Citizen science and solar fuels

One of the most important pillars of modern civilization, without which we wouldn't have a large portion of our energy and materials, are mined hydrocarbons.  Over the past two centuries we have developed an ever-increasing ability to extract coal, oil, and gas from the Earth's crust and turn it into everything from fuel, to plastic, and fertilizers.  Without our ability to find and use all of these carbon-based fuels our modern civilization would collapse very quickly, and yet the environmental cost of extracting and using the stuff may make it increasingly difficult to justify our current path.

Before humans got really good at industry the Earth had been running on a carbon cycle where plants would take up carbon dioxide and other processes, such as animals breathing and the eruption of volcanoes, would produce a roughly equivalent amount of the stuff.  This process was only roughly equivalent as some plants were buried and slowly turned into coal, tar, and methane over the eons.  When industrial civilization took off we as a species figured out how to take all those millions of year of energy, in essence fossilized sunlight, and use it for everything from electricity generation to artificial fertilizer.

This has been a pretty neat trick for the past few hundred years, but what if we could skip the step in the cosmic cookbook that reads something like ,"Bury plants for 300 million years.  Season with sulfur to taste.  Extract after the invention of the internal combustion engine."

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Job Alert!

Los Angeles Makerspace is seeking an Instructor Lead in the area of Creative Computing. Creative Computing includes activities related to coding and electronics using tools like Scratch and AppInventor. Instructor will be intimately involved in curriculum development as well as instructing all-ages groups, and conducting train-the-trainers sessions with LAPL librarians. Ideal candidate possesses the following traits:

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In Summary

Hi All -- 

We hope you are off having a wonderful New Year's Day and keeping warm. Thank you so much for riding along on this Kickstarter journey with all the posts, and all the cats. Speaking of which, hope to see you at this (kids get in free! a free good thing! take it!).

We wanted to share these words of a Kickstarter backer, because they expressed so much better than we could what's in our hearts after this awesome year of growth for LA Makerspace:

"Hey, thanks for sharing this. I know I’m late to the party, but I just chipped in. Hopefully it helps them hit their stretch goals. 

"I grew up in a family without scientists and engineers, and I really wish that as a child I had had more encouragement to see that science could be fun or relevant for my daily life (and not just something to be learned out of a textbook for an exam). 

Now that I’ve got a young library-going son at home, but still no scientists or engineers in the family, I really hope that projects like this one can help encourage his scientific curiosity, and the scientific curiosity of other kids who might not otherwise be exposed to science and engineering. Anyway, Happy New Year!"

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Our face when we read that.

That very kind anonymous person who gave his permission to share this with you, just said in a nutshell, the best description of what LA Makerspace can achieve, with your help, in the year to come. 

We can make science and technology fun and relevant to daily life. 

We can help encourage curiosity, and we can expose kids to innovation who might otherwise never discover its joys. 

We—the Kickstarter backers, the other donors, the volunteers, the instructors, the Board and Advisors, the enthusiastic and passionate librarians—can be the scientists and engineers in the family for all the kids in L.A. who need us. 

With our warmest thanks, hugs, well wishes for the new year, and looking forward to keeping in touch in 2015 with all the good news to come,

Sincerely,

Your LAM Family 

 

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WE DID IT

THANK YOU WE DID IT WE DID IT HAPPY NEW YEAR HOORAY!!!!

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$1=1 Vote

WE STILL HAVE 5 DAYS ON THE CLOCK AND LIBRARY CATS CANNOT BE KEPT DOWN.

Here is today's -- Our stretch goal is to increase our number of backers, even for $1, to show support for the concept of libraries as places to democratize skills for digital literacy and innovation. Please keep sharing!!  

http://bit.ly/LAMLibrary

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Kickstarter Update and New Minecraft at the Library Video

Well, as those who've been following it already know, yesterday was the tipping point for the Kickstarter!! Thanks to an Angel donor who gave $5000, we got a ton of other backers join in and push us all the way to just $3500 left to go!

Definitely not time to get complacent though—Not just because it's never over til fat lady etc., but also because:

Every dollar over goal is a vote telling the whole world that this is what we want our libraries to be.

So please think of that—and then share the HECK out of the new vid about Minecraft in the Library on our Kickstarter front page! Starring an LA Makerspace family many of you might know, it's the best combination of cute and cogent since Johnny 5 came alive.

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Ancient Mystery Solved

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Redeemable anytime in 2015, at any location you choose! 

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Workshop Alert: Drones on the Beach

This just in: 

New reward for $50: 

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*WORKSHOP* Conservation Drones with NatGeo Explorer and LAM's Resident Rocket Scientist Shah Selbe (Boeing), part of his SoarOcean project.

Learn what a drone is, how it's assembled, and how to fly them, and how they can be used to monitor and protect our oceans.

Check out the video: http://vimeo.com/96928124

Spend the day at the beach learning robotics, conservation, and aeronautics for $50? Where do I sign up? Oh yeah on the LAM Kickstarter!!

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Free Minecraft at the Local Library for Your Kids

We've been tweeting a lot about Minecraft the last couple days -- Monday we had our first Librarian Minecraft training and currently we're editing a video of it, coming soon.

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Team Minecraft in action on Monday

Parents out there know just how popular Minecraft is—the current most-watched channel on all of YouTube is about Minecraft, if that gives you an idea. It's just where kids ARE. The game has become a worldwide phenomenon due to its approachable gameplay and open-world creative system allowing players to build their own worlds full of spectacular creations. 

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Spectacular librarian creation

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Let's Teach LA To Make at the Library!

We've launched a Kickstarter project to train 600 public librarians in LA to teach Maker skills and support them in providing 18,000 hands-on educational experiences for Los Angelenos.

What the librarians will learn: Robotics, Electronics, Programming in Minecraft, Scratch Programming, Stop Motion Animation, 3D Design and 3D Printing! More!!

And now, a series of informational-type graphics giving some background on the state of STEAM in Los Angeles, why there's so much opportunity, why a lot of people are at risk for getting shut out of it, and why we need to try some new things to help...

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The stats on that:

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LA Makerspace
A non-profit member driven community space for makers, tinkerers and DIYers of all ages to create and collaborate.

LA Makerspace