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Sunday, June 19, 2011

London in the Rain - Interesting 2011

The view of Holborn London Underground station on Saturday 18th June at lunchtime. Grim isn't it?

Wet Holborn Tube - Interesting 2011

People sheltered just inside the Tube station waiting for the heavy downpour to stop. Meanwhile, I was sitting in Japanese cafe across the road, having had a fun morning at Interesting 2011 and wondering what delights awaited me when I went back for the rest of the afternoon.

Interesting is one of my favourite events in London, and this year we were promised "less yammering and more hammering". We got this in shedloads. Rather than the previous format of  just listening to fascinating people for the day (which in my book would have been interesting enough on a wet Saturday afternoon), all 200 of us had do stuff.

Making Notebooks - Interesting 2011

Stuff included putting together notebooks in an effort to make a World Record for creating handmade notebooks.  Many thanks to Stanley James Press for that.

Further stuff included playing with theremins after a hypnotic demonstration of the musical technique by Sarah Angliss and Hugo a ventriloquist's puppet "rescued from the attic of a dead magician."

Hugo and Sarah - Interesting 2011

Just before lunch we had an hour of "cookery" with Chris Heathcote:

Cooking Rules - Interesting 2011

This included making tomato caviar and working out whether we were "super-tasters".

Making Tomato Caviar - Interesting 2011

Plus challenging our senses with noisy food and things that made sour food taste sweet.  This has given me a few extra ideas for bloggers' cook-off Nom Nom Nom 2011 - which I'm helping to organise again.  If you'd like to enter - please do.

Preparing Mousetraps - Interesting 2011

After lunch was the highlight of the day for me (and in a day with many excellent highlights that's an achievement). We set up hundreds of mousetraps and loaded them with ping pong balls in an effort to "explain how a nuclear bomb works". I can safely say I have never set up so many mousetraps in my life and luckily my fingers survived well enough to be typing this.

Setting off mousetraps - Interesting 2011

Mr Reid aka Alby - the man behind this experiment - you rock. I wish my physics teacher at school had been like you.

Prototyping - Interesting 2011

Finally, we took part in some prototyping using cardboard boxes and loads of thought provoking stickers - thanks to Stuart Bannocks. What initially sounded too much like real work for a weekend, turned out to be great fun.

Garden-in-a-box - Interesting 2011

Somehow I managed to prototype a "Garden in a box" device, which would take data from bar codes / QR codes on items bought, about to be thrown away or recycled. You would then input this into the web enabled device to somehow create energy to make things grow. Please don't ask how.

There were many other interesting things thrown into the day - check out #interesting2011 on Twitter to see what everyone else got up to.  More of my pictures from Interesting 2011 are here.

Hugo & Russell - Interesting 2011

Russell Davies the man who puts Interesting together truly lived up the promise of "less yammering and more hammering" and helped turn a wet Saturday in June into a wonderful day.

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