May 06, 2009

Which Designs Should We Take to the Maker Faire?

Help us decide which of these designs to print as temporary tattoos. We'll be taking the top designs to the Maker Faire.

Which is your favorite? Which are your kids favorites? Help us decide.

Tell us what you think on our facebook page

April 14, 2009

GalaxyGoo on Facebook!

Are you on Facebook? So is GalaxyGoo.

Now you can join your fellow GalaxyGoo fans on Facebook!!


March 20, 2009

GalaxyGoo Needs a New Web Host

GalaxyGoo needs a new web host, and we'd appreciate recommendations.

Our basic requirements:

  • Apache
  • MySQL
  • Perl
  • ColdFusion
  • dedicated or virtual dedicated box
  • separate mail server, or ability to keep up with both CF and mail server at same time
  • full support and proactive server maintenance -- when things fail, help getting them up and running again

Gearing Up For The Maker Faire 2009!

It's official! GalaxyGoo is taking The Cell Project to the Maker Faire again! We got our acceptance notice today.

So, now the planning and preparations begin! We had so much fun last year!

Would like to get involved? If so, please contact me at galaxygoo -at- gmail -dot- com, with "GalaxyGoo Cell Project" in the subject line. We're getting ready to move to a new web hosting company, so please use our gmail account until we're all settled into the new server.

Some of the things we need help with:

  • Volunteers to help set up and take down the booth
  • Volunteers to help staff the booth and help with the activity. We were very busy last year, and had a hard time keeping up with all the visitors to our booth.
  • photography during the event
  • Have you done the activity yourself? Take pictures of your cells and share your photos with us on flickr.
  • Donations are always welcome
  • Give the Cell Project to a teacher or a whole classroom!
  • Got an idea? Tell us about it!

May 02, 2008

Bay Area Backroads at Maker Faire

Today, at the Maker Faire, I was interviewed for Bay Area Backroads. I'm not quite sure how people get used to having cameras pointing at them, as it certainly unsettled me.

It was actually kind of cool. I didn't see that they had a camera, at first. They asked me what we were setting up for...and I was just myself, talking about the Cell Project. Then they wired me up with a mic, and started shooting. I have to say that they were a little more reserved once the camera started running, and I think this made me a little more reserved as well.

I'm learning that when it comes to filming, I do much better when I don't know the camera's running. All I can say is, well....I hope they edit it well, and that GalaxyGoo at least gets a mention in the show (which should air in the Fall).

April 29, 2008

Cell Stickers Arrived Today!

We ordered some neat little stickers to take to the Maker Faire. The first batch arrived today!

We'll be giving these away at our booth, in the Maker Kids area of the Faire.


My fellow Biology geeks out there might appreciate this cell phone sticker... I couldn't resist putting one on my cell right away.


We ordered some in full color, as well. But they haven't arrived yet. Can't wait to see them!

Big thanks go to Professor Colin Purrington, of Swarthmore College, for suggesting the idea!

April 28, 2008

Bay Area Maker Faire Education Day: Friday, May 2nd

The Maker Faire is fast approaching. In fact, it's this weekend!

This year, they're trying out something new. They've invited the Makers to start a day early, and to participate in a special day just for students and educators. Admission is free for Education Day!

That's right, if you're a teacher, and you'd like to come to a special open house just for educators, go sign up right now!

I'll be conducting a special workshop for teachers, on making cell models. If you're going to be there, please contact me so that I can be sure to have enough clay on had for you to do the workshop. Did I mention that teachers get in for free?!

The open house for teachers is scheduled for 4-6pm. Earlier in the day, I'll be doing some demonstrations for students, who will be there on field trips from school.

March 25, 2008

Get Your Tickets to the Maker Faire!

Come see us, and the Cell Project, at the Maker Faire! Ticket discounts end in April. Get your tickets now, so you don't have to pay full price at the door.

As the organizers say, the Maker Faire is

A two-day, family-friendly event that celebrates arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset. It's for creative, resourceful folks who like to tinker and love to make things.
We call them Makers.

March 22, 2008

GalaxyGoo Mentioned in Tech Chronicles

Imagine my surprise, when I see GalaxyGoo mentioned on the front page of the Business section of the San Francisco Chronicle. In fact, we were mentioned in the Tech Chronicles in a short article on the Maker Faire. There we are! Right there in the second paragraph!

March 05, 2008

Featured Maker at Maker Faire

Wow, we're listed as a "featured maker" on the Maker Faire website.

Our kick-off meeting takes place this Friday, so I'm busy getting info packets together for potential volunteers and supporters. I was looking on the Maker Faire website, for a brief description of the event to include in the packet, and was pleasantly surprised to see that we were listed as a featured maker. Nice!


February 25, 2008

GalaxyGoo goes to The Maker Faire

That's right, GalaxyGoo's Cell Project was accepted to the Maker Faire! WooHooo! We just got official notice.

See me at Maker Faire!

February 21, 2008

Email Down

Well, I suppose we should be happy that GalaxyGoo is so popular that we're getting enough traffic to give the server trouble. Especially trouble with running both the database apps and an email server. To alleviate the problem, we're now using a second server to handle just email. This is taking a while. In the meantime, email is down.

As I mentioned a few posts ago, to get in touch with me, please use my gmail address.

Thank you for your patience.

February 06, 2008

Update: Server May go Offline Briefly

Issue has been resolved:

We're exceeding memory on the server, and need to tune the server and optimize some things. So, we may go offline briefly.

If you need to get in touch with me before everything is sorted out, please contact me through my gmail address. galaxygoo [at] gmail dot com.

Thank you for your patience.

February 04, 2008

Thank You and iGive!

Thank you for supporting GalaxyGoo through our affiliate links in the GalaxyGoo Museum Shop!

This year, you raised thousands of dollars through holiday shopping alone! The checks are still coming in from affiliate programs. Thank you!

Now, we've got another exciting opportunity to support GalaxyGoo programs: iGive. While affiliate link revenues support our programs, they are considered "earned income". The iGive program provides outright donations! Which, from an accounting perspective is much more important to GalaxyGoo, as a publicly supported non-profit organization.

One cool thing about the iGive program is that you can take a tax deduction on your donations (made while shopping).

January 30, 2008

GalaxyGoo Happy Hour

The next GalayxGoo Happy Hour is scheduled for Friday, March 7. If you're in the San Francisco area and would like to attend, please rsvp on the event page.

January 23, 2008

The XO Laptop and GalaxyGoo

Did you notice the new category on this blog? Well, I'm pretty excited about it: XO laptop.

A while ago, we sent in a project proposal to the OLPC developers program. Today, I found out it was approved, and that two XOs are on the way.

I can hardly wait to get started! already studying the specs, before I even have the machine in my hands. Working in a Linux environment will be new for me, and while I've dabbled in Python I haven't done much with it yet. That's about to change. I get to be a newbie all over again!

December 14, 2007

Snowstorm in 15 minutes

At FOTB, Seb's talk on particle systems was on my short list of sessions I wanted to see, and meeting him was a real treat. I was delighted when he joined the GalaxyGoo Flash-a-thon. His snow effect is great, and the fact that he wrote it so quickly is a testament to both his skill as a coder and his familiarity with particles. ~Kristin


Author: Seb Lee-Delisle, Technical Director, Plug-in Media
Author's comments:
At FlashBrighton's Big Day Out a couple of weeks ago, I set myself the somewhat crazy challenge of programming a dynamically generated snowstorm in fifteen minutes from scratch. No pre-written classes, no graphics, nothing!

Needless to say it was a somewhat frenetic, but exciting session, and I just about made it with a few seconds to spare. And, as I felt that producing 2D particle snow would be a little too easy, I decided halfway through that it'd look better in 3D. And then I added some wind. As I always say, it'd be boring if it were too easy. :-)

Support the educational projects at GalaxyGoo, and make an online donation through Network for Good or Facebook Causes..

For live version, and source files, continue reading.

Continue reading "Snowstorm in 15 minutes" »

December 13, 2007

Causes Giving Challenge

How's this for a little experiment in social networking for a good cause? And the timing is great!

About the Causes Giving Challenge The Causes Giving Challenge launches on December 13, 2007 at 3pm EST and ends on February 1, 2008 at 3pm EST. Through the Challenge, all users of Causes on Facebook are invited to participate by creating a cause. A total of $250,000 will be awarded to the causes of those individuals who inspire the most donors to give to their charity.

$50,000 to the Cause with the most donors
$25,000 to the next two Causes with the most donors
$10,000 to the next ten Causes with the most donors
AND $1,000 each day to the Cause with the most donors that day

We believe that this campaign has the potential to show the extraordinary impact that new technologies and online communities are having on giving.
~ The Case Foundation

Note that it says the "most donors" not the most donated. So, if 200 people donate $40 each, we could be in very good shape.

Our goal is to raise money for The Cell Project, bringing us closer to getting it into classrooms as an integrated project based learning activity and lesson plan.

As of a few minutes ago, the Flash-a-thon for The Cell Project was doing pretty well. We're still in the top 4, but we need your help to stay there.
Adding to the excitement of the Flash-a-thon, the stats are updated real-time, so this could get exciting. How many donors will we need to win one of those $1,000 daily grants? Or one of the bigger grants?

December 08, 2007

Servers may be down tonight

Our hosting company has notified us that they will be conducting server maintenance tonight, between 10:30 and 12 midnight (Pacific). The galaxygoo website may be down, during this time.

Bad timing, so let's hope we're only down briefly.

December 05, 2007

GalaxyGoo Forums Open

We've opened the GalaxyGoo Forums. Registration is moderated, so you may not be able to post right away.

They're still in Beta, so play nice. :-)

November 20, 2007

The GalaxyGoo Flash-a-thon

The GalaxyGoo Flash-a-thon is coming! Starting Dec 10th!

We've got a bunch of really talented folks contributing their projects, with source code!

+ Branden Hall
+ Edwin Heijmen
+ Kristin Henry
+ Mike Johnson
+ Seb Lee-Delisle
+ Stacey Mulcahy
+ Keith Peters
+ Ben Stucki
+ and some great surprise guests!

This online event supports the educational projects at GalaxyGoo. Continue reading for more information...

Continue reading "The GalaxyGoo Flash-a-thon" »

November 16, 2007

Back from FOTB and beyond - personal post

It's hard to believe that it was just two weeks, because it feels like a much longer journey. After the magic of Flash on the Beach (which I'll write more about later), I headed off to Lisbon for a short visit with my college room-mate, and then returned to London for a few days.

Flash on the Beach was amazing. The talks were all inspiring and everybody seemed so happy to be there. It was a joyful conference. So many wonderful people. Between a bad cough and jet-lag, I wasn't at my best. But I would go back in a heartbeat, if I could.

Because of FOTB, I've decided to develop a new approach to giving talks. I missed the mark, on my audience, and made my talk a little too simplistic. But often, my talks at Flash conferences are not simple enough. So, I'm thinking of developing a more dynamic talk...where audience input determines the path the talk takes. Maybe I'll even create a run-time visualization of this, so that audience can see how they vary from others.

Next came a personal journey, which took me to Lisbon, Portugal.

The best friends, are those who know all your dirt and still love you. In fact, they love you even more. I've been very lucky in life, to have friends like this. They see through my many flaws and help me see my own inner glow. Jen is one of these friends, and it was wonderful to see her again. To meet her children! We went back to those wonderful days in college, through my sister's illness, and on through today. All with the ease of an old friendship. It's left me feeling very centered.

After the intense social aspect of FOTB and personal time-machine of Lisbon, I really enjoyed my solitude in London. For the first time in years, I had the luxury of passing several days alone with my own thoughts. I walked through Hyde park several times, and marveled at the exposed beauty of the naked trees.

Combined with the inspiration of FOTB, I'm now thinking a lot about the fluidity of systems...particle systems and fluid dynamics. At one point, I noticed that if I had chosen to walk down the other side of the street, I would have seen the signs that indicated a path I wanted, but missed the first time through. Instead, I followed along with the tide of people, through the channels of London's streets. I'm not sure what this means to my work yet, but I'm sure it will.

