Molecular Knitting – NSEW (by )

It's National Science and Engineering Week and so I have decided to release the knitting pattern to my bukcy ball (carbon 60). It will be here for free download all week 🙂

Bucky Ball Pattern

I still have some physical copies from last years sci-art exhibition so if you want one let me know 🙂

Just click on the image for the PDF - there is also how to knit oxygen and hydrogen atoms in there too.

Art and Thinking and Stuff (by )

Over the weekend we did lots of household stuff like allotment etc... or rather Alaric did. After submission on Tuesday, I decided that I would have the rest of the week off to work on my own creative projects. So I made a book called Berries and Blood and illustrated it and did curly writing and loved it.

Berries and Blood a hand made poetry book

Hand written and illustrated pages of Berries and Blood waiting to be bound

And I am now giving it away over on Turquoise Monster - all you have to do to enter is comment on the post. This is a limited edition - I will only ever make 10 hand written/made/illustrated versions of this collection. There may or may not be print runs.

Alaric of course is sad as he hates stuff I've made, going where he can't see it anymore.

I did a bit of hunting for funds I can potentially tape to develop my Sci-Comms idea, dug potatoes out of the pots I planted them in last year and made roasted veg with them. The chickens gave us eggs for boiled egg breaky and yorkshire puds and I felt happy and proud. It is also 6 months since we got them but more on that later!

We took Jeany to do some painting and gluing etc... of her Lord of the Rings Models at The Games Workshop in Gloucester. And I had two stints in coffee shops/bar type places sorting out my Punk comics/graphic novels. I started this project like four or so years ago, I feel sadder I have not moved a head with it more but I spent a good long time sorting out the series time lines and plots and who exactly is appearing in which bits. It is a long and epic story and I am finding it a little daunting though my main focus is just on the first ten page story.

For those of you who are interested here are some of the notes and pages of the story board etc... trying not to give too much away.

Revolations Graphic novel series plan Story arcs and what not for graphic novel Art and design To-Do's for graphic novel

It would have been fun to work with someone on this project but basically I can not afford an illustrator and I am capable of doing it myself - even if I do not currently feel that way. I thought about offering a royalty cut but it is a lot of work for no def. money and I can't ask someone to gamble like that. So I have dug my books out and been making notes and plans Jean is obsessed with the project and keeps trying to see what I am writing 🙂

I view this as a good sign as she a) loves stories, b) has turned into a little critic on story structure and polish and c) loves her comic books. She moaned about the art work - I pointed out it was just a story board/script thingy and not the actual art work - I don't think she's convinced!

My main conclusion with this is that I need to learn some digital art techniques - I need this for the sci-comms project as well so it's all good. The comics are based in the world and contains the characters from my on going NaNoWriMo project The Punk In Pink - it is kind of scary just how much story I have based in this world now!

Also this week I made a spring button picture with Mary, the how-too of which is on Salaric Craft.

Spring Has Sprung Button Flower Upcyling picture

Mary cutting up cardboard

Again as part of my game design ambitions and science communication stuff I have signed up for the Gamification MOOC as well. Though I will probably only be participating in it rather than doing all the activities within due to time constraints.

It has been a good week and more I have managed this with quiet bad muscle fatigue!

National Science And Engineering Week 2014 (by )

Almost missed it this year! It's National Science and Engineering Week. I am ashamed that having gone off to study Science Communication I then almost missed one of the highlights of the year!

It runs until the 24th so there is still time for... something. Last year did a Science-Art exhibition with Centre Arts with molecular knitting and fabulous jewellery and ceramics from Lizzy Burns.

Which was amazing and fantastic and something I should have followed up this year but I have been far to busy :/

The year before I created Ballads of the Scientifica which you can still listen too or even buy though I do want to make it into a double album at some point so you might want to wait.

So what for this year?

Well I am in the middle of project design for my course and I know that the over all aim for me is to include a gaming element so some thought on sci-game design will be my own personal goal. For you lot out there I might see if I can release my molecular knitting pattern for the duration of the week.

For teachers, parents, kids groups and that there are lots of resources on the British Science Associations website so check them out 🙂

The Writing Saga (by )

Today is all about the writing and the art, I have until 3 o'clock by myself, there are currently no deadlines looming and I don't have a headache. I have a new candle - ancient Egyptian Mummy type thing that I hope is going to inspire.

King Tut Candle

I have so far spent one hour planning my writing projects, prioritising and the like and finishing the flash fiction I started last night. Then I have spent another half an hour editing and on social media reading and researching and interacting.

