Crowdfunding Sympathy for the Scouts

Airplanes Drones & Vehicles
Crowdfunding Sympathy for the Scouts

Over the last couple weeks, the big stories had to do with cursive writing, and the Boy Scouts, and it’s almost time to move on. But to close the loop here, you may recall that I put up a poll with a few carefully-crafted responses meant to guage your reactions to the whole Hacker Scouts/Boy Scouts kerfuffle. The question was posed thusly: “What’s your take on the Hacker Scouts/Boy Scouts of America Situation?”

And the results (click to embiggen):


By far, the biggest portion of you came out against the Boy Scouts being able to own the word “scouts.” But when we dig down into the data and look at those who think the Hacker Scouts should keep their name compared with those who think they need to move on, the results are a bit more even; in the 54%/46% range. That’s a majority, sure, but majorities don’t overturn 90 year-old charters, and so things are unlikely to go the Hacker Scouts’ way anytime soon.

If you’ve read this column for the last couple months now, you know we’re trying an experiment in crowdfunding with our program called the MAKE Crowdfund Fund. With reader participation, we’re looking for awesome crowfunding projects by makers taking the leap to PRO. Often these projects will fall into the realm of electronics and 3D printing, but our minds are open, and we want to consider the maker movement in as broad terms as we can. At one level, we’ve been adding projects we like to our curated Kickstarter page, just to give them a little boost. Then, with the readers’ help, we’ve chosen a small subset of projects that we’ve actually backed with our own money. If the projects fun, and the products ship, we’ll put them to the test and review them here to see if they really live up to the promise.

As of today, here are the projects we’ve backed, and are waiting to complete:

As we add projects, you’ll be able to keep an eye on their status on the MAKE Crowdfund Fund landing page we’ve set up.

But now, we’re ready for some more projects to put into the list for consideration. So if there are any Kickstarter projects that you think appropriately represent the maker movement, please nominate them in the comments below. Try to make sure they’ve got at least a couple weeks left, just so that if they win the vote next week, there’s a chance we can make a difference with our support.

A little over a week ago, I told you the story of James Tascione, and Pedalision – his human-powered plane project. After two years of toil in the desert, James is down to weeks before getting to test his baby out for real, and the final assembly is making a bunch of assorted pieces hung around a dusty hanger start to look like a plane. James sent along these pictures today as he starts to mount the wings:

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Congrats to James for hitting a huge milestone in the project tonight. Just don’t slam the hangar door too hard…

Maker Camp is dead. LONG LIVE Maker Camp!

You might recall our summer feature for kids – a virtual camp filled with awesome projects and fantastic field trips. Much of it lived on a Google+ Community site, and we have to admit that once it was over, we kind of expected it to quiet down as the kids went back to school and we got busy working on World Maker Faire.

Boy, were we wrong.

We are delighted to see that a wonderful group of makers are keeping the camp going, posting projects and other cool makery stuff they’re finding. We are happy to pitch in, and will make sure things keep moving until we can formally start a new session (who wants a camp over Winter vacation?!?!). So please, if you love projects, stop on by and jump into the fun.

That’s about it for this week, my friends. Remember, we’re just three short weeks to World Maker Faire in New York. It’s going to be a BLAST, and if any of you are planning to attend, let me know in the comments, and we’ll find somewhere (preferably with beer) to meet up. Until then, everyone have a fun and safe Labor Day weekend, and GO MAKE SOMETHING!

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Ken is the Grand Nagus of He's a husband and father from the SF Bay Area, and has written three books filled with projects for geeky parents and kids to share.

View more articles by Ken Denmead


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