Counterculture

School Sucks! 'Maker Culture' Is Literally Making Learning Better

Making a giant octopus is way more enlightening than taking the SAT or Sociology 101.

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Perched in a watchtower above a live-sized game of Mouse Trap, MythBusters host Adam Savage announced, "When you make something … you're telling a story about your desires. … You're using your tools to improve yourself and the world around you." He was directing the point to the younger attendees in his crowd of hundreds at Maker Faire in San Mateo, California, this past weekend. Their stories and desires are varied, but there was a consistent theme among many makers: They want to make life and learning more liberated, more fun, and a bit more rugged.

Implicit in their optimism and aim toward improvement is the awareness that current circumstances kind of suck. Young people cranked through America's school system know that too well. The first generation exposed en masse to zero tolerance policies, millennials have been expelled, arrested, and tasered for an absurd litany of inoffensive acts. That's on top of schools' perennial failure to actually provide kids with a decent education. This generation is growing up and going to college in record numbers, only to find institutions drained of their counterculture gusto for intellectual confrontation and replaced by free speech zones that quarantine unpalatable ideas.

Growing up alongside millennials is the maker movement, and it is flourishing. Many young adults would do well to look upon this year's Maker Faire's standout structure: an imposing, steampunk octopus perched on a Mad Max-esque car. The razor-jawed, trash can-paneled beast is awesome in its ability to push people out of any sense of normalcy. It belches flames out of its tentacles as though it were a gritty reboot of the Statue of Liberty illuminating the eclectic, rough-around-the-edges movement of makers, whose do-it-yourself constituency overlaps everyone from hackers to knitters to off-the-gridders. They, like Savage, embrace hands-on education that "recognizes that discouragement and failure is part of the project."

"In the maker community, you won't often find people who say, 'You can't do that,'" explains Lucy Beard, founder of 3D-printed shoe business Feetz. But that's not to say makers are soft on each other. She comes to the fair to hear, "I don't think you're doing it right. You could do it like this." In this way, her peers act like a massive, decentralized workshop course better than the current college environment, whereas the class of 2014, instilled with a sense of fragility, calls for the censorship of ugly art, pleads for "trigger warnings" so they can avoid canonical literature's fictitious violence, and petitions against commencement speakers whose ideologies differ from their inchoate own. Beard and other makers, by contrast, seek out the exchange of criticism because it "is how we all grow."

Of course, some of that growth happens best at the individual level. Ryo Chijiiwa, creator of solar panel startup BootstrapSolar, credits the experiences he gained living off the grid for his readiness to confront new challenges. "I'm trained as a software engineer, I didn't know anything about solar," he says. Having his cabin's solar panels fail in the woods "forced me to solve problems, but it also empowered" Chijiiwa and provoked him to design easily repairable panels useful for people in disaster situations.

Some have even created a whole curriculum out of this kind of rugged attitude.

"We don't tell kids to be careful. We tell them to pay attention. That's one of our first and most important values," says Jess Liotta, the regional director of wilderness education organization Trackers Earth, which teaches people how to make a range of tools and weapons. Put differently by an 8-year-old Tracker, the organization aims to teach people "how to do dangerous things safely"—a mission that would probably cause fainting spells among school administrators who suspend pocket-knife-carrying kids.

Liotta recognizes that few students will ever end up in a survival situation; they're as much in the business of building kayaks as building characters. Rather, says Liotta, they want students to exercise their "creativity and independence to work together and survive and thrive in the urban environment they live in."

The maker movement is literally making alternatives to the one-size-fits-all education we're used to. Whether one opts in to butcher a rabbit for dinner with her primitive knife, repair her energy source because there's no one else around, or risk burns by a soldering iron to assemble her first robot at Maker Faire, the visceral opportunities to succeed (or fail) almost certainly teaches an individual more about herself and her abilities than any standardized test or mandatory general education course ever could. 

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  1. If this leads to ANOTHER fucking “biker build off”, I’m right out.

