KiwiCo is a company that ships out monthly crates to children which feature STEM or Arts and Crafts activities. They have different crates for different age groups starting at newborn and going up to later teens. My own children are 10 and 12. So they are trying out the Doodle Crate and Tinker Crate subscriptions. My daughter loves art. So the Doodle Crate, which features arts and crafts activities goes to her. Then the Tinker Crate, which has STEM activities, goes to my son. The crate subscriptions currently cost $19.95 a month, although we started for a lower cost due to a Christmas sale. So what do we think? Read On!
The kids and I got to attend Central Florida Comic Con in Lakeland this weekend. This is the con’s first year. It was a very small con compared to the others we have gone to. It was probably only about 200 to 300 attendees. It was centered around geek culture. It had a small exhibit hall with local artists and comic venders.
Bob Layton, who was a cocreator of Iron Man and a founder of Valiant Comics, was there. Marina Sirtis, the actor who played Deanna Troy on Star Trek: The Next Generation, was there as well. There was also one of the Power Ranger Actors and a pro wrestler. Not much in the way of guests all told.
A woman, who has the largest Pikachu collection in the world (including a Pikachu car) was there, and we attended her Pokemon trivia panel. The children answered a few of her trivia questions. My son later got one of her hand made stuffed animal pokemon characters for his con souvenir.
We also got to play a game of Dungeons and Dragons at the con. We converted our characters that we are going to use in the Pathfinder Version 2 playtest into D & D characters and brought our miniatures we had just started painting and dice to the con on the second day. Our DM was very good, and we had a great time. We ended up playing with a gentleman at our table that we had played Starfinder with at MegaCon, which was a nice surprise.
All in all, it was a very relaxed con that was a fun experience. We’ll be back next year more than likely if they continue it. It will be interesting to see if it grows in the following years.
Here's a great read on the problem with sugar. I read Taubes's book years ago and was very impressed with it.
Link: "The Sugar Conspiracy"
Add another thing to the list of bad stuff sugar does to you...link: Scientific American Podcast
This ia an amazing development! A cleaner fish has passed the mirror test. The mirror test is used to determine self-awareness in animals. The animal has to do something to demonstrate that it knows that the reflection in the mirror is actually themselves. Only a coule advanced animals besides humans have passed the test previously. Of course the fact that a fish passed the test has some scientists wondering if the mirror test itself is not valid. Interesting.
Here is the article: Quanta Magazine
Crucible Con 2018 was the first miniatures gaming con I have attended. I spent the weekend taking painting classes. Here are some pictures of the gaming tables at the con, though. There was row after row of tables with battle fields to play on.
The painting classes were done by Rick Casler. He is a local firefighter who does miniatures painting commission work and teaching on the side under the business name of Firestorm Miniatures and Painting. He has won international painting competitions in the past, but no longer competes. The classes were outstanding. We had classes, Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday. On Friday night we learned about air brushing, pin washing, and edge high lighting while painting an Infinity miniature. Saturday, we didn't even touch a miniature. We spent the day painting boxes of white and black on little poster board pieces as a way to learn the different techniques of blending colors into gradients. We progressed to painting 3D images of first a cube and then a soda can on our poster board pieces. With those we learned how to make use of light and dark colors to shade images to produce a 3D look. I thought of this day as kind of a Mr. Miyagi wax on wax off day. Then on Sunday we got to apply the techniques we had learned on Friday night and Saturday to a miniature bust of Iron Man. Finally, all the techniques came together, and we saw what we were able to do. Although my miniature ended up looking nowhere near as good as the teacher's example piece, it did show marked improvements over anything I've done before. But most importantly I now have a lot of new techniques to practice on over the coming year that I would have never learned by just watching YouTube videos like I have been doing for the past year. The class was inspiring, and Chris did a great job. He was patient and always positive and complimentary to his students. I have taken two other miniature painting classes from people in the past and they were fun, but there was a tremendous difference between those experiences and the experience of taking a class from a truly world class painter. I'd highly recommend anyone in the Central Florida area, interested in painting, that has the opportunity, to take a painting class from him.
Here are the two example pieces the instructor did, which we learned the techniques from.
Here are some other miniatures painted by the instructor that were on display in the room. They come from the game Blood and Plunder, which is a historical miniatures game set during the 1600s during the age of piracy.
Here are some other miniatures painted by people at the con that I thought looked cool.
The games that had tournaments running during the con were Warhammer 40K, Age of Sigmar, Warmachine/ Hordes, Bolt Action, Kings of War, Infinity, Blood Bowl, and Aristeia. People were also playing Monsterpocalypse and Shadespire casually.
I didn't see any children or women competing at the con, but I may have missed them if they were there since I spent the majority of my time in the painting classes. The demographic seemed to be men from college age up through the 60s, however. My children are determined that they want to attend next year and compete. So perhaps they will be the only children competitors there.
In my opinion the hobby is an untapped arena for a positive family hobby. Children naturally love painting and building things. And the mental exercise involved in the game part of the hobby is wonderful as well. My children and I have a great time playing the games and painting our miniatures. I would highly recommend it to any parents.
Here’s hoping this hobby continues to come out of relative obscurity and gains the patronage it deserves.
What an amazing age we live in! The ability to instantly have access to the greatest minds in modern history is simpy stunning. Richard Feynman is a hero of mine. What an amazing science teacher. Bill Gates bought the rights to videos of Feynman lecturing at Cornell and created a great website to show them off a few years ago. The project eventually ended officially, but the website is still there with the videos.Check it out here: Project Tuva: Richard Feynman
This is depressing news! Scientists published a study in the journal Nature Astronomy today detailing why we absolutely cannot terraform Mars in the forseeable future with our current understanding of science and technology. The short answer is that there simply isn't near enough CO2 stored on the entire planet to be released into the atmosphere to terraform it. Apparently, adding up all the CO2 trapped in the ice and other places on Mars only gets us to 1/50 of the amount we need to thicken the atmosphere enough for Earth creatures to live there. Turns out the game Terraforming Mars may be more fantasy than science fiction. Oh well, it's still a great game.Check out the journal article at: link
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