September 18, 2007

GalaxyGoo on Zazzle

For a while, I've been keeping an eye on, and have finally taken the plunge. GalaxyGoo is now on!

What was the deciding factor? They have a special program for non-profits, and all sales will result in donations for GalaxyGoo programs. Once we got into the system, I was delighted with how easy it is to get up and running.

create & buy custom products at Zazzle

September 14, 2007

Spam filters and Contact

Unfortunately, we've had to assign all incoming mail to the junk folder for many gg addresses. If you've tried to get in touch with me or anyone else at GalaxyGoo, and you haven't heard back yet, please use our contact form.

These measures had to be taken, due to overwhelming volume of spam on these addresses.

Blogger's Block

Getting the words out, after a long vacation from blogging, can be painful. I saw it referred to as "blogger's block" on twitter. It's not just writer's block, since I have been writing. Grant writing, book proposal writing, email writing, and lots of code writing.

So much code writing, in fact, that the GalaxyGoo forums are ready for an alpha release. Basic features are all functional now. Working on making them even more useful, and getting the project collaboration space back up and running again with file-upload support for project members.

August 23, 2007

GalaxyGoo Forums Soon To Return

We've been putting a lot of work into bringing the GalaxyGoo forums back online. In fact, we've been building it from scratch. Why? So that it's more tightly integrated with the rest of the systems we're developing. Over the years, we've used various forum software, and they each have their own benefits and drawbacks. One of the major drawbacks has been needing different logins for the forums and other features.

The new forums are pretty bare-boned. Nothing fancy at all, but they are a good start. If you'd like to help test them out, and get a sneak peak at upcoming features like the project collaboration space, drop me a note or post a comment to this post.

August 15, 2007

GalaxyGoo Wordsearch Game Back Online

At last, I've got the old GalaxyGoo word search game back online. I had to dig in the old code (AS1!!!!) to add the location of the crossdomain policy file for this app, so that the word list data would load. Nothing else is new about it, but it has inspired me to go back and update it to AS3, adding new features. Looking at my old code, I'm amazed that I pulled this off with AS1. It also reminds me how frustrated I would get with ActionScript.

We flashcoders really have come a long way.

August 09, 2007

Keep It Simple -- Building Complexity From Simple Structures

My session description for Flash on the Beach is up. I'm going to have a lot of fun with this one!

The complexity of the universe and all of life is based on simple building blocks. A metal is a metal, no matter how many times you melt or pound it. It's the sub-atomic particles of each atom that determine its character, and how it interacts with others.

Computational objects can be modeled on this simplicity, and in this session we will explore examples from nature
and computational art, including the atom and fractals.

We'll look at some basic objects (both visual and code) and ask "what are it's sub-atomic particles?" Starting with these objects, we'll build up models of increasing complexity.

Attendees will get:

  • Inspirational examples from nature and science,
  • Confidence to jump in and start playing with AS3,
  • An appreciation for well encapsulated code and simplicity in code and design,
  • An introduction/overview of AS3 code samples that will be available online.

July 24, 2007

My Summer Reading

Recently, I spent some time browsing at the MIT Press book store. Well, I couldn't just browse! Here's a list of the books I had them ship home to me. I've got my summer reading covered now....for the next few summers, perhaps.

Thoughtful Interaction Design: A Design Perspective on Information Technology

The Laws of Simplicity (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life)

Artful Science: Enlightenment Entertainment and the Eclipse of Visual Education

The Pythagorean Theorem: A 4,000-Year History

Four Colors Suffice: How the Map Problem Was Solved

Roses, Origami & Math

Unit Polyhedron Origami

Floral Origami Globes

Comp Sci:
Turtle Geometry: The Computer as a Medium for Exploring Mathematics (Artificial Intelligence)

Evolutionary Computation: Toward a New Philosophy of Machine Intelligence, Third Edition (IEEE Press Series on Computational Intelligence)

Cog Sci:
The Creative Brain: The Science of Genius

Models and Cognition (Bradford Books)

Survival Skills for Scientists

These and other books are listed in the new GalaxyGoo amazon shop, which is still a work-in-progress. While the interface from Amazon is easy for simple collections, it gets a little challenging to create more complex collections. We'll see how it goes, but so far so good.

July 23, 2007

Suppport the GalaxyGoo Cause on Facebook

Recently, I discovered the Causes app on FaceBook. This application puts the power of online social networking into grass-roots efforts and fund raising. As the head of a non-profit, naturally I was curious. Getting set up was fairly easy and their staff was very helpful.

If you're on FaceBook, you can add GalaxyGoo to your causes with a simple click. You can recruit new supporters, make a donation, or just show your support by "being there". Note that the "invite" feature is stalling, currently. I've been reminding them every few days, on the app developers "wall". Trying not to be annoying about it, but it is a fairly important feature. :-)

One of the things I really like about the app is that as an individual, you can support several causes all in one place. Very cool! It really takes the supporters perspective into account. If you're a publicly minded person, it can be challenging to keep track of the causes you support.

It's also been more successful for GalaxyGoo, as a fund raiser. In the first few days, we had $75 in donations from three different supporters. In contrast, our six degrees badge has yet to see any action.

June 28, 2007

Leaving for Visualization Conference

Later today, I'm heading out for the GRC conference on Visualization in Science and Education. This is an amazing conference. I'm still skimming the surface of ideas from the last one, which was two years ago!

I'm hoping to come back with some new ideas for The Cell Project, and lots of inspiration! Perhaps some new collaborations! Whatever happens, I'm very much looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting some more fascinating folk.

I'll have email access while I'm gone, but I might be slower than usual in responding.

June 13, 2007

GalaxyGoo Flash-a-thon?

GalaxyGoo has participated in the Blogathon twice now. It's been a lot of fun and we posted some great experimental Flash projects.

It's time for us to spin off on our own, with a less hectic schedule and more community participation. I'm thinking that we should spread the posts out over a few weeks and encourage the community to post links to their adaptations. Perhaps we should arrange some nice prizes.

We need a name! Current candidates are "GalaxyGoo-a-thon" and "Flash-a-thon". Obviously, we need more ideas.

June 05, 2007

Making Server Changes

I'm making some changes to the server, which could result in the blog going off-line for a while. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

May 17, 2007

Registration Before Downloads?

What do you think about registering, before getting open source files? I ask this because it is rather challenging for us, as a non-profit organization, to provide reports on how our efforts are received by the public. How many people are we reaching and serving with our programs? Are we fulfilling our mission? We could develop better server solutions for tracking download statistics, behind the scenes. However, I'd prefer to go with a full disclosure policy, from all parties.

Is registration "bad", when we're a growing community? Identity supports responsibility, and respect for fellows.

My impression is that this is a sensitive issue, and I'd like some well considered thoughts from the community at large. If you are unfamiliar with GalaxyGoo, we are a small non-profit dedicated to increasing science literacy.

May 09, 2007

To Blogathon or not to Blogathon?

In past years, GalaxyGoo's participation in the Blogathon has been a lot of fun and resulted in collections of cool Flash experiments and their source files. Participants post every 30 minutes, for 24 hours. It's certainly a marathon.

I'm thinking that GalaxyGoo should go independent, and modify the program a bit. Scheduling daily bursts, for a week or two, instead of the 24 hour marathon. That would give our readers time to participate as well. I'd love to see variations on the posted source files.

May 01, 2007

Back from FITC

FITC was fantasic! I had a great time, and even learned a few things.

Attending FITC, without the pressure of presenting, was very enlightening. Previously, I had always felt as though I needed to prove my worth. This time I just met up with my buddies, revelled in geeky conversation, and met lots of new and interesting people. It was the best time I've ever had at a tech conference. I feel very fortunate to be part of the Flash/Flex community.

What makes a conference successful? FITC is one of the best, so I was looking at the conference with a critical eye. "Critical" in the sense of looking carefully, intent on learning. One of the things that stood out to me was a sense of community, that the conference was providing a social setting for us to learn and conduct business. There is just no substitute for face-to-face conversation in a casual situation, when it comes to business...or life in general.

The fine folks who organize FITC tried something new this year; something they called "the panic room". Attendees could sit down with speakers, for a short interval, and pick their brains or show off their work. Seems like an interesting idea, and I wonder how it went over.

Well, now it's back to the regularly scheduled program.

March 12, 2007

i goo, do you?

Now presenting: The "i goo" line of t-shirts from GalxyGoo. This slogan was proposed a long time ago, but just never manifested...until now. Why is the "i" not capitalized? It just looked better in lower case font.

The shirts come in a variety of colors and cuts, including some generous styles for women. Yeah!


February 23, 2007

GalaxyGoo Happy Hour --Tonight!

Join us for tonight's GalaxyGoo Happy Hour!

Tonight, starting at 5:30 pm.

See details here: GalaxyGoo Happy Hour

If there's interest, I'll bring clay, and demonstrate the activity we did last weekend at the AAAS meeting. :-)

February 15, 2007

Comments turned off on some posts

I've turned off comments on some, but not all, of our posts as part of the long defensive battle against blog-comment spammers/vandals. Sometimes it sure seems like we're trapped in a siege-war.

While all comments are moderated, it's still a constant chore to deal with all the spam attacks. The last couple weeks have been particularly bad.

I'm tempted to add captcha, but I'm not sure if the accessibility issues have been worked out yet.

February 07, 2007

GalaxyGoo Happy Hour, Rescheduled for Friday the 23rd

The next GalaxyGoo Happy Hour is scheduled for Friday, Feb 23rd. If you're interested in joining us, drop me a line either in the comments here or with our contact form.

Better yet, RSVP on the page for the event: GalaxyGoo Happy Hour

January 29, 2007

GalaxyGoo at AAAS Family Science Days

GalaxyGoo will be at the AAAS - Annual Meeting Family Science Days! Feb 17-18. Exhibit Hall at the AAAS Annual Meeting, San Francisco Hilton.

We'll be demonstrating some of the off-screen activities from our Cell Project. My favorite is building Cell models out of clay, and looking at the cross-sections. So bring your family along and play! Admission is free!

I hope our booth has a view of the stage, because there are a number of presentations I want to see, espcially by the Mythbusters and Iron Science (from the Exploratorium).

GalaxyGoo's participation in this exciting event was made possible by the efforts of Simon Conlin and the support of Adobe. Thank you!

January 19, 2007

Six Degrees of Separation,Kevin Bacon, and Charitable Giving

Kevin Bacon has a new website, that he hopes will encourage charitable giving...and it's called It's sort of a social-networking-do-good project. I haven't explored it fully yet, but I'm intrigued.

To help promote the project, Kevin Bacon is offering $10,000 matching grants to organizations. Now here's the tricky part...the site has these badges, which can be created by anyone. People can select several organizations to raise money for. Mr Bacon's grants will go to the organizations selected by the six people with badges that raise the most money. A neat little play on the whole six-degrees-of-separation thing. you can even add video to your badge.

I've set up a badge for GalaxyGoo. You can too! Just click on the "get this badge" link and you'll be on your way.

January 04, 2007

Sudoku, GalaxyGoo Style

I was working on a sudoku puzzle for the upcoming GalaxyGoo newsletter, when I realized that GalaxyGoo has nine letters in it. So, just for fun, I converted this original puzzle into a GalaxyGoo sudoku puzzle. Instead of the usual numbers (1-9), the letters in GalaxyGoo are arranged in the rows and columns of the grid. I'm guessing that the repeating letters (G, A, and O) will make the puzzle easier to solve. (update: no it doesn't) So, print it up, give it a try, and have fun.

Page with puzzle in three versions: numbers, chemistry symbols, and repeating letters.

GalaxyGoo Sudoku

December 28, 2006

You can help!

We need to upgrade our servers. As tech support tells us, our current server "is extremely overloaded" and is "using *twice* more RAM" than it's supposed to support.

We need your help! With your support, we can upgrade the server and get our database driven programs back online. We currently pay quarterly for a "Base" dedicated virtual server from Media Temple. We'd need to upgrade to a "Rave" or "Extreme" account. We do get a small non-profit discount, but the upgrade will approximately double our server expenses.

