YOU HAVE EIGHT EARTH MINUTES LEFT

Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But, the deadline for our Arduino Contest at Instructables is approaching right fast: Entries are accepted until this Sunday, Nov 15, 2009, at 11:59 PM PST.

Why enter? To show off your cool stuff! Also, you could win a Meggy Jr RGB handheld gaming kit, or an Arduino Mega or other nice goodies, so don’t you want to come out and play?

Official contest rules are here. The basic entry requirement is that you make a project that involves the Arduino IDE in some way, and you can already check out many of the great projects entered. Woo!

Contest reminder!

We’ve seen a lot of great Arduino Halloween projects out there this year. A few of them have been submitted to our Arduino contest over at Instructables, and we’d love to see more. The entry deadline is Nov. 15, so you’ve still got time to send them in.

Speaking of contests, the Make Halloween contest deadline is here. Quick, get those microcontroller projects entered before midnight on Nov. 3!

Instructables Arduino Contest

Over at Instructables, we’re sponsoring an Arduino contest with prizes including Meggy Jr RGB kits. The rules are simple: use Arduino in your project! And by Arduino, we mean any project involving the Arduino IDE in some way. (And yes, you can use your Meggy Jr RGB or your Peggy 2 for this contest.) We look forward to seeing your projects and would love to see them in the flickr auxiliary, too.

April Fool’s Day Fun

April Fool’s Day is one of our favorite holidays. Here are couple of contests to help you get in the spirit:

  • April Fool themed art, craft or food at Dabbled. Deadline: 9 pm Eastern April 1, 2008. (We’re helping judge this one!)
  • Prank how-to at Instructables. Deadline: April 13, 2008.

If you happen to be in San Francisco and are looking for a way to celebrate, we recommend the St. Stupid’s Day Parade. Whatever you do, have fun!

Ask.com search suggestion contest: Winners

Two weeks ago, after observing the bizarre search suggestions that ask.com gives for searches, we launched a little contest (which we have run a little late in posting the results of). Here are the results in our several categories:

Ironic:

Winner:how do i go“, which ask.com helpfully expands into (among other variations), “how do i google someone.” Submitted by Josh Gurian.

Honorable mentions:
Does anyone actually use ask.com?
Where is jeeves? What have you done with him?
How to style your lack of hair

Insightful:

Winner: Evidence that people are looking for stuff that hasn’t been invented yet. (Hint: it isn’t on the net.) Submitted by flickr user samaritan.

Honorable mentions:
Did you fire Jeeves?
The question ”Should a” produces some interesting ethical issues.
The simple query “when can” produces some insight into how obsessed ask.com (or perhaps its users) are with pregnancy.
Well, maybe pregnancy and international cuisine.

Depressing:

This was the hardest category. There were too many to choose from. The depressing entries struck various notes depression because very unhappy people are querying the search engine, but also because of the terrible grammar issues, and genuinely scary things that one would hope no one ever searches for– both self-destructive and frighteningly ill-informed.

The idea of choosing a “winner” for questions like these is rather stomach turning– but labeling them losers won’t help either.

Winner:
Why don’t i have any friends?, Submitted by flickr user samaritan.

Honorable mentions:
When will the” (insert terrible thing) happen?
How dumb am i?
Why does everyone lie to me?

Grammar:

Winner: The Most winningest, naturally. Submitted by flickr user dennisw.

Honorable mentions:
loose my belly
I hat you.. (It’s both brilliant and inexplicable.)

Funny:

Winner: The winner makes you wonder how they type the queries. Submitted by flickr user predatormc.

Honorable mentions:
How to kill a mockingbird
Can babies breathe underwater?
This one borders on scary, but the thing about sheep puts it in the funny category.
Finally, two good entries from the Stupid question department: First entry, Second entry

Congratulations to our winners!

Search suggestion contest!

Search suggestions

In our post on Monday, we noted that when you search at ask.com, you can get inappropriate and even frightening suggestions about what you might want to search for. What we have realized since then is that this is hardly an isolated example– In the comments we have even seen a few examples (like the one pictured above) that were arguably more frightening than the one (“how do you”) than the first one that we found.
This seems like an as-yet untapped resource of sarcastic humor. And we want to tap it. So, what bizarre search suggestions can you tickle out of that web site? It’s contest for one week, starting today.

