Sunday, November 27, 2011

3rd Annual Faraday's Holiday Event

We are once again preparing for the annual Faraday's Holiday Event. We're still at the Whittier Center, 290 N 400 E, Logan, UT 84321. Suggested donations are still $2 adults, $1 teens, & $0.50 kids, although we do welcome any additional donation you wish to make. The Keynote Speaker this year will be Jens Trauntvein from ATK. New this year will be Stellarium presentations in the Pink Room (or Commons Room, since it got painted over the summer & is no longer pink) at 6:30 & 8:00. Mr Trauntvein's presentation will be at about 7:15, with Neil Dabb's traditional home science demonstration immediately after, followed by snacks, a craft, and visiting the booths of the various participating companies and organizations.
One thing we do need is a projector, so if you know of where we can borrow one for the night, please e-mail me

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Weaving & Math

Did you know that weaving uses math?

Not many people even know how to weave anymore (at least in industrialized countries). We go to the store & buy ready-made clothes. Or, if we're ambitious, or just can't find clothes that fit, or want a special costume for something like Halloween or a Science Fiction convention, we might buy fabric.

Well, this month, I learned tablet weaving. Tablet weaving was used all over the world for thousands of years to make trim, belts, straps, ties, etc. You use some little cards with holes in them, usually 4 holes per card. One piece of thread goes through each hole, so if you have 4 holes, you have 4 piece of thread per card. Then you add cards until it's as wide as you want it. The piece I made used 7 cards and is about 3/8 inch wide. The math comes in how you thread different colors of thread through the holes, and how you turn the cards to make the pattern.

I just learned this, so I just copied the pattern given in the class handout, & don't really know how to explain how to use math to make other patterns, but I know it can be done. A Google image search for "tablet weaving" produces all sorts of fancy patterns.

Some good links to check out:

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Yesterday I met with Chris Schultz out at the American West Heritage Center in preparation for the Giant Star Party on 12 August 2011. I will once again be giving Stellarium Presentations about the Perseid meteor shower in the Livery Stable at 7:30, 8:30, 9:30, & 10:30 pm. The event goes from 7 pm to 11 pm, and there will be pony rides, wagon rides, storytellers, Dr Quakenbush (sorry Dr Q if I spelled that wrong), a glow-in-the-dark carnival, and a gunfight! Anyone who brings a telescope gets in free, otherwise it's $6.

Meanwhile, on the Artemisian Costumers Challenge I haven't made much progress. Moving will do that to you. Oh, btw, my hubby & I bought a house! I did, however, find some linen curtains at a yard sale for 50¢.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Medieval Arts & Sciences

Last week I was at Uprising War, an event of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) held in Firth, Idaho. On Wednesday evening, I taught a class on Norse Astronomy. It was a short class. For one thing, it was cloudy, so no stars were visible. For another, while the Vikings knew & had names for a number of stars, we can only identify a few of them. See Digitalis: Norse Constellations and Viking Answer Lady: Viking Age Star and Constellation Names for more information.

While at Uprising, a challenge was issued to create a complete outfit from any period or culture covered by the SCA. Basically, this means anything pre-1600. I will be creating a Viking apron-dress. My sister-in-law gifted me with 5 yards of hand-woven wool that's about 23 inches wide - a common width for period fabrics. She wanted to give me brooches for Christmas, but the mold didn't work, & I want to try to make some myself (with her teaching me, naturally). I also want to make a linen chemise, but I need to figure out how I'm going to get that linen as there is a $100 limit. And I will be making a coat, probably out of flannel that I already have. All of these are projects I have been planning for this summer, but now with the challenge I need to take pictures & finish them by New Year's Day. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


This weekend is CONduit Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention in Salt Lake City, UT. I will be assisting with an electricity demo & another demo for kids, running the Star Party Friday evening (weather permitting), and will be on panels about space travel, costuming, and the interaction of fannish activities with professional life. Dan will be on a plant panel, environment panel, chainmail workshop, & one of the costuming panels. Oh, we also get to be judges for the Hall Costume Contest. If you can make it to CONduit, look us up, especially if you're wearing a costume!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Yuri's Night

