Cuba’s Inventions from Isolation


How sexy is your name?


So, what is your score? Is your name sufficiently sexy? It seems ridiculous to assign a numerical value to your name, but people will believe anything they see on facebook. Of all the dumb posts on the internet, this one seemed like the easiest one to debunk, so I decided to use some python to find what the sexiest name possible is. This script takes a flat file of names where each line is a name. Starting with the first name in the list, each letter in the name is compared with the numerical value in the post and then summed up of for a total score of the name. This is done for each name and is then stored in a sorted list.

The script produced some insightful information. In a list of the thousand most popular males names, Trenton came in first with 2335 points. If above 600 is the Ultimate sexiest name possible, then the sound of the name Trenton must impregnate every man, woman and child within a fifty-mile radius.
One challenge I came across in this script was sorting the names based on the rating that they receive. My first thought was to use a dictionary that has keys as names which point to their ratings. It turns out the dictionaries cannot be sorted. What my final strategy happened to be was using a list of tuples where the list items can be sorted based on the rating of the name.

## How Sexy is you name?
## Author: Corbett Larsen
def rate(name):
    score = 0
    name = name.lower() # Lowercase allows mixed case names
    rating = {'a': 100, # An arbitrary value for each letter
              'i': 200,

    for i in name:
        score += rating[i] #Tally up the score
    return score

def printNamesList(namesList):#prints contents of namesList or sortedNamesList

    for j in namesList:
        print j[0]+': '+str(j[1])+'\n'

f = open('male-first.txt','r')
o = open('output.txt','w')

lines = f.readlines() # an array in which each element is a line
namesList = [] # an array to hold only the names

for i in lines:
    i = i.split() # All that is needed in each line is the name
    nameRating = rate(i[0]) # Rate the name

##namesList is a list of tuples, with the first item being the name
##and the second being the rating. The second argument of sorted()
##allows a function defined with lambda. This function say that the
##list of tuples will be sorted based on the second item of the list.

sortedNamesList = sorted(namesList, key=lambda ratedName: ratedName[1])

for j in sortedNamesList:
    o.write(j[0]+': '+str(j[1])+'\n')


Retro Emulation: Adafruit’s PiGRRL kit

My first experience with any kind of hardware hacking or making was in the brief era where handheld emulators were all the rage. This was a few years before emulation was easy and free to put on Android. I spent my summer lawn mowing money on the $100 Dingoo Digital A-320. The stock operating system was hackable to allow different themes which was cool for awhile, but the real fun began when a special distro of Linux dubbed Dingux was released.

With Dingux I had my first introduction to flashing hardware and writing some very simple C programs. The real fun was getting the Homebrew games and ports like doom to run; there are often a lot more steps in getting experimental software to run. The community for the Dingoo faded gradually as Android emulators became easy to come by (Although there are still active Dingux developers doing there thing). It wasn’t until I came across the Adafruit kit that would see another handheld emulator. I was excited to get my hands dirty with some hardware even if it ended up being mostly a soldering project.

The Adafruit kit is based off of the Raspberry Pi A+, where previous versions were based on the larger B+. The screen is a 2.4″ version of the popular PiTFT screen from adafruit. The case is actually smaller than the Gameboy Color and actually doesn’t come in the kit, the expectation is that you will have some way to print it with a 3D printer.

During the build, the biggest trouble I had was fitting parts into the 3D printed case, I used a Lulzbot Mini with HIPS plastic. I have found that the dimensions of objects printed in HIPS  vary greatly from the file’s dimensions. I had to do a lot of filing. Another big problem that I found was fitting the battery in, I believe this was due to the gauge of wire that I used for connecting the controller buttons. ultimately the wires sticking out added enough thickness that I couldn’t fit the battery in and decided to just power it with micro USB.  Suprisingly, once I had everything soldered together, the whole thing booted up without a problem, I had expected to have to do at least a little troubleshooting but everything went well.

To anyone doing this build, I would suggest double checking the included parts against what is need for the final build. I had to source my own USB Wifi adaptor, which is key in getting new roms and emulator software.

What does a makerspace mean to me?

In the past couple of years, I have been part of two different makerspaces. One being the community grown lab and the other being the library variety. I think I have an interesting point of view while watching two organizations try and figure out what a makerspace means to them. Watching their growth, I also think about what a makerspace means to me.

For over a year I attended the weekly “Hack Night,” at my local makerspace. Each night I would sit down with a rough idea of what I wanted to acheive that night. Other members would give me advice on how to do this, and sometimes would even take the time to tutor me in a subject. For me I was using the makerspace as a resource, mainly as a brain bank where I could talk to seasoned experts, where normally I would be confined to internet tutorials. As I was almost always the youngest and least experienced in the group, I was always recieving and less frequently giving.

At the library, the dynamic is very different. After months of working on 3D printing requests, I have much more 3D printing knowledge than your average joe. With a constant stream of library patrons, I have the opportunity to share my knowledge and help them start their journey into making things. The most rewarding experience is when I can then learn somethin new from a person that I not too long a ago introducing to 3D printing. To me, a makerspace is where this cycle breeds new thoughts and ideas, where everybody can be a teacher and everybody can be a student.

Should I go to Windows 10?

In regards to the discussion about whether or not it’s worth it to go to windows 10. I have two operating systems that I can choose on my computer, Windows 8 and Ubuntu Linux. I was on my computer for 4 hours today and assumed I was in windows. Because pretty much everything is in browsers now I didn’t realize until I logged off that I was in Ubuntu. The real question should be, do you want to make the change to Microsoft’s new browser?

Proto Pancakes

My mom has always been a champion of finding substitutes for ingredients that are not on hand. Growing up this led to a range of ad-hoc meals that we often couldn’t tell the difference. Other times though, it was painfully obvious. Over time it got me to think about where the line was between say pancakes, and regular cake. Though mom may have been disappointed that what we had at the table was not lasagna, It was still something very real.

That may be the reason that every once in a while I take to the kitchen and come up with a recipe from the ground up. This usually involves starting with a basic ingredient like flour and trying to build something that will come out edible. 20141113_183650[1]

What I ended up with tonight was somewhere between a biscuit and a pancake that was fried on a skillet. The ingredients per ‘Proto Pancake’ were

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • salt
  • butter

It ended up tasting very much like a biscuit and very good!