  2. Beard and other makers, by contrast, seek out the exchange of criticism because it “is how we all grow.”

    Unless you choose to 3-D print a firearm receiver instead of a twee garden gnome or some such shit. You do that and you’re maker persona non grata.

    1. Also, Zenon, I’m not sure I agree with you lumping in the renewed interest in back-to-the-landism/self-reliance (aka “prepping” but when young urbanites do it) with the unabashedly technophilic maker culture. While I get that both have the DIY ethic, they seem to be two very different animals without a lot of formal connections between them. Though, I must say I’m interested in both.

      1. As different as they are, all these groups were at Maker Faire and consider themselves makers. None of them thought they were out of place.

        1. That’s great. In somewhat related news, did you know that according to the reader survey published in this year’s March/April issue of Mother Earth News, more than half of respondents identified themselves as “conservative” or “very conservative”?

          Strange bedfellows indeed.

          1. My copy of that issue must’e gotten lost in the mail.

            Jokes aside, why do you think it is that so many self-described conservatives are subscribers? An outdoorsmen sentiment, perhaps?

            1. I believe its due to the prepper movement. Mother Earth News has a lot of useful information about homesteading, gardening, and off-the-grid living. The Venn diagram between Evangelical Christian prepper hunkering down on his rural homestead waiting to battle the forces of the anti-Christ and Climate Change obsessed back-to-the-lander anarcho-primativist neo-Hippie just happens to converge at that spot.

              1. anarcho-primativist

                Ssssshhhh!

          2. A lot of Mother Earth News subscribers probably read Backwoods Home .

    2. You do that and you’re maker persona non grata.

      I used to buy into the whole maker culture. I’ve since begun to reconsider on a variety of fronts and for a variety of reasons, but this was a big turning point for me.

      1. I can sympathize, but we certainly need folks like Defense Distributed out there.

        And I’ll also take this opportunity to pimp my wife’s Etsy for the 3 libertarian women in the world. We just sold a lot of stock, but a new batch should be up and ready soon, so check back regularly!

        1. I’ll also take this opportunity to pimp my wife’s Etsy

          I clicked through. It turned out to be a lot less interesting than your phrasing had led me to expect. 😐

        2. “Comfortable, stylish, lost of room for stuff”

          this stuck out the most.

          1. Well, isn’t that all you need?

      2. http://makezine.com/magazine/m…..t-scanner/

        These [sic] CT scanners are fantastically expensive, and usually only found in hospitals. As a Canadian living abroad, I recently had my first real contact with the U.S. health care system, and it was a very uncomfortable experience. Without belaboring the point, universal health care is very important to me. It’s something that many consider a basic human right, and most people in the developed world, except for the U.S., have access to it. After seeing the cost for my CT scan, I decided it was time to try to build an open source desktop CT scanner for small objects, and to do it for much less than the cost of a single scan.

        but with luck projects like this will mature into desktop scanners for the maker community, and perhaps even medical scanners for impoverished countries, where they’re most needed.

        Canada has fewer CT scanners per capita than Greece and fewer than a third, per capita, of the US.

        A straight up article about building a DIY CT scanner would be cool, but this is just hypocritical propaganda.

        1. Yep, that’s pretty douche-y. And you’re right. I can image the squeals from Make if someone like Cody Wilson wrote “As a American living abroad, I recently had my first real contact with the Canadian legal system, and it was a very uncomfortable experience. Without belaboring the point, the right to self-defense is very important to me. It’s something that many consider a basic human right, and most people in the developed world, except for the U.S., don’t have access to it. So I designed this easily printable sidearm.”

  3. What’s the evidence that schools fail to provide kids with a decent education? Stagnating scores? But if the schools have reached the limit of student ability to learn, we’d expect that. Not very convincing.

    1. What’s the evidence that schools fail to provide kids with a decent education?

      Well, one could point to the massive amounts of remediation colleges and universities feel they have to do with recent graduates. Business leaders point to the same. And if one views public schools as having the primary mission of creating a citizenry that is broadly educated enough to meaningfully participate in a representative form of government, I think the evidence is clear that they have failed at that mission as well.

