Saturday, June 2, 2012

HB's Birthday - Explore LA!

I've really been enjoying a bit more free time lately to enjoy all the great happenings that LA has to offer.  Last week I enjoyed sunset at the Griffith Observatory, including seeing the Tesla Coil fire, camera obscura 360, and their awesome foucault's pendulum.

View of historic "Hollywood" sign from the Griffith

Telsa coils are awesome.  So was Tesla, himself.

Then a few days later we watched the sunset from the top of Mount Wilson, while eating a snack and taking in the great views of the greater LA basin.  Super beautiful.

For my birthday, I explored LA's new Metro EXPO line which transports passengers from downtown (7th St. Metro Center) towards (but not quite yet to) Culver City.  We took our bikes and explored all over, though our main attractions were right next to the Expo line itself.

First stop was the California Science Center.  We had a superb afternoon with all of the hands-on science, though some 'hands-on' stuff didn't really teach WHY or HOW things were happening (no cause-and-effect).  Maybe the folks at Iridescent Learning have some lessons that the Science Center could use?

Super simple physics game to motivate balls into a goal, with mechanical claws, controllable ramps, and bursts of air.

Far-Infrared camera showing cold-blooded animals crawling around (tortoises, lizards, etc.)

We also went into the Butterfly Pavilion - a spring/summer exhibit outdoors in a netted area where many, many (hundreds?) of butterflies hang out, get fat and happy on flowers and fruit, and also some caterpillars and cocoons, etc.
Sorry for the lack of focus on these -- there were tons (okay, not literally), everywhere!

Then we went to the LA County Museum of Natural History Museum and saw and touched real dinosaur bones, as well as learned more California history.  Super awesome.

We came on the last "First Friday" of their season to host speakers and musicians.  It was an excellent use of space, and we'll be back next year!

The music was provided by KCRW DJs (Thanks Garth, and Anthony!) as well as Cut Chemist and Superhumanoids.  We danced out a bundle of energy, and then returned home via the Expo Line, Red Line, and Gold Line, followed by a mini-bike ride.  Long, awesome birthday!

The speaker was Jonah Lehrer, who is an excellent writer and speaker, and had some fun insights into how humans find solutions to problems, based on academic research.  Reminded me a bit of Malcolm Gladwell - just as engaging, and applicable.

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