Lego for Girls, Hacker-style!

Last year, Lego released the “Lego Friends” set, aimed at girls, to expand its market to the other 50% of the population. It was widely panned because its  concept of women were stereotypical. So one female hacker, Limor Fried, decided to make her own playset featuring herself in an open source hardware developer workshop. You can see the article here: Limor Fried’s Lego for Girls Playset.

If she gets 10,000 votes, Lego will produce her playset! So head on over to Lego Cuusoo to vote! Or, if you don’t like her idea of a girl’s playset, Lego challenges you to think of something that will stimulate the young minds of boys and girls!


The Science of Avengers

Did Avengers get the science right? Copernicus (aka Andy Howell, astrophysicist at UC Sta. Barbara) brings in a review of the Avengers from a scientist’s point of view. Avengers fares pretty good, actually, compared to other films (unlike his review of Star Trek, in which he points out several major mistakes no self-respecting science fiction movie with time travel and starships should make).

You can tell he’s a physicist, because he hardly covers the possibility of the Hulk (he just accepts it, on faith, like a priest) or of Captain America (He says it’s not interesting. Enhancing a human being is not as interesting as stars and black holes?).

He also doesn’t cover the SHIELD Helicarrier’s cloaking device. In James Bond’s “Tomorrow Never Dies” (who stole the idea from Masamune Shirow’s “Ghost in a Shell”, they use video cameras to project on an object what is behind it, theoretically rendering it invisible, but that doesn’t work well on moving objects or objects as large as an aircraft carrier. There are other possibilities I found in Wikipedia.

That still leaves a lot to Geek Out on, like the Cosmic Cube, Thor’s lightning striking Iron Man (Why should Stark be surprised? It’s a Faraday Cage!) and how much energy would it take to lift the Helicarrier?

Here are Copernicus’s reviews on the science of the Avengers:

The Science of The Avengers Part 1

The Science of the Avengers Part 2

The Science of Thor

and as a bonus, Copernicus also links to io9’s video on the possibilities of creating superheroes (the portion regarding genetics starts at 5:43 in the video):

io9’s The Science of the Avengers

Large Hadron Collider…in Lego!

I have seen many things in Lego. Batman, the entire Star Wars Saga, an inkjet printer (made by Google founder Larry Page). Well, if pop culture can be rendered in Lego, they might as well do something educational, hence the Large Hadron Collider!

Created by a physicist at the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark, Sascha Mehlhase spent $2,600 of customized bricks and 33 hours to assemble 9,500 bricks into a model of the ATLAS detector, one of the seven particle detectors in the LHC. The ATLAS detector is 25 meters in diameter. Its Lego counterpart is .6 meters tall. The scale is 1:50, or perfectly life-sized for a Lego figure.

Now, if only someone can render the entire 27 km length of the LHC in Lego.

The article is here and they apparently have more pictures here

While we are on the subject of Lego (can you sense that I have a lifelong love for this toy?) here are 6 inventions made of Lego that actually work! I see a twin-lens camera, a robot arm and a 3D milling machine. Go Lego!