      1. Well, the youngins coming out of grade school now are well versed in tipping points.

      2. More people are going to college. It was never reasonable to think that such a large number of people could do college-level work. They won’t have the brains for it. So that’s consistent with the idea that we’re reached a limit to what education can provide.

        1. t was never reasonable to think that such a large number of people could do college-level work. They won’t have the brains for it.

          That’s what “cooling out” is for.

          So that’s consistent with the idea that we’re reached a limit to what education can provide.

          If you mean mass “one-size-fits-all” education, then I’m willing to agree; however, that’s a pedagogical methodology problem. I’ve become increasingly convinced that the disruptive technologies mentioned by Clayton Christensen in concert with a turn (a return, really) to competency-based education, which is designed around what you can do, as opposed to what you “know”, has the potential to provide a much better educational infrastructure than what we have now.

    2. Skools (and ejucation in general) can make any student smart and a college graduate in any field in which he is interested.

    3. The illiteracy rate among students in urban areas such as Detroit, and the fact that is costs more than twice as much in inflation adjusted dollars for the same test scores as we had 40 years ago.

    4. I dislike the idea that teachers are responsible for student failure. The reason why so many kids do badly in school is because they are not fit for school. Compulsory schooling laws force kids with no interest in learning certain subjects to take classes on those subjects. Those kids fail out of every class they take and are relegated to special ed programs that are basically taxpayer funded babysitting.

      If these kids who are not fit for school could drop out and build machines, skills would be imparted on to them

      Robert Weissberg’s Bad Students, Not Bad Schools is the best book on this subject.

  4. This does bring to mind 7th grade shop class – we made balsa wood cars powered by Estes rocket engines. We raced them DOWN THE HALL OF THE SCHOOL. INDOORS. WHILE SCHOOL WAS IN SESSION.

    Stretched a strong the length of the hall, the cars had little rings screwed underneath – put the string through the rings…light engines….

    WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH! Down the hall, oftentimes upside down! Smash into the wall at the far end.

    “I WON! I WON!”

    That was mid 70’s. Learned some skeelz making the cars, took chances of “PUTTING YER EYE OUT!” racing them down the hall.

    I loved shop class…

    PS Also, sand casting lead (raw lead ingots, melted) into initials…gloves? What gloves?

    1. Plus fire and explosives.

  5. Because, as millennials know all too well from zero tolerance policies and restrictive “free speech zones,” school sucks.

    Isn’t this government ‘being on their side’? Sorry, I just can’t let that go.

    *shakes cane*

  6. Zenon, I presume you attended? Did you see the Spartan Superway exhibit in the South Lot? A whole group at San Jose State University is promoting Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) by researching how a real system could be built in, and greatly benefit, Silicon Valley. At Maker Faire, they showed off samples and models that incorporated key technologies, including a scale model elevated guideway, along which a vehicle traveled to offline “station” destinations that were chosen via a tablet app. It was a lot of fun to watch, and kids that were visiting the exhibit when I did seemed captivated by it, running around the fairly large track to keep up with the vehicle. For years, people have been telling supporters of PRT: “It won’t work; it’s a waste of time and money.” But now with installations delighting actual passengers at Heathrow Airport in the UK, Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, Suncheon Bay in South Korea (in addition to the 1970s era prototypical PRT that has been serving tens of thousands of passengers every year for decades in Morgantown, West Virginia here in the US), it is becoming obvious to even the most strident detractors that PRT can and does work. In the best Maker Movement spirit, the students and faculty at SJSU are making it work, yet again, as they focus on developing an approach that provides a practical and cost effective method for mass transit in urban and suburban areas.

    1. Because, as millennials know all too well from zero tolerance policies and restrictive “free speech zones,” school sucks.

      Was this the type of thing they tested in Europe and found that people kept having sex in them?

