Interesting 2011

Interesting 2011 was, as promised, more about activities than talks.

After the traditional Final Countdown singalong and introductions from Russell, we were all very much in the mood for an interesting day.

Conway Hall, set up for Interesting 2011 Russell

Stanley James Press provided all the equipment, instructions and patient help required for us to bind our own notebooks.

Next up, Leila Johnston introduced her Hack Circus:

After the Hack Circus, there followed a short period of making and doing, including Words and Pictures who helped us make a comic, and Oli Shaw and Lynda Lorraine who set up a plasticine creature creation workshop / stall [here are the results while Matthew Solle + friends allowed people tro try out their collection of circuit bent toys and other musical instruments.

Spherising tomato passataTo get us in the mood for lunch, Chris Heathcote led us in an amazing hands on session of molecular gastronomy. First, to see if we were ‘supertasters’ we all tried sodium benzoate (which I couldn’t really taste), phenylthiocarbamide (which tasted bitter and unpleasant. I think that means I tend towards liking sweet flavours. Which is true). Next we sampled dried tomato powder, pop rocks and monosodium glutamate before making tomato caviar (spherised tomato passata) and lastly trying miracle fruit (active ingredient: miraculin!) which confuses the taste buds normally receptive to sweet flavours to also be excited by sour ones. Lemons taste amazingly sweet, but the flavours in grapefruit and lime are what it’s really all about. If you’ve never tried it you really must. [More info and links for further reading via Chris here]

Mouse traps Mouse traps #1000mousetraps Mouse traps Primed Getting there

After lunch, Alby Reid (possibly the best science teacher in the world) used 1000 Mousetraps and 2000 ping pong balls to demonstrate nuclear fission. Serious fun.

[Alternatively, a much more lovely mouse-eye-view video from Paul Downey here.]

And finally, Stuart Bannocks provided some briefs to be address by putting stickers on boxes. Delightful, even having done it at Papercamp last year.

A massive, massive thank you to Russell and everyone involved in making it such a brilliant day.

Previous years: 2007, 2008, 2009.