World Metrology Day is Wednesday

Wednesday, May 20th is the world celebration of Metrology Day, in commemoration of the same day in 1875 at the signing of the treaty between 17 nations to agree on a common set of measurement units.

Today most nations of the world use the Metric system, enjoying not only the interoperability that it provides, but the far simpler math required to make unit conversions.

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Learn how to make Soundscapes with Python and Arduino

SoundscapeA soundscape is “an environment of sound (or sonic environment) with emphasis on the way it is perceived and understood by the individual, or by a society” (Barry Truax, *Handbook for Acoustic Ecology*). Soundscapes can include natural sounds (like animal noises or weather) and/or environmental sounds that result from human activities.

Microcontrollers connected to both external sensors and computers (by serial or wireless communication) offer a wonderful and accessible platform to generate complex and interactive soundscapes. Light, motion, distance, and temperature sensors, along with large buttons (in this case crafted with piezoelectric devices inserted into felt-crafted designs) and computer-monitored variables such as time of day, rate of online activity, season, etc. can add mountains of additional texture to a soundscape.

Using Arduino and a soundscape package for Python called Boodler (see Boodler.org), we will explore and discuss the potential for highly personalized soundscapes that incorporate microcontrollers. The speaker, Todd Fine, has only very recently begun playing with Boodler, but he is interested in introducing it to others interested in soundscapes, Python, or Arduino.

When: Thursday,  March 26, 2009  @ 7:00 pm
Where: HacDC Headquarters
Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Clojure Study Group Meeting January 3rd at 1pm

ClojureWhen: Saturday, January 3, 2009 @ 1:00 PM
Where: HacDC (St. Stephen & The Incarnation Church) Auditorium
Cost: FREE

The recently-organized DC Clojure Study Group will be holding its second meeting at HacDC. With fifteen members attending the last meeting, the group is an energetic community of software developers, math and science professionals, and general programming enthusiasts with varying levels of experience. Everyone is warmly invited to join. Homework and general agenda for the meeting is posted on the group’s wiki.

You are also encouraged to join the group’s mailing list to take part in conversations and follow the group’s blog for news and updates.

Stuart Halloway has described Clojure; this way: “Clojure feels like a general-purpose language beamed back from the near future.” Clojure is a Lisp built on top of the Java Virtual Machine. It is built to support concurrent programming, with a sophisticated transactional model behind agent and reference abstractions. It is a functional language, but it is also designed to make Java interoperation easy. In other words, it’s a best-of-both-worlds tool. With the upcoming publication of Programming Clojure by the Pragmatic Programmers and a lot of industry buzz, Clojure is quickly progressing from an intriguing curiosity to the Next Big Thing.

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Movie Night 12/19: Star Trek New Voyages: World Enough in Time

When: Friday, 19 December 2008 @ 8:30 PM
Where: HacDC (St. Stephen & The Incarnation Church) