What MAKEs America great – Happy 4th of July from MAKE

What MAKEs America great – Happy 4th of July from MAKE

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I asked the authors of the MAKE blog what they thought made America great for this 4th of July holiday, here’s what they has to say (and please post yours in the comments, I’ll pick a few and send you out something awesome from the Maker Shed Store!).

Marc –

What makes America great? One word…..Jell-O!

Here are my top 10 reasons, and projects, that make JELLO a great American invention:
San Fran in Jell-O.
Rainbow Jell-O.
Jell-O Shots (Caffeinated variety).
Stapler inside Jell-O.
Jell-O Shots (Alcoholic version).
Jell-O – Inside a banana.
The Jell-O Museum.
Flickr Photo Pool of Jell-O.
Jell-O Body parts.
Tons of Jell-O recipes.

Jonah –
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American flag DIY coffee table project!

Becky –
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Strawberry rhubarb pie,

recipe is from the Joy of Cooking, another American classic.

Patti –
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In his book, American Gods, Neil Gaiman wrote that in other countries, when people find what he calls places of power, they build temples, or cathedrals, or stone circles. But in the USA, when people find those places, they build roadside attractions. When I was thinking about what is great about this country, I was surprised to find that sometimes I really value our lack of tradition. At its worst, it leads to really shallow places in our culture, but at its best, it gives people the freedom to express their ideas and inspirations in really strange and wonderful ways. I love shrines and cathedrals, but I also love places like House on the Rock.

Brian –

It’s the land of the weird. There’s some kind of strange current that runs through the soil, rocks, and water here. Stand on the soil, climb the rocks, drink the water, and you’ll be compelled to try something different.


You know that old saying: “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?” It’s when I leave the U.S. that I start to really see, and admire, its character. And it’s the combination of the do-it-yourself, pioneering spirit, which I think is part of the very folk-soul of this country, with a sense of limitless possibility; that whole “land of opportunity” thing. You see a rather unfortunate side of this spirit during the tryouts for shows like “American Idol,” where people’s sense of “can-do” can seem downright delusional. And when they take polls in schools and a significant percentage of the students expect to be famous or supremely wealthy. But when you couple that almost Utopian sense of possibility with hard work, innovative thinking, and dogged determination, you get… well, you get America.


Cultural variety! From music to macramé, this country’s diversity of culture is a blast to experience. From where I live I can walk to a Polish dance-club, a Mexican bakery, or an Italian street fair with twenty minutes!

Phil –

America, for me, is a place where anyone can do what they love if they’re willing to work hard. Sometimes they’re entrepreneurs, business owners, hobbyists, makers – it doesn’t matter really, we have the freedom to create, build, succeed and even fail spectacularly. If we’re lucky we’ll do enough of each, it’s more fun that way.

Oh, and cheese sculptures in Times Square.

Makers, post up what you think makes America great and we’ll pick a few of the good ones and send you out some stuff from the Maker Shed Store!

8 thoughts on “What MAKEs America great – Happy 4th of July from MAKE

  1. TieDyePie says:

    I have to agree with the Roadside America fascination. This country is a vast landscape of natural wonderment, and we’ve created a tradition of the coast-to-coast road trip to explore it. Sure, I love the awe-inspiring beauty of our national parks, but where else in the world could you find Fridgehenge or the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot? It’s the nationwide irreverence and playful creative energy that makes this country fun to live in.

  2. Max Wooden says:

    What MAKESs America great is the fact that I can do an impromptu interpretive dance to Stravinsky’s Op. 4 aptly titled “Fireworks” with lit sparklers in my hand while everyone on my block is in tears laughing so hard.

    But on a more serious note…
    I have sitting on my desk two items from a recent score at a surplus store. One is an Ignitor Circuit Tester (Probably for nukes in the 50’s) and the other is a store box of five new in box tubes made by GE. Both proudly display “MADE IN USA.”

    On the GE store display box it says “Progress is Our Most Important Product” in the beautiful stylized 50’s type. Then on the tube boxes it prominently displays MADE in the USA! This idea is very strong I feel, progress as the most important part of America. Say what you want about our politicians, and our sometimes questionable government.. But I feel that WE are MAKING progress.

    I would like to quote Chip Gracey, the founder or Parallax, in response to his next microcontroller he is designing…

    “That bigger ROM is going to be used, eventually, for sinking the entire development system into. This way, we can finally get OFF the PC for good, if we want to. I don’t want us to keep wasting our time (and energy) writing perishable Windows apps. We’ve spent what has got to be cumulative man-years at Parallax wrestling with Windows to get what we needed, while at the same time we’re chasing bizarre bugs which routinely result from Windows patches and upgrades. It’s been like building on a sandy foundation all along, and it just gets worse and worse. There’s no equity in it. We’re going to have to create our own land with a limited Constitutional government. Liberty for whoever wants OFF. All on about 50 square millimeters of silicon.

    Happy Independence Day!”

    In my opinion, THAT, is what MAKING PROGRESS is all about.

    Happy 4th of July Everyone! I would like to thank all Maker’s out there for working so hard at improving our great country and the world! (And yes I will be sharing photos of my surplus finds soon!)

  3. Matt L says:

    Troy is from a town less than 20 minutes from where I live. He does incredible work. Cheese will be the death of me but at least I will die happy!

  4. alandove says:

    I’ve undoubtedly missed the cutoff for the cool swag in this contest, but here’s a story that always comes to my mind when I think about what makes America great. I was interviewing Pasko Rakic, one of our greatest neuroscientists, for an article I was writing. Born in Yugoslavia, Pasko has pretty much lived the American Dream since immigrating, and he’s unabashedly patriotic.

    Midway through the interview, he insisted on taking me on a tour of Yale, where he works. After showing me one of the old library buildings, which is built in a rather typical Ivy League style (ornate neo-Gothic), he took me across the quad to the Beinecke Rare Book library. That building is a modern cube floating above the sidewalk, made of panels of marble so thin they allow daylight – but not UV rays – to penetrate. It’s a brilliant design, completely unlike any building that preceded it.

    Walking back outside, Pasko got to the punchline. He pointed to the old library and said “That was America, when it was trying to be like Europe.” Then he turned to the Beinecke, beamed with pride, and said “but that is just America.”

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