Online donations can be made through Network for Good, or Paypal:

We would like to thank you, so please be sure to include your name and address (see our privacy policy).

Our mailing address is :

4014 24th street, #349
San Francisco, CA 94114

GalaxyGoo is a publicly supported, 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization. Your contribution may be tax deductible. Please see our support page, for more information of supporting GalaxyGoo.

December 19, 2006

GalaxyGoo Mission and Approach

GalaxyGoo is revving up for the next level. As part of this, I’ve been working on an important document that’s currently named “GalaxyGoo Goals and Accomplishments”. Here is a portion of the current version:

Primary Mission: to increase science literacy of students and general public.

Approach: Develop learning tools that can be used in classroom or informal learning settings, and online. By using web technologies, we can produce materials that are inexpensive to deliver and to use. We want to supplement curriculum materials already available, project-based activities whenever possible. Software that allows teachers to generate printed resources, that are inexpensive to print out and copy.

Why general public, and not just kids? Our society faces important decisions right now. Decisions that require, at the minimum, an understanding of what the scientific process is. We also believe that the path to science literacy is a family activity. From reading books to your children, to exploring the importance of biodiversity, adults need to take responsibility for their own lifelong education, and to share this with each other and the children in their lives.

Why Flash? We use Flash for many of our online projects. We prefer it over javaScript (or AJAX) because of it’s cross-platform compatibility. With javaScript, we would be dependent on the way different browsers (and every new browser yet to come) interprets the javaScript language. Instead of spending the time and money writing several different versions of the javaScript code, we prefer to write it once and let the Flash player engineering team debug cross-platform and cross-browser issues. In addition to the coding issues, Flash has several features that make it, video, …

Project maintenance and Open Source. We maintain source files for our projects, so that they can be updated again and again. Technology changes, and our work is important enough to keep operational as our technical ecosystem changes. When feasible, we publish the source code of our projects, as open source, an freely available to other developers. Why? Because we want our work to grow and evolve.

GalaxyGoo Post-Holiday Gathering

It's been a while since we've had a GalaxyGoo Gathering. In fact, we're long overdue.

If you're going to be in the San Francisco area, and would like to join us, please post a comment here, use our contact form, or email me directly. I'll get back to you with date, time, location details.

Update: Looks like the weekend after New Years is better. :-)

Please vote for your preference of meeting days (Thursday, Friday, or Saturday).

Budgeting for Animators, Illustrators, and Video Experts

We're working on a budget for an upcoming with funding that will allow us to hire outside talent for the first time, and where we'll be working with scientists from different fields.

We need to get an idea of the current commercial ranges, and are surveying firms and independent contractors on how they currently budget for the following positions:

  • Head animator/illustrator who will work with me to develop the overall style of the visuals, and help manage production.

  • Illustrators/animators with a solid understanding of animation, user interaction, and Flash.

  • A photographer/videographer who understands challenging lighting situations and can work with glass and liquids.

  • Copy editor (science/technical).

If you'd like to help us out, please use our on-line form to contact us. At this time, we're just looking for budget information. It will be some time before we start looking at portfolios.

December 11, 2006

End Of The Year Gifts

It may be easy to forget, but GalaxyGoo is a publicly supported non-profit organization. We rely on your support to continue our programs, including all the lovely source files we publish and the educational applications we develop and maintain for public benefit. This year, we are pleased to announce our limited edition thank you gifts for our supporters, featuring cartwheeling dinosaur fossils. Yep, even when fundraising, we can't resist a little fun. Join in on the fun, and support GalaxyGoo with your donation.

Donation Levels & Thank You Gifts:

$20 level thank you gift: bumper sticker

$40 donation level thank you gift: Coffee Cup

$60 donation level thank you gift: long sleeved T-Shirt
T-shirts are long sleeved, and available in women's and men's styles. Sizes are Small, Medium, Large, and Extra-Large. T-shirt color options are white, black, brown (for women only), and navy (for men only). Please indicate your style, size, and color preference on the donation form ("Designation").

$100 donation level thank you gift: All Three! The sticker, the coffee cup, and the t-shirt.

You can make your donation online, with Network For Good (an online donation service).
Be sure to indicate the style, size, and color you'd like, as the "Designation" on the donation form, if your donation level includes a t-shirt as your thank you gift.
You must include contact information, or we won't be able to send your thank-you gift to you. Unfortunately, thank you gifts will NOT be shipped before the holidays.

You may also make a donation by postal mail:

4104 24th Street, #349
San Francisco, CA 94114

November 28, 2006

GalaxyGoo Museum Shop

In a "past life", I was retail buyer for a small gift shop in San Francisco. I was pretty good at it, and continually increased profits for my boss. Actually, I was so good at it that my boss offered me my own store if I would stay, instead of going off to school in New Mexico. I really enjoyed the job, but I was determined to continue my education.

My life is completely different now, and I didn't think I'd be doing that job again. But, when running an organization like GalaxyGoo, not even the most obscure skill remains dormant forever. So, I've developed the GalaxyGoo Museum Shop and sett up affiliations with a select group on online retailers. Just in time for the holidy season, I've personally selected items from our affililates and posted short reviews and links on the GalaxyGoo Museum Shop blog.

What does this mean to you? It means that you can support GalaxyGoo while shopping for some of the best toys and gifts available online. This is GalaxyGoo, so Science and Art are strong themes in the collection.

Why a blog? It's just such an easy way to manage this. With categories of a blog, posts can be grouped multiple tags. They can be grouped by activity (like building and creative and by subject (like chemistry and dinosaurs). They can even be grouped by age group.

New items are added most days, and affiliates range from Mindware and Stacey's Booksellers to Boden and Dean & DeLuca.

November 26, 2006

New GalaxyGoo Designs: Fossils on Dark Shirts

We've added new designs, and long-sleeved shirts, to our CafePress shop. My favorite is the blue deinonychus fossils on brown for women, and on navy for men.

November 13, 2006

Peekabootique Now Supporting GalaxyGoo with T-shirts

I'm excited to announce that Peekabootique is now carrying GalaxyGoo t-shirts. Proceeds will support GalaxyGoo, and our educational projects.

How'd this happen? Our t-shirts were a big hit at the Noe Valley Harvest Festival. This didn't escape the notice of Peekabootique's owners, who were looking for a local artist to work with to develop lines for their store. After a short series of talks, it was aggreed that Peekabootique would carry the currently available t-shirts and that we would work to develop new designs and packaging. While I can't go into any details, all designs will be science and math related.
GalaxyGoo booth at the Noe Valley Harvest Festival, 2006 GalaxyGoo T-shirts at Peekabootique

Peekabootique is located at 1306 Castro Street (at 24th Street), in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco.

November 02, 2006

I'm Famous! ....sort of.

The folks at Adobe surprised me this summer. They said they wanted to feature my work in the Adobe Design Center Gallery. I was thrilled...and who am I to pass up such great publicity?!

I had a lot of fun creating the piece, and I hope you enjoy it:
Adobe Design Center Gallery Featured Artist: Kristin Henry

October 13, 2006

Recycle Your Cell Phones!

GalaxyGoo is a Recycle My Cell Phone partner. We'll have boxes for collecting old cell phones at our Noe Valley Harvest Festival booth, on Saturday, October 21st.

October 12, 2006

Playing with Flickr and Moo cards

I'm addicted to Flickr! They've created so many of the features that I'd like to implement on GalaxyGoo: file sharing, groups, tags, connection to physical world (like Moo cards).

One of my explorations of flickr involves getting Moo cards made. I've been having fun with the cards, and uploading pix if patterns I can create with them.

In this one, I've recreated the complete mandala pattern by arranging the cards in a spiral stack.


Here, I've used cards with different cropping of the original image. Overlapping them, so that the plesiosaur pattern is completed, creates variations in color bands. Yes, I'm having too much fun with this.

My two-year-old wanted to get in on the action, and picked up the card matching the t-shirt she'd been wearing all day.

October 07, 2006

Charity Corner on PlumpJack Newsletter

The PlumpJack group is featureing GalaxyGoo in the Charity Corner of their current newsletter: PlumpJack News -- October 2006. There's a blurb on GalaxyGoo in the bottom-right corner of the page, so you'll have to scroll down to see it.

October 02, 2006

How Many Cells Are In Your Body?

The PlumpJack Group is running a promotion, benefiting GalaxyGoo, at their Noe Valley shop.

"PlumpJack Wines Noe Valley and GalaxyGoo are working together to increase science literacy. GalaxyGoo is science, art, and discovery. The educational resources GalaxyGoo develops are free to teachers, students, and the general public.

Guess how many cells are in your body to be entered to win dinner for two at Balboa Cafe San Francisco, our PumpJack restaurant at the corner of Fillmore and Greenwich in historic Cow Hollow.

Your $1 donation will benefit science education, and give you the chance to win a great night out!"

The poster was designed by Matt Wood, of Visual Goodness, using elements from GalaxyGoo's Cell Project and my kaleidoscopic cell piece.


Beneath the poster are coaster sized disks, with kaleidoscopic cell patterns printed on them. They sort of remind me of sand dollars on a beach.

I've uploaded some photos of the window display to flickr.

October 01, 2006

GalaxyGoo Dinosaurs

GalaxyGoo will be at the Noe Valley Harvest Festival, on October 21. If you're going to be in the neighborhood, stop by our booth, and say "hi"! It's a great family-focused street fair, here in San Francisco.

There were so many little kids at last year's festival, that we decided to design some cool dinosaur T-shirts for this year. My favorite may be the Plesiosaurs, but I also like the Deinonychus patterns a lot. The fossils look like they're chasing each other around in a circle, and the black-on-white one reminds me of South Western pottery.


September 22, 2006

Contact Forms back Online

We've got the most of the contact forms back online again. Woohoo!

Currently, the pages for each project in the mediaLab are hand coded. Next step, is to convert all this to dynamically generated pages and to add download features (for source code, and such). This should make things a lot easier, both for visitors to find stuff and for us to manage it.

August 31, 2006

Design Help Found

GalaxyGoo has a great outreach opportunity coming up, involving a retail window display. We need immediate help with design and possibly printing. The project requires very clean , but fun, design.

Update: The fine folks at Visual Goodness,are generously helping us out with the poster. Much thanks go to them, especially since this was such short notice. I'll take lots of pix of the window display when it goes up, and post them on our flickr account.

August 28, 2006

Graphs and the Cognitive Style of Powerpoint

I’m sure it will soon be obvious that I’m a big fan of Edward Tufte, so I might as well admit it now. Presentation Zen, in: Is it Broken? posted a video of Seth Godin at the Gel 2006 conference (a "good experience" conference. Or something.) His topic: things (signs and user interfaces, mostly) that are broken. Curiously, [to me at least (my fondness for parentheticals is also obvious)] he uses Charles Joseph Minard’s map of Napolean’s march on Moscow as an example of something "broken on purpose."


Continue reading "Graphs and the Cognitive Style of Powerpoint" »

August 25, 2006

Rob Simmon Joins GalaxyGoo Bloggers

I'm very pleased to announce that Rob Simmon will be joining us on the GalaxyGoo Blog. Rob works for NASA, at the Goddard Space Flight Center's Earth Observatory, and will be writing about design and scientific visualization.

I met Rob at the Gordon Research Conference on Visualization in Science and Education, in Oxford, last summer. Since then, we have continued discussions begun at that conference. We usually agree on visualization issues, and sometimes we disagree. I'm very much looking forward to bringing our discussions, and more, into the public arena, and inviting others to join in.

August 16, 2006

GalaxyGoo Museum Shop

In the tradition of museums who stock gift shops with items related to their exhibits, the GalalaxyGoo Museum Shop will be all about science, art, and geeky items.

Over the years, we've experimented with different ways to work with affiliate programs. These ranged from hand-coded html pages, to database driven Flash visualizations. Now we're trying something different. We participate in a number of affiliate programs, and creating a "package" that they all fit in has been a challenge. So, we're trying a blog.