      1. You replied to my comment, but using an unrelated quote from the article, so I don’t know if you are asking about sex in PRT vehicles or free speech zones. 😉

        There is not a lot of privacy in PRT vehicles — the popular vehicle designs tend to incorporate some fairly big windows, and the system at Heathrow has cameras everywhere. Also, trips tend to last only 5-7 minutes before the doors open wide at the destination, but I suppose some agile, exhibitionist, “jackrabbit” couples might give it a go, now and then. The good news is that, if you are the next passenger to be offered a just-vacated, impromptu “love pod,” you can reject it and summon a fresh(er) one, which will arrive no later than a minute or two afterward. I’m unaware of any tests in Europe that led to sex in PRT pods. I’d love to see relevant news accounts!

        1. You replied to my comment, but using an unrelated quote from the article, so I don’t know if you are asking about sex in PRT vehicles or free speech zones. 😉

          My interest is solely with sex in PRT vehicles. HOw it happens, who’s game for it. Best times to make a run at it. That sort of thing.

          But thanks for the info.

          I’m unaware of any tests in Europe that led to sex in PRT pods. I’d love to see relevant news accounts!

          It’s been some years as the PRT thing has been bouncing around for well over a decade. I’d have to do some googling. I actually like the idea of PRT, but I remember something about actually putting it into practice became problematic because not everyone getting into the PRT is interested in getting to a particular destination.

          Sort of like the high-tech self-cleaning automatic public toilets became temporary homeless shelters.

        2. And yeah, I had the wrong thing in my clipboard. Sorry.

  7. “Maker Faire

    Completely irrelevant I realize, but I wish this movement didn’t use the somewhat precious faire spelling. It puts me in the mind of May Poles and girls with fairy wings.

    Or worse, Steampunk /turns and spits/

    1. But the name does harken back to the West Coast Computer Faires of the late 1970s and early 1980s, which had a much similar, revolutionary, DIY vibe.

      1. the West Coast Computer Faires of the late 1970s and early 1980s, which had a much similar, revolutionary, DIY vibe.

        But less cliquey. Or at least it seems to me.

    2. I remember Steampunk before it was tainted. *sigh*

  8. The steampunk octopus has been touring Burning Man since like 2010, I believe.

    And I hope you paid them royalties for that photo, cause BMORG claims copyright over all photographs taken at burning man. It’s in the terms and conditions when you purchase a ticket.

    1. And I hope you paid them royalties for that photo, cause BMORG claims copyright over all photographs taken at burning man.

      Say what?

      1. It prevents people from going to burning man and taking pictures of naked people and posting them on the internet.

        If they didn’t do it, MTV would be there filming an episode of Girls Gone Wild in 30 seconds.

        1. So… people willingly get naked in public, allow themselves to be photographed, but are horrified that those photos end up somewhere they didn’t expect, and so demand an unenforceable copyright clause.

          I’m perplexed by this generation.

          *shakes cane*

          1. people willingly get naked in public, allow themselves to be photographed, but are horrified that those photos end up somewhere they didn’t expect, and so demand an unenforceable copyright clause.

            You’re talking about the Illuminati sex rituals that go on at Bohemian Grove, right?

          2. Well, no, technically you aren’t supposed to take photos of people without their permission at Burning Man either.

            1. Well, no, technically you aren’t supposed to take photos of people without their permission at Burning Man either.

              That’s more understandable (still unenforceable) but at least falls within a realm of etiquette.

              The copyright clause is a legal construct which is entirely unenforceable and currently demonstrably unenforced.

              1. It’s not unenforced. It’s selectively enforced.

          3. It’s not a public event- hence the tickets, and the agreement in the terms & conditions. Therefore the people are not getting “naked in public”.

        2. Topical

          Now how does ole Mota Bota know about this? Well, my first Burn was in 1992, and there were both State and Federal officers around, but they were kinda like us, enjoying the festivities and looking out for our safety, not our wallets ? what a concept!

