Cool photos of creativity at Maker Faire San Diego!

A huge spider-like working octopod vehicle on display in the Plaza de Panama at 2016 Maker Faire San Diego!
A huge spider-like working octopod vehicle on display in the Plaza de Panama at 2016 Maker Faire San Diego!

Check out some cool photos! I took these this morning at 2016 Maker Faire San Diego which is being held this weekend in Balboa Park!

This now annual event–I believe this is the second year–attracts creative people of every type: engineers, inventors, dreamers, artists, students . . .  If the human imagination can envision it, these folks will build it!

If you are a dreamer and a doer, head down to Balboa Park and be inspired!

Maker Faire San Diego has taken over Balboa Park this weekend. The annual event features creations and creators who like building cool stuff!
Maker Faire San Diego has taken over Balboa Park this weekend. The annual event features fantastic creations and the inspired creators who like building cool stuff!
This super cool octopod moves slowly forward and backward using its spider-like feet. I learned that it doesn't steer very well, however.
This super cool octopod moves slowly forward and backward using its spider-like feet. I’d love to sit inside and drive it! I learned that it doesn’t steer very well, however.
In the morning, before the Maker Faire officially opened, I spotted two cupcake cars heading through Balboa Park!
In the morning, before the Maker Faire officially opened, I spotted two cupcake cars heading through Balboa Park!
This guy was flying what appeared to be a huge model of a Star Wars Imperial Star Destroyer down Balboa Park's El Prado!
This guy was flying what appeared to be a huge model of a Star Wars Imperial Star Destroyer down Balboa Park’s El Prado!
A bunch of Maker Faire exhibitors set up on Saturday morning in front of the San Diego Air and Space Museum in Balboa Park.
A bunch of Maker Faire exhibitors set up on Saturday morning in front of the San Diego Air and Space Museum in Balboa Park.
This human powered submarine was created by a team of students at UCSD. It competed in the International Submarine Race and was propelled by a 3-D printed fin.
This human powered submarine was created by a team of students at UCSD. It competed in the International Submarine Race and was propelled by a 3-D printed fin.
This cool robot was created by high school students, namely High Tech High's Top Hat Technicians. It competed in an event where a ball had to be shot at a goal.
This cool robot was created by high school students, namely High Tech High’s Top Hat Technicians. It competed in an event where a ball had to be shot at a goal.
Make your own molecule using this cardboard Molecube!
Make your own molecule using this cardboard Molecube!
These awesome guitars were made by students in a special STEM Guitar-Building class at San Diego City College.
These awesome guitars were made by students in a special STEM Guitar-Building class at San Diego City College.
The Ghostbusters ECTO-1 vehicle has arrived for Maker Faire San Diego, as well as a Jeep from Jurassic Park.
The Ghostbusters ECTO-1 vehicle has arrived for Maker Faire San Diego, as well as a Jeep from Jurassic Park.
Commissioner Gordon must be nearby. I spotted his Gotham Police Department vehicle.
Commissioner Gordon must be nearby. I spotted his Gotham Police Department vehicle.
A tiny house would be built here during the Maker Faire weekend. When I first walked by, the floor was being laid down.
A tiny house would be built here during the Maker Faire weekend. When I first walked by, the floor was being laid down.
About an hour later, one wall was already up!
About an hour later, one wall was already up!
The Electric Giraffe returned for 2016 Maker Faire San Diego. It walks, talks, and has become quite a phenomenon. It has even appeared at the White House!
The Electric Giraffe returned for 2016 Maker Faire San Diego. It walks, talks, and has become quite a phenomenon. It has even appeared at the White House!
The Electric Giraffe is 17 feet tall when its neck is fully raised. Its horns (actually ossicones) appear to be lava lamps!
The Electric Giraffe is 17 feet tall when its neck is fully raised. Its “horns” (actually ossicones) appear to be lava lamps!
These creators at Maker Faire San Diego were building the Temple for Youtopia. It's an interlocking plywood parabaloid with a single light source at it's focal point.
These creators at Maker Faire San Diego were building the Temple for Youtopia. It’s an interlocking plywood parabaloid with a single light source at it’s focal point. When finished, light shines out everywhere.
A similar Temple is built each year at Burning Man and set on fire.
A similar Temple is built each year at Burning Man and set on fire.
I noticed a lot of cool Star Wars cosplay at 2016 Maker Faire San Diego.
I noticed a lot of cool Star Wars cosplay at 2016 Maker Faire San Diego.
Star Wars cosplay between Balboa Park's House of Hospitality and the Japanese Friendship Garden.
I caught this Star Wars cosplay between Balboa Park’s House of Hospitality and the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Back in Balboa Park's central Plaza de Panama, the San Diego Sabers engaged in a fast-paced lightsaber battle!
Back in Balboa Park’s central Plaza de Panama, the San Diego Sabers engaged in a fast-paced lightsaber battle!
Enthusiasts in cool costumes engage in lightsaber combat as a crowd watches during 2016 Maker Faire San Diego!
Enthusiasts in cool protective costumes engage in lightsaber combat as a crowd watches during 2016 Maker Faire San Diego!
Anybody passing by was invited to Paint a Prius near the San Diego Automotive Museum!
Anybody passing by was invited to Paint a Prius near the San Diego Automotive Museum!
Kids have a blast in front of the San Diego Air and Space Museum. Air-propelled rockets were flying all over the place.
Kids have a blast in front of the San Diego Air and Space Museum. Air-propelled rockets were flying all over the place.
Kids at Maker Faire San Diego test a carbon dioxide cannon, made from a garbage can!
Kids at Maker Faire San Diego test a carbon dioxide cannon, made from a garbage can!
This remote control robot batter was swinging wildly at beach balls. A rather amusing scene! (Wish I'd taken a better photo.)
This remote control robot batter was swinging wildly at beach balls. A rather amusing scene! (Wish I’d taken a better photo.)
Here comes AR-Duo, the Caloric Rover, a cool steampunk rolling doohickey which is beyond awesome.
Here comes AR-Duo, the Caloric Rover, a cool steampunk rolling doohickey which is beyond awesome.
There's just too much fun at 2016 Maker Faire San Diego! Head over to Balboa Park this weekend!
There’s just too much fun at 2016 Maker Faire San Diego! Head over to Balboa Park this weekend!

