a ring. Once you have the ring formed, you should be able to achieve at least 5 distinct shapes, and possibly more. My theory is that because each fold involves half the clips, the practical limit on the number of folded shapes is something like log2(N) which would be 3 for our 8-clip puzzle. Further shapes are achieved by manipulating the free clip arms. If you build your own variation on this puzzle or find additional possible bend shapes, be sure to let me know.
Update: My second puzzle is a kind of helix shape that transforms into a symmetrical square box shape. Unlike the previous puzzle, this one forms a flat-laying double layered box and requires a fair amount of thinking in terms of when to fold the clip arms. It’s surprisingly tricky, though this puzzle appears to have only two possible final shapes (when folded flat). Maybe someone will be inspired to build and play with these puzzles with their (appropriately aged) children, or by themselves at work on a slow day. Here’s the new puzzle in action:
Here’s a quick video of the first puzzle in action. The box shape as shown in the video can be formed without the “handles” sticking up by folding the arms in first. The background music is a snippet of an old track of mine that seemed to fit nicely. Sorry for the noise/jumpiness in the video — I was using this as an excuse to learn how to edit and shoot a video using an android phone and Ubuntu linux. I used kdenlive for the editing, but I ended up with black bars on either side of the video due to shooting portrait and having to rotate. Next time I’ll know to shoot landscape. The camera was held up by a binder clip during shooting. :)
Bad news: you don’t own your own DNA because the human genome is nearly entirely patented. These patents present a legal barrier to life-saving biomedical research and diagnosis. The good news is that on April 15th the US Supreme Court will hear arguments in a landmark case focusing on human breast cancer genes. Please take this opportunity to speak up and let the justices know that the public cares about “genomic liberty”.
Visit the website of the US Supreme Court Public Information Office and send a message. Here’s mine:
Dear esteemed justices,
Like many curious children, I grew up wanting to make the world a better place by making a contribution to biomedical science. After years of study in pursuit of this goal, now I am told that my good intentions may amount to an illegal transgression! Please end human gene patents so that the millions of people like me who want to improve human quality of life can do so without fear of patent infringement liability. Such fear can only serve to stunt the advancement of human health sciences.
Humans are born with their DNA, and so it seems right that we should own the information within our own bodies and reserve the right to use it to improve our health, or the health of others.
Thank you for your attention and your service to our country,
Student at Hunter College
Get the word out by sharing this post and sending these links to your friends and colleagues.
Last post I compared two platforms for going paperless. I decided to keep my relatively affordable Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet and to return the powerful but quirky Surface Pro. Check out the Note 10.1′s cool trick in my screenshot below — playing classroom videos while offering full featured note taking simultaneously in a split window. You can certainly do this on a Windows 8 tablet (perhaps with some tweaking), but this solution totally uncluttered, transparent, and simple thanks to functionality Samsung has layered on top of Android.
In the video, the instructor puts a problem up, steps aside, and then invites the student to solve it. On the Note 10.1, I can pause the video, draw out the problem, solve it in S-Note, and then resume the video. The effect is like a classroom tailored to my learning style. I can change the relative size of the two windows with the slider in the middle. If I need to maximize (for example to switch to another video), I can do that quickly, and then pop the window back into place. Many top apps now support this multi-window feature, though not all do. I found portrait mode was the most comfortable in which to do this, but for textbook in a split window I prefer landscape.
What I’d like to add to my virtual classroom experience is a real time dialog with instructors and students — something that is often missing even from classroom settings (especially in large classes). I’d also like to have a large searchable e-book and academic paper database at my fingertips so that any conceivable relevant reference could be pulled in real time. These things can be sort-of accomplished with online forums and various web sites and apps, but integration will follow as operating systems focus on metadata and multitasking/interoperability.
Online educational materials are getting to the point where they’re good enough that they can be used as gold standards. Professors will regularly reference Khan Academy videos or Wikipedia articles and schools like MIT and Stanford are really pushing free online education. To sample the kinds of high quality educational material being offered online, check out this neat list managed by the Director & Associate Dean for Stanfords Continuing Ed program.
As online media gets more interactive (a stated goal of some educational sites), the classroom will only get more portable. I hope that more schools start to adapt to this new mode of learning because I think it will appeal to a broader range of students than the traditional classroom experience, and will probably make professors jobs a little easier. It’ll certainly make backpacks a lot lighter.
Web and IT pro turned novice scientist. Currently studying computer science and bioinformatics at Hunter College.
Here be: dragons, bio + engineering + medicine + ethics, vegan eats and fashion, music and words, gadgets and software, photography, design, DIY/maker/hacker culture, NYC, running/fitness, cyborg anthropology, et cetera.