The GalaxyGoo Museum Shop has links to specific products that we like, at our various affiliates. We're still playing around with tags, but so far entries have tags for subject (biology, general science, ...), activity type (games, books, ...), and affiliates (adobe, mindware,...). We will even have links to our own designs at CafePress.

August 15, 2006

New CTO at GalaxyGoo

It is with great pleasure that I announce GalaxyGoo's new CTO: Edwin Heijmen. He's a long time contributor to GalaxyGoo; most recently as part of the blogathon. He posted several AS3 experiments. This is a volunteer position, so we're especially grateful to have him take on this more formal role at GalaxyGoo.

Joining the GalaxyGoo Advisory Board, is our former CTO: Mike Walth. We're looking forward to interacting with Mike in this new capacity. It's good to mix things up a bit, from time to time. Also joining the GalaxyGoo Advisory Board, is Stacey Mulcahy .

August 04, 2006

Scientifics Online and GalaxyGoo

GalaxyGoo is an affiliate of the Scientifics Online store. So now you can support GalaxyGoo and your geeky habits at the same time.

Find the largest selection of toys and tools for kids, hobbyists and science geeks of all ages at

We'll be adding links to specific items telescopes and science kits.

July 31, 2006

Flurry of Experimental Flash

Wow! We did it! We posted experimental Flash projects (with source files) every 30 minutes for 24 hours. It wouldn't have been possible without my amazing team. Edwin, Mike, Paul, and Stacey, and special guest Keith Peters, posted fantastic and diverse experimental flash projects (including source files). The experience made us all wish we had more time to experiment. Everyone went above and beyond what was asked of them, and in my eyes they truly sparkled.

In addition to the coders, we had an invaluable team member who may be unfamiliar to the Flash blog audience: Phyllis Pugh. Phyllis is a neuroscientist.She is also on the board of directors and is the science advisor to GalaxyGoo. If you ask me, we've just discovered a hidden talent of hers: blogger extraordinaire. Her introductions were great! She stepped up during the blogathon, even with an unexpected and personal loss.

Why'd we do this? There were two main goals: 1) inspire our fellow flash developers to do more experimentation and 2) raise money for the educational programs at Galaxygoo.

It's not too late to make a pledge of support for GalaxyGoo at To every donor who pledges $40 or more, we'll be sending a cool thank you gift: a Glow-in-the-dark Astro-Logix construction toy (64 pieces).

July 20, 2006

GalaxyGoo Gazette Links

There's nothing like publishing in print to make you appreciate the hyper-link. To make it easier on our Gazette readers, we're including all of the links from the newsletter here, in the order in which they first appear.

July 19, 2006

Blogathon 2006

The blogathon is almost upon us, and we're working furiously to get ready. We've got a fantastic group of Flash coders contributing files to this event. Some participated back in 2003, and some are joining us for the first time.

The projects will be in various version of Flash, including AS3.

During the event, we'll publish source files as well as finished swf. We hope that you will join in on the fun, play around with the code, and post your own variations.

The event starts at 6am (pacific), on Saturday, July 29th, and ends 24 hours later.

You can help support the educational programs at GalaxyGoo, by making a pledge of support on the website.

July 12, 2006

The GalaxyGoo Gazette Goes to Press

We finally put together our first humble newsletter: The GalaxyGoo Gazette. It's being printed right now.

If you'd like to get on our mailing list, send your postal address to gazetteAT galaxygoo. Be sure to send it to dot org, instead of dot com, or it won't get to us.

July 10, 2006

Four Years of Blogging!

On July 10, 2002, I made the very first post to the GalaxyGoo blogs. At the time, we were just playing around with some new web technology. Four years later, I can't imagine GalaxyGoo without a blog.

To all of our readers, thank you!

July 05, 2006

Updated Avian Flu Data Viz

I've updated the Data Visualization of Avian Flu so that it shows the data from the World Health Organization on cases reported through July 4th, 2006.

GalaxyGoo in Blogathon 2006

It's official! We're in the 2006 Blogathon. We'll post an experimental Flash project every 30 minutes, for 24 hours.

In the 2004 blogathon, GalaxyGoo won the award for "Best Visual Arts". After a two year break, we're participating in the blogathon again.

When: Saturday, July 29th
Start Time: 6am (Pacific)

Sponsor GalaxyGoo! Your pledge supports the educational projects at GalaxyGoo.

July 03, 2006

Getting back in touch

For the last few months, we've had trouble with our online communications. If you've tried to get in touch with me, and I haven't gotten back to you, it probably means that I never got the email. So, please resend.


June 21, 2006

We're Back!

Whew, that was quite a move. But we're back, at last.

Still have a lot of work to do on the site as a whole (including the blog), but at least we're in our new home -- ready to paint the walls and unpack the boxes.

May 20, 2006

GalaxyGoo Cell T-Shirt

Here's a sneak peak at the latest geeky t-shirt from GalaxyGoo. There's something about white ink on black that really appeals to me.

Cell T-Shirt

April 25, 2006

The Pirate Shop Supports Writing Program

826 Valencia: The Writing Center helps kids develop their writing skills. A worthy goal, but how do they fund it?

With a pirate store! Yep, that's right, they run a store full of eye patches and pirate hats to fund their literacy projects.

For years now, while making small-talk at parties, the pirate store comes up almost every time the nature of my work is mentioned. The first time I heard of 826 Valencia and The Pirate Shop, was at a conference for non-profits. It was a session on the emerging earned income strategy, in the world of dwindling traditional funding sources. The whole idea of a store selling pirate-themed toys to support a program was crazy and brilliant. It works! Can it be duplicated? Maybe not, but it can inspire new ideas.

The key is to connect something that people want with something they want to support -- make it easier to satisfy the drive to "do good". Along these lines, I've been looking for things GalaxyGoo could offer to the feel-good market space.

This past November, we organized an amazing art show with works inspired by math and science. It was a successful show, but didn't raise a large amount of money or stir up a buzz in the local media. Why? I think that perhaps the ticket price on most of the pieces was outside the budget of our community of supporters. The Pirate Store is filled with inexpensive items, and they sell a lot of them.

But why no media buzz? Maybe we need to work on a smaller scale and get people more familiar and comfortable with the intersection of art and science. Reach out with something that they can hold onto. One thing we could do is to offer appealing products through services like and

April 14, 2006

Back From DC Area

While I didn't have time to visit the Air and Space museum, I did get to visit the Lincoln memorial and walk around some of the monuments on Tuesday night.

The talk went ok, but it was in a very big room with few people in it. As a speaker, this is an uncomfortable setting. It's difficult to connect with an audience that is so spread out.

The fun part, for me, was after the talk when I got to see how some of the NASA images are prepared. I also had an expansion of my mental model of data. In my experience, both in scientific research and database programming, data comes in discrete packets or data points and text fields. To me, data is fluid and can travel from container to container. As with water, the data can take the shape of the container that holds it. With the satellite data I was shown, however, the visual image is a representation of a very large set of data points. I still think the NASA data is fluid, it just needs much bigger containers than most of the data I usually work with.

Next stop: Toronto for FITC

March 30, 2006

Mythbusters at a High School Benefit

Looks like I'm not the only one to think that the Mythbusters would be fantastic guests at a benefit event: Unofficial Mythbusters

MythBuster Sighting

This time it was Jamie, from the MythBusters, at a Japanese restaurant. Again, it didn't seem neighborly to intrude so I did not speak with him. After all, he just wanted to relax and have a nice dinner. With my seat facing his, I couldn't avoid looking in his direction, but I really did try not to stare. This was challenging, when what I really wanted to do was to introduce myself and ask him who I should talk to about formally requesting that he and Adam be the guest stars of a celebrity benefit event. My dinner companions did a very good job of distracting me, though. Especially my two year old daughter, who sat on my lap through most of the meal and sampled from any plate within her reach.

So, why am I posting about a celebrity sighting? It's not exactly on-topic for us. However, the MythBusters would be perfect for a celebrity benefit event for GalaxyGoo, and they are local. This is a long shot, but maybe their publicist or someone associated with the show will notice and get in contact with us.

February 16, 2006

A really big thing!

Sometimes things happen in our careers that seem almost too big to talk about, let alone blog about. We ask ourselves, how do I write about this? I mean, it's huge! But, will anyone else appreciate it? How do I manage to say it, without hyping it too much or downplaying it too much?

OK here goes...the week before I speak at FITC, I'm giving a talk at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. And yes, using Flash will be part of the talk.

February 14, 2006

GalaxyGoo mentioned in Science

GalaxyGoo got a brief mention in the Newsmakers section of Science, recently. Personally, I'm thrilled that the mention was as "Pioneers". Check out the story, which focuses on Dee Breger (who donated the session) and Aaron Messing (who placed the winning bid on the session).

Science/AAAS | Newsmakers : 10 February 2006; 311 (5762)

February 10, 2006

Will the Forums be back? Yes!

The GalaxyGoo forums have been down for a while, because of a security weakness in the version of the software we were running. While the upgrade has been a bit more trouble than anticipated, the forums will indeed be back. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.

January 12, 2006

Need to Make Things Move?

Just saw today, that Keith Peters' fantastic book, ActionScript Animation: Making Things Move, is sold out. Wow! Congratulations Keith!

It just so happens that we were about to list a signed copy of the book in our MissionFish/Ebay auctions. So, if you've just got to have a copy, and you'd like to support our programs at the same time, the timing couldn't be better. The listing is scheduled to go live tonight at 9pm, Pacific.

Legal note: GalaxyGoo is a registered charity in the State of California. This is not a solicitation for donations outside of California.

January 11, 2006

Support GalaxyGoo

GalaxyGoo develops and distributes educational software, free of charge, to teachers, students and the general public. We do this to further our mission to increase Science Literacy. Help support our educational projects, by bidding on items donated to GalaxyGoo and are up for auction on our MissionFish: Nonprofit Homepage. Currently listed, with two days left, is a one hour with a scanning Electron Microscope and resulting image on disk.

Keep an eye out for further listings, including a signed copy of Keith Peters' Foundation Actionscript Animation: Making Things Move!

January 09, 2006

Newsletter Delivery: Paper Wins Over Online?

Kim Klein, of the Grassroots Fundraising Journal reports that her subscribers overwhelmingly prefer paper to online delivery of their newsletter. She also suggests that organizations consider a balance between paper and online media. Grassroots Fundraising Journal - Dear Kim Q&A Column

My own thoughts on this subject are in agreement about finding the balance that works best for your own organization. We're still figuring out what that balance is for GalaxyGoo. So far, we've always published online, and only print when we have special events.

We are still planning on publishing a printed GalaxyGoo newsletter, and if all goes well, we will be opening subscriptions this year.

December 04, 2005

Auction Closes Tonight

Art Intersect Science: Online Silent Auction closes tonight.

November 28, 2005

Overloaded Elements

Our Periodic Table of Elements with Flash and webMathematica project has been "discovered", and we're getting unusually high traffic on the math server. By unusual, I mean jumping from around 400 to 16,000 hits per week for that application. As a result, the math server is slowing and sometimes crashing. It's just not set up for that much traffic going through webMathematica.

We're looking into ways to improve the performance of the server, and increasing the number of processes the kernel can run.

November 23, 2005

New version of The Cell

We've just uploaded a new version of The Cell: A Learning Tool.

This version includes a feature that lets the user build a cell from a selection of organelles, and checks if the correct organelles have been placed in the cytoplasm.

We've also included questions in the quiz that are more cognitive based.

We still need to add better logic to the quiz, so that the same question isn't repeated and the quiz responds to the user's learning needs.

November 17, 2005

GalaxyGoo registered with MissionFish

Ebay has this fantastic program for non-profit organizations, where people can donate a portion of their sales to a non-profit of their choice. This program is called Giving Works and works in association with MissionFish.

GalaxyGoo has just finished the certification process, and now has a MissionFish: Nonprofit Homepage.