How to enter: Upload your screen shot to the Evil Mad Science Auxiliary pool on flickr (free registration required, etc.) on or by November 13. Your entries must be reproducible. We will be judging in five categories: most ironic, most insightful, most depressing, worst grammar, and the funniest. Please tag your entry for the category or categories that you think it qualifies for. (Tags: ironic, insightful, depressing, grammar, and/or funny)

Up to five winners will be picked by November 17. Each winner will receive the glory of their name being listed as a winner and the corresponding scorn of programmers at Ask.com. Each winner will also get something that could actually be construed as a prize: a permanent forwarding e-mail address with your choice of name @evilmadscientist.com!
One hint: While the search results (at first glance) appear remarkably unfiltered, they are in fact filtered– but only on a conservative definition of “naughty” keywords, not on content in general. If you play with the search terms you’ll see that pretty quickly.

Update: It looks like uk.ask.com gives a different set of suggestions. We are ruling that these are fair game as well!

Weekend project: Phylm contest entry

As we mentioned before, the deadline for the entering the Phylm contest is 12:00 am (GMT) May 1, 2007 extended to May 14, 2007, which is rapidly approaching. That leaves you just one weekend two weeks! We know that many people work better under a deadline, so our challenge to you is to make this your weekend project. We’re sure you can put together a two and a half minute film featuring physics over the weekend. So, let’s see your submissions!

Videos will be judged on clarity, accuracy, and creativity. The winner will receive a check for $100 (US) to be dispersed in June 2007. Once again, you can watch the video announcement at YouTube or (embedded) here:

Make a physics education video and win the Phylm Prize!

“Phylm,” pronounced as “film,” is a portmanteau built out of the words “physics” and “film.” It’s also the name given to a new award, The Phylm Prize, aimed at spurring interest in physics and the educational use of new media. Translation: it’s a YouTube contest for physics geeks!

We’ve been invited to sit on the panel of judges for the contest, and so we’ll be looking forward to seeing the submissions. Videos up to two and a half minutes long featuring physics will be judged on clarity, accuracy, and creativity. This year’s winner will receive a check for $100 (US) to be dispersed in June 2007.

You can watch the video announcement at YouTube or (embedded) here:

We are guessing that many of you, our fine readers, already have an interest in physics and/or new media, so get started already! Let’s see your submissions! And don’t let the word “educational” intimidate you– educational propaganda is a highly appropriate diversion for evil mad scientists! (Besides, you could probably use the cash for your world domination scheme.)

Here’s some info from the rules on what kinds of things the clips can contain:

  • A critique/analysis of the physics presented in a fictional work. For example,
    could the bus in Speed have made “the jump,” or how strong would Spider-Man
    have to be to throw a car that far?
  • An analysis of physics as revealed by the examination of a real-world video clip.
    For example, what forces does a gymnast experience during his routine?
  • An explanation/presentation of some physics concept or theory. For example, what is the conservation of energy?

Submissions are due by 12:00 am (GMT) May 1, 2007. We’ll be waiting.

Supercapacitor Contest: We Have Winners!

We had a lot of fantastic entries in our supercapacitor contest! We now have a Grand Prize winner, two Second Prize winners, and a number of honorable mentions. A big thank you to everyone that submitted entries!

The Grand Prize (ten supercapacitors) goes to Stephen Kupiec, for his winning entry, “Supercap Project Luxeon V Throwie”:

A Luxeon V LED driven off of a LuxDrives 3021 buckpuck has been sporadically putting out a very short bright flash every 15-30 min on my desk startling coworkers. But it hasn’t been connected to power in over a month. The buckpuck has been harvesting power from 220 microfarad electrolytic capacitor which is in the circuit as a power line conditioner. Given a 1 farad supercap coupled with a very low (10000:1) duty cycle flasher circuit, a very distracting flasher could be made.

We selected this entry both for its originality, as well as for taking advantage of the low internal resistance of the supercaps.

Two second prize winners will get five caps each:

Chad Norman‘s entry is funny enough that it’s hard to read with a straight face:

Dress them up, adding little tiny bits of plasticine/playdough and dress them all up real purdy like. Then, using stop motion techniques, animate an epic saga of romance, death, intrigue and action with the supercapacitors as the actors.

From Mike Saz comes another very practical idea for using supercaps:

Mod your wireless mouse. They’ll soak up a day’s worth of juice in seconds, and you can stop buying AA’s, or worse, nicads.

Read on for the (long) list of honorable mentions!
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Supercapacitor Contest: The End Is Near.

The Supercapacitor Contest ends at midnight on Monday night, July 31. The end is near! This is not eBay; there is no advantage in waiting until the last minute. It’s your last chance to submit an entry and possibly win fame and/or fortune, in the form of ten sweet supercapacitors. To recap: submit your best idea for what to do with a bunch of 2.5 V, 1.5 F carbon aerogel capacitors with ultra low equivalent series resistance. To enter, leave your entry as a comment here or E-mail it to us. Keep reading to see some of the cool ideas that we’ve already received. Can you do better?
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