Tag Archives: thoughts

I finished a hexapod instructables, get featured, and then mope some more

I finished my second instructables ever! This one was a lot more “successful” than my first one — it was featured on the front page for a day or two. πŸ˜€ yay!

This is the instructables for my 18 degree of freedom (18 servo) hexapod:

It probably took slightly less time than my 7 minute video on the design process (which took at least 2 or 3 full days) yet garnered about 10x the views. The little star in the upper right hand corner stands for featured.

All that it means is that your instructables gets put on the front page for a little while. At least it did much better than CNC nyancake. Apparently nyancat is a thing of the past for everyone except me XD;

day 1
day 2

It was featured within hours of posting, crazy moderators.

instructables published jun 24th

It is gratifying to see that at least some of the thousands of people who visited that instructables clicked through to my took-ages-to-make design process of a hexapod video. See spike in traffic at the end of June.
I still don’t know the secret to getting comments though. I want to interact with people virtually! At least for now.
As usual — then I mope about how I focus too much on these sorts of stats instead of going out and “enjoying what I do” or whatever.
But yea, all in all. Four years ago I never would have imagined being on hackaday and having a featured instructables. These were all things I saw the peers I looked up to do, not myself. Yet I find myself qualifying these accomplishments — it was just for a project I basically copied off the internet, it is just for a really derpy hexapod I never really finished, etc. I have an awesome friend who was published in science as an undergraduate, yet she always qualifies her publication, and it’s obvious that she’s missing how amazing this whole thing is. Maybe I am doing that?
Lack of self-confidence is unattractive and can make other people difficult to work / high maintenance with, yet I can’t get rid of this in myself. Grr! At least there is hope for me. I can reasonable list three things every day that I am proud of myself for, unlike some friends of mine. x___x must spread positive energy

Well, that’s life in the first world. I am in an amazing spot for myself currently — working on my own startup with two very good friends who are still my friends so far, assisting with a go-kart class for pay, no financial issues for at least a few months — yet I still feel not-legit, like I haven’t really built anything really cool or robust. I’m not sure what it’ll take, since I certainly won’t catch up anytime soon to people I look up to in the areas they specialize in.

I guess that is just something I will have to get used to. Or I could finish kiwikart

Machine Shop Safety: Yale and the Missing White Woman Syndrome

MITERS is a student shop on MIT’s campus. Funding-wise, we run independently of any MIT department, which is great since our projects don’t exactly fall into research all of the time. We also don’t have to pay rent or utilities due to being located on MIT property. However, this also means that for better or for worse we are subject to the scrutiny of MIT’s space administrators and Environmental Health and Safety staff.

MITERS runs a delicate balancing act that, for me, strikes home two contrasting trends: increasing paranoia (and safety) over the years (perhaps best dramatized by 9/11 and Homeland Security), and increased interest in the amorphous idea of the “maker movement.” I am torn. Sometimes I am skeptical; Traffic mentions that the number of deaths from parachutes leveled off and has remained constant despite increased safety measures; what happened was that better safety measures made people comfortable with taking greater risks. Sometimes I am cautious; Traffic also mentions that we are all overconfident drivers, believing the past predicts the future as we confidently take to the roads (one study showed that ambulance drivers, because of the urgency of their mission and contrary to what many would think, actually drove “better” — turning sooner and driving more smoothly — than the average driver).

Recently, the Yale death (I apologize to those still in mourning for this crass mention) has lead to scrutiny of the sort that makes all of us at MITERS a bit uncomfortable. Our machine tools are old and no one would mind a newer mill or lathe or better safeguards. However, we all seem to feel instinctively that too much scrutiny on any level is toxic to the creative haven of MITERS (and dear lord, apparently a ton of grad students will be moving into our building which will be fit for the Prime Minister of Singapore to look upon within a year or two — that’ll be interesting, but no point in worrying just yet). In reaction, my fellow MITERS officer Julian Merrick remarked that this situation seems reminiscent of Missing White Woman Syndrome, where there is a disproportionate reaction to unfortunate cases involving people of one class (white and female) as opposed to another (male, other ethnicity). Indeed, a google search turns up a thread on Practical Machinist remarking the same.

One surprising constant throughout the ongoing whole process, however, has been people’s appreciation of the output of MITERS. Uniformly, people have been supportive of MITERS, even if we may have different ideas of the kind of support needed. Ultimately, I am hopeful that we will emerge through this with better safety and our core culture intact.