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

Malaysia Robber Mural

GlobalPost gives us some insight into why Malaysian authorities painted over Ernest Zacharevic’s street mural:

The city council said the painting, by Lithuanian street artist Ernest Zacharevic, tarnished the city’s image.

“The robber gives an image that is not good for our country, investment and tourism. If the painting stays, everybody will be scared,” Aziz Ithnin, a council official, told the news agency AFP before the whitewashing.

Democratic Action Party (DAP) leader Lim Kit Siang said it was ridiculous that the state government had been debating the mural for so long ahead of their decision to remove it. He instead told them to focus on the problem of crime, rather than depictions of it.

“Instead of removing Zachas’ “high crime” mural, it should be allowed to remain to serve as a challenge to all relevant authorities to make JB (Johor Bahru) low crime and a standing testimony that a high crime rate in JB is a “story of the past,” he wrote on his blog.

Wall•E

Credit: The Brothers Brick Created by Angus Maclane

Credit: The Brothers Brick
Created by Angus Maclane

The Brothers Brick interviewed creator and Pixar animator Angus Maclane:

The Brothers Brick: How long did it take to build your Wall•E?

Angus MacLane: About seven hours over a span of three years. I started building the LEGO version of Wall•E around the same time he was being built in the computer in late summer of 2005. I had been waiting for some treads to be released, and with 7258 (the “Wookie Attack” set) I got just enough tread links for two treads.

The color scheme of Wall•E wasn’t settled so I stared building with all light grey. I wasn’t totally happy with the results. The treads were too small and pretty flimsy. I put him on the shelf and went back to work.

Then the snowmobile and bulldozer came out in 2007 and I had my tread solution…

TBB: Do you think that working on the movie gave you any special insights into the design of the LEGO Wall•E?

Angus: Having stared at this robot for 3+ years, I was extremely familiar with the proportions and functionality of Wall•E. It helped to know his design, but that made it hard to make the usual compromises when converting items to LEGO form.

Blues Brothers

Mashable tips us to a remake of the iconic car chase scene from Blues Brothers:

Elsewhere

Robotics competitions at Camira State School, Australia; Nova Scotia Community College; and a Winnipeg Build-Off to benefit the United Way.

Canadian Kids Prepare for Lego Competition

A group of kids training at Canada’s University of Prince Edward Island prepare for their first Lego engineering competition:

During the rare breaks of chatter the sound of clicking plastic and occasionally the whirr of an electric motor can be heard. The few adults in the room mostly stand back and watch.

“It’s fun to be able to make your LEGO actually move and not have to act it out,” [10-year old Salmon Muhammad] says, describing what he likes best about the day.

The eight young Islanders make up the competition team for the P.E.I. First LEGO League; they are split into two groups – programmers and builders. They are preparing their robot for a regional qualifier in Truro, N.S. – an Island first.

The group supervisor, assistant engineering professor Libby Osgood, got the idea while studying in Kenya:

While studying robotics at Halifax’s Dalhousie University, she had a project; it was homework that she had to take with her to Africa in order to complete. And it was the children there who sparked the initiative here.

“The Kenyan students were enthralled,” she recalls. “Their eyes were huge. They could not believe that is what a robot was. You could see they were satisfied that they were learning something.”

It was an experience she wanted to duplicate back home.

“I saw how engaged the students were and when I came back I saw a lack of similar resources here at such a critical age.”

After all, she says, not all children are interested in sports. That belief was good news for Salmon and the others.

“You can build what you want … and make it how you see it better. You can’t do that with everything.”

There’s a video of the kids’ engineering skills in action behind the link.

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