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Cool photos: OB Pier celebrates 50th anniversary!

Visitors to the Ocean Beach Pier during its 50th anniversary celebration look at posters with information that concern the amazing concrete pier's construction and history.
Visitors to the Ocean Beach Pier during its 50th anniversary celebration look at posters containing information about the amazing concrete pier’s construction and history.

I enjoyed a walk along the Ocean Beach Municipal Pier this morning around 10 o’clock, just as the pier’s 50th anniversary celebration got underway! One of my favorite places in San Diego, the OB Pier has a fascinating history.

Here are some cool photos of what I saw and learned! To enlarge the posters containing historical information, click the images!

A table near the OB Pier gate welcomes people to the 50th anniversary celebration with flyers and event info.
A table near the OB Pier gate welcomes people to the 50th anniversary celebration with flyers and event info.
This San Diego Fishing Pier plaque was unveiled on July 2, 1966, 50 years ago when the Ocean Beach Municipal Pier first opened to the public.
This San Diego Fishing Pier plaque was unveiled on July 2, 1966, 50 years ago when the engineering marvel known today as the Ocean Beach Municipal Pier first opened to the public.
A good crowd turned out for the beloved pier's big day! Here we are looking west toward the Pacific Ocean.
A good crowd turned out for the beloved pier’s big day! Here we are looking west toward the Pacific Ocean.
Later in the day, a new plaque would be unveiled near the stairs down to the beach.
Later in the day, a new plaque would be unveiled near the stairs down to the beach.
Turning for a moment back east toward Ocean Beach. It's a pleasant if somewhat overcast morning in July.
Turning for a moment back east toward Ocean Beach. It’s a pleasant if somewhat overcast morning in early July.
A stand up paddle surfer next to the OB Pier. It's possible to watch a lot of surfing action from the top of the pier on almost any given day.
A stand up paddle surfer next to the OB Pier. It’s possible to watch a lot of surfing action from the top of the pier on almost any given day.
The familiar old Pier Cafe has a brand new red, white and blue paint job!
The familiar old Pier Cafe has a brand new red, white and blue paint job!
People were poking their heads through a couple of fun photo props, set up just for the special occasion.
People were poking their heads through a couple of fun photo props, set up just for the special occasion.
As we approach the hub of the anniversary event, just past the Walking on Water Cafe, a lady peers through the jaws of a shark!
As we approach the hub of the anniversary event, just past the Walking on Water Cafe, a lady peers through the jaws of a shark!
The United States Postal Service had a temporary philatelic station out on the OB Pier! Anyone could have a special pier postcard stamped with a custom-designed postmark!
The United States Postal Service had a temporary philatelic station out on the OB Pier! Anyone could have a special pier postcard stamped with a custom-designed postmark!
Before the OB Pier was built, the Mission Bay Bridge across the San Diego River was used by trolleys, cars and fishermen. The Del Monte Avenue Steel Pier's construction was halted due to WWII.
Before the OB Pier was built, the Mission Bay Bridge across the San Diego River was used by trolleys, cars and fishermen. It no longer exists. The Del Monte Avenue Steel Pier’s construction was halted due to WWII.
The Souvenir Dedication Program Book dated July 2, 3, and 4, 1966. The original opening celebration was also around the Fourth of July!
The Souvenir Dedication Program Book dated July 2, 3, and 4, 1966. The original opening celebration was also around the Fourth of July!
Planning the pier. Historical photos of the people who commissioned and built the truly amazing 1971 feet long concrete pier--the longest on the West Coast. Its original purpose was simply for fishing, out beyond rock and kelp beds!
Planning the pier. Historical photos of the people who commissioned and built the truly amazing 1971 feet long pier–the longest concrete pier on the West Coast. Its original purpose was simply for fishing, out beyond rock and kelp beds!
Engineering the OB Pier was no small feat. Thirteen months were required for the pier's completion because of various design changes.
Engineering the OB Pier was no small feat. Thirteen months were required for the pier’s completion because of various design changes.
Poster shows photos of the OB Pier construction back in the 1960s. 2 foot diameter piles were place 12 feet deep into bedrock. Slabs placed on top were welded securely.
Poster shows photos of the OB Pier construction back in the 1960s. The 2 foot diameter piles were place 12 feet deep into bedrock. Slabs were placed on top and everything was welded securely.
I couldn't help but notice a surfer in this old photograph! Nothing can deter a good ride on the mighty ocean, even half a century ago!
I couldn’t help but notice a surfer in this old photograph! No obstacle can deter a good ride on the mighty ocean, even half a century ago!
Photo shows concrete pilings and steel. The pier has survived countless huge storms over the decades.
Photo shows concrete pilings and steel. The pier has survived countless huge storms over the decades.
A poster highlights events at today's Ocean Beach Pier 50th anniversary. There will be spectacular fireworks this Fourth of July!
A poster highlights events at today’s Ocean Beach Pier 50th anniversary. There will be spectacular fireworks this Fourth of July!
Photos of the opening celebration weekend in 1966. Governor Edmund Brown cut the ribbon and cast the first fishing line . . . but gave up after 5 minutes! Festivities included parades, a surfing and variety show, and a sandcastle contest.
Photos of the opening celebration weekend in 1966. California Governor Edmund Brown cut the ribbon and cast the first fishing line . . . but gave up after 5 minutes! Festivities included parades, a surfing and variety show, and a sandcastle contest.
This cool dude gave me the thumbs up while hanging a display for the OB Pier's 50th anniversary. That's Ocean Beach style!
This cool dude gave me the thumbs up while hanging a display for the Ocean Beach Pier’s 50th anniversary. That’s OB style!
Generations of San Diegans have been fishing here for half a century. I wonder . . . how many fish have been caught over the years?
Generations of San Diegans have been fishing here for half a century. I wonder . . . how many fish have been caught over the years?
A gull and the OB Pier hover over the restless ocean. This 180 feet extension of the south arm at the pier's end was added at a later time, and remains a favorite spot for fishing way out where the water is around 30 feet deep.
A gull and the OB Pier hover over the restless ocean. This 180 feet extension of the south arm at the pier’s end was added at a later time, and remains a favorite spot for fishing way out where the water is around 30 feet deep.