One of the things I have discovered on my Science Communication course is that I really do prefer long form writing. I do the flash fiction to get ideas down and as a writing exercise, a form of literary discipline if you will. But I really love my epic stories and as I worked on the science articles and features I got the drip drip in the back of my head that I wanted to investigate more and write a book. To draw graphs and tables and do endless bullet points that I join up (this is how I write essays/factual stuff and is how I wrote my UG dissertation in one night (got a really high mark for it too - of course I had done lab stuff and background research for months).

But you see here's the thing, I took the course for two reasons - one I need both science and art in my life, I am not someone who can exist with just one and I love learning new things. The second was financial, I love the creative industries but they don't tend to pay very well, for most books the royalties are pathetic and if you are not careful it is easy to go into negative money just going to events to promote your book.

The art world is not much better and due to the charity sector can in fact be a lot worse as people sell their paintings for less than material costs! I do a lot of charity work so I am not moaning about that nor charity shops selling second hand things as I feel that is a double bonus for the environment, pocket and charity. But it is disheartening to see something being sold for £5 new and knowing that that doesn't even cover the framing - it's a being priced out of the market thing and really they could be getting a lot more for the charity if they upped the price.

The craft situation is even more dire so lets not even go there. So I looked around and I thought hmmm I could write about science - I always wanted to write and draw science, if I am truthful that is why I wanted a PhD so I could write popular science books. And it's science right? So it wont be all wishy washy with contradicting guidelines and feuds over commas.... WRONG!

So very very wrong.

As I have said myself so many times Science and Art are really similar and the expectations are pretty much the same. You have to do loads of free/volunteer stuff to get known - now I don't mind this when it is a little charity or a community project but when it is a business turning a profit I get hacked off. Also the whole set up is one that means if you do not have a family with enough money to support you whilst you build your experience, you are screwed. It is the glass ceiling of the working class.

All that aside, things are slightly better in science writing than in fiction but not much better than standard copy-writing. You are looking at more mid level earnings for your writing. Having found out how much midlist fiction authors who I thought where doing really well get paid and seeing artists including the top paleo-artists struggling and crunching the numbers - it is not a good picture at all.

In fact what I discovered is that I am actually doing well compared to most people who are attempting this sort of career. Unless you are lucky it is not going to be producing a living wage .

Having said this I am actually really happy with my career or haze of careers, I now know that the sci comms stuff is going to suffer the same sort of issues my fiction and copy writing does and the art and craft for that matter - I don't have one thing to focus on. I can't, it isn't going to happen so I will probably float along being the one people can call when others let them down. The sensible thing would be to pick one thing within either sci or art or craft or writing but I can even narrow it down to which field.

On the other hand I am still selling copies of The Little Book of Spoogy Poetry, not many that is true, but I still don't actually have it up on Amazon or anything and it is a seasonal book - I wasn't expecting to sell anymore until October! I am also being booked for tones of events - a mix of performances and events management and coverage and workshops (both craft and writing and science).

I am fusing stuff together, I am having fun, I am finding I am being paid for things which is always good.

There are going to be ebook releases this year, I'm applying for various schemes, there is audio stuff waiting to go out, I am being invited to judge competitions and running creative communities. To up the game I have used the last of my current money to get my old laptop looked at, the data appears to be fine but is ouch to retrieve. This means the novel that was lost will hopefully no longer be lost and I can try my hand at getting it published. And I've joined The Poetry Society, The British Science Fiction Association and just to be confusing the British Science Writers Association, which is already proving useful.

Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair (by )

I took it upon myself to translate the following into Lojban:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

I decided I wanted to aim for an idiomatic Lojban translation, rather than a word-for-word translation of the English (which would probably result in quite clumsy Lojban). However, this was a challenge, as it would mean making up new good-sounding idioms for things that I either didn't know, or hadn't actually developed as idioms in Lojban yet!

Here's what I came up with. There's plenty of problems with it, which I'll explain below, in the hope that jbopre will read this and suggest improvements. However, even if you don't know Lojban, please read on; I think you might find the breakdown of it (I give literal English translations of it) interesting:

.i .u'e re lo barda tuple ku se stuzi le cantu'a
.i cpana le canre fa lo se porpi be lo flira
noi .iiru'e lo du'u ke'a frumu ku
     .e lo du'u ke'a tolpluka turni cisma ku
   nibyti'i lo du'u lo zbasu ku pu te smuni
      le se cinmo poi lu'e ke'a za'o renvi
           zi'e poi fu lu'e ke'a xraci'a fi le na jmive
.ije rakci'a fi le zbepi
     fe lu ga'isai mi'e la'oi .ozymandyus.
           .i mi turni lo turni
           .i .a'onaidai ko catlu tu'a mi doi tsali li'u
.i zo'e bi'unai po'o renvi
.i lo .o'ebe'udai pinta canre ku po'o diklo le barda se daspo

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