One effect of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans was to render existing bike maps of the city obsolete and incomplete. The NOLA Cycle Bike Map Project is a grassroots effort to create a comprehensive, freely-available bicycle map for New Orleans (like those that already exist for Chicago, Portland, and other cities). Because the project is driven by DIY maps produced by individuals and by volunteer social events organized around mapping different locations that can then be added to the project's database, it's been described as "Wiki-style involvement in the real world." (Here's some video of the project.) [more inside]
"There's people from literally across the world making these bikes, from Portland, Oregon, to Japan to Australia to Jamaica." The "Scraper Bike King" talks about the DIY community-oriented movement (YT), which started in Oakland was popularized with this video and covered by NPR.
Electric Junkyard Gamelan is the brainchild of bandleader and composer Terry Dame, and fuses Dame's passions of composing, inventing and building. Originally inspired by traditional Gamelan music from Bali, the group recycles and repurposes everyday objects into musical instruments. While some of their songs do indeed resemble the hypnotic percussive melodies of a Balinese/Javanese gamelan orchestra (The Nutbutter Challenge), other tunes strike out into new, distinctly urban American directions (Ode to Fred Beans). Following the band's motto, "Reuse, Recycle and ROCK," instruments are fashioned from coat hangers and rubber bands, bed frames, old farm equipment, turntable platters, clay pots, saw blades and truck springs. The "Big Barp" rubber-band harp makes a particularly unusual sound. [more inside]
From bagpipes to xylophones, Dennis Havlena's legendary website will show you how to make musical instruments, cheaply. Some of them sound pretty good [YouTube].
A huge collection of vintage cycling board games. The main site also has resources for rolling your own cycling game.
Sunshine Again is a lo-fi/DIY public Access re-imagination of oldschool 1970's children's television, produced by Heather Ferreira, an independent producer whose mission is to "ignore what network television is doing and start a New York-based cable net of my own, specializing in shows that look and feel a lot like shows on Nick@Nite and TV Land used to – except these will be all brand-new shows." [ more info | appreciation and funky video | Youtube Search for more Sunshine Again ]
With today's economy, DIY haircuts are gaining in popularity. Flowbees and electric clipper sales are up. Did you see the drummer's hair?*
Free Friday Frantic (Music) Fun: Ergo Phizmiz & The Midnight Florists cover five 1990s chartbusting, dancefloor filling smash hits with arrangements of acoustic, electronic, homemade, and toy instruments. [More musical mischief inside] [more inside]
bonus level is a new flash gaming portal. Games include Captain Dan V Zombie Plan, reminiscent of Berzerk, Push, an unusual platformer that combines level manipulation with quick-reflex timing and jumping, Jump Gear, an acrobatic timed racer and a ton more I haven't even tried yet. What sets bonus level apart from other gaming portals is that it's headed by three great names in game development, Wouter Visser (Wouter), Tõnu Paldra (tonypa) and Jean-Philippe Sarda (JP). Part of their philosophy is allowing anyone who registers to make and share levels for their games, as well as giving budding designers access to the flash APIs used to create all of bonus level's games.
There, I Fixed It - "Epic Kludges + Adventures In Home Pwnership"
Before the mouse, there was the trackball. Built for DATAR in 1952, DATAR turned out to be a complete failure. The next user interface device that used a ball was the mouse at Xeroc Parc in 1972. Trackballs are a dying breed of interface devices. But sometimes a trackball just seems more natural choice for certain applications - not so obvious for others. Would you sit on one?
Pencil Rebel is a little bitty point-n-click interactive adventure hand-wired with LEDs and simple circuit boards, and made with hand-cut and decorated cardboard, plasticine, string, and other household odd and ends. The artist, Grzegorz Kozakiewicz, has also made a (with spoilers!) video showing his process.
The Haynes Workshop Manuals are a series of practical instructional repair manuals aimed at both the DIY enthusiast or shade-tree mechanic and the professional garage repairman. In that spirit, they offer the following guides to repair and service the following: The Spitfire Fighter (no, not that one), The Lancaster Bomber and the Apollo modules.
Inspiration to do something with your holiday weekend: Steven K. Roberts is an interesting guy with a bit of a hobby problem. In 1983 his recumbent bike sported "only" a security system, lights, a CB radio and a state-of-the-art TRS80/100 laptop. Winnebikeo would eventually evolve into BEHEMOTH, the "Big Electronic Human-Energized Machine... Only Too Heavy". BEHEMOTH incorporated (amongst other things) HUD, cooling system, small Sun SPARCstation, HAM Radio, credit card verifier, bubblejet printer, hydraulic disk brakes... [more inside]
Make your own pinball machine. The art of pinball machines is in decline, but some folks endeavor to keep it alive. From the basic, to the the full blown experience, these guys do it their way. DIY pinball goodness.