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How to make fun, simple science stuff for kids!

A mad scientist at the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering shows a kid how to have some fun with magnets!
A mad scientist at the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering shows a kid how to have some fun with magnets!

Here are 14 different simple science and engineering projects that kids are sure to love! I’ve included lots of instructions and photographs–courtesy of many exhibitors at this year’s San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering Expo, held yesterday at Petco Park. I also blogged about the event last year.

Check out this fun stuff! Feel free to share! First up . . . how to make slime!

HOW TO MAKE SLIME

Who doesn’t love slime? Slime is fun! And making it is easy! These instructions are courtesy of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, who had a fascinating exhibit at the big STEM education event held at Petco Park.

Just click the image with easy directions to enlarge it! You can enlarge the other images on my blog in the same way, if you want a closer look. Feel free to share these useful how-to photos on Pinterest or with your friends, if you’d like!

How to make slime. You need borax powder, water, white glue and food coloring. Click each image to enlarge instructions.
How to make slime. You need borax powder, water, white glue and food coloring. Click each image to enlarge instructions.

HOW TO MAKE A FUN PAPER ROCKET

Follow the diagram to cut and fold a simple paper rocket with paper clip! These instructions are courtesy of the San Diego Air and Space Museum in Balboa Park. Kids love the world-class museum. It’s one of the coolest places in San Diego!

How to make a cool paper rocket, using a rectangular piece of paper, scissors and a paper clip.
How to make a cool paper rocket, using a rectangular piece of paper, scissors and a paper clip.

HOW TO FOLD AN ORIGAMI BOAT

Look at these instructions on how to fold your very own origami boat! My friends at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park provided this information! I even once made one! (And if I can succeed, believe me–anyone can do it!)

How to fold an easy origami boat that really floats!
How to fold an easy origami boat that really floats!

HOW TO MAKE MATCHBOX ROCKETS THAT REALLY WORK!

Here’s how you can make a tiny rocket that actually works in much the same way as a real solid-fuel rocket. Wrap a single matchstick in a small strip of tin foil, then crimp one end. Look at my photos to get an idea of what to do. Be careful! You know what they say about playing with matches! Have an adult help out!

Oh, I forgot to mention. This cool experiment is courtesy of the Magnolia Science Academy!

How to make matchbox rockets and why it works. This is for older, supervised kids. Fire can be dangerous.
How to make matchbox rockets and why they work. This is for older, supervised kids. Fire can be dangerous.
Wrap a match in a small strip of aluminum foil.
Wrap a match in a small strip of aluminum foil.
Crimp the match head end of the tube (the rocket's nose) so exhaust pressure doesn't escape in that direction.
Crimp the match head end of the tube (the rocket’s nose) so exhaust pressure doesn’t escape in that direction.
Prepare for lift-off from a clever, fireproof launching platform! Safely apply flame and let fly!
Prepare for lift-off from a clever, fireproof launching platform! Safely apply flame and let fly!

HOW TO MAKE AN “AIRZOOKA” THAT SHOOTS CO2 RINGS!

Here’s another cool project I discovered at the Magnolia Science Academy booth. A student had created a simple “Airzooka” that shoots perfect white cloudy rings of carbon dioxide!

The trashcan with a hole part looks easy. To create the membrane that launches the CO2 rings, you’ll need to use a somewhat flexible material, like a plastic sheet. Once the can is filled with gas, just slap it with your hand and out comes a “smoke ring”!

How to make an "airzooka" using a plastic trashcan with a hole at one end and a pliable membrane on the other. Fill with carbon dioxide and shoot rings by hitting the membrane!
How to make an “airzooka” using a plastic trashcan with a hole at one end and a pliable membrane on the other. Fill with carbon dioxide gas and shoot white rings by hitting the membrane!
The "airzooka" is loaded with carbon dioxide gas, using either dry ice (be careful) or a fog machine.
The “airzooka” is loaded with carbon dioxide gas, using either dry ice (be extremely careful) or a fog machine.

HOW TO CRAFT A FUN PAPER BAG HAT

What can you do with a paper grocery bag? Crumple it up a bit and form a Mad Hatter hat! Use your imagination and maybe a bit of glue!

This crafty idea is provided by the San Diego County Fair. This summer’s fair will have an Alice in Wonderland theme! I can’t wait!

How to make a Mad Hatter hat with crumpled paper bags and lots of fun stuff tied and glued on!
How to make a Mad Hatter hat with crumpled paper bags and lots of fun stuff tied and glued on!
You can apply ribbons, glitter, feathers, playing cards, whatever you like to fashion your crazy Mad Hatter hat! Okay, I don't suppose this really is science, but who cares!
You can apply ribbons, glitter, feathers, playing cards, whatever you like to fashion your crazy Mad Hatter hat! Okay, I don’t suppose this really is science, but who cares!

HOW TO MAKE A TINY PARACHUTE

I remember creating one of these when I was a kid. I made my parachute for a toy action figure! Just look at the picture and go to work! Pretty simple!

This parachute was put together by to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. The Fleet, located in Balboa Park, is a super cool place with loads and loads of fun hands-on science exhibits for kids, plus an awesome IMAX theater and planetarium!

