September 22, 2008

Science Toy Store in The Mission

Just a quick note to my Bay Area neighbors: Kid Tech! If you haven't found it yet, you've got to check it out. It's a wonderful little toy shop in The Mission; packed with science, art, and tech toys for kids.

They don't have a full website up yet, but you can get directions to the store on their temp site.

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.

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

November 30, 2006


GalaxyGoo is a Lego's affiliate! Yeah!


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.

October 31, 2006

The Mathematics Calendar Is Back!

The Mathematics Calendar is back for 2007!

Every day, a new math problem...since the answer is always given, the fun part is figuring out how that could be the answer. If that's not enough to make you want one, hanging one in your work-space is sure to make you look smart!


This fantastic calendar is the work of Theoni Pappas, author of The Joy of Mathematics and many other friendly math books.

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.


December 09, 2005

Updated GalaxyGoo Toy List

Mindware has added some really great stuff to their catalog, and I've added some of them to the GalaxyGoo Toy List. Here's a sample:

Plant Lab Trio These are really cool! With these kits you grow sprouts in a non-toxic nutrient filled gel, used by NASA astronauts to grow experimental plants in space.

LEGO Mindstorms Robotics Invention System 2.0 What can I say? Other than that I've been waiting for my kids to get old enough to play with these since they were born?

Pixel Blocks If you like creating digital pixel art, you'll love pixel blocks. The blocks connect on the sides as well as when stacked, allowing interesting 3D construction possibilities, pixel by pixel.

Total Sudoku (puzzle book) A whole book of those addictive puzzles.I can't help but wonder if anyone does crossword puzzles anymore ;-)

Pinhole Camera Kit I can't remember when I first discovered pinhole cameras, but i find them fascinating. This one is on my own wish-list.

September 30, 2005

Music by Cellular Automata

Wolfram Research, the company behind Mathematica & webMathematica and the amazing MathWorld resource site, among other things, has given us a new toy to play with.

WolframTones, 'an experiment in applying Wolfram's discoveries to the creation of music'.

From the official announcement:
'WolframTones uses various Mathematica algorithms to create music from cellular automaton patterns. In its simplest form, this works by taking every block of contiguous black cells at a certain height and mapping it to a single note played by the same instrument.'

September 29, 2005

Cool toys and Supporting GalaxyGoo

We've updated the links on the Toy List page. So, they should all be working now. MindWare had changed their linking system, and we needed to update accordingly.

GalaxyGoo recieves 10% of sales through these links to the MindWare online store, so you can shop for brainy toys and support GalaxyGoo at the same time.

June 18, 2005

Review: 3-D glow-in-the-dark solar system mobile kit

It's summer, and school's, last week, my family and I had a lot of fun with a 3-D Glow-in-the-Dark Solar System Mobile Kit.

To get the paint to stick nicely to the plastic forms, we had to first prime them with a thin layer of paint and let it dry. Then we could get some nice color effects, adding new layers and colors. The coolest effects came from mixing the glow paint with the pigment paints. We got a really nice tinted glow that way.

If you try this kit, make sure you paint the halves before joining the two hemispheres into a planet. That way, the model won't roll around and smear the paint before it dries.

All in all, it was a lot of fun and we now have this great mobile of the planets.

3-D planet mobile

November 30, 2004


Some of my childhood was spent in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. I have fond memories of tie-dye parties and playing in the woods--of mist rising from the redwood "fences" in the morning.

But one of my favorite things to do was to make sunprints. Other than my lightbrite, this is toy made the biggest impression on my young mind. They're very simple, really--light sensative paper that fixes with water. You place a leaf, or other object on the paper, cover it with glass, and leave it in the sun for a few minutes. Then you rinse it off with water. I just couldn't get enough of this stuff.

I just found it again! Sunprint® Kits

These were developed by Lawrence Hall of Science, across the Bay from San Francisco.

November 02, 2004

Mathematics Calendar 2005

GalaxyGoo just became an affiliate of I love this company, and I'm thrilled that they've begun an affiliate program. They have the best collection of "brainy toys for kids of all ages" I've ever seen in a catalog--both educational and creative.

I was already planning to post about some of my favorite toys in the next couple months. I'll still be doing this, but also with links that could benefit GalaxyGoo.

To kick things off, here's a great calendar by Theoni Pappas, who also wrote Mathematical Scandals, and Mathematical Footprints--both of which are in my personal library.

The Mathematics Calendar 2005

October 10, 2004

Flash of Brilliance--Flash cards for kids

Flash of Brilliance -- Flash cards for kids

May 22, 2004

Games, object & puzzles inspired by math, physics & logic

After just seeing a small 'exhibition' by this wonderful company at a local bookstore, I thought I'd put it up on here since it falls within the GalaxyGoo scope of interest :)

If anybody is ever in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, I can recommend this store called Arabesk (open by appointment only). They sell objects, games & puzzles which have been inspired by physics, mathematics & logic. Some examples are this wooden fractaltree and this puzzle, but there are many more intriguing objects.

They also sell online if you can't make it to Rotterdam.

December 07, 2002

Cool Toy: wikki stix

It's really a simple idea--wax covered yarn. A clean, non-toxic, portable toy. They're sort of like pipecleaners, but without the wire. Wikki Stix