          […]

          Now fast forward to my last Burn in 2009. In my camp alone a gentleman was busted for marijuana while driving within the Burning Man compound (the most dangerous place to drive). He had a faulty taillight on his trailer and a pot tin on his dash. The officers could’ve cared less about the taillight, but eagerly sighted him for the pot. That citation was $675., to be paid within 45 days, and if not, a warrant would be issued, the infraction amount increased, and the citation would be part of his permanent record. My lovely neighbors across the street, a young working couple of 40 with toddlers at home, offered (like scads of others) a free bar. They were visited by an under age shill from Special Operations and busted. That citation was $1,500., to be paid in full within 45 days, with the same scenario as above.

          1. Yeah, I was fucking CARDED at burning man TWICE in 2012.
            Camps have gates around them and they ask to see your ID before you can get in.
            You have to carry your driver’s license around, or you won’t be able to get a drink.

            1. You know who else had camps with gates around them?

            2. Where do you put it? Do you just tape it to your body?

    2. There’s the Maker community I that makes me bristle!

      Nothing says “free as in speech” or “free as in beer” like T&C attached to ticket sales.

  9. The funny thing that I can’t figure out is, where did this term ‘maker culture’ come from? The Maker culture is by far, not a new phenomenon. Not by a long shot. There was a ‘maker’ culture in Germany experimenting with rocket technology in the 20s and 30s, until it got shut down by the incoming Nazi government who outlawed the practice, essentially citing that the government had a monopoly on all ‘militarizable (not a word, I know)’ technology.

    Many of the largest revolutions in technology over the last century and a half arguably came from what we now seem to label ‘maker culture’. Except it was just some dude name Orville and Wilbur tinkering with some shit in a barn.

    1. Like those guys who invented photography or tv or radio…

    2. I’m 99% positive the new movement is a modern re-branding of the old.

    3. There was a ‘maker’ culture in Germany experimenting with rocket technology in the 20s and 30s

      You know, I just learned that fact last night while reading about Wernher von Braun.

      And now it’s mentioned here!

    4. Richard Feynman got interested in physics by being a radio tinkerer. As a teenager, he was the go-to repairman for his neighborhood.

      1. If he were doing the same thing today, he’d be cited for repairing ducts without a twenty seven b stroke six.

    5. It’s not remotely new. I mean, read Popular Mechanics since its inception.

      The only thing remotely new about this is, as far as I can tell, the recent addition of home fabrication of components. But 3-D printers are only part of the overall “maker” culture.

      1. What I see with the 3D printing revolution, is it makes it easier for people to make certain kinds of things.

        1. Yes. And it is quite transformational. In fact, it may be radically so. But that’s not something “makers” have brought to the table. That’s an advance in industrial technology that they can take advantage of.

          1. Yes. And it is quite transformational. In fact, it may be radically so.

            It’s not even that radically transformational. People have been increasingly buying cheaply made custom crap, on demand, en masse for nearly a century. They just haven’t been predominantly sacrificing much of their own time/space/money to do it themselves.

            Radio Shack nearly went broke banking on the idea that people would and Apple makes billions hoping that they don’t or, if they do, they spend more resources to achieve an inferior end.

            1. I think it depends on what’s being made. We’re seeing the opportunity for a level of industrial customization that wasn’t really feasible before. For instance, people can fabricate custom shoes on demand that exactly map up to your foot. That sort of thing.

              I also wonder if some technologies, like consumer robotics, might not get a major boost by garage tinkerers. Much like computing. I mean, who didn’t start in a garage in that industry? Michael Dell, Bill Gates, the Steves. . .the list goes on.

      2. Making your own part is new. And better! Old-style is to keep every part you could possibly ever use. I still have a centrifugal force clutch for a 1960s mini-bike in my garage. I’ll use that someday.

        1. Yes, that was the way it used to be. Make a go-cart with a lawn mower engine.

          1. Fuck that, make a hovercraft.

            1. With a leafblower? I saw a Mythbusters when they did that, and I also saw one operating live at an engineering expo at USF. Magic!