How to make a simple small parachute with a Dixie cup or object providing weight, string (or similar material) and coffee filter.
How to make a simple small parachute with a Dixie cup or object providing weight, string (or similar material) and coffee filter.

HOW TO MAKE A SUPER COOL STAR WARS COSTUME!

Okay. No instructions here. Just imagination. That cool costume is actually made of all sorts of Star Wars toys! Incredible. I’m guessing that wicked-looking dude is on the Dark Side.

I believe this guy was part of the STAR WARS Steampunk Recycled Fashion and Engineering Challenge.

Yeah, making a cool costume out of Star Wars toys might take a bit of glue. But all you really need is determination and imagination! (And maybe a credit card.)
Yeah, making a cool costume out of Star Wars toys might take a bit of glue. But all you really need is determination and imagination! (And maybe a credit card.)

HOW TO USE YOUR IMAGINATION TO BUILD ANYTHING!

What are we building here? Absolutely anything! It just takes some imagination!

Just look at some of the common household items one can use to invent cool things. I’ll bet you have some of this stuff in your own home.

I took this pic at a fun table display in the Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab tent.

What can a person make with this stuff? Anything!
What can a person make with this stuff? Anything!
Objects you can use creatively include popsicle sticks, plastic spoons, straws, tubes, tape and buttons.
Objects you can use creatively include popsicle sticks, plastic spoons, straws, tubes, tape and buttons.

HOW TO MIX UP SOME SNAIL GOOP

Slime…snail goop…boogers…it’s all the same good stuff. At least it’s the same mixture of borax powder, water and white glue. A truly yucky and wonderful substance. Science rocks!

Thanks (maybe) to the Steam Maker Workshop for this gloppy sight.

Okay, snail goop is pretty much the same stuff as slime. But I like the name!
Okay, snail goop is pretty much the same stuff as slime. But I like the name!
If a snail made that much goop, it would be a monster. Fortunately, that monstrous snail would be slow.
If a snail made that much goop, it would be a monster. Fortunately, that monstrous snail would be slow.
Kids and curious adults were learning all sorts of cool concepts at the 2016 San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering at Petco Park.
Kids and curious adults were learning all sorts of cool concepts at the 2016 San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering at Petco Park.

HOW TO CREATE A 3-D OPTICAL ILLUSION WITH STRING

Here’s a cool experiment that demonstrates concepts in math and spatial geometry. Perhaps imagine that the string is a ray of light. From the “tower”, stretch the string so that it touches each of the four top corners of your cube, and plot where the string finally reaches your piece of paper. Connect those points with lines the way my photographs show, then look at the image from the end of the string! It looks like some sort of weird optical illusion, but you’ll see the result actually makes sense!

This exhibit was provided by San Diego State University’s InforMath Collaborative.

By using a string attached to this tower, you can plot the projected corners of a cube or other three dimensional object onto a flat two dimensional surface.
By using a string attached to this tower, you can plot the projected corners of a cube or other three dimensional object onto a flat two dimensional surface.
After drawing the cube's base and drawing lines to connect the square with the projected corners, I ended up with this cool figure.
After drawing the cube’s base and drawing lines to connect the square with the projected corners, I ended up with this cool figure.
When I peered at the image through a hole near the end of the string, I saw a perfect cube! Cool!
When I peered at the image through a hole near the end of the string, I saw a perfect cube! Cool!

HOW TO ASSEMBLE A COOL TENSEGRITY CONSTRUCT

Oh, man! I think you could construct most of this cool stuff with Tinkertoys. Look at the diagrams and go wild! You’ll need lots of rubber bands!

Tensegrity is another science concept that was being demonstrated at the STEM education event. A friendly gentleman explained that the sticks are like bones and the rubber bands are like muscles. So human beings and other critters are examples of tensegrity!

Oops. I apologize for not knowing who put on this exhibit.

What the heck is tensegrity? A funny word created by Buckminster Fuller. You can use rubber bands to add tension to popsicle sticks and create cool stuff.
What the heck is tensegrity? A funny word created by Buckminster Fuller. You can use rubber bands to add tension to popsicle sticks and create cool stuff.
Check it out! Tensegrity is also sometimes called tensional integrity or floating compression.
Check it out! Tensegrity is also sometimes called tensional integrity or floating compression.
These guys formed a huge tensegrity thingamajig using pipes and big rubber bands. I suppose one could use bungee cords, too.
These guys formed a huge tensegrity thingamajig using pipes and big rubber bands. I suppose one could use bungee cords, too.
Look at all the tensegrity objects you can make!
Look at all the tensegrity objects you can make!

HOW TO MAKE A VORTEX CANNON

Here’s a pic that has exact instructions on how to build a vortex air cannon. Looks really easy! (As usual, click the image to enlarge it.)

Uh, oh. I don’t know who created this exhibit, either. I forgot to take a picture with their name. My research got a bit sloppy. Sorry about that. Whoever had this table–very cool!

The vortex cannon shoots air in--you guessed it--a vortex.
The vortex cannon shoots air in–you guessed it–a vortex.
To make a vortex cannon, insert a cut water bottle into a plastic Solo cup.
To make a vortex cannon, insert a cut narrow water bottle into a larger plastic Solo cup, just like the photo.
Then cut off the nozzle of a balloon, and stretch the balloon over the open end of the cup.
Then cut off the nozzle of a balloon, and stretch the balloon over the open end of the cup.

HOW TO STIR UP LAVA IN A CUP

Finally, I’ve heard of java in a cup. But lava in a cup? Why not?

Adding salt to the floating oil makes the blob sink. It has become more dense than water. When the salt dissolves, the oil rises again!

Those instructions look super simple!

To make "lava in a cup", use food coloring, vegetable oil and salt! It's easy!
To make “lava in a cup”, use food coloring, vegetable oil and salt! It’s easy!
You can then use that colorful lava in the cup to make some colorful art! Awesome!
You can then use that colorful lava in the cup to make some colorful art! Awesome!

That’s it! You now have a whole bunch of cool and creative science projects to try out! Have a blast!