November 14, 2005

Sponsor a CF upgrade on the GalaxyGoo server

GalaxyGoo needs to upgrade CF on it's server. Your donation will help us pay for the new licence and will also be tax deductible. Please mail your donation to

4104 24th Street, #349
San Francisco, CA 94114

Be sure to write "for CF upgrade" in the comment line on the check, so that the donation is earmarked for the upgrade.

Since we have such an old version of CF, we can't take advantage of the upgrade pricing.

Legal statement: GalaxyGoo is a registered charity in the state of Califorina, and is not solicitng donations from outside of California.

What Makes a Great Conference

It's been so busy around here, that many "news" items just haven't made it to the blog.

This summer, I attended the best conference I've ever been to: the Gordon Research Conference on Visualization in Science and Education. There were several factors that made it such a great conference. First of all, the attendees were all encouraged to participate by presenting posters, so that most attendees were either giving a talk or giving a poster. Also, the speakers were not singled out, or isolated from the rest of the attendees.

The conference was focused on a single track of sessions, and there were more opportunities for talking with the other attendees than at other conferences I've been to. Also, limiting attendees to 125 reduced the chances of getting "lost in the crowd". During the five days of the conference, we ate all of our meals together and there were many opportunities in the day to socialize. We visited several pubs.

For me, attending one of the two-day workshops before the conference began was a great way to get to know people. We broke up into small working groups. I learned a great deal about assessing the effectiveness of learning applications, and got to know some amazing people at the workshop. You could even say that I had a paradigm shift, as a result of the workshop. I'll be writing more about this, as I continue my studies and explorations.

There was also the mini-grant competition. During the course of the conference, we were encouraged to form interdisciplinary teams, design a pilot project, and write a grant application to fund the project. Each team was expected to include a subject expert, a learning expert, and a media expert. The application was due at the end of the conference.

I am pleased to announce that I am part of a team that won funding for a pilot project, through the conference, and the project will include the development of a learning tool built with Flash. The grants were funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

November 11, 2005

Class Based version of CML Reader

Eric Mulvihill contributed a class based update of Edwin's CML reader a while back. It's now available for download on the GalaxyGoo Working Forums - CML reader

Art Intersect Science--Show Extended

If you missed the show, there's still time to get a look at this wonderful collection of art. The show has been extended for another week, and will be up until next Wednesday.

The gallery has two floors, so be sure to go downstairs and see the whole show.

Lucid is at 580 Sutter, about a two blocks from Union Square. Their website hasn't been updated, so the last show is still listed as "currently showing".

The event--first impressions

I just got home from the Art Intersect Science event, and I want to write down some of my initial reflections on the event.

First of all, I have to give applause to the artists who made the whole show. Without their genius and generosity none of this would be possible.

Next item: the music was perfect! Wendy De Rosa gave the perfect performance--not quite background, but not dominating the experience. She enriched the whole event. Her performance was so perfect that people upstairs were surprised to know that it was a live performance and came downstairs when they realized it was live... when she spoke between songs.

The food! Oh my goodness! The appetizers from the Ritz-Carlton disappeared before I had a chance to make my way over to the table. I heard that they were very, very, tasty, but they were gone before I could taste any of them. I was very busy and couldn't get there for almost two hours into the event. The Westin St. Francis and the 24th Street Cheese Company both provided ample platters of tasty treats, which I did get to taste. Yum, yum, yum! The plate from the Cheese company had these yummy spicy olives on it. I'll have to ask them what they were, because I can't recall tasting them before, and they were just fantastic!

Perhaps I have saved the best for last: the art! It was wonderful to see people with the art. I've been amazed by the pieces as they came in, one by one. Seeing them all together, hung in the gallery, was an altogether different experience. I saw myself as a curator for the first time. It has been an honor to be the central organizing point, that these amazing artists contributed their works to. If I could, I would keep all of the art for myself. Every piece is remarkable.

My favorite part of the whole night, was when I got the chance to go around the gallery with a guest and explain why I thought each piece was brilliant. After some discussion, I've decided to write up these thoughts. Over the next several weeks I will try to write about as many of the art works as time permits.

October 31, 2005

Online Bidding for Art Intersect Science now live

Just uploaded some updates to the Art Intersect Science event pages. This includes links to the online bidding service that will be handling the bids for the auction.

Additionally, because we were able to find some great sponsors for the event, admission is free. Please note that Lucid Gallery is a 21-and-over venue. Catering is being donated by The Ritz-Carlton, the Westin St. Francis, and the 24th Street Cheese Company.

A few more pieces are expected to arrive this week. Anne-Marie Pochat brought her piece all the way from France, and delivered it in person today. She will be attending the event on the 10th.

October 11, 2005

Art Show listed on

I've posted an announcement about Art Intersect Science on, and already there are a couple of people "watching" the event. Ok, call me a geek, but I think that's cool. Art Intersect Science: Art Show and Benefit Event at Lucid (Thursday, November 10, 2005)

September 28, 2005

Art Intersect Science Press Release

*** For Immediate Release ***

GalaxyGoo Auctions Art for Science Education
Artists rally to support math and science education non-profit

San Francisco � September 30, 2005 - On Thursday evening, November 10, over thirty artists and scientists from around the world offer important works of art and stunning scientific images for auction, to support the math and science education organization GalaxyGoo. The first annual Art Intersect Science art show and benefit event (with silent auction) will be held at Lucid Gallery near Union Square in San Francisco.

GalaxyGoo is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to increasing science literacy, and produces the website It develops educational software and materials for students and the general public. The GalaxyGoo web site is a public resource, a community center, a collaboration space, and a gallery of experiments in multimedia and online technologies.

�With funding for our schools declining even faster than math and science scores, GalaxyGoo provides an important new resource to help teachers and students� said Kristin Henry, GalaxyGoo founder. �These artists are generously supporting our work by contributing beautiful art that draws its inspiration from science and math. Scientific images can be stunning, and several scientists are also contributing works.�

The art work is exciting and eclectic. The thread that ties these pieces together is a quality of the artists: a curiosity and passion for the beauty in math and science. The Pi Table, by Mike Faruggia, is a circular table hand crafted from steam bent oak, with the irrational number Pi (3.1415�) stamped in a spiral from the middle of the table�s surface to more than 5,000 places. Japanese artist, Akiko Isono contributes a lampwork bead of Satake glass (3cm across) representing a microcosm named �cycle of life under the leaves�. David Goodsell, of the Scripps Research Institute, has donated a fine print of the beautiful, and yet scientifically accurate, watercolor �HIV in Serum�. The show will be on display at Lucid Gallery beginning November 5.

The cause is important. GalaxyGoo develops interactive learning tools, and makes them available for free on the internet at Proceeds will support educational projects including those like:

� The Cell Project - designed to reinforce a seventh grade student's standard classroom knowledge with interactive models of animal and plant cells, interactive self-quizzing, and off-screen activities.

� AIDS education - including interactive animation on the molecular biology of an HIV infection, and why HIV is not transmitted by mosquito bites.

� Click-n-Spell with the Elements - provides a fun way to explore the Periodic Table of Elements. In the FlashGoddess online gallery, the game was described as a �novel presentation of the periodic table as a word game. It is surprisingly challenging and satisfying to create words from the elements� symbols.�

Art Intersect Science Facts:
The benefit event, with silent auction, will be held from 7 � 11 p.m., on November 10. Admission is $20.

Free previews begin on November 5. Lucid Gallery is located at 580 Sutter Street, in San Francisco. Dates for the opening of online biding will be announced on the GalaxyGoo website.

For more information please visit:

* End *

September 16, 2005

Art Intersect Science Update

The lists of confirmed artists, scientists and authors for Art Intersect Science just keeps growing and growing. Excitement builds, as the artwork arrives and we open the packages. Each day there is something new and wonderful.

Even the business side of the event has an element of fun ;-)

We've come up with sponsorship levels, in character with GalaxyGoo.

Carbon (C) -- the basis of life $50-$99
Neon (Ne) -- lights up the night $100 - $499
Argon (Ar) -- a noble gift $500 - $999
Iron (Fe) -- keeps us strong $1,000 - $4,999
Krypton (Kr) -- gives us super powers $5,000 +

August 29, 2005

The Event formerly known as "The Art of Science"

The working name for the upcoming GalaxyGoo event has been "The Art of Science". While this was great as a working name, we've decided to go with a different name for the event: Art Intersect Science. Kudos go to Phyllis Pugh, who came up with the idea.

August 22, 2005

5 More artists join the Art of Science

Over the weekend, five more artists confirmed their participation in GalaxyGoo's Art of Science.

August 18, 2005

GalaxyGoo in National Science Digital Library

GalaxyGoo's been added to the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) .

August 16, 2005

Glass Artists Join GalaxyGoo's Art of Science Event

Another two artists have confirmed their participation in GalaxyGoo's Art of Science event. Akiko Isono and Jenny Newtson are remarkably talented artists, and are both featured in the book 1000 Glass Beads: Innovation & Imagination in Contemporary Glass Beadmaking.

Here is the current list of confirmed artists:

August 15, 2005

GalaxyGoo's Art of Science Event Page

We've launched a simple event page for The Art of Science: Art Auction Benefit Event 2005. As more details are set, in the months leading up to the November event, we'll update and expand the page.

July 26, 2005

Skipping the Blogathon

This was a tough decision, but we're going to skip the Blogathon this year. While the last Blogathon was a great experience, several issues tipped the balance against GalaxyGoo participating this year. First of all, we've already got our hands full with the upcoming Art Auction and Benefit event. Secondly, Macromedia has already released a public Beta of the next Flash player. It seemed strange to be putting together a collection of experimental Flash pieces right now.

The last Blogathon was a lot of fun, and I wish this year's participants the best of luck.

July 13, 2005

The Blogathon is Back

The blogathon is back, and it's scheduled for August 6, 2005.

Last year, GalaxyGoo won the award for best visual arts project. The way we did it last time, we set up all the posts ahead of time and published them every 30 minutes during the blogathon. This worked well, and we took shifts.

To participate again, we'll need volunteers from the Flash community to donate experimental Flash projects and their source files. If you're interested, post a comment here or use our contact form. Be sure to include your email address, or I won't be able to get back in touch with you.

June 20, 2005

Interview with Bob Crimi: Introduction

Some time ago, I was leafing through Nature (a scientific journal) and noticed a small but striking illustration. I was drawn to the colors, and received a basic understanding of a complex concept.


To say the least, I was impressed. The illustrators name was listed, and I immediately looked for his contact information. Well, for some reason, the publisher "didn't have his contact information". So, I started a google search. There was a painter with the same name, but his website didn't mention science illustrations (at the time).

At the same time, I was frustrated with spammers trying to take advantage of my site's google rank. Then it occurred to me...what if I use my own google rank, and for good instead of evil ;-)

I posted about my search for Bob Crimi, and sure enough I heard from him. We've since spoken on the phone and exchanged many emails. He has an approach to science illustration and visualization that I share. Basically, what it boils down to is make the viewer comfortable, and they will stay long enough to learn something. We also agree that science visualization can be beautiful, and that aesthetics is important to visual communication.

We're both very busy, but we hope that this is an introduction to a long series of interview questions.

Call for Artists

Celebrate math and science with your art!

GalaxyGoo, a non-profit dedicated to increasing science literacy among students and the general public, is holding a benefit art auction in November 2005. GalaxyGoo is currently seeking donations of art inspired by math and science. Works will be auctioned at a benefit event and celebration of art, math and science.

Please contact us, before sending original artwork.


Postal Mail:

Art Auction 2005
4104 24th Street, #349
San Francisco, CA 94114

June 01, 2005

Pi Delivery

Mike Farruggia dropped off the Pi Table today. It's a rare thing in life to have your expectations exceeded, and this table does just that. The idea of a table decorated with Pi appealed to my geeky side, but I didn't expect the quietly satisfying subtlety.

Photos really don't do it justice, but I'll try to post some as soon as possible.

Among other works of art, the table will be auctioned off at an upcoming benefit event. The date hasn't been set yet, but we're looking at November. If you'd like to get involved with the event, or would like to donate artwork, please contact me.

