Outside the window, raindrops drip from the wet branches of the redbud tree. A twig heavily laden with lichen balances precariously on a redbud limb. Brown and yellow leaves still cling to their connections, pulled loose by falling water occasionally. The green leaves of a wild privet bush stand out from the rust-coloured background of autumn.
For the past few weeks, I have changed from a person devoted to the art of dance to a person devoted to the art/science of the home tinkerer.
In this tinkerer’s mini-adventure, I have encountered new characters in my life, who my mother has noted are temporary online acquaintances which may or may not have my best interests at heart. Sometimes, even I am amazed of the faith I readily give to people that this interactive TV screen connects me to.
I, the tinkerer, am working on a desktop prototype of a yard art sculpture that can be a work of art by itself.
I had formed a small group — Team Tree Trunk — to work on this prototype, enlisting the artistic input of my wife and the mechanical engineering input from a friend who, unfortunately, is dealing with a dying father and I haven’t bothered for her input on this project.
Thus, I have been left to write the computer code and create this desktop prototype primarily on my own, hoping my wife can help finish the decorating of the piece from her creative/logical/computer engineering thought set.
Over the past week or so, I’ve attended virtual hangouts/meetings/panels with other tinkerers, commonly called Makers these days but just as easily called inventors, scientists, and other members of the creative class of citizens. You could call them knowledge workers or data analysts, too.
Is it a special skill or talent that turns one into a Maker?
What level of curiosity belongs to the Maker classification? Is a person who is curious about a favourite actor’s life a Maker? Is a sports fan a Maker? Is a member of the political chattering class a Maker?
Should the word Maker even be capitalised? It certainly takes capital to be a Maker rather than just a Thinker/Dreamer.
As I finish up this Robot Hacks project, I wonder what in this whole Maker Movement will make my dream come true — a permanent colony on Mars (or the Moon) in the next 13,321 days.
Cool as they are already, it’s great that people want to use 3D printers to make game pieces, Valentine’s Day flowers, holiday ornaments, keychains, tablet PC cases and book lights.
After all, we like to surround ourselves with evidence of our individuality.
My goals are not your goals. My goals are not my goals. My goals belong to the universe, coaxing our sets of states of energy, fractal spinoffs from the local star, to branch out into the solar system with more than our electromechanical observation platforms.
We want a whole generation on this planet to subconsciously devote their attention to extraplanetary settlement. It doesn’t happen by force or coercion. It happens through encouraging people to use their imaginations, with subtle hints that exploring the cosmos is a great use of their imaginations.
Kind of like mass marketing direct mail campaigns — we don’t expect 100% replies — if 1-3% respond, and buy the product or buy into the product’s lifestyle, we’ve accomplished our goals.
One to three percent of the global population devoting one to three percent of global resources toward space exploration? That would be awesome!
Now, on to getting people excited about putting their imaginations into action, regardless of age or socioeconomic status. I don’t expect myself to like everything they create but I’m willing to give them the impetus to do so.