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People ride cool “live steam” trains in San Diego!

A "live steam" enthusiast watches folks ride a small train through Rohr Park, in San Diego's South Bay.
A “live steam” enthusiast watches families ride a small train through Rohr Park, in San Diego’s South Bay.

This is beyond cool!

The Chula Vista Live Steamers is a club in San Diego’s South Bay. Members build and operate their own small “live steam” trains that people can actually ride!

These friendly hobbyists utilize an elaborate network of miniature train tracks in a public park; the layout is called the Sweetwater and Rohr Park Railroad. During public run days, which take place in Bonita’s grassy Rohr Park one Saturday and Sunday of each month, anyone can watch or ride the small trains! Or if you’re inclined, join and become a member! If you have kids, visit their website, and you can schedule birthday parties!

Today I spotted one steam and one diesel locomotive (which is actually powered by gasoline). It’s winter, so things are bit slow. On Labor Day, I was told, a gigantic railroading extravaganza takes places, with many different trains running simultaneously! If you’re a kid (or a kid at heart), I can only imagine how utterly fantastic it would be!

Whether you’re a railfan, a model train enthusiast, a maker, a dreamer, or just like to see something really unique and fun, head down to join in the action and you’ll have a great time!

Should you walk down this path through Rohr Park in Bonita, you'll eventually come upon something really cool and amazing.
Should you walk down this path through Rohr Park in Bonita, you’ll eventually come upon something really cool and amazing.
Run days for The Chula Vista Live Steamers are usually the 2nd Saturday and Sunday of each month. On Labor Day there's a huge event with many trains operating.
Run days for The Chula Vista Live Steamers are usually the 2nd Saturday and Sunday of each month. On Labor Day there’s a huge event with many trains operating.
Adults love riding the trains just as much as kids. Hobbyists build and maintain the rail cars and working locomotives, and haul them to the park for some fun.
Adults love riding the trains just as much as kids. Hobbyists build and maintain the rail cars and working locomotives, and haul them to the park for some fun.
Thrilled kids ride behind a small diesel locomotive, which is actually powered by gasoline. The tracks looping through the park provide a fun, scenic ride.
Thrilled kids ride behind a small “diesel locomotive”, which is actually powered by gasoline. The tracks looping through the park provide a fun, scenic ride.
Here comes the same train. The Bonita Golf Course is in the distance, beyond the tracks.
Here comes the same train. The Bonita Golf Course is in the distance, beyond the tracks.
This working steam locomotive is a very cool sight. But it's so small that folks at a nearby picnic table seem to be giants.
This working steam locomotive is a very cool sight. But it’s so small that folks at a nearby picnic table seem to be giants.
This tiny train is part of the National City and Otay Railway!
This tiny train is part of the National City and Otay Railway!
A close-up photo of the live steam locomotive. In every detail, it seems a perfect reproduction of a full-size engine.
A close-up photo of the live steam locomotive. In every detail, it seems a perfect reproduction of a full-size engine.
Dedicated train hobbyists have gathered on the surprisingly large rail yard to watch the steam locomotive.
Dedicated train hobbyists have gathered on the surprisingly large rail yard to enjoy the steam locomotive.
This caboose in the rail yard seems to be occupied by the Creature from the Black Lagoon!
This caboose in the rail yard seems to be occupied by the Creature from the Black Lagoon!
A pair of tracks head for a good quarter mile along the edge of the Bonita Golf Course. You can see railroad crossings and a few small bridges!
A pair of tracks head for a good quarter mile along the edge of the Bonita Golf Course. You can see railroad crossings and a few small bridges!
Occasionally, trains will run down the length of the golf course to another loop.
Occasionally, trains will run down the side of the golf course to another loop.
An actual working railway turntable! This area is where steam locomotives are fired up and build up steam pressure before running. The turntable is very busy on Labor Day!
An actual working railway turntable! This area is where steam locomotives build up steam pressure before running. The turntable is very busy on Labor Day!
Checking out a super cool locomotive operated by a member of the Chula Vista Live Steamers!
Checking out a super cool locomotive operated by a member of the Chula Vista Live Steamers!

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Super cool photos of San Diego’s first Maker Faire!

Amazing 28 foot tall Robot Resurrection stands in Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama during 2015 Maker Faire San Diego!
Amazing 28 foot tall Robot Resurrection stands in Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama during 2015 Maker Faire San Diego!

Get ready to see some super cool stuff! Here are a bunch of photos I took at Maker Faire San Diego this morning.  The festival, which celebrates human creativity, with an emphasis on engineering and technology, is being held in Balboa Park all weekend long!