May 27, 2005

Planet San Francisco Sculptor donates Pi Table to GalaxyGoo Art Auction

We haven't mentioned anything on the blog yet, since we're still very early in the planning stages, but GalaxyGoo is holding a benefit art auction in November. The theme is Art about and inspired by Science and Math.

You may be wondering why I couldn't wait to blog about this. Well, today I got confirmation that local artist Mike Farruggia is donating one of his works to the auction: his Pi Table. It's made of steam bent oak, with over 3,000 digits of Pi stamped into the surface. There's a good picture of it on his website.

May 12, 2005

All About Ratios Project Now Onlne

Last night, I uploaded the All About Ratios project to our server. So far, testing is going well, but we could use some more feedback. The focus right now is on function.

For me, the most challenging part of the project was working with internal and externally loaded images as if they came from the same source, and keeping my code readable. Since Flash won't duplicate a movie clip with an externally loaded jpeg, I had to load them repeatedly. But I wanted there to be default images for the exercise, so that the learning tool would work even if it landed in an environment without external resources to load.

I'm going to take a break from the code for a little while, and then come back and look for ways to improve the class structures.

All About Ratios: a learnig tool built with Flash

May 07, 2005

Back from Sedona

Just got back from Sedona, Arizona. Mike Walth, GalaxyGoo's CTO, got married this Thursday (5/5/05 at 5pm), and we flew out for the festivities. Since Phyllis came to the wedding, and we had a quorum, we also held a board meeting. Yes, GalaxyGoo has a very small board of directors. We're a small organization :-)

I managed to take some nice pix of the scenery. Those "red rocks" are awfully pretty. It's amazing what a little iron and oxygen can do for a landscape.

Sedona Arizona landscape

This is the view the guests had durring the ceremony:

View during wedding

The night before we left, they were serving wine and nibbles in the lobby. A man introduced himself to me as the IT guy for the resort. So I promptly gave him a GalaxyGoo brochure. Perhaps he'll pay us a visit here on our website.

April 28, 2005

New Version of The Cell Learning Tool

A new version of The Cell learning tool is now online. With this version, we've added the plant cell and improved the user interface.

The Cell project is the focus of Frances' internship with GalaxyGoo as well as her Masters' thesis. As part of her Masters' degree in instructional design, she was required to take a class in Flash. We decided to optimize her learning, and developed a prototype for the project as part of her class assignments. So, at this point, the project represents what a beginning Flash student can accomplish (with a little help and pasting in some code).

The project continues. Our working relationship will change as Frances and I work as a team. She'll focus on instructional design and I'll focus on Flash development.

The Cell: A Learning Tool

April 27, 2005

Funding the Trip to Oxford

We're looking for ways to help cover the expenses of traveling to Oxford for the conference this summer. I'm hoping that we can raise much more than needed for the trip, so that funds can also be raised for the GalaxyGoo general budget.

One option is to enter the blogathon again, or to hold our own similar event. We can also issue a general request for donations. I could also do some on-site consulting or public speaking in the London and Oxford area, if there is interest. I seem to recall reading somewhere that people can donate their travel miles to non-profit organizations. I'll have to research that, and post an update.

April 22, 2005

GalaxyGoo Goes To Oxford

Got word today that my application to attend the 2005 GRC on Visualization In Science & Education has been approved.

Whoohoo! Yep, I'm excited!

So, it looks like I'll be in the UK in early July. The conference takes place at Queens College, Oxford.

Recycle your Cell Phone and Support GalaxyGoo

Now you can recycle your cell phone, and help support GalaxyGoo at the same time!

In addition to raising awareness and promoting recycling, participating non-profit organizations and schools will also be raising funds for their important work. On average, each charity gets $1 per phone collected!
~from the recycle my cell phone website

The value of the phone, or PDA, is also tax deductible. Nice!

March 29, 2005

Convoluted Paperwork

Ahhhh, I can take a deep breath now. I've been working on some very important paperwork lately, and just now sent it off in the mail.

Starting up a non-profit organization is a lot of work. In fact, for the first five years the IRS gives you an "advance ruling period". At the end of these five years you're required to demonstrate that you are indeed a publicly supported organization.

Most of the paperwork is fairly straightforward, but a couple of the "questions" are just a bit say the least. Here's an example:

"For any amount included in line 3 that was received from each person (other than "disqualified persons"), attach a list showing the name of, and amount received fro each year, that was more than the larger of (1) the amount on line 11 for the year or (2) $5,000. (include in the list organizations as well as individuals.) After computing the difference between the amount received and the larger amount described in (1) or (2), enter the sum of these differences (the excess amounts) for each year."

:-) I had to read through that a few times before I figured out what they wanted.

March 22, 2005

Congratulations Doc Chapin!

Congratulations Doc Chapin!

Great big congratulations to Nick Chapin, vice-president of GalaxyGoo, for successfully defending his PhD dissertation!

March 11, 2005

Flashback to My Very First Animation

Yesterday, I came accross the first animation I ever created. I've just got to share it. Flash? This one's an animated gif. It's supposed to be subtle...a few bubbles come up now and then.

This was back when animated gifs were oh so exciting ;-) At the time, it seemed like everyone was going crazy with blinking graphics, and I wanted something a little less annoying.

March 07, 2005

GalaxyGoo Goes to Print

At the beginning, GalaxyGoo was purely an online organization. Over time, we've expanded into the brick-and-mortar world. As part of this growth, we're now developing a printed newsletter.

Now, I can't stand getting newsletters that just take up space on my kitchen counter and eventually end up in the recycling bin without getting read. They just clutter my life, without adding anything to it. A great newsletter--now's that's an entirely different beast. It gets marked up, it's articles get clipped and saved.

Of course, we want to publish the best newsletter we possibly can. Here are some ideas we're tossing around:

  • brain games (puzzles, mathematical recreations...)
  • GalaxyGoo news--info on current projects, new volunteers, etc
  • Upcoming events
  • background information for current topics in science and math (ie: why is everyone worried about avian flu)
  • interviews
  • do-it-yourself science experiments
  • science kit/toy reviews
  • issues in science education
  • reviews of educational tools built with Flash

You can help us develop a great newsletter! Tell us what you'd like to see in a newsletter from GalaxyGoo.

February 25, 2005

First Post -- From Neuroscience to ColdFusion

Hello, my name is Steven Erat and I'm the new kid on the GalaxyGoo block, er..., blog. I've been invited by Kristin Henry of GalaxyGoo to contribute blog entries based on my experience in both scientific research and software development. You might even know me already from my blog on or through my employer Macromedia.

Continue reading "First Post -- From Neuroscience to ColdFusion" »

February 23, 2005

New Blogger on GalaxyGoo

Steven Erat is joining the GalaxyGoo blog team! You may know him from his own blog, talking tree. He has a science background, and now works in the software industry.

He's got a lot to offer the GalaxyGoo community and I'm really looking forward to his posts.

January 24, 2005

New GalaxyGoo Blog?

You probably noticed the science theme here on the blog, but do you know what GalaxyGoo's primary mission is? It's to increase science literacy. One way to do that is to create a welcoming environment for exploring math and science.

We're exploring the possibility of adding a new blog; one that you might not expect from us and we'd like your feedback.

There are all kinds of books and kits on learning science through "kitchen experiments". These can be a lot of fun, and we're thinking of exploring this realm on GalaxyGoo. We would combine science experiments with food science and technique. One thought is that we could request recipes from scientists. There are many possibilities, and this could help build a stronger community at GalaxyGoo. After all, what is more basic to a community than food?

January 14, 2005

Bookmarks Blog

For a while now, I've been keeping some posts in draft format--the ones that are basically bookmarks. It's been a convenient place to keep links. Especially time sensitive links.

I've also been working on a database application for storing links on the GalaxyGoo servers, integrated with the GalaxyGoo Member Tools. The system is still in development.

So, in the mean time, I've set up a new GalaxyGoo blog just for these bookmarks. They're mainly for my own use, but you're now free to browse them. I'll be adding new posts and categories over time.


January 06, 2005

New Year's Resolutions

Christian Cantrell asks What Kinds of New Year's Resolutions Do Developers Make?

When I started GalaxyGoo, I was just a geek trying to give something back, and I had no idea how to run a non-profit organization. I've learned a lot since then, but my main resolution for this year is to become a much better non-profit leader and still have time to code. So I guess my second resolution is to manage my time better.

I still need to write up a schedule of goals for this year, but one of the priorities is to finish the project collaboration space tools. We will also expand The Cell project, and develop a program for teachers to participate in. I'd also like to get the Flash/MathML project moving again....ah, so much to do and so little time.

December 13, 2004

quiet for the holidays

We've been very busy with preparing paperwork for the State of California, and everything else has had to take the back burner.

And now it's the festive season. So this blog will be pretty quiet for a while.

Happy Holidays everyone!

November 26, 2004

Shop and Support GalaxyGoo

Support GalaxyGoo while shopping. I've compiled a list of great toys in affiliation with MindWare--even added some thumbnail images for easy browsing. Ten percent of purchases made through the links on this page will benefit GalaxyGoo.

I posted about becoming a Mindware affiliate a few weeks ago. The Math Calendar I mentioned in that post isn't on the big list, though.

November 22, 2004

Email Troubles at GalaxyGoo

Everybody knows that spam is out of control. In an effort to alleviate the deluge, new filters were installed on the GalaxyGoo mail server. Unfortunately, they were a little too strict and some legitimate mail was lost last week. After some fine tuning, we think we have the problem resolved.

If you've sent me an email recently, please resend. Make sure that you use "dot org" and not "dot com".

Contact forms are also functioning.

Thank you for your patience.

October 12, 2004

Cell Project Update

Frances administered the quiz on Monday, to two sessions of seventh graders. Today we met and went over the results. We knew there would be a performance gap (test scores less than perfect), but we were still surprised. The students had been tested on the material only two weeks before, yet students that had scored well on the official test didn't even pass our quiz. Was the quiz harder? Nope, the questions were almost identical. Does this mean that the students are not retaining the information after the exam? Very likely. Frances will be posting more about this in the project blog.

We also brainstormed ideas for the learning tool. How can we make the material more tangible to the student? Our time is limited, so rather than cover both animal and plant cells we're focusing on the animal cell for this version. We're going to animate the functions of each organelle, in addition to providing labels and text explanations, when the user clicks on a part of the cell. This version will basically be a prototype of a larger project we'll be working on over the next several months.

I've uploaded some new documents for the project, including the quiz.

October 10, 2004


It may take some time, but I do work my way down the very long and ever growing to-do list for GalaxyGoo. Today, I got around to adding a contact form in the side bar of the blog index page. It's a no-frills widget, but it's been working well on other pages of the site.

October 05, 2004

The Cell Project

The Cell Project has begun in earnest. On Monday, Frances gives the pre-assessment quiz to 7th grade classes. We're eager to see the results.

September 29, 2004

Thank You!

It takes a lot to make a great event come together. Our recent book signing and benefit event is no exception, and a lot of people have my gratitude.

First I'd like to send out a great big "Thank You!" to Steve Rycroft, for asking me to write a chapter for New Masters of Flash. I am deeply honored to be included in this unique book.

The folks at friends of Ed generously donated books as door many that we will also have some prizes for future competitions here at GalaxyGoo (hint, hint...stay tuned for upcoming GalaxyGoo challenges).

Cover to Cover Booksellers--not only did they host the event, but they made everything run smoothly. Paula, Tracy, and Mark...Thank you!

Drew (at Plumpjack on 24th street ) helped us out with the wine and donated a whole case for door prizes.

It's a good thing this isn't an awards show, or they'd be dragging me off the stage now. But there are still more people to thank. Even more food and door prizes were donated by Trader Joe's, PlumpJack, The Ark, Chocolate Covered, Bay Area Discovery Museum, and Acme Bakery.

John Ricker loaned us wine glasses for the tasting. John runs a non-profit that melts down guns and makes art from the metal.

