It’s a Xmas-time publicity stunt from German engineering conglomerate Siemens AG, which manufactures wind turbines and includes, among its vast holdings, a couple of wind power companies. The “Siemens Superstar” was created in collaboration with Munich multimedia artist Michael Pendra and installed on a large wind turbine in FrÃ¶ttmaning at the gates of Munich, overlooking the A9 autobahn. It was up from November 29 through January 6. The Siemens publicity site has lots more info and some beautiful video. [Thanks, Rachel!]Continue Reading
A few months ago, William Kamkwamba spoke at MIT as he wrapped up a speaking tour of the US with coauthor Bryan Mealer. This video is the whole evening’s presentation, and includes the introductions and question/answer session afterward. William starts at around 11 minutes.
The talk was sponsored by MIT’s Technology and Culture series and he was introduced by Amy Smith of D-Lab. There is a brief segment in the evening on Moving Windmills, a documentary film about William and his story.
William has been a classic maker since he was very young. One of the most powerful stories they told was about how William learned science. The Malawian famine in the early 2000’s resulted from poor rains causing a crop failure. To conserve their resources, William’s family could not afford the tuition for him to got to secondary school. William did, however have access to a library funded with donated books located at his former primary school. He had been exploring and repairing radios for several years, and in the books in the library, he found useful resources for learning physics, electricity generation and magnetism. Though the books were written in English, rather than his native Chichewa, he would find a picture in the book that showed a diagram of a system that interested him. He would then note the figure number below the illustration and go hunting through the text looking for the passage that referred to the image. Once he found it, he would translate that section of text with the help of the other books on hand and the librarian. Through this process, William taught himself physics so that he could build himself a windmill to power the lights in his family’s house.Continue Reading