Daily Archives: December 3, 2006

A Japanese Science Magazine with Hands-on Kits!

Now THIS is a science magazine. It’s called Otona No Kagaku, and the publisher, Gakken of Japan, calls it a Mook (Magazine+Book). Leave it to the Japanese to include actual kit parts and instructions so people can throw down some real hands-on experimental action. Maybe if we ramped up manufacturing in China and whipped off a few quick translations we could bring the issue/kit costs (typically around $45 ) down to the point where we could get subscriptions for a significant number of kids….Given MobiTV, I’m a little swamped at the moment. Anyone else wanna start a fun company?

The first one I stumbled across was the Sterling Engine issue that several people had managed to acquire, build, and document including a nice video on YouTube.

I’m particularly fond of the Sterling engine marketing photos on their US distributor’s web site (The Karakuri Corner) The Canine-driven engine is my favorite.

Low Temperature Differential Stirling Engine

There are a bunch of other great issues that include great projects such as an Edison-style phonograph and a Berliner style Gramophone that record and play audio on plastic cups and CDs.

And check out these other fantastic projects from previous issues:

A mini planetarium and a replica of Newton’s scope.
A crystal radio, and a Hooke’s Microscope replica.
The working Gramaphone issue.

Needless to say, I’ve already subscribed and ordered several of the back issues. They also have a few other cool gadgets that are hard to pass up as holiday presents, including the Homestar planetarium.

Homestar Planetarium Star Projector Black

This nifty little gadget takes a 5cm diameter film image of the night sky and projects it on your cieling! Boy wouldn’t one of those be a great Christmas gift for an astronomically inclined nerd… (hint, hint…) There’s also an industrial version better suited for larger rooms called the MegaStar.


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Filed under Astronomy, Education, Science

Star Wars Origami

One of my favorite technical books from a couple of years ago was this textbook by Robert Lang on the mathematics and symmetry properties of paper and origami.


But there was just that something that was missing. The models were so…, well…, so traditionally Asian that I had trouble connecting with them culturally. NOW, however, there is hope, for the Force is with us all. Phillip West has folded a set of Star Wars Origami models. Enjoy.


Filed under Humor, Math