Lego Roundup

Durham Cathedral

Last year, I told you about a British family that constructs a giant Lego project every year at Christmastime. BBC reports that Mike Addis and Catherine Weightman are at it again sans their children, who are finally fed up with the tradition. In BBC’s retelling, the two children mounted a failed campaign to build a Death Star. When Mike and Catherine chose Durham Cathedral instead, the children handed in their resignations.

Durham Cathedral Credit: BBC/Mike Addis

Durham Cathedral
Credit: BBC/Mike Addis

 

Winter Village

I also told you last year about my own Christmas Lego display. It’s up again this year, but I rearranged the sets to look more like a coherent village. Voila:

Xmas left

Xmas right

Xmas total

 

What are Legos Good For?

Everything, including forensic science:

After more than two decades, investigators say they’ve finally solved the brutal murder of Lucille Johnson, 78. John Sansing — a prison inmate on death row in Arizona — was charged Thursday with first-degree murder, a first-degree felony, in the woman’s death.

A daughter discovered her mother dead in bed with a pillow over her face.

Investigators at the time found LEGO bricks on Johnson’s living room floor, in the home’s entry and on the driveway, Hoyal said. Detectives collected the toys as evidence after family members told them that while Johnson had toys for her grandchildren, she would never leave them lying around, the charges state.

Salt Lake County sheriff’s investigators worked on the case but were unable to solve it. They stopped investigating in 2006 because they lacked any new leads.In August 2013, a team led by Unified Police Sgt. Michael Ikemiyashiro reopened the case. The detectives sent scrapings that had been collected from under Johnson’s fingernails for DNA testing and recovered a profile that matched a Combined DNA Index System profile for Sansing, Ikemiyashiro said.

Investigators also matched fingerprints from the LEGO toys gathered during the original investigation with one of Sansing’s children who was 5 years old at the time of the killing, according to the charges. Police now believe that Sansing’s son was present at the time Johnson was viciously killed.

 

Lego Roundup

Lego Travellers

Credit: Facebook/Lego Travellers

Credit: Facebook/Lego Travellers

A Scottish couple have been posting travel pictures to Facebook under an account named Lego Travellers. As seen above, the pics feature minifigure doppelgangers of the couple and some nice use of perspective and lighting. Their page is starting to garner media attention after chronicling trips to Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Scotland, Spain, Portugal, France, and the ancestral home of Legos in Billund, Denmark.


Vatican City

By organizing the teamwork of about 100 amateur builders of all ages, Architect Steven Schwartz was able to oversee the construction of a 400 square-foot model of Vatican City in a mere 90 minutes. The model featured over 25 buildings that exist in Vatican City. Schwartz led a tour of the model after the construction was complete. I wish there were more pictures at the link.


Meandering Recollection

Here’s a fun op-ed in which architect Thomas de Monchaux reflects on childhood under his father’s no-toy-but-Lego policy.


Fantastic Little Creatures

At Smithsonian Magazine, Franz Lidz has a nice essay about how Lego competitions do (and don’t) open children to engineering and problem-solving. Fun quote:

“Children are fantastic little creatures,” Mads Nipper, the company’s marketing chief , has said. “Next to drunk people, they are the only truly honest people on earth.”

Lego Roundup

Buildies are giant cardboard Legos used for making a play fort. They’re great for people with kids and disposable income and lots of room in the house. Kickstarter here.

Think Geek has developed shot glasses that feature fully Lego-compatible exteriors. I think making a game out of drinking liquor is silly at best and dangerous at worst, but I’m not your father….

I’ve had the Lego VW camper for about a year now and I love it.  Paulo Rafael Subido noticed that the Lego version’s engine closely mimics the real thing. Cool. 

Lego Roundup

Military Training

I’m in the middle of writing a guest blog for Carrying the Gun on my experience at the Women in Combat symposium held this week in Washington, D.C. The symposium featured speakers from the militaries of the US, Canada, Norway, Sweden, and the home of everyone’s favorite building toy, Denmark. One of the most important subjects covered was the gender-mainstreaming of military physical fitness tests to reliably measure occupational competence despite the subtle biological differences in the average man and the average woman. I was researching more about Denmark’s physical fitness test when I found this.

Lego CEO

CNBC interviewed Lego CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp on the viability of the company’s new factory near Shanghai, China. It’s an interesting window into how the company navigates a ruthless business world guided by Nordic values. Also, the interviewer mentions that Lego has never had to recall a single brick, which I hadn’t heard before. 

Sandcrawler

Lego outdoes itself again with its intricate version of the Sandcrawler (video), the famous Star Wars desert vehicle.

Lego Roundup

Wired UK covers a really cool analog music machine designed by Alex Allmont:

“I use a lot of technology but I get frustrated when the workings of something is hidden, I like to see the whole process,” Allmont says.

 

In Australia, a Lego enthusiast has recreated the city of Launceston, prompting the city’s mayor to seek a longer-term display at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery:

Credit: ABC News Australia

Credit: ABC News Australia

And at The Guardian, Rupert Myers defends David Beckham’s Lego use against those who take the time out of their day to judge others for engaging in socially harmless activities in which children also sometimes engage.

Lego: Downton Abbey

I was only turned on to Downton Abbey by my girlfriend in time for last week’s Season Premiere, so this creation by Eric Stevens has new significance:

Credit: Eric Stevens/pohatu7711

Credit: Eric Stevens/pohatu7711

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