2015 Maker Faire in San Diego offers young and old a glimpse of what creators, dreamers and inventors are up to. Here we see some projects of San Diego City Robotics.
2015 Maker Faire in San Diego offers young and old a glimpse of what creators, dreamers and inventors are up to. Here we see some projects of San Diego City Robotics.
Checking out a 3D printer at the San Diego Public Library table at Maker Faire. The library is about to expand their Innovation Lab and will have nine 3D printers!
Checking out a 3D printer at the San Diego Public Library table at Maker Faire. The downtown library is about to expand their Innovation Lab and will have nine 3D printers!
Four of these funny cupcakes cars were cruising around Plaza de Panama and up and down El Prado.
Four of these funny cupcakes cars were cruising around Plaza de Panama and up and down El Prado.
This guy was showing how he employs magnets in very unique bicycle wheel hubs that he produces.
This guy was showing how he employs magnets in very unique bicycle wheel hubs that he produces.
Photo display shows how guitar building--including cutting, drilling, shaping, sanding and dipping--inspires STEM learning.
Photo display shows how guitar building–including cutting, drilling, shaping, sanding and dipping–inspires STEM learning.
Wow! Maker Faire is about to officially open and Robot Resurrection has begun to shoot flames from its fingers! Let's check it out!
Wow! Maker Faire is about to officially open and Robot Resurrection has begun to shoot flames from its fingers! Let’s check it out!
According to Shane Evans, maker of the giant robot, we humans have all become automatons in a highly controlled world.
According to Shane Evans, maker of the giant robot, we humans have all become automatons in a highly controlled world.
Robot Resurrection has been joined by the famous 17 foot tall mechanical walking Electric Giraffe!
Robot Resurrection has been joined by the famous 17 foot tall mechanical walking Electric Giraffe!
Local company Qualcomm had a large exhibit showcasing their electronic chips, some drones, and this little remote control race course which utilizes smart phones.
Local company Qualcomm had a large exhibit showcasing their electronic chips, some drones, and this little remote control race course which utilizes smart phones.
Another fun part of the Qualcomm exhibit at Maker Faire. Robots stack blocks, then cross a finish line.
Another fun part of the Qualcomm exhibit at Maker Faire. Robots stack blocks, then cross a finish line.
Down by the Balboa Park reflecting pool I discovered something really awesome. It's a Victorian-era whimsical flying machine!
Down by the Balboa Park reflecting pool I discovered something really awesome. It’s a Victorian-era whimsical flying machine!
This fantastic, imaginative creation is called the Strato Sculpin. It's a project of the Starburner Galactic Courier Service, a local steampunk group!
This fantastic, imaginative creation is called the Strato Sculpin. It’s a project of the Starburner Galactic Courier Service, a local steampunk group!
Here are some members of the cool group engaged in steampunk cosplay!
Here are some members of the cool group engaged in steampunk cosplay!
Smiling members of the Starburner Galactic Courier Service. They are the galaxy's only bonded courier service operating throughout time and space!
Smiling members of the Starburner Galactic Courier Service. They are the galaxy’s only bonded courier service operating throughout time and space!
This cool guy with the big wheeled penny-farthing bicycle is often seen around Balboa Park. He has appeared in other blog posts. I spoke briefly with him and he's really nice!
This cool guy with the big wheeled penny-farthing bicycle is often seen around Balboa Park. He has appeared in other blog posts. I spoke briefly with him and he’s really nice!
But his big wheel can't compare to this! Coming down El Prado, this awesome personal transportation doohickey looks like it arrived from another world!
But his big wheel can’t compare to this! Coming down El Prado, this awesome personal transportation doohickey looks like it arrived from another world!
And here comes another cool rolling steampunkish robot thingamajig. How cool is this. Human imagination on display at Maker Faire!
And here comes another cool rolling steampunkish robot thingamajig. How cool is this? Human imagination on display at Maker Faire!
Shortly after 10:30, San Diego Mayor Faulconer welcomed the attendees to the first annual Maker Faire.
Shortly after 10:30, San Diego Mayor Faulconer welcomed the attendees to the first annual Maker Faire.
I couldn't believe how much press was gathered for the event. If you live in San Diego, I'm sure you'll see it on the television news!
I couldn’t believe how much press was gathered for the event. If you live in San Diego, I’m sure you’ll see it on the television news!
Jorge Astiazaran, the Mayor of Tijuana, Mexico speaks about our two cities collaborating in various areas, including technology.
Jorge Astiazaran, the Mayor of Tijuana, Mexico speaks about our two cities collaborating in various areas, including technology.
After the brief ceremony and speeches, I headed down to the fountain by the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. Lots more cool stuff was attracting a crowd.
After the brief ceremony and speeches, I headed to the fountain by the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. Lots more cool stuff was attracting a crowd.
Back down El Prado, and now the Electric Giraffe is on the move! This creation has been featured on national media, and even was tickled by President Obama.
Back down El Prado, and now the Electric Giraffe is on the move! This creation has been featured on national media, and even was tickled by President Obama.
Not only do the neck and head move, but it talks! The head is equipped with webcam eyes and special touch-sensitive sensors.
Not only do the neck and head move, but it talks! The head is equipped with webcam eyes and special touch-sensitive sensors.
Russell the Electric Giraffe, also named Rave Raff, heads down El Prado in the heart of Balboa Park!
Russell the Electric Giraffe, also named Rave Raff, heads down El Prado in the heart of Balboa Park!
A costume zone near the Japanese Friendship Garden had stuff that looked like Star Wars steampunk! Chewbacca is wearing some goggles!
A costume zone near the Japanese Friendship Garden had stuff that looked like a combination of Star Wars and steampunk! Chewbacca is wearing some goggles!
The huge Battlepond near the San Diego Air and Space Museum had sea battles taking place! The Western Warship Combat Club makes radio-controlled model ships which engage in real combat!
The huge Battlepond near the San Diego Air and Space Museum had sea battles taking place! The Western Warship Combat Club makes radio-controlled model ships which engage in real combat!
National University's School of Engineering and Computing had a futuristic vehicle on display.
National University’s School of Engineering and Computing had a futuristic vehicle on display.
Some artists by the San Diego Automotive Museum were painting a Prius!
Some artists by the San Diego Automotive Museum were painting a nearby Prius!
Compressed air launched rockets high into the sky, to the delight of kids!
Compressed air launched rockets high into the sky, to the delight of kids!
Holy mackerel! Look at this thing! It's a gigantic robot spider, or something! Wow!
Holy mackerel! Look at this thing! It’s a gigantic robot spider, or something! Wow!
I didn't get the name of this amazing, jaw-dropping contraption, but a close examination shows that it actually walks on those spider-like legs!
I didn’t get the name of this amazing, jaw-dropping contraption, but a close examination shows that it actually walks on those spider-like legs!
Leonardo Da Vinci was the ultimate innovator. The world famous San Diego Air and Space Museum has a special exhibition about the legendary Renaissance inventor.
Leonardo Da Vinci was the ultimate innovator. The world famous San Diego Air and Space Museum has a special exhibition about the legendary Renaissance inventor.
These kids are playing human foosball by the Hall of Champions!
These kids are playing human foosball by the Hall of Champions!
The Drones and Outdoor Play zone had lots of material for young, imaginative creators to assemble.
The Drones and Outdoor Play zone had lots of material for young, imaginative creators to assemble.
A free spirit parked their car nearby. You are more than any mind can or could understand.
A free spirit parked their car nearby. You are more than any mind can or could understand.
A delightfully painted car topped with flower pots!
A delightfully painted car topped with flower pots!
San Diego's first ever Maker Faire is a huge success. There are so many cool things to see, your eyes will pop clean out of your head!
San Diego’s first ever Maker Faire is a huge success. There are so many cool things to see, your eyes will pop clean out of your head!

