BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition 2012

If you’re at a loose end this coming weekend, go along to the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition at the RDS this week. You’ll enjoy it. Yes, really.

I’ve been to the show a couple of times over the years. There were projects on weather, studies on crops, sexuality and society, web applications, teeny electronic steam-punkedness. The most impressive thing about the show is the students. Some bristle, “ask me stuff”, others are a little reticent – but all are passionate about the who, what, why and how of their projects.

This year’s show opens on Wednesday and runs right through to Saturday, although be warned that after the prize-giving this Friday, the booths tend to close up and students go home.

A hymn to making

Caterina wrote a really thoughful piece on making things. If there’s just one post you’ll read this week. Read it. You know sometimes how the word “make” has been claimed along with “game” and mangled into something that one feels dirty reading. Well, they shouldn’t be.

Caterina’s post has been swimming in my mind for few days, and it came to the surface yesterday as I read this tweet by @jessefarmer:

People don’t want to be convinced, they want to be inspired.

These both come from the same place. As human beans, we all just wanna be inspired. The things that inspire me to make things or make things better are not reading about Y Combinator deals, or going to enterpreneur- sandwiched meetups. It’s not baitlinkings. Or ebooks.

Sometimes the frustration of mangled double-speak on topic of technology makes me want to scream bullshit like I used to and run away like a seven-year girl. If someone is inspired, they’re probably hacking together something rather than speaking around it. They are probably investing their time in things they love making.

My day job necessitates me being a critic all day long. I enjoy this. But sometimes, the doing of trying to make things better gives one a sinking feeling, nay a hesitation, of making things from scratch. 9-5, I plan for gaps. Afterhours, it can be difficult to focus on the making things, gaps and all. It slows the pace of making, as I Hans Brinker my way through. Plugging gaps in designs proactively. And that’s something I have to deal with, and something I’m getting better at. But even then, I’m inspired and led to making things, by the things that made me. Kinda like Caterina alludes to.

In a roundabout kind of way, I suppose I’m saying that making doesn’t have to be profound or released to the public or a straight line or the subject of every greasy-till fumble. And the making of Silly is needed now more than ever.