Posts about gifts

Pi Ice Cube Trays

Pi ice cubes

Liven up a drink with Pi shaped Ice “cubes” from Think Geek:

But how about ice? You were planning to use that standard vaguely cubical stuff?… or worse the boring half-moon shape your fridge churns out? Well fear not intrepid nerdy party planner! ThinkGeek is here with the geekiest ice you’ll ever find… Pi ice! Yep these stylish silicone ice trays cast frozen H2O into the symbol for your favorite irrational number.

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Freeware Wi-Fi app turns iPod into a Phone

image of iPod Touch

Wireless turns iPod into a phone

A freeware application for the iPod Touch can turn the music player into a virtual mobile phone. Truphone uses wi-fi technology in an iPod Touch to allow users to make calls to other iPod Touch owners and Google Talk’s messaging service users.

The software is a spin-off from technology Truphone developed for smartphones and iPhones. The developers plan to have the ability to make calls to and from landlines in place very soon.

Geraldine Wilson – Truphone’s CEO – said the firm had ambitions to become a global internet player. “There are a slew of new features we’re rolling out for the iPod Touch that will let users call landlines, Skype users or send instant messages. We’re talking weeks, not months, before these go live.” Although Truphone technology can, in theory, work on any mobile device, the firm is concentrating on devices that have an application store.
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The company said Google’s Android operating system would be the next platform for which it will develop the Truphone applications.

From the Truphone site:

Nokia and iPhone users can make Truphone calls from any Wi-Fi zone, anywhere in the world. We’ll use your Wi-Fi connection to route the call over the internet at our amazing flat worldwide rates (see rate checker), saving you loads of money on international calls from your home country and saving you even more on calls when you’re abroad.

Wi-Fi calls to other connected Truphone users are completely free of charge. From wherever, to wherever.

Very cool. See our gadgets and gifts store.

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Qubits Construction Toy

Buy Qubits – The Construction Toy via Amazon). Post suggestion provided through our suggest a post link. Children are naturally curious. We need to provide opportunities for them to do what they would do naturally. This is one nice way to let kids explore the physical world.

Qubits® for Kids by Mark Burginger, architect / inventor

Many of us recognize the name, Frank Lloyd Wright. He was America’s most famous architect. However, did you know that he was closely connected with the construction toy industry? It just happens that his son, John Lloyd Wright invented Lincoln Logs®. John traveled to Japan with his father Frank Lloyd Wright and while he was there John looked at the wooden log foundation his father designed for the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo. It caused him to think of a simple system of notched logs that could be used as a toy. After returning to the United States he created the toy sensation – Lincoln Logs®.

You don’t need to be an architect of any stature approaching Frank Lloyd Wright to feel this sense of influence. The inspiration for me came from the same Lincoln Logs that John Lloyd Wright invented. I used to play with them for hours and hours on end as a child. Now as a parent and an architect I feel I should do my part to provide a unique construction toy for children to play with and draw inspiration. The toy that I have spent the last five years developing is coined with the name, Qubits®. This dynamic new entry into the toy industry is gaining popularity with teachers, professors and of course – children all over Central Oregon. A simple plastic toy that can be built-up using a unique patented modular geometry. It quickly captures the imagination of children who might have visions of becoming architects, engineers, scientist or even nanotech designers.
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Friday Robot Fun

Buy your own Tomy i-SOBOT Robot ($180)

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Phun Physics

Coolest science toy ever

Phun is without question the greatest computer toy in the history of the universe, if this had been around when I was a kid I would be a frickin genius by now. You don’t need things any more. It’s extremely easy to use. As a starter tip, turn gravity off when you’re attaching stuff to the background (right click after selecting “affix” tool).

Very cool. Get your Phun (2D physics software) for free. Phun is a Master of Science Theises by Computing Science student Emil Ernerfeldt.

Some other very cool stuff: Cool Mechanical Simulation SystemScratch from MITWhat Kids can LearnLego Autopilot First FlightAwesome Cat Cam

The Air We Breathe by Andrea Barrett

The Air We Breathe by Andrea Barrett. Review by, Andrea Barrett:

Andrea Barrett is a lyrical novelist of the American past, giving life to pioneers in science with such resonance that even readers who wrestled mightily with chemistry come away entranced by her evocative accounts of discovery.

The winner of a MacArthur fellowship and the National Book Award (for the 1996 short-story collection Ship Fever) and a Pulitzer finalist (for the 2003 Servants of the Map), Barrett is taken with an earlier time, when the country was much smaller and exploration – pushing boundaries in science, geography and knowledge – mattered far more than it does today. Science moved the country forward and outward, and into the greater world.

In this age, and in Barrett’s writings, scientists are holding the lamp to lead Americans out of the darkness, and patients away from death. (Curiously, this is the second novel in a year to refer to the diminutive electrical pioneer Charles Steinmetz, a major figure in Starling Lawrence’s The Lightning Keeper, an equally romantic, though less taut and accomplished, novel.)

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Get Your Own Science Art

hemoglobin represented in crystal

Cool science art from Bathsheba Sculpture.

The Molecule that Makes Breathing Worthwhile – Hemoglobin is the iron-bearing protein that most animals use to carry oxygen from their lungs to their muscles, or wherever it’s needed for metabolism, i.e. life. It’s the most important part of red blood cells, and its iron is what makes them red.

This sculpture, etched in a heavy 3 1/4″ glass cube, shows hemoglobin’s beautiful structure: the four heme groups each with its iron atom, the two alpha and two beta subunits, and the translucent molecular surface over all.

As well as being handsome and useful, hemoglobin is a star of scientific history. With its close relative myoglobin, it was the first protein to have its 3D structure determined by X-ray crystallography. Max Perutz and John Kendrew at Cambridge University received the Nobel Prize in 1962 for doing it.

The site offers various crystals and sculptures created by Bathsheba Grossman. The art itself is very cool and the site includes interesting information on the science represented by the art and the engineering behind creating the art.

The points are tiny (.1mm) fractures created by a focused laser beam. The conical beam, with a focal length of about 3”³, shines into the glass without damaging it except at the focal point. At that one point, concentrated energy heats the glass to the cracking point, causing a microfracture.

To draw more points, the laser is pulsed on and off. To make the beam move between points, it’s reflected from a mirror that is repositioned between pulses. The mirror is moved by computer-controlled motors, so many points can be drawn with great speed and accuracy. A typical design might use several hundred thousand points, or half a million isn’t unusual in a large block, each placed with .001”³ accuracy.

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Video Goggles

ezVision Goggles

Update: new video goggles

Cool product and nice gift: ezVision Video iWear the iPod Video and DVD Movie Goggles. Using these is like watching a 50 inch screen and you can easily carry them with you anywhere. You can use them to watch videos from your iPod.

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