Making Meaning Matter

The Evergreen State College

Author: Baur


“The problem is that all this stuff is too specialized, it has too many prerequisites,” Perry said, staring at a waterproof, cement-impregnated bag that could be filled with a hose, allowed to dry, and used as a self-contained room. “This thing is great for refugees, but it’s too one-size-fits all for squatters. They have to be able to heavily customize everything they use to fit into really specialized niches.” -Doctorow, Cory. Makers. New York: Tor, 2009. 93. Print.


As our world becomes more and more filled with those who are “hard on their luck” we should begin to realize that it is only a unique selected few whom are free of this kind of trepidation.  Our entire style of resource collection as been aggregated by several major corporations leaving all those who do not fit into the supply chain either underwater in debt or quite literally wearing the chains of capitalism. To treat those without or little as consumers is exactly why there are antitrust suites taking place in this country with concern to what is being refereed to as “the dollar store wars.”


3d Scanning and ‘The Evergreen Natural History Museum’

Michael Baur

Arlen & Sara

Making Meaning matter

16 October 2014

3d Scanning and ‘The Evergreen Natural History Museum’


With the mission of the Evergreen Natural History Museum being “an accessible educational and research environment for students and faculty of the Evergreen State College while developing and preserving the collection of museum specimens for future generations,” (The Evergreen Natural History Museum) 3D scanning technology implementation only seems like the next logical step in both expanding at low cost while preserving forever fragile and irreplaceable specimens. Students at the Evergreen State College produced this last summer a report and exploration into D.I.Y. three dimensional Scanning implementations crafting several models from DSLR cameras to Microsoft’s Kinects. Already this fall: lines of communication have been established and test scans have taken place in museum with one of these same students using some of the specimens. A focus on creating a digital library of scanned specimens and having the 3d models open to the public under our institution as well as printing out reproductions using the Computer Application Lab’s Makerbots.

John Grieco writes about the global ‘take a penny, leave a penny’ mantra of the open source and maker communities at large, how,” This idea of taking and giving within the maker community is based on the development of software and physical designs in which the original creator has purposefully given up ownership.” (Grieco) In this case the remains that have been preserved have already given life to so much education, with several of the most valued items dating from the early 1970’s, yet no amount of attentive care can truly preserve any physical object against the rigors of time. To use the collective time to document and preserve the items today digitally will ensure lasting files that will not corrode away and will be able to be recreated both digitally and physically in the form of 3d prints.

3D modeling with Microsoft’s Kinect is used from everything today,”[its] perfect for hobbyists, makers, artists, and gamers …[it] shows you how to build … with inexpensive off-the-shelf components, including the open source Processing programming language and the Arduino microcontroller.” (Borenstein) This intersection of talents and interests will also have an insatiable quench for knowledge especially that of the natural world. The creation of a library will make access to the current specimens available to anyone who has an internet access forever without having to charge the institution anymore because of the relatively small size of the files in comparisons to the overheads associated with the current ‘physical library.  This will be done with considerably care and skill as both the process of scanning the the handling of specimens are delicate in their very nature.

Key considerations such as lighting, scale of model to distance from scanner, system requirements of computer hardware and software all must be taken into account. While “the movie industry may afford a 3D modeling pipeline system with special purpose hardware and highly specialized sensors that require manual calibration,” the quality of images produced does not need to be limited. (Srivastava)  Patience and proper setup and preparation for specific scans will ease problems further downstream and avoid having to rescan and reengage with fragile items. A working report must remain established between the museum and the scanner as often the process does not avail itself to the individual.

With these challenges in mind the hurdles to cross in order to create a digital library at low cost should be quite feasible for the remainder of the quarter. The chance to engage with rare and exotic specimens from the globe is an alluring draw to this project, but will also provide some of the greatest learning opportunities that are immaculate examples of interdisciplinary work. Both the arts and the sciences have combined into an opportunity to not only expose the world to a small but beautiful corner at the Evergreen State college but also the ability to preserve and even retire seasons specimens will avail new space for new specimens to be collected and processed . Our ability to add to the global take a penny tray with the creation of a digital library was crafted by the same making communities that taught so many already how to create these 3d printers and scanners.


Works Cited

The Evergreen Natural History Museum (The Evergreen Natural History Museum)

Grieco, John. Physical Computing: Programing, Electronics and The Maker Community. Olympia, 0. Print.