Today was the 50th anniversary of the first person in space, Yuri Gagarin. It was also the 30th anniversary of the first Space Shuttle and the 10th anniversary of the first Yuri's Night. I wasn't at any of those, but I had been in Graz, Austria in 2000, when the UN Space Generation Advisory Council was formed, and Loretta Hidalgo (now Whitesides) had the idea for Yuri's Night. For the last ten years, I've tried to get something going in whatever town I was in for Yuri's Night. But I don't like huge parties, such as New York, Moscow, DC, and LA have, and really don't have the contacts to put on such a party. But this year I finally organized a Yuri's Night Cache Valley. It was not a huge party. In fact, it was only 6 of us at my in-laws house, and mostly we just rehashed a lot of what had been talked about at our last board meeting (although there were a few other topics of conversation). We had chips & dip & lemonade to snack on, and we finally got to meet the college student who has been working with David on grant proposals for a class this semester.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Break

This week is Spring Break for both Utah school districts here in Cache Valley. I don't know about Idaho, but I haven't had any response from the Idaho schools at all this year. So no substitute teaching and no presentations.

The last two weeks, however, have been pretty busy. I've been to River Heights and Wellsville Elementary Schools for a whole days worth of presentations each, and North Park Elementary had their science fair. I did a very informal tour of the solar system for the science fair presentation, as people were coming in and out at different times. And then the biggie: My first middle school presentations using Stellarium was last Tuesday at Spring Creek Middle School in Providence. I spent the entire day giving 6th grade presentations. A student teacher at Spring Creek was actually the one who contacted me, so the presentations were all on constellations for her classes and her cooperating teacher's. Her advisor from Utah State University showed up, so I had a chance to talk to him.

The 6th grade constellation presentation is specifically designed to answer some questions for the kids that appear on the state exam. One of the questions shows a diagram of the Sun at noon, with the line art of a constellation behind it, another constellation at the eastern horizion, and a third on the western horizon. The kids are asked to identify which of the three constellations the Sun will be in when it sets. The correct answer is the same one as it is in at noon, but from working at the Clark Planetarium, I learned that this is not an easy question for 12-year-olds to understand. The other questions I try to answer have to do with the coordinate systems used in astronomy, and the relationship between star brightness and star distances. If anyone has a 6th grader, or knows a 6th grade teacher, please let them know about our programs, and direct them to our outreach website, Jr Science & Astronomy (

Sunday, February 20, 2011

LtUE 29

This weekend I was at Life, the Universe, and Everything XXIX, The Marion K. “Doc” Smith Symposium on Science Fiction & Fantasy. On Thursday morning, I was on a panel on Using the Scriptures for Story Ideas. Oh yeah, this symposium happens at Brigham Young University. Later, I was on a panel about Time Travel, Quantum Physics, and Parallel Universes. That one was a lot of fun. On Friday, my husband gave a presentation on When Plants go Bad. My final presentation was Using Stellarium in the Classroom. It was part of the Educators' Conference on Saturday, and not many people came. I think LtUE needs to improve advertising to teachers, 'cause even those who came to my presentation weren't school teachers but parents.

We had a lot of fun hanging out with all our ConFriends, and met several cool new people. Actually, we made it a point to meet new people, such as sitting next to unfamiliar faces during panels and at the banquet. We also bought XDM, & my husband is planning to run some games using it. I'm looking forward to that.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Letter From IRS

Today we had our monthly board meeting, and Arno came in with a sad look on his face & a sad tone in his voice. Earlier this week we had received a letter from the IRS. He starts reading it to us...

We got the 501(c)3 status! We are now officially a nonprofit organization! Now we can start going after lots of grants! YAY!!!

Can you tell I'm happy about this? This is a major milestone. We successfully jumped through the hoops, and now there's more paperwork to fill out. Well, there would have been more paperwork to fill out regardless, but having that official little number 501(c)3 and our code that goes with it, will help a lot.

Oh, yeah, the code - there were several strings of numbers, & we aren't sure which is the relevant one, but we'll figure it out, & we can give it to people and organizations who give us money. But most importantly, there are now organizations willing to consider giving us money which wouldn't even talk to us before.

*Happy Dance*, or as my husband said, "Party time!"