Sunscreen's a pain, but sunburn is worse. UV-protective clothing is expensive and not to everyone's taste. Instead, treat your own cotton, rayon, or silk clothing to make it sun-protective. Some clothing is inherently protective, but you can easily burn right through a new shirt, especially if it gets wet. A couple of boxes of either of two different brands of a wash-in UVA/UVB blocker will invisibly increase the SPF of a whole washer-load of clothing from 5 to 30 (repeat for an SPF of 50). The stuff wears off after a season's worth of launderings, so use a permanent marker to note the year of treatment inside the collars.
Colin is a new British horror film told from a Zombie's point of view. It was made for £45 and apparently it went down well at Cannes . Peter Jackson's first film Bad Taste did a similar thing. This documentary features Jackson's parents talking about taking the film to France.
"In Massachusetts, a young woman makes genetically modified E. coli in a closet she converted into a home lab. A part-time DJ in Berkeley, Calif., works in his attic to cultivate viruses extracted from sewage. In Seattle, a grad-school dropout wants to breed algae in a personal biology lab. These hobbyists represent a growing strain of geekdom known as biohacking, in which do-it-yourselfers tinker with the building blocks of life in the comfort of their own homes." They might be discovering cures for diseases or developing new biofuels, but are their experiments too risky? Via. [more inside]
Bizarro fiction isn't really a new genre. Just a new term. The current crop of bizarro authors are generally young and new to being published, with Carlton Mellick III as "both the Johnny Appleseed and the Johnny Rotten" of the newly dubbed genre, who started printing his stories under the header of Eraserhead Press. But what is Bizarro Fiction? A battle between the real William Shatner vs all the film versions of himself, resulting from a failed terrorist attack by Campbellians; bizarro-noir novellas, set in a world of murderers, drugs made from squid parts, deformed war veterans, and a mischievous apocalyptic donkey; or just a nice children's book about two Vampires who compete in a mustache competition to prove who is the faggiest of all. (via a local paper, though I didn't see the article isn't online) [more inside]
Stuck in the dark without a flashlight and want to impress your friends? Make your own torch! [more inside]
If society fell apart this afternoon I’d be willing to bet you’d die. You’ve spent your life learning how to ‘cut and paste’ or how to master E. Honda’s Hundred Handslap in Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, but when the world comes crashing down and you’re hungry, you’ll be eating crunchy Ramen noodles and wondering how your own pee tastes. Lets face it. You’d die. This blog is to help those plan for their escape from the collapsing rubble of our society." Survive the Apocalypse.
Summer's coming! The tried-and-true food growing tool of the aspiring urban agriculturalist: self-irrigating planters. Make or buy one of these things and vegetable container gardening is a breeze. [more inside]
Do Your Own Adventure with Sue Teller: Customizing Your Kicks & Making Mash-Ups. [Warning: Extremely Obvious Product Placement.] [more inside]
Diana Eng (from Season 2 of Project Runway) has come out with a new book for the DIY fashion geek called: Fashion Geek! (Via Project Rungay.) Gives me something to do while I save up for one of these.
The Zine Library has hundreds of zines in pdf format for your perusal. They are organized into categories ranging from the common political (anarchism, political prisoners & animal liberation) and identity based zines (indigenous, race & gender) to the more esoteric (anarchist history, primitivism & theory) as well as the useful (cooking, DIY & organizing manuals) and arty (art, comics & music). Now, zines are by their very nature hit and miss but there are some real treasures to be found. I recommend these three: [all links pdf] The Rebel's Dark Laughter - The Writings of Bruno Filippi, Barefoot in the Kitchen and Delivery from Below, Resistance from Above - Electricity and the Politics of Struggle in Tembisa, South Africa. Note: Many if not most zines are set up to be printed out and bound together in chapbooks. That requires a bit of going back and forth when reading in pdf-format, but they wouldn't be real zines if they were straightforward to read ;) Don't know what a zine is? A pretty good overview is provided by zine librarian Jenna Freedman in Zines Are Not Blogs: A Not Unbiased Analysis. [This site has been posted previously but was buried deep in the weeds of more inside]
Two examples of community weblogs that revolve around DIY-comix-by-flash-template: Toonlet, where the comments are in comic form, too; and Pixton, which allows for a bit more creative control (but no comix-comments).
In Chinese, Shanzhai (山寨) literally means "mountain stronghold" and connotes a place with limited accessibility -- i.e. beyond the reach of authorities. In the past couple of years, it has come to refer to the manufacture of illicit tech gadgets by unauthorized factories: show us your shan zhai ji! But shanzhai can be used more broadly to describe knockoff culture, cheeky brand subversion, grassroots industrial creativity, and a certain DIY ethos. The latter may be best exemplified in these videos of a "Shanzhai Glider" in action. Apologies if the Chinese sites are slow-loading or unreachable for Western audiences. Mouse over links for descriptions, if so inclined.
DIY Portal Gun on flickr, with a few other pictures and build notes. You want of your own, you can either contact this guy or just ask Aperture about working at their test facilities.