Borenstein, Greg. Making Things See 3D Vision with Kinect, Processing, Arduino, and MakerBot. Sebastopol: O’Reilly Media, 2012. Print.

Srivastava, Daoudi Anuj. 3D Face Modeling, Analysis and Recognition. Remco Veltkamp, 2013. Print.

Token # 2

Michael Baur

Sara & Arlen

Making Meaning Matter

14 October 2014

Token # 2

:: They’re not the sole supplier. That’s what an ecosystem is all

l:: about, creating value for a lot of players. All this competition

:: is great news for you and me, because it’s already driven the

:: price of Home Aware goods down by forty percent. That means that

:: Lester and Perry are going to have to invent something new, soon,

:: before the margin disappears altogether—and that’s also good

:: news for you and me

– Email between Kettlewell and Church in Doctorow, Cory. Makers. New York: Tor, 2009. 75. Print.

One of the cool things is that CNC production capabilities will begin to increase an artisan’s fabrication capabilities, allowing him or her to more effectively compete with the larger manufacturer by increasing the artist’s productivity, and when that happens, everything changes.

Watch for IKEA or Ethan Allen to try to compete with this new ecosystem and to open up a “local” section in their stores and online catalogs. Watch for them to add more customization, local artists, and DIY sections where you can participate in the build or design process. They have to evolve, or, like the dinosaur, they will go extinct

-Hatch on CNC production Hatch, Mark. The Maker Movement Manifesto: Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers. 66. Print.


Our time on this planet has never been more scrutinized and calculated with larger banks of data and new trends to analyze information progressively shaping our understanding of the ‘future.’ We see now more than ever the interconnectivity of public governments and private firms across a pejorative amount of important works of human focus and consciousness, with some but not limited to: media, energy, pharmaceutical practices, banking and commerce.

The crooks still seem to guide the sheep though, and as our stock market of capitalism crashes again this week and fears of Ebola give more power to already entrench institutions; where are our watchdogs? At a time where a company’s value almost doubles as our government claims: “The State Department added that it was getting supplies from “multiple locations around the world, and there are many suppliers.” (Lake)

Operating at the current margins has left us defect of a liquid currency and our current coinage is nothing more than mythical doubloons, dubious as this might sound what is the Federal Reserve to the American Public? Our ability to micro-specific our demands in the future, tailored to our ever whim and careless specification will make a local section at every major corporation a must. Employees will be forced to engage in creative practices just to contribute to the stockpile of ever growing recycled ideas. As it only becomes cheaper to store and analyze this information our creative processes might too one day become predicated and predictable.

As creators our own real advantage in this supposed revolution is that we know what we want supposedly. Yet it won’t be just the falling costs of production or the rise of available usage and access to machines that will drive the force behind this uprising but rather the thoughts produced by our societal leaders that synopsize our global callings. Will our ‘put a bird on it’ mantra of the new maker cities such as Portland really inspire those globally or will those who rise out of poverty with their clever creations be the true idols to be put on our pedestals? Only time will tell, and boy howdy will that time be looked over some fine tooth combs.

Works Cited

Doctorow, Cory. Makers. New York: Tor, 2009. 75. Print.

Hatch, Mark. The Maker Movement Manifesto: Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers. 66. Print.

Hazmat suit maker’s stock up 50% on Ebola fears (CNNMoney)

By: (LAKE), Lakeland.



Off and Running:

 It was a very exciting first week. This Sunday I’m off to pick up the school van and gather the food supplies for a retreat to Cornet  Bay tomorrow. Gathering food for 45 people is very much comparable to gathering food for a small tribe.

This week I started my first  shifts at the Computer Applications Lab and have already begun to answer students questions about everything that surrounds our 3D Printers from print bed area to physical limitations of our models.

Below are  creations of my own, one a design I have successfully printed of a trefoil knot the other a brief animation of a water simulation with rigid body physics applied to the fractured object.


Click here to view the embedded video.