          2. My dad (I’m 53, so a ’60s kid +/-) had a lathe in the basement. He made some go-cart parts for me. But not from scratch, he worked on existing parts to make them fit.

    6. The term is descriptive because the “common culture” of the last couple of decades crowed that those who made stuff were suckers…while those who made money were the smart ones!

      Who were the real heroes of the 80’s and 90’s? I say it was Donald Trump and his ilk. The whole ideal in our culture was to make money without sweating and with low risk (other peoples money)….

      This all came crashing down when, lo and behold, it was found out that we don’t need 10 million mortgage brokers or house flippers.

      And so, yes….it’s nothing new, but the ethic as part of our culture and especially our youth IS new for the current day.

      And, speaking of history and those bad bad liberals, I wonder why the Maker Movement seems concentrated in SF (Fairs is there) as well as NYC.

      You’d think that, since we know conservatives are true smart and hard working folks, that it would be based out of Dallas, Kansas City or Colorado Springs. Another strange coincidence, eh?

    7. You know what else they experimented with in Germany in the 1930’s?

  10. If this leads to ANOTHER fucking “biker build off”, I’m right out.

    If we could vote for which team we’d like to see die a horrible death, like being eaten by a polar bear, I’d watch.

  11. “only to find institutions drained of their counterculture gusto for intellectual confrontation and replaced by free speech zones that quarantine unpalatable ideas.”

    This is bushwa. The “institutions” in question never had much “gusto for intellectual confrontation”, and the “counterculture” NEVR did. The Intellectual Left was basically Stalinist in its treatment of anything straying from the Party Line as early as the 1920’s, if not sooner. The “Hollywood Blacklist” and the “Naming of Names” happened because the Hollywood Reds were intellectual bullies who had made some of their victims angry enough to denounce them before Congress rather and take their chances with possible industry backlash. Whether the Filmmaker Pinkos posed any actual threat to Democracy, no matter how tiny, is another question. The majority of the blacklist “victims” were denounced because they had taken great glee in denouncing others.

    The Hippies, Yippies, and other such groups were only tolerant of you if you learned the Party Line (whatever it was at any given moment) and you could get shut out for talking out of turn as easily with the Flower Children as with the most paranoid John Birch chapter. The colleges and Universities have only adopted such obvious tactics as “free speech zones” because they are finding (to their HORROR) that more subtle (as in a grenade is more subtle than a blockbuster) methods no longer work.

    1. The whole “revolution betrayed!” stuff is pretty tiresome. It’s nothing new that the revolutionaries turn out to just be mad that they aren’t in charge and crushing dissent. Like how Robespierre opposed the death penalty and censorship except for people that opposed him?

      1. There is a betrayed revolution in the U.S., you know.

      2. The whole “Revolution” stuff is pretty goddamned tired, too. Revolutionaries are violent, egotistical, ostentatiously stupid, and universally unfit to govern (that one’s easy; so is everybody). The “American Revolution” wasn’t a revolution in the same sense that the Bayeaux Tapestry isn’t a tapestry. It may be the first thing we think of when the word “revolution” is mentioned, but it doesn’t actually fit the definition. A revolution is a violent overthrow of the social status-quo. The “revolutionaries” were trying to defend the state quo – the high degree of self-governance that the Colonies had enjoyed before George III decided to get hands-on.

        “Communist” and “socialist” revolutionaries have, historically, been violent psychopaths, or intellectual twits incapable to actually accomplishing anything. The former have routinely used the latter, and then liquidated them the moment they became inconvenient or annoying.

  12. I have a question for the editors here, which is vaguely related to this post. . .well, no, not really. If NASA lacks the cojones to rush into manned spaceflight right now (most likely by jump-starting the development of a manned Dragon spacecraft), is there any reason a private company couldn’t engage SpaceX to do the same? Can NASA prevent that on regulatory grounds, because Dragon isn’t “man-rated” (neither were many previous manned spacecraft, by the way)?