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Building a giant fire-breathing robot for Maker Faire!

Robot Resurrection is being assembled for the Maker Faire in Balboa Park this weekend!
Robot Resurrection is being assembled for Maker Faire, which takes place in Balboa Park this weekend!

A super gigantic fire-breathing robot is coming! You don’t believe me? I saw it today!

The amazing 28 foot tall mechanical man will be drawing a crowd in Balboa Park during the big Maker Faire event this weekend, but right now it’s lying in the Plaza de Panama being assembled!

Robot Resurrection, the name of the giant robot, is actually an articulating sculpture made from 95% airplane parts, piloted by a human operator in the metal torso. The cool creation is the brainchild of Shane Evans, who is based in Denver, Colorado. Robot Resurrection has thrilled kids and adults alike at Maker festivals all around the country!

Maker Faire kicks off Saturday at 10 am. At this epic celebration of technological and artistic innovation, all sorts of inventions and gizmos will be outside on display, including cupcake cars, a giant 12 foot electric giraffe, drones, and something called a Battlepond! Ten of Balboa Park’s museums will also participate, with related exhibits and cool events of their own! If you like this sort of stuff, you’d better go check it out! I’ll definitely be there!

Maker Faire San Diego will include many cool sights up and down El Prado, including the Imagining Zone!
Maker Faire San Diego will include many cool sights up and down El Prado, including the Imagining Zone!
Robot Resurrection will stand 28 feet tall when ready to go. It will move its arms about and shoot fire from its mouth and fingers.
Robot Resurrection will stand 28 feet tall when ready to go. It will move its arms about and shoot fire from its mouth and fingers.
Getting a giant robot ready to thrill thousands at Maker Faire.
Getting a giant robot ready to thrill thousands at Maker Faire San Diego in Balboa Park.
I was told this is one of Robot Resurrection's feet.
I was told this is one of Robot Resurrection’s feet.
And here's the futuristic-looking head. It kind of appears like a robot from an old sci-fi movie or the cover of a vintage science fiction magazine
And here’s the futuristic-looking head. It kind of appears like a robot from an old sci-fi movie or the cover of a vintage science fiction magazine
Flames will be shooting from the mouth of Robot Resurrection! I'll try to get photos!
Flames will be shooting from the mouth of Robot Resurrection! I’ll try to get photos!
Working inside the robot's torso on late Friday.
Working inside the robot’s torso on late Friday.
This complicated creation arose from an airplane junkyard and one man's fantastic, unfettered dreams.
This complicated creation arose from an airplane junkyard and one man’s fantastic, unfettered dreams.

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Crossing the cool Spruce Street Suspension Bridge.

Couple crosses Kate Sessions Canyon on a cool 375 foot long suspension bridge!
Couple crosses Kate Sessions Canyon on a very long suspension bridge!

If you love cool bridges, the Bankers Hill neighborhood just north of downtown San Diego is the place to go!

I blogged about the Quince Street Trestle and First Avenue Bridge a while back. But an even more awesome bridge (in my opinion) can be found on Spruce Street!

The classic Spruce Street Suspension Bridge is located just west of First Avenue and crosses narrow Kate Sessions Canyon. It’s an amazing, breathtaking 375 feet long! Steel cables support a gently swaying passage through and above treetops, and a walk along its length feels like a small, romantic adventure. The bridge was designed by Edwin Capps, the city engineer who was also responsible for plans to dredge San Diego Bay, and who would go on to be elected mayor. (It was Capps who hired the rainmaker Charley Hatfield, the central character in one of San Diego’s most legendary tales! Perhaps I’ll blog about it one day…)

Built in 1912, the purpose of the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge was to provide easy access for those who lived to the west to trolley lines on Fourth and Fifth Avenue.

The Spruce Street steel cable suspension footbridge, engineered by Edwin Capps, was erected in 1912.
The Spruce Street steel cable suspension footbridge, engineered by Edwin Capps, was erected in 1912.
Wouldn't you like to walk out on this bridge.
Wouldn’t you like to walk out on this bridge?
The swaying suspension bridge is a unique, historic structure just north of downtown San Diego.
The swaying suspension bridge is a unique, historic structure just north of downtown San Diego.
Lots of people love this hidden bridge. You feel like you're crossing through a wilderness of treetops!
Lots of people love this hidden bridge. You feel like you’re crossing through a wilderness of treetops!
Bicyclists enjoy a dirt trail 70 feet below.
Bicyclists enjoy a dirt trail 70 feet below.
Boy sits thoughtfully on the Spruce Street suspension bridge in Bankers Hill.
Boy sits thoughtfully on the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge in Bankers Hill.

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Kids explore science, engineering at STEM event.

Kids learn about electronics by combining fun pieces from a kit, creating circuits.
Kids learn about electronics by combining fun pieces from a kit, creating circuits.

Today I checked out a truly amazing event! Expo Day capped off the week-long San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering (formerly known as the San Diego Science Festival), and brought out thousands of families and kids, eager to learn about science. STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education, was Expo Day’s principal focus. The seventh annual event nearly burst the seams of downtown’s big Petco Park stadium. There were so many cool exhibits, so much stuff to see, I only managed to experience about half of it! My poor old brain nearly exploded!

Here is a bit of what I saw!