Token #1

“The ghost-mall was just one of many along Taft Street, ranging in size from little corner plazas to gigantic palaces with broken-in atria and cracked parking lots. A lot of the malls in California had crashed, but they’d been turned into flea-markets or day-cares, or, if they’d been abandoned, they hadn’t been abandoned like this, left to go to ruin. This reminded her of Detroit before she’d left, whole swaths of the inner city emptied of people, neighborhoods condemned and bulldozed and, in a couple of weird cases, actually farmed by enterprising city-dwellers who planted crops, kept livestock, and rode their mini tractors beneath the beam of the defunct white-elephant monorail.”

Growing up down the street from the local mall provided various insights throughout time. It provided some of the first employment, date sites, and hangout spots for so many. Today the few megalithic malls that exist are in such a state of disrepair one would struggle to see the same institution thriving just a few decades ago. Stories are popping up all over the world of the old corpses of shopping have been refurbished into galleries, libraries, churches, and natural habitats. Most though have just lowered the standard of quality for the wares sold, becoming dirtier and more tailored to serving the impoverished.

Detroit today has both sides of the coin present, as the auto industry becomes less of a figure in the public community we see the bane and boon of the death of an industry. The unemployment and the impoverishment are unavoidable in situations where companies collapse, this paired with the rise in crime that also appears to be entangled would make Detroit highly undesirable. The other hand presents falling cost of land at an extremely rapid rate along with the ability to obtain recycled materials makes the option much more plausible. In makers we hear about ,”a couple of weird cases, actually farmed by enterprising city-dwellers who planted crops, kept livestock, and rode their mini tractors beneath the beam of the defunct white-elephant monorail.” (Makers)

The future holds such bounty and destruction. Even know when our economic positions nationally and abroad suffer it is easier for some to acquire wealth now more than ever. Urban farming and maker spaces are just some of the examples of how creative current people are reshaping the way our cities and lives work. It is important to take away from the fact the trash to some is treasure to others. Our role in the coming decades will not be to produce by rather to repurpose and retool existing technologies without the guidance of corporate rules but rather one of autonomy and peer revision.

In “Makers,” Doctorow describes a team working near such an abandonment in Florida, using the resources of what has become the ever present junk pile compiling about our streets of consumerism. Landfills becoming goldmines is no novel concept but to begin to think of them collectively as a ‘Lego Box’ with the ability to reconfigure our very notion of what is ‘raw material’ gives way to more than ever before. Technologies bringing about golden ages has happened throughout history and now again our vey fabric of society and objective reality has been cast on to the stage once again. The ability to create has brought about the very anthropocentric society we live in today, now in order to progress to something better we must change our scope.

We must build scaleable ideas that can be quickly and successfully implemented on what has become the scaffolding left behind from the 1900′s. Our landscape here in America, with its bisecting roadways, cookie-cutter suburban sprawl, all attached with parking lagoons could become something vastly different rapidly if the correct ideas were socially created. No one idea will ever be able to encompass all local areas fully but rather emergent technologies combined with an overarching mindset and teams of driven individuals local economies could become global competitors and specialized patricians for any industry imaginable. 


Excerpt From: Doctorow, Cory. “Makers.” iBooks.



Doctorow, Cory. Makers. New York: Tor, 2009. 33-34. Print.


I ‘yam’ what to whom?

Trobriand Islands

Jesse Harasta, a grad student in cultural anthropology at Syracuse University created a card game based of the peoples of the Trobriand Islands in the 1890′s. The chieftains ability to maintain power came form the ability to aggregate people, land, and the primary resource for food, yams.  

In our class we have the land (The Facilities), and peoples(The Students) gathered under our chieftains (The Staff) but what is our food?

In The past when rival tribes became aware of prosperity amongst the group raider parties were sent out in order to obtain the excess riches.

Today the ‘yams’ of our class are our ideas. The attachment to our ideas has always been an enduring one. We will fight to the death for what we believe in, even if our ideas are not entirely logical or grounded in reality.

On Tuesday 9/30/2014 the first 3d prints for our Making Meaning Matter class failed collectively. The class was assigned to create tokens, small coins 4mm in  height and 30mm in diameter. The pieces were gathered and thrown on to the floor in the middle of a lecture. Students quickly rose and scrambled to gather the ‘refuse.’ The value to the students of their ideas became as apparent as the value of food to a starving nation.

We must be careful not to let two things happen:

  1. Let our ideas take hold of us like hunger driving one to obesity
  2. Letting our ideas fall victim to thieves
Photo of 'Yams!' card

Photo of ‘Yams!’ card