Blog Posts by Virginia Heffernan, Yahoo News

  • Maker's mark: Why so many young techies are turning to tinkering

    It’s true: Some 70,000 people attended an arts-and-crafts fair in Manhattan this past weekend. They milled. They performed callous-building feats of manual creation. And they demoed soldering, sandblasting, quilting, farming, injection-molding and all manner of human endeavor that showcases the meeting of opposable thumbs with materials in space and time.

    It was the World Maker Faire, the roving “festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness” that invites “tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students and commercial exhibitors” to show what they’ve made, and what they’ve been making. Even after seven years of these events, the exuberance of the Maker Faires is still discomfiting. Sure, this time things were a little less off-the-grid than in years past, despite all of the robots, drones and robots that make drones on display; but still, this year’s event was much more kid-friendly, with lots of neato colorful

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  • Forgotten Spaces: What will happen to the websites we abandon and leave to rot?

    This summer the high-design frozen-yogurt shops — those cute Chlorox-bright franchises, all zillion of them — are flourishing, with maybe just a hint of darkening around the edges, like an August leaf.

    But looking ahead, I can’t help but ask: What will become of all the Pinkberrys?

    This is not to suggest that the current appetite for cold, chemical non-cream consumed in acrylic décor isn’t insatiable. Perhaps it is, and all that will survive the apocalypse is styrofoam and 16 Handles.

    But if, just if,a small market contraction ever affects the numberless franchises of Pinkberry, Red Mango and Yogurtland that currently enliven American streetscapes—if that contraction happens, what will become of the machines, and the fake-Saarinen decor, and the rows and rows of toppings bins wherein now rest tepid kiwi and shards of offbrand Oreos?

    They will be trashed. Like Cybex machines at old Curves gyms and CD-listening stations at long-gone Tower Records. As municipalities awaken from

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