Friday, September 28, 2012

Makin' it.

A Pathway of LED lanterns

Describing and analyzing our surroundings and psyches, the magazine collection in the Chandramohan Library is a great resource. It covers a range of topics and interests.

Some of the well-loved titles like Sports Illustrated and People are more likely to be found left on a table than on the magazine rack. Some titles, however, languish ….undiscovered. Make, for example, is a small-format magazine with neither the brand recognition of Vogue, nor the flash of Spin. Yet, if content and ingenuity are measures of success - Make has it made.

Make has a generous portion of hands-on DIY projects (like the photo of LED lanterns in the picture above), as well as a section of mid-level skills projects (want to make a battery that runs on the bacteria in mud?). It also sprinkles its pages with “wow” projects – way beyond DIY- that reinforce the “can they really do that?” response. My favorite “wow” project is the active building skins – exterior coverings that react to temperature and light. Thickening when temperatures climb, or shifting panels to allow more light to enter the interior of the building when cloud cover is present.

But back to the LED project. Imagine a group of lanterns frozen into light cubes keeping things cool under (but not in) the Halloween punch bowl. Or, illuminating the pool. Plus, they can float at different levels (fishing line and weights), flicker, or sport festive colored filters. Could you ask for more? Even though I quake at the thought of projects with the word capacitor or microcontroller in the supplies list, Make has detailed instructions, and links for more help. And once I create a batch of lanterns, I might even tackle something more complex. And, that’s the true test of a magazine designed to boost your interest and proficiency level. Does it inspire you to move forward? To think in a new way? To discover?

The next time you find yourself browsing the library’s magazine collection, I hope you will explore a new title, or just revel in the variety and richness of our collection.

Mrs. Eldridge

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