It's the homemade PVC ice rink! (scroll down to comments for commenter's photos of barn loft rink and associated icicles.) [more inside]
A really useful legal help resource at e-Justice blog: 100 Free DIY Legal Resources on the Web includes The Attorneys Forum, free legal advice and support from professional attorneys, lawyers, and law firms nationwide. The archives include: How to Prepare for a Financial Apocalypse: 100 Tips and Tools to Secure What’s Yours l Top 50 Internet & Digital Law Blogs l World Watchdogs: Top 50 Human Rights Blogs l The Ultimate Guide to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu- 101 Resources to Help Anyone Learn the Gentle Art. [more inside]
R. Stevie Moore likes to stay home and play himself some music. Having done so for over 42 years--that's over 2000 songs and 400 albums--he has become the undisputed grandfather of do-it-yourself psychedelic pop and punk. Tagged for decades as underground, an outsider and criminally ignored local genius, R. Stevie is now exploiting and exploding that myth, no short thanks to the internets. Here's where he has scattered his recordings; here are two places where he keeps his home-made videos. WFMU archives his pioneering appearances on their great radio station from 1978-1998. Finally, here are two complete albums' worth of his Greatest "Hits": Hobbies Galore (1973-2005) and Tra La La Phooey (1959-2003). Long Live R. Stevie!
Live from the Pink Couch: Punks, Girls, Boys, Warriors, Witches, Kids, Comptrollers, and your new favorite band Best Friends Forever! (boyzone comment flamewar included) [more inside]
Using one of these Jeremy Peterson makes things like a folded box, a hex connector toy, and a calling card (he makes his project files available). His photos are cool and his art doesn't suck. [more inside]
Then, all of sudden, I saw a hand holding a piece of chalk and writing on a black-board something like a mathematical formula. The vision was very clear, but it stayed only for few seconds and disappeared again. The Internet is abound with a new, simple technique for at-home DIY multimodal (vision, sound) Ganzfeld Hallucinations (previously). [more inside]
F.A.O. Schwartz (doesn't everybody think of that first when they hear the name?) has come up with a Design Your Own Muppet Workshop (with appropriate video intro). Limited design options (they're the "Whatnot" Muppet extras, no identifiable characters) and a $90 pricetag for a custom-made Mup, but the design process is still fun (and better than their previous Design Your Own Tutu).
I first heard of a 'Paraset' when I saw a message on the QRP-L reflector announcing an upcoming 'June 6th Paraset D-Day' activity. A search for more information soon revealed that the Paraset was a small vacuum-tube transmitter-receiver unit built during WWII in the UK at the Whaddon Hall headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service Communications Unit. Known officially as the 'Whaddon Mark VII', the units were either air-dropped by parachute or carried, by the jumpers themselves, into many of the occupied countries of western Europe. . .
While you may not be the shoe hoarder some people are, you have shoes in your closet you never wear and you'd like to know what to do with them. Are they just boring? In that case you could just experiment with new ways to lace them, or find a way to make them light up when you walk into a room. Or you could draw on the shoes with markers or sharpies. You could also paint them, going with the theme of your choice: Art Nouveau, Picasso, Day of the Dead, or any of the ideas here. You could cut motifs from fabric and glue them on to your lace-ups, cover your flats with new fabric, bling up a pair of strappy shoes with glitter, or embellish your flip-flops with some yarn. Is the old upper worn out? Knit or crochet a new one. Want to get where you're going faster? Make custom roller skates, or modify your bicycle. Do your shoes hurt your feet? Put them on your face instead as a wrestling mask, or turn them into an iPod case. Your shoes could also become a birdhouse, a planter, a centrepiece, or an integral part of a coat rack, bookends or leg lamp. If you're really not up to crafting, here are 11 non-crafty ways to recycle old shoes. But what fun is that?!?
[Warning: Not Safe For the Squeamish] "An Illustrated History of Trepanation": Although the reasons for trepanning and the instruments used for the procedure differ with time and from culture to culture, the result is always the same: a hole in the head, usually made when the individual was fully conscious and, often, unanaesthetized. • • From an interview with Heather Perry, who trepanned herself: "I used a hand trepan initially, but that wasn't proving to be terribly successful. Then there was a problem with the people who owned the property we were staying in, so we decided we'd have to just leave it. I wrapped my head up in a towel and we got out of there. A couple of days later, we had another go. We abandoned the hand trepan and got an electric drill instead." • • And, of course, the home version of the game. [more inside]
Parkour, it’s easier than you think to get started and you can keep your workout lively. Ryan Ford has a training center in Colorado , and there’s probably one right near you . Or DIY. [more inside]
GetBodySmart.com is a wonderful and remarkably complete resource to learn about the systems that keep our body running, including the skeletal , nervous and even urinary systems. What's more amazing is that it's all created by one man in his spare time and for no gain of his own. Read his mission statement here.