Saving the best for last...special thanks go to Vera Fleischer for donating a copy of Studio MX 2004 as a door prize. Becky Allen is an artist with food, she did an amazing job with the platters. Frances Segal was an incredible help in all things, from planning to finish. And we couldn't have done it without Jono Marcus, who coordinated the entire event.

At the event, we gave out a short list of links about current state of Science education:

September 27, 2004

GalaxyGoo Happy Hour

Want to know more about GalaxyGoo? Itching to geek-speak with fellow Flash developers and designers? Are you a science or math teacher?

Our next GalaxyGoo Flash Happy Hour is scheduled for this Thursday!

If you're in the San Francisco bay area, come join us.

September 30, 2004 (Thursday)

  • Bliss Bar (on 24th street, between Noe and Castro streets in San Francisco)
  • 7:00pm

If you'd like an email reminder, send a note to blogging at galaxygoo dot org

September 21, 2004

Photos from book signing event

The book signing and benefit was a success! It was a lot of fun, and I got to meet some really cool people, like the folks from the Math/Science Network. Two of the most influential people in my education also came to the event. I had several courses with each of them, including Electron Microscopy, Assembly Language and Systems Programming.

Here are a few photos from the event.




September 10, 2004

GalaxyGoo In The Local News

If you happen to be in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, pick up a copy of the Noe Valley Voice (September, 2004). On the bottom of page 27, you'll find a short article about GalaxyGoo, Flash, New Masters of Flash, and the September 16th event. It's a rather flattering article.

Update (Sept 13,04):
The article is now online--about half way down the page. --thanks Elliot for posting about it in the comments.

September 09, 2004

Book signing and Benefit for GalaxyGoo

Are you in the bay area? Time to celebrate the release of New Masters of Flash--GalaxyGoo style.

Please join us for a book signing and benefit for GalaxyGoo, with wine tasting and door prizes.

7pm Thursday, September 16
Cover to Cover Booksellers
1307 Castro St. (at 24th St)
San Francisco, CA

For more information:

August 09, 2004

Seeking volunteer webcam guru in San Francisco

Plans are well underway for the book signing and benefit event. It's coming together nicely. We'll be having wine tasting and door prizes!

A few days ago Edwin and I were chatting online, and we came up with the idea of having a webcam broadcast for folks who can't make it to the event.

So...we need somebody to help with the webcam and moderate a chat room (if we get one set up). If you're in the San Francisco area, and this sounds like something you'd like to help us out with, send me a note at khenry at galaxygoo dot org or post a comment here.

August 06, 2004

Meet Frances Segal

Please welcome Frances Segal to GalaxyGoo. She's a graduate student in Instructional Technology at San Francisco State University, and will be interning with me for the next several months.

She'll be on the forums, posting on the blog, and helping out behind the scenes. She'll also be picking my brain a lot. She's here to learn, so please be as helpful as you can. She'll be taking her first class in Flash this Fall.

July 28, 2004


It's hard to believe that a full year has passed since we did the blogathon, and created Curiouser. We posted 48 Flash experiments over 24 hours (one every half hour). After it was all over, we were named "Best Visual Arts Project" for the year.

Are we going to do it again? Maybe next year, since the blogathon folks are taking a year off.

July 21, 2004

Semi-final round of Science Visualization Challenge!

Just now, I got word that we've made it to the semi-final round of the NSF Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge. A simpler version of our Neuromuscular Junction Simulation, is also the subject of my chapter in New Masters of Flash III.

July 10, 2004

It's been two years!

As of today, this blog's been online for two years. To celebrate, I'm posting something completely off topic and somewhat silly.

When I saw this truck today, I just had to pull out my camera.

funny moving van

July 05, 2004

Adventures in CSS conversion

Today, seeking technical inspiration in my efforts to convert GalaxyGoo to full CSS, I took a peek at source code for the O'Reilly website and was surprised to find that it was table based.

I turn, instead to

June 10, 2004

GalaxyGoo Going CSS

After five years as a table-based website, GalaxyGoo will be converting to CSS for layout. The conversion is quite a bit of work, I'll tell you. But it will be worth it once it's done. Already, it's getting easier.

Why did we wait so long? I was concerned about older browsers being able to use our site. Believe it or not, Arpanet shows up in our logs. But the simplicity and separation of content from presentation was too much for me to resist.

June 02, 2004

Updated Neuro Simulation

I've been doing some work on our Neuromuscular Junction Simulation lately. What motivated me to finally get back to this project? Well, in March I was asked to write a chapter about it for the upcoming edition of New Masters of Flash. Wow, I have all new respect for folks who write tutorials. It's one thing to build a project and another altogether to explain how to build it.

More recently, with Phyllis's help on the neuroscience, I've also added some of the different "treatments" to the simulation. So, now the student (end-user) can run simulations of various conditions as well as a normal stimulus and response at the neuromuscular junction (where a nerve ending connects with a muscle and transmits a signal).

By the way, if you'd like to support GalaxyGoo and you plan on purchasing a copy of New Masters of Flash: Volume Three anyway, we hope you'll consider ordering through our affiliate link to Stacey's bookstore.

March 29, 2004

Off Topic Personal: It's a Girl!

This Saturday, I gave birth to a beautiful eight-pound baby girl after five short (but intense) hours of labor. We barely made it to the hospital in time--the baby was born twenty minutes after we got there. As hoped for, I managed a completely natural birth (no medications at all).

The baby and I are doing very well!

I'll be taking it easy for a while--maternity leave for all of April.

March 24, 2004

Presentation Notes Online

Presentatin Notes for FlashForward SF 2004: Visualizing Science With Flash

March 23, 2004

Inbox wiped out

Yikes! My email inbox is completely wiped out...all gone. I'm still looking into what caused it, and if it's possible to recover messages. I usually back up my email, but unfortunately was just about to do so and have lost a large batch of messages to this.

If you've sent me an email recently or if you're waiting for a response from me, please resend.


March 15, 2004

Personal--still waiting


It's been brought to my attention that some folks might be a bit curious about how I'm doing these days.

Well, I haven't popped yet :-)

Everything is going very well, including nice low blood pressure--even with the excitement of our imminent new arrival and the work load and deadlines I'm currently facing.

March 11, 2004

April Vacation

In April, I'll be going on a month-long vacation. Mike Walth will be looking after the whole site while I'm gone. Mike's been an essential part of GalaxyGoo for years.

February 19, 2004

Where'd galaxygoo dot com go?

Because of a DNS mixup (now fixed), I've become aware of a little tiny issue:

There seems to be some confusion about where GalaxyGoo lives on the net, and some folks even link to us as galaxygoo dot com. An easy mistake to make, but we're

While dot-com will forward to us, we really are a dot-org in name, address, and spirit.

February 18, 2004

Two Weeks 'Till Flash Forward

Are you going to this year's Flash Forward conference? I'll be talking about visualizing science with flash, at 4pm on Thursday (room 223). My Q&A session is 9am, the next day.

There's so much to talk about. It was very hard to keep it to a one hour presentation. I'll focus on projects that use XML in some form, with either a custom data structure or an established XML application. If there's time, I'll also touch on webMathematica and mathML. It'll be fun, really! :-)

February 10, 2004

Gearing Up for Math Awareness Month

We're getting ready for Math Awareness Month.

We're hosting a friendly challenge to flash developers: let's see what you can create when you combine Math and Flash. If you'd like to participate, donate a prize, or just share some ideas, join us on the forums:

GalaxyGoo Working Forums - Math Awareness Month

Or send a note to me at blogging at galaxygoo dot org.

February 02, 2004

Stuck in Static When Dynamic is Right There?

Lately, a lot of my time is spent researching funding sources. This includes looking at what other folks are getting money for. Often, I'm completely surprised by projects that seem similar to GalaxyGoo projects, but take a completely different technological approach.

If you scroll down this page, to A Key to the Fishes, you'll find a project to develop a "web-based, dichotomous key". This looked pretty exciting to me, until I noticed that the project involved "building the long series of individual pages required for the key."

Why build individual pages? So much busy-work! A simple database would do the job much more cleanly, and leave the Biology expert focused on subject matter instead of page-making.

If they wanted something technical to spend grant money on, why not request a collaboration with GalaxyGoo?! After all, we've already built the engine to step the user through a dichotomous key.

The funny thing is that I've been searching for an academic to collaborate with, for exactly such an application of our experimental version of an interactive dichotomous key.

This example points out to me that GalaxyGoo could use some help connecting with project collaborations.

January 22, 2004

Support GalaxyGoo and Get a Gift

This week, I met with a fundraiser and grant writer. The meeting was productive, and I barely noticed the hours pass by. I've got a lot of work ahead of me, as we move this organization to the next level and keep GalaxyGoo sustainable and growing.

You can help. The way the tax laws currently work, a portion of our income must come from the general public and not from grants and foundations. Your small donation can help us continue to provide our educational projects for free.

Companies can also help by offering a matching gift program, increasing both our budget and our "demonstration of public support". Ask your company if they are interested in sponsoring GalaxyGoo. While $2,000 may be a small item in a company's budget, it can go a long way at GalaxyGoo

As a small thank you gift, for donations over $25 (US), we're sending out CD's with all of the GalaxyGoo Blogathon 2003 project experiments.

Because GalaxyGoo is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization, your donation may be tax deductible (minus $5 for materials, shipping, and paypal fee).

January 20, 2004

GalaxyGoo Flash Happy Hour

Want to know more about GalaxyGoo? Itching to geek-speak with fellow Flash developers and designers? Are you a science or math teacher?

Our next GalaxyGoo Flash Happy Hour is scheduled for next Monday!

Jan 26, 2004 (Monday)

If you're in San Franciso, join us:

  • Bliss Bar (on 24th street, between Noe and Castro)
  • 6:00pm

If you'd like an email reminder, send a note to bloggingatgalaxygoodotorg

December 30, 2003

End of the Year Gifts

There's still time to include GalaxyGoo in your end-of-the-year-gifts. GalaxyGoo is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and your donation may be tax deductible. Support GalaxyGoo

December 18, 2003

Visualizing Science with Flash at FlashForward

WooHoo! There it is! On the FlashForward website--a description of the presentation I'll be giving at the next FlashForward. Currently, mine's the second one listed: "Visualizing Science with Flash".

Yep, I'm pretty excited. I love this topic, and I can't wait to talk about it.

[Flashforward2004.Com >> Keynote & Seminar Descriptions]

December 17, 2003

Flash Happy Hour this Friday

This Friday, we'll get together for another GalaxyGoo Flash Happy Hour.

If you're in San Franciso, join us:

  • Bliss Bar (on 24th street, between Noe and Castro)
  • Friday, December 19th
  • 5:30pm

I'll be getting there around 5:30. If 6:30 is a better time, come when you can.

November 10, 2003

Congratulations Phyllis!!!

Big congratulations to Phyllis! She just made Assistant Professor!

Phyllis Pugh is one of the founding members of GalaxyGoo and is our Chief Science Advisor. Her contributions to GalaxyGoo include popular articles on Nicotine.

Her promotion elevates her from previous position as post-doctoral scholar of neuroscience, at the Medical College of Ohio.

September 18, 2003

Updated main page

Some long-overdue changes on the main page went up today. No radical design change, just some text that better describes what GalaxyGoo is:

An Online Exploration of Science and Community

GalaxyGoo is an interdisciplinary, volunteer "think tank" dedicated to exploring expressions of science and math with online technologies, for public benefit.

The GalaxyGoo website is a community center, a resource, a collaboration space, and a gallery of experiments in multimedia and online technologies.

September 05, 2003

Back From Vacation

I'm back from my much needed vacation. I hope you didn't miss me too much :-)

July 11, 2003


Woo-hoo! We're listed in the mini-blog reader on We're Here.

July 07, 2003

GalaxyGoo Happy Hour

Happy Birthday to the GalaxyGoo Blog! Thursday is the one year anniversary of our blog.

Are you in town (San Francisco)? Want to come celebrate with a Happy Hour? Post in the comments, with your email, so I can send you info on when and where.

