Scientastic


Date Night
Braaaaains Edition
Brain: The Inside Story (Ontario Science Centre)

By Seán O'Sullivan - December 1st, 2014

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My wife loves brains. It’s a strange affectation. Mention a brain in casual conversation with her and she’s likely to blurt out that she once held a human brain (referencing her glory days in grad school where she got to prod at cadavers). As soon as I saw the invite for the preview of the new Brain exhibit running at the Ontario Science Centre from now until March 29, 2015, I knew my fate was sealed for that night.

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Cool Tech
InteraXon
Muse Headband and Calm App

By Jorge Figueiredo - May 2nd, 2014

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Without a doubt, almost everyone I talk to these days complains about being busy – myself included. Between work, children, dwelling upkeep, extra-curricular activities (like volunteer work), and social schedules, it’s no wonder that people rely on their calendars and scheduling apps to make sense of time. You, the reader, can probably sympathize, as you are probably busy, too1; and, like many, probably have trouble trying to calm your mind (which can make sleep a challenging prospect) . InteraXon, a Toronto-based company, has an interesting solution to help train your mind to settle (and have a little fun, too), hopefully giving you a way to cut through the noise of a busy state of mine and aid you in focusing and relaxing your brain. It’s an application called Calm, and it works in tandem with their brain-sensing headband called Muse (which was an Indiegogo success). Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to visit InteraXon, and take Muse and Calm for a spin.

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March Break Ideas
Game On 2.0
Ontario Science Centre

By Jorge Figueiredo - March 11th, 2013

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If you have a hankering for Science, there is no better place to go than the Ontario Science Centre. Located at Eglinton Ave E and Don Mills Rd in Toronto, the Science Centre is a fantastic place full of things to learn. If you have children, the joy of discovery is two-fold, as you get to experience things for yourself and through your kids. What is even more awesome about the Science Centre this year is the inclusion of the Game On 2.0 exhibit.

Basically, this exhibition is the world’s largest celebration of videogames – and it features a ton of awesome displays about game design, development, and production. Basically, you’re stepping into more than 60 years of videogame entertainment history – and it’s pretty much all interactive. Chances are you will find some bit of nostalgia here that will make you weep golden tears of joy – so what are you waiting for? Get ye to this link and go check it out!

Toronto Thumbs will be doing a full report as soon as we sort out our mad scheduling nightmare! Stay tuned!


Interview
Alex Hayter – Spongelab Interactive

By Jorge Figueiredo - February 15th, 2012

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I’m not sure if you have ever heard of Spongelab Interactive. We have tweeted links to this award-winning portal that caters to scientists, teachers, animators, artists, and programmers who are passionate about science education. It is a fantastic resource for learning and employs a number of fantastic initiatives and tools (including games and interactive media) to help in science education. I recently had the chance to chat with Alex Hayter from Spongelab Interactive about a number of aspects of the site. Read on!

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Shout Out
Play Till Doomsday

By Jorge Figueiredo - October 1st, 2010

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Fancy yourself a smartypants? Have you heard about Play Till Doomsday? No? Well I guess you’re not as clever as you thought. PTD is the blog portion of a transmedia initiative that looks at digital games as culturally significant entities; it explores games, play and culture by combining the ideas of academia with the practical experience of gamers.

The site is maintained by our very smart friend A. Brady Curlew. I highly recommend you click on the link at the end of this blurb and go learn yourself some stuffs!

Click here to get smarter! »


Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
Paul Hunter is a Dreamer

By Jorge Figueiredo - June 5th, 2010

Dream

Have you ever had a dream that scared the crap out of you? You know the kind: you are trapped somewhere; you are surrounded by the undead; you have no weapons; you look remarkably like Shia LaBoeuf and Megan Fox is nowhere in sight! Overcome with terror, you wake up in a cold sweat, afraid to close your eyes to return to slumberland…

Well, you can choose to stay awake forever – or – you can be like Paul Hunter over at NextGen Player  and pick up a controller to do some advanced training that might have real results in dream land. Nicole Baute, from the Toronto Star, has written an interesting article about how high-end gamers have a good chance of controlling the outcome of those nightmare scenarios.

Check it out »


Wish List
Canon 50D DSLR

By Jorge Figueiredo - December 5th, 2009

Canon 50D DSLR

Some of you may not know that I am an amateur photographer who has participated in a number of exhibitions (see Figtography for details). Recently, I have been noticing that the quality of negatives being returned to me after getting them developed in-store is decreasing, which is never a good thing when you have to work with them.

I don’t usually get the standard prints, as a lot of the work that I do requires that my output be 8×10″ and up. I usually get film developed and copied to CD for the sake of quick evaluation of what will possibly be the final prints that I will be working on. I currently own a Canon Elan 7E, which was an engagement gift from my wife. The camera is a rugged, quiet piece of technology with a variety of features that allow me to have a lot of control over my final images. But I think it’s time to move on to a digital model – the Canon 50D DSLR, to be exact.

I highly doubt that I will be getting this anytime soon. However, I am saving up to buy it next year. Plus, its price should be falling as the 7D just came out. For now, though, it remains on my wish list.