5 Minutes of Fame (Noisebridge)

Jacob Appelbaum, tonight's surprise guest

A mystery guest!

Last night was Five Minutes of Fame at Noisebridge. This is a monthly gathering open to any and all speakers, devoted to silly and serious talks of all varieties. (I’ve given a couple in Octobers past: an interactive demo on piezos this year, and a holography primer in 2011.)

The evening’s highlights included a musical intro, an exploration of network security/censorship in Burma, and A DIY FRICKING X-RAY MACHINE! Here are my sketches of these exciting, creative humans.

Danny O’Brien: Our gracious host, bombastic as always.

Josh Juran led us in a singalong of “It’s the End of the World As We Know It”, as the apocalypse demands.

Jacob Appelbaum

Jacob Appelbaum showed up to fill the “Mystery Guest” spot on the roster. He gave us an illustrated tour of how to get yourself into trouble in Burma. International SIM cards there easily cost 250-500 USD. Interestingly, although all network traffic appears to be locked down (or at least monitored), the same doesn’t apply to physical nodes. Hmmm.

Annalee Newitz

Annalee Newitz shared some magnificent advancements in self-healing concrete (and other ways that architecture is learning to work with biology). Contrary to the prior prevailing wisdom, the best place to be in an apocalypse is a city. At least, that’s what she’d like everyone else to believe.

Naomi Most

I can keep sitting here all day and eat whatever I want, as long as it’s all in one monstrous helping… and still be healthy! This is a gross misrepresentation of what Naomi Most taught us about nutrition, which was truly useful. Try an intermittent fast, eating just a couple of times a day to keep your metabolism high, and if you get hungry, grab a small piece of something fatty to gobble. (Not your pets.)

Liz Henry

Liz Henry foolishly shared a few of her million-dollar ideas with us. I’m gonna get rich off of cat food spray.

Praveen Sinha

Praveen Sinha exhorts you to learn some statistics. You’ll feel better, understand guns and epidemics, and not sound like such an idiot when you talk about Sandy Hook.

Johny Radio

Johny Radio is running an all-DIY-instrument concert and recording session at Noisebridge in January. He brought along a Martin to demonstrate some circuit-bending musical wizardry.

Jake Sternberg

Jake Spaz went full mad scientist with a homebrew X-ray camera. We looked at some bits of metal and a taxidermied mouse. As far as I know, he is still alive. (No word on “Mr. X”, the mysterious engineer who helped create this thing, which included most of a taser.)

Schuyler Erle

Schuyler Erle: all board games, all time travel, all hard sci-fi. Most likely all nerd as well.

Ari Lacenski

Ari Lacenski taught us the difference between Ionian and Aeolian scales. She also made the Cranky Scale Generator, which tells you how to use selected notes together in various scales. I’m looking forward to more strange musical things from her.

By this point, since a 5MOF talk is never actually 5 minutes, it was nearing 11:30pm. Snail, Tom, and I snuck out to get some apocalyptic nachos, and when we came back, it was over. I consider this a night well spent.


Website needs a revamp. Step 1: individual blog posts for sketches. While I work on this, all the past ones are gone, but they’ll be back… holy crap, 8 months yielded a giant mass of doodles. All will eventually be available under the “People” tab above.


  • By Susan Werner, December 21, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

    I took an x-ray of my hand with the DIY x-ray machine yesterday, here it is (with post-processing (adjusting the brightness range and with a bit of blur, the original is at http://i.imgur.com/tVje9.jpg )): http://i.imgur.com/H3s2Y.jpg

    I’m going to try replacing the taser with a better power supply, and also trying to see if I can modulate the tube current and use lock-in detection to better extract images from the noise.

  • By Liz, December 21, 2012 @ 11:35 pm


    What script are you writing in there?!

  • By admin, December 29, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

    Elvish (“Tengwar”) >:)

  • By Johny Radio, July 13, 2015 @ 3:22 pm

    Nice sketch! Just saw this. Stick it in your ear!


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