June 18, 2003

Collaboration Tools for GalaxyGoo

The collaboration tools Mike and I have been working on, are almost ready for testing by GalaxyGoo members. The tools include an integrated system with user login, project description and team members, personalized task lists and simple discussion forums. All done with ColdFusion.

If you've got some time folks, we could use some help bug hunting and brainstorming new features to add. Drop me a note.

June 11, 2003

A Great Week!

Some weeks just go better than others. So far, this has been a really great one.

Monday, was lunch with Jared Tarbell. He's one of my hero's, in the Flash world, and it was a rare treat to talk geek together. This was definitely the highlight of the week.

Tuesday, the new version of webMathematica was delivered. Now I have to get it to Mike, so he can install it on the math server.

Today, galaxygoo blog is listed on the Macromedia XML News Aggregator. If you'd like to get your blog listed, instructions for suggesting a blog are listed on the FAQ page.

June 10, 2003

Sharing Knowledge

What motivates teachers to share? For that matter, what motivates anyone to share intellectual assets? Selfless generosity? Not usually, but through GalaxyGoo, I've met some truly generous minds. They share for varied reasons, but the dominant has been that they like the idea of GalaxyGoo and the company they join.

May 27, 2003

New Listing

We've been added to the Educational Software Directory, under organizations

May 23, 2003

Chalkboard presentation notes

Now online:
Reinventing the Chalkboard: Using Online Technologies to Communicate Science and Mathematics. Presentation Notes

May 05, 2003

New Blogs

Slowly, ever so slowly, I'm setting up new GalaxyGoo blogs and using Michael's mini-blog reader to connect them all together.

May 01, 2003

Cast Your Vote

The entries are in, for the GalaxyGoo Flash-Math Challenge. Are you a registered member of the forums? Don't forget to vote for your favorite. The poll closes in two weeks

GalaxyGoo April Flash Math Callenge

April 29, 2003

Flash Blog-Reader on GalaxyGoo

Michael, of hollowcube, has generously allowed us to use his mini-blog reader on the GalaxyGoo website. If you haven't seen it, this handy flash widget pulls a list of blogs from an XML "list", displays summaries of their RSS feeds, and links to the original sites.

I'll be experimenting with this for a while, as a way to manage the eclectic topics that come up. You're welcome to take a peak.

April 11, 2003

Let's get famous!

We're the "leading write-in" for the Webby People's Voice award (category Science). How long can we keep it?

Go ahead, show your support for GalaxyGoo and vote for us as a write-in for the "Peopls's Voice" award.

Site name: GalaxyGoo
Category: Science

The Webby Awards: People's Voice

Update: You can now post reviews of write-in sites, and they'll be visible before voting. Very Cool! So, if one of our projects has helped you out, we'd love to see your comments on the review page.

March 21, 2003

A little remodeling

It's time. The default style just won't cut it anymore. I've been tinkering with MovableType long enough, and it's time to "personalize" the style.

Hopefully, this will go smoothly. It may not look better, when I'm done, but it should look more unique :-)

update: Some changes include adding a flash interface for ordering books, and taking out the calendar that came with MT.

March 07, 2003

New GalaxyGoo Blogger

It's my pleasure to introduce our newest blogger at GalaxyGoo, Vera! You may know her as verabug, on various discussion boards.

She's also working with me on a project that integrates flash and webMathematica.

March 06, 2003

Wordsearch Game Version 2

Today, I uploaded the new version of our old wordsearch game. What's different?

From the user's perspective:

  • menu of vocabulary themes, now scrolls

  • letters change color when mouse rolls over them

From the developer's perspective:

  • takes advantage of some flashMX features, like loadVars for data handling, and remote attachment of code to movie clips and buttons.

  • centralized code

  • all in one frame

While I was at it, I changed the color scheme and background a little, too.

March 03, 2003

We're famous!

Reading the flashguru blog today, I was pleasantly surprised to see "GalaxyGoo" in the "Flash News" menu.

Thanks, Guy!

FlashGuru's MX 101

February 24, 2003

Thinking out loud...interviews

How would one conduct a text-based near-real time interview on the internet? I've been thinking about this, as I've been working on an asynchronous interview program.

Is there any reason why an online interview can't be asynchronous? How many in the audience will want to see the text output in real time? And how many will be coming back to see the archive?

So, I'm thinking that we need a method to conduct a two person forum, that is open to the public to view. Perhaps even include an adjacent peanut gallery, to keep it interesting?

February 18, 2003

Back from AAAS meeting

Got back from the national AAAS meeting last night. What a great experience it was! I'll be writing more, as my mind assimilates it

February 11, 2003

Interview Project Flyer

Recently, I've been spending much of my time writing support and informational documents for people interested in GalaxyGoo. It's odd how working within the confined space of a printed page can turn a rambler into a to-the-pointer :-)

Interview Project: More Info

I'll post a link to a version of the brochure we're printing up, soon.

January 10, 2003

Periodic Table Project Featured in Gallery

Wow! Flashgoddes selected both of our Periodic Table projects: the webMathematica-Flash integration and the spelling game.

Check out the review...

:: Flash Goddess Gallery : Featured Artist Kristin Henry ::

January 06, 2003

Happy New Year!

2002 was quite a year for GalaxyGoo, and 2003 promises even more.

In the next few weeks, we'll launch our Science Interview program. After some additional testing, we'll clear the trivial questions currently in the database, and replace them with the real interview quesitons.

December 30, 2002

Meet us in Denver

Are you in the Denver area? Would like to visit us at our humble booth at the AAAS meeting? You're in luck. It looks like early registration for the exhibit hall (and only the exhibit hall) is free.

Early registration for the AAAS annual meeting ends on Jan 10th.

AAAS Annual Meeting - Registration

December 20, 2002

Why donate to GalaxyGoo?

GalaxyGoo is a 501(c)(3) organization. That status carries many benefits and responsibilities. A significant benefit is to our donors, who may claim their gift as a deduction on their taxes.

At least one third of our funds must come as donations from the general public. We're eager to apply for grants that would enable us to expand our projects, but must grow our public financial support at the same time. That's where you come in. For every dollar you donate, we can apply for two more in grant money.

Currently, most of our expenses consist of servers and software (ie webMathematica).

A gift of any size will help

December 12, 2002

Sneak peak at new GG game

Click-n-spell with the Periodic Table of Elements

How many Holiday-theme words can you spell? If you want your entry posted, don't forget to fill out the name and email fields.

December 11, 2002

Support GalaxyGoo

It's been a big year at GalaxyGoo, and our first as a 501(c)3 (tax-exempt) organization.

We still must "demonstrate public support" to the IRS: at least one third of our support must come from the general public.

If you enjoy galaxygoo, we hope that you will make a small contribution and help us expand our projects.

December 03, 2002

New GG-blogger!

Edwin, known as XemonerdX on many forums, has joined the GG-blogger team. I, for one, am looking forward to the great links and reviews he'll bring to us.

November 20, 2002

Calling all GG members!

We need beta testers for the interview application. While in testing phase, the questions are trivial and only take a few seconds to answer:

scientist profile project: Your Interview Management Center

Project write-up.

November 19, 2002

Email's Back Up!

It looks like email is fully functional on GalaxyGoo, once again. Yipee!

November 18, 2002

Email Down

Email at GalaxyGoo has been down since Saturday (Nov 16). Hopefully, it will be back up soon.

Phyllis ran a trace-route and found a bottleneck somewhere. Email may not even be reaching our server.

November 07, 2002

googlism on galaxygoo

Chris, over at flazoom, posted a tool I hadn't played with: Googlism.

The results I got on a search for "" were interesting. Just one, and it said " is very usable".

November 05, 2002

Two Middle Initials!

At Richard's wise request, we've added the capacity for two middle initials in the GalaxyGoo member profile.

GalaxyGoo in a Goog?

Wow, I just discovered that the GalaxyGoo blog is aggregated on Full As A Goog: Chock Full Of Macromedia Goodness Cool beans!

October 24, 2002

were-here refugees

I very much miss the forums at Were-here. So, I opened up an are of our forums for the WH refugees. GalaxyGoo Working Forums - were-here refugees

September 30, 2002

Coffee Cups!

Based on the design of our Periodic Table with Flash and webMathematica project, we're offering a coffee cup through cafepress. A portion of sales help support GalaxyGoo.

September 23, 2002

Benefit design contest

Over at the FlashGoddess forums, there's a friendly design competition going on. The winning designs will be printed on coffee cups, and sold through cafepress, as a GalaxyGoo fundraiser.

Flash Goddess :: View topic - Design for Fundraiser

We're going to Denver!

It's confirmed. We've got exhibitor booth number 128, at the AAAS Annual Meeting and Science Innovation Exposition in Denver this coming February.

Why attend as an exhibitor instead of presenting a poster? When Phyllis and I presented a poster, in 2001, we didn't have enough time to talk with everyone who stopped by.

September 21, 2002

Blog Back on-line

Well, it was a bumpy road, but we got the upgrade installed and are ready to resume blogging.

Sorry for the lack of posts, lately.

September 03, 2002

Looks Like We're going to Denver

Just sent in our application for a booth at the Annual AAAS meeting (2003), and should be getting confirmation soon.

AAAS Annual Meeting and Science Innovation Exposition

September 02, 2002

Sandboxes for all?

If all goes well, we'll have some little database sandboxes to play with, in a few weeks. I know that Mark, in particular, is looking forward to having access to a devzone. He'll be working on some usefull database apps: tools to manage links and books.

If you're interested in this project, post a note in the forums.

August 30, 2002

XML-fed menu on Main

I've been playing around with a simple XML-fed menu for the main page.

The "Features" menu is the test case. I left the "Who are we?" menu in flash4, as comparison.

Normally, I'd stick with a flash4 export for a menu like this, but the benefits of MX were just too yummy to resist: XML handling, remote code attachment...

Any bugs to report?

August 29, 2002

Listed on Lists

I did a search for on allTheWeb today, and found that about 30 webdirectories recently listed our wordsearch game. Web pages results for

It looks like they're mostly from DMOZ.

August 26, 2002

What is GalaxyGoo

This weekend, at a social gathering, I was asked to explain what galaxygoo is. Is it a web site? Is it an online forum? Who is it for?

The best analogy I could come up with, on the spot, was that it was an open artists' studio and think-tank, with an adjacent gallery.

August 19, 2002

New Site Structure

For a while now, I've been working on a new site structure for GalaxyGoo: one that reflects the active nature of what we're building and will accomodate further integration and improvements.

Here's a diagram of it. Come discuss it in the forums.

August 14, 2002

Call for volunteers

We need help testing out the profile manager of our member pages. To register, fill out the form to join Galaxy Goo Registration.

If you're a multimedia/newmedia type, we could use suggestions for making the profile show off your special skills and training.

August 08, 2002

Let's get together

We're researching collaborative tools for the site. What do we need? What do we want? What do we already have that can be integrated or expanded?

Here are some of the needs I see:

1. Version management of source code
2. Individual and collaborative sandbox support
3. Gallery, for public display of projects at various stages of development
4. Interdisciplinary
5. Public acknowledgment of participation.

Come join the discussion in our forums.

July 31, 2002

netscape woes

Do you have experience with netscape-friendly templates for movabletype? We need your help.

July 29, 2002

Some Helpful Links

Added a couple links on this page, to the main GalaxyGoo site, today.

July 25, 2002

Looking for Great Books

We're going ahead, and teaming up with an independent bookstore to sell books on the GalaxyGoo website.

At this point, we're working on building a short and carefully selected list of titles. If you have any ideas, please join the discussion on our forums.

July 15, 2002

books for sale?

GalaxyGoo may partner with an independent bookstore, and offer book shopping options from our website. More news, soon...I hope.

July 10, 2002

Up and running, at last!

Welcome to the GalaxyGoo blog! I can hardly believe that it's finally up and running.

What's this blog about? We'll be talking about what goes on at GalaxyGoo, our projects and whatever comes up.

We tried using a forum, but it was used more like a, we set up this blog. Where's the forum going? It's staying right where it is, but we'll use it when a discussion gets too active for this format.