The J Curve

Saturday, May 05, 2007


The words just warm the heart. WIRED recently launched the GeekDad blog with multiple contributors.

Parenthood is an atavistic adventure, especially for geeks who rediscover their child-like wonder and awe… and find that they can relate better to kids than many adults. The little people really appreciate arrested development in adults. =)

Another cause for celebration is the rediscovery of toys, but as an adult with a bigger allowance. Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired, put it well in one of his GeekDad posts: “Get Lego Mindstorms NXT. Permission to build and program cool toy robots is not the only reason to have children, but it's up there.”

Here are my contributions so far:

Beginner Ants with the NASA gel ant farm

Beginner’s Video Rocketry to capture video feeds from a soaring rocket

Peering into the Black Box: Household appliances become less mysterious when you take them apart

Cheap Laser Art: amazing emergent images with just a laser pointer and a camera

Slot Cars Revisited: modern cars with modern materials

Rocket Science Redux : Trying to build the smallest possible rocket is a great way for children to learn rocket science

Easter Egg Deployment by Rocket with a hundred little parachutes

Celebrate the Child-Like Mind, a topical repost from the J-Curve

From what I can see, the best scientists and engineers nurture a child-like mind. They are playful, open minded and unrestrained by the inner voice of reason, collective cynicism, or fear of failure.

Children remind us of how to be creative, and they foster an existential appreciation of the present. Our perception of the passage of time clocks with salient events. The sheer activity level of children and their rapid transformation accelerates the metronome of life.


  • Hi Steve - When I had a "win" in the stock sale department in '96, I used it to become a full time father for 6 years. My favorite times were getting back to comics w/my son and developing an inventions file with both son and daughter. The favorite toy is our radio controlled BLIMP for use at all dance parties and to demo convection currents in our cavernous family room :-)

    Dave Gobel

    By Blogger Dave, at 4:31 AM  

  • besides playfulness, i kind of remember myself as a child(5 yrs) -gave much more sharp, intelligent responses,
    dont know where i have lost all that
    miss my childhood- altho i always wanted to grow up fast when small

    By Blogger contraddict, at 10:34 AM  

  • Also,geekdads a neat blog.. :)

    By Blogger contraddict, at 10:40 AM  

  • Steve,

    Thanks for pointing this out. One really neat activity: stop motion animation. You can use the legos and all those other fun toys to create movies. The kids absolutely love it. Try Stop Motion Pro. They have a demo version that is great.

    By Blogger Nathan Furr, at 4:05 PM  

  • Funny you should mention LEGO stop motion.... Some cameras, like the Lumix, offer it in camera. Here's my first animation... ;-)

    By Blogger Steve Jurvetson, at 5:28 PM  

  • Ah, I remember programming an Atari 400 with its BASIC cartridge and an audio tape drive as a kid. And what aspiring geek could resist Radio Shack's 1 million-in-1 electronics kit. Thanks for the memories....(tear)...

    By Anonymous Patrick Lin, at 7:33 PM  

  • Thanks for sharing it with us. You can use the legos and all those other fun toys to create movies; check it ou their demos on web design company The kids absolutely love it. Try Stop Motion Pro. They have a demo version that is great. May be this shall work out...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:14 AM  

  • Trying to put some numbers around how many neurons we have is pointless if we don't find means to fire synaptic connections and both work and play are two parts to this neural fusion; which is how challenge relates to creativity and creativity relates to challenge.

    The disconnection of adulthood is freedom and freedom is found in the relationship between challenge and creativity and it is pretty evident in this blog.

    This relationship is not our inner child but our relationship to freedom. This relationship occurs in all thinking areas of our body, thinking areas that include the human heart, our guts, our sensory outwardness and our skin.

    Where the comparison with children is befitting is that children just experience these things without the creation of adult labels, and what is enslavement other than being governed in the confines of defined boundary. Look at the way blogs have boundaries today - most people have start apparent start points and end points - like a rocket that goes into the air and runs out of fuel. Most have turned blogs into a ritual rather than an exploration of individual freedom.

    Our minds are unlike rockets, for the more energy we distribute to different regions of the mind, the exponential the energy imagination provides us in return, yet we continue to write blogs like we fire rockets. Ultimately what changes our thinking are the connected things we experience and the personal freedoms we create.

    Simply to write a blog in a chronological fashion is IMHO a waste of human life, but if the writing or the flickr photo's add some connection and value to what we do in real life, then we don't live our life in a photo-album but in the only innocence we were actually born with which is the relationship between the challenge and creativity, which enabled to provide us the option to share in public fashion a richer experience of existence.

    This relationship can lead to a rebirth (which for want of words could be called child-like) and that is our choice, but unlike children, adults carry the weight of accumulated experience and here lies the flaw of adulthood, experience should never become heavy or a weight, if it is, it is time to let that heaviness go.

    It is the challenge and creativity of how we handle, fuse, adapt and advance our experiences that is the chief take away for me of having perused, observed and learned from what I gained from visiting this blog today - what is important about today is that its 16th November 2007 and freedom is ultimately about shaping life within any given day and what that contributes to the neural nature of our present moment. Do we dance to the adult rules of the blog or do we treat a blog like a new born child - on that gives birth to the perpetual twins called imagination and experience.


    By Anonymous Syven, at 6:40 AM  

  • Congrats steve,

    its a well written.. keep posting


    By Anonymous Web design and Web development, at 10:48 PM  

  • Rockets are flippin awesome. You know what's better than rockets themsevles, is a startup building rockets... some important steps you would want to take to doing this...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:15 PM  

  • Hi,
    Great insights.
    This is really good.
    Keep writing...

    By Anonymous Web Design Los Angeles, at 4:59 AM  

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