Exhibitor map for Expo Day, main event of the San Diego Festival for Science and Engineering.
Exhibitor map for the huge Expo Day, concluding event of the San Diego Festival for Science and Engineering.
Lots of folks inside Petco Park (baseball stadium of the San Diego Padres) learn about science.
Lots of folks inside Petco Park (baseball stadium of the San Diego Padres) learn about science.
This kid is way more interested in a map to cool science stuff than boring bags of cotton candy!
This kid is way more interested in a map to cool science stuff than boring bags of cotton candy!
A robot was moving mysteriously about, amusing people who were just walking along the concourse.
A robot was moving mysteriously about, amusing people who were just walking along the concourse.
Group demonstrates the structure of some common molecules.
Group demonstrates the structure of some common molecules.
The big annual STEM event focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education.
The STEM event focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education.
Investigating creatures one might find in a mudflat.
Investigating organisms one might find in a mud flat.
This balloon soon rose on a column of air and floated out of the tube!
This balloon soon rose on a column of air and floated out of the tube!
Young inventors assemble unique creations using all sorts of ordinary materials.
Young inventors assemble unique creations using all sorts of ordinary materials.
Understanding genetic attributes using Boolean logic. Sounds complicated!
Understanding genetic attributes using Boolean logic. Sounds complicated!
Youth would attempt to break a Guinness World Record at Second Hour of Code mass coding event led by a Microsoft professional.
Youth would attempt to break a Guinness World Record at Second Hour of Code mass coding event led by a Microsoft professional.
I've never seen so many hands on experiments in one place!
I’ve never seen so many hands on experiments in one place!
Don't mess with this guy. He's a super cool scientist dude!
Don’t mess with this guy. He’s a super cool scientist dude!
Kids test out non-Newtonian fluids which seem to harden like rubber when struck.
Kids test out non-Newtonian fluids which seem to harden like rubber when struck.
Young explorers are shown how to build their own spectroscope! And to think I was confounded by my Etch A Sketch!
Young scientific explorers are shown how to build their own spectroscope! And to think I was confounded by my Etch A Sketch!
Test your own confused mental cognition and speak these colors really fast for yourself!
Test your own mental cognition and speak these colors really fast for yourself!
Oh, man! Check this weird elephant out! I love optical illusions!
Oh, man! Check this weird elephant out! I love optical illusions!
This fancy aquarium acts as a flume, used to test the motion of fish and their muscular development.
This fancy lab aquarium acts as a flume, used to test the motion of fish and their muscular development.
Pointing out a butterfly in a displayed collection.
Pointing out a butterfly in a carefully classified collection.
Wow! These youngsters are building DNA models! That's way beyond me!
Wow! These youngsters are building DNA models! That’s way beyond me!
Learning how smoking exposes people to all sorts of toxic chemicals.
Learning how smoking exposes people to all sorts of toxic chemicals.
Girl learns about gyroscopes and angular momentum with a spinning bicycle tire.
Girl learns about gyroscopes and angular momentum with a spinning bicycle tire.
Some students built cool models of futuristic cities.
Some students built cool models of futuristic cities.
Awesome robots were all over the place!
Awesome robots were all over the place!
People were jumping about as this robot dashed about scooping stuff up.
People were jumping about as this robot dashed about scooping stuff up.
This robot participates in the Lego League, trying to score points on an unusual course.
This robot participates in the Lego League, trying to score points on an unusual course.
This is a mechanical, computerized Rubik's Cube solver that detects color.
This is a mechanical, computerized Rubik’s Cube solver that detects color.
Looking down into Petco Park's Power Alley, where more STEM exhibits were located.
Looking down into Petco Park’s Power Alley, where more STEM exhibits were located.
Lots of animal life on display included this beautiful long-nosed snake.
Lots of animal life on display included this beautiful long-nosed snake.
Lady demonstrates how bio fuels are refined using filtration.
Lady demonstrates how bio fuels are refined using filtration.
Chrismas lights helped teach about energy conservation.
Christmas lights helped to teach about energy conservation.
Thousands turned out for the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering Expo Day.
Tens of thousands turned out for the big San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering Expo Day.
Many businesses were showing their products, discoveries and technological advances.
Many businesses were showing their products, discoveries and technological advances.
AirZooka vortex generator shoots circular pulse of air at the shimmer wall!
AirZooka vortex generator shoots circular pulse of air at the shimmer wall!
This automated machine helps prepare lab samples in medical facilities.
This automated machine helps prepare lab samples in medical facilities.
Kids left notes on a wall with their bright ideas.
Kids left notes on a wall with their bright ideas.
Planting some tomato seeds, to watch the plant grow at home!
Planting some tomato seeds, to watch them sprout and grow at home!
More kids making complex molecules with marshmallows! I guess they'll be future scientists!
More kids making complex molecules with colored marshmallows! I guess they’ll be future scientists!
Some art was being created to accompany all the science and technology stuff.
Some art was being created to accompany all the science and technology stuff.
This guy uses electromagnetism to launch cans skyward and splatter cucumbers!
This guy uses electromagnetism to launch cans skyward and splatter cucumbers!
Petco's sunny Park at the Park was jammed with families enthused by education.
Petco’s sunny Park at the Park was jammed with families enthused by education.
Demonstating maglev (magnetic levitation) using eddy currents.
Demonstrating maglev (magnetic levitation) using eddy currents.
Young people write down what they like about science!
Young people write down what they like about science!
Young astronomers duplicate the colors of an enhanced surface image of asteroid Vesta.
Young astronomers duplicate the colors of an enhanced surface image of asteroid Vesta.
This NASA inflatable is the actual size of the Curiosity rover now on Mars.
This NASA inflatable is the actual size of the Curiosity rover now on Mars.
Everyone is fascinated by a cool NASA photograph of the surface of Mars.
Everyone is fascinated by a cool NASA photograph of the surface of Mars.
A member of the next generation lays his hands on our planet.
A member of the next generation lays his hands on our planet.

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