    This business with Russia really highlights the need for an American option for manned spaceflight, preferably a private one. And, once that starts happening, then companies in waiting, like Bigelow, can get going with even more ambitious plans.

    1. Can NASA prevent that on regulatory grounds, because Dragon isn’t “man-rated” (neither were many previous manned spacecraft, by the way)?

      Given our current culture of government, I’m going to say that’s a ‘yes’.

      1. Well, maybe. Scaled did it, right? I mean, that was suborbital, but it was technically spaceflight. Legally, I believe the FAA has focused almost entirely on people not participating in the flight, as far as its regulations go, so, in theory, you, me, and Auric could sign up for a flight to ISS with SpaceX, and go up the next launch window.

        I’m not sure how close SpaceX actually is, and I think they’d like to run an abort test before sending up any people, but I bet they could do it this year, if someone would pay for the flight.

        If it’s a strategic need, and I actually think it is, what about the military paying SpaceX to launch some test pilots?

        1. Wait until there’s an accident. Government abhors a power vacuum.

          1. I think there’s at least some acceptance of the risk to the pilots and crew. Much less so for people on the ground.

            On the other hand, I do worry about what happens on one of these suborbital flights when some celebrity gets blow’d up. We’d probably ban all spaceflight after that.

            1. Some FAA or NASA administrator probably already has the “sorrow for the loss” speech written up for just this occasion and he no doubt has some great policy ideas that would suddenly feel right when everyone is still crying about the loss of their favorite action hero movie star.

              If there’s one thing I’m certain about, the US govt has incredible capacity for fucking up any market that even smells free.

              1. I think there’s an article in this–a call to a private entity with the cash to fund a manned test of Dragon ASAP. Maybe Bigelow?

                If NASA would keep its trap shut, it could benefit as well, assuming there’s no legal bar to a private manned flight, because a successful test of Dragon as a manned vehicle would mean a viable option for ISS. NASA would need to cooperate, though, because SpaceX might be reluctant to piss off their biggest customer.

    2. there actually are laws that prevent a private citizen from launching thier own space craft. they claim if a private citizen launches something the Russians will think its a nuke launch and strike back they also make claims of FAA interference and with all the satalite something will hit something etc. In other words they believe they can stop you but who can if you succeed.

      1. Okay, fine. Then Congress needs to give SpaceX (or any other private rocket company) an exemption until there’s a manned spaceflight industry. Just like they granted other exemptions, like purchasing Russian rocket engines.

        1. You are probably one the nicest, or 100 most nice, regular commenters on H&R, but I have to take you to task on this.

          Why on earth do you want to strap a man to a rocket and shoot him into space? I wouldn’t strap a chimp to a rocket for this purpose. There’s all sorts of expensive engineering problems that come along with this that could be side-stepped by using a robot.

          1. The guys getting strapped to the rockets want to be known as Dragon Riders, which sounds way more badass in their head than it will to the womenfolk.

            1. “I’m a rocket man burning all the years up here alone”. Stop by Wendy’s on your way back.

          2. Robots are very limited and are not a substitute for men. Besides, there are many, many people willing to take the risk.

            1. Robots are very limited and are not a substitute for men.

              Robots are the tools of man. No man is going to pick up a rock with his bare hands on mars.

              Besides, there are many, many people willing to take the risk.

              You want to send a white man to Mars? No, white men went to the moon, lets send a black man to mars. I’ll leave the rest to Dave Chappel.

  13. Yay! Maker’s Fair. Love it. Oh wait, there are roving reactionaries looking to score political points for position paper politics at a fucking San Francisco festival celebrating creativity and curiosity. Fucking a asshole, thanks for ruining that for me, douche!

  14. I find it entertaining that this is considered a “culture”. As a young guy whom has spent most of the last decade in very moderate means I would call it something else. Building or repairing stuff because you cannot afford to buy new. Of course now that I have a real job I am working on getting the stuff together to build my own aircraft.

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