It Begins in Brockport

It’s that time of the year when my periodic table reminds me that I am one year older. Happy indium birthday to me:

What’s really exciting, though, is that it is not just my birthday, but also the first day of a very new adventure. I am officially starting a makerspace in Brockport, and signed a lease on a studio to pilot the makerspace starting today.

The makerspace is called, It Begins in Brockport because, well, this is where it begins. Ironically, 2023 is the 200th anniversary of when the Erie Canal ended in Brockport. It’s a theme that will come up again later in the year.

The makerspace is a joint effort between SUNY Brockport and a non-profit I am establishing called Brockport Original Builds. Our mission is to empower community innovation and learning through accessible digital fabrication. If we are successful (and I believe we will be) one day Brockport will be seen as a beacon of learning, collaboration, and innovation.

It’s day one, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. If you are in the Brockport area and are interested in learning more, you should definitely stop by the Hart Gallery (27 Market Street) on Friday May 5th from 6-8. IBiB is taking up residence in the pottery studio and we’ll be participating in the gallery’s First Friday open houses. You can also check out, which is pretty bare bones at the moment, but will be our main online presence. You can expect updates here as well.

Stay tuned for many more exciting updates – but I have to finish grading lab reports and exams first.

Use the force, chatGPT

I’ve been doing a lot of fiddling with chatGPT and how it might be used in academia (as a tool for good). It’s that time of the semester when the pile of grading on my desk is getting high enough that I start coming up with novel ways to procrastinate. (Plus, I just got a filling this morning, and I am not in the mood to read student writing at this moment.)

So, instead of doing the work I should be doing, I decided to do the work I want to be doing, and that is, thinking about what a general education course on lightsabers would look like. With the help of chatGPT, here’s what I came up with. I think it would be fun.

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I won something!

This past week, I was humbled to receive the Monika Andrews Creative Volunteer Leadership Award, which is offered annually to a resident of Brockport, Sweden, or Clarkson in recognition of volunteer contributions to the community.

Me with Bill Andrews (to my right, who endowed the award), Rozenn, and two members of the selection committee.

Here’s a snippet of text from the Award citation:

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3D Printing quick fix

I recently inherited a laser cutter (an FS Laser HL40-5g hobbyist class tool) and have been trying to get it up and running. One of the first problems was the laser cooling. These lasers require water cooling, typically provided by an aquarium pump in a 5 gallon bucket of water. The pump I inherited seemed to work fine, except for one small problem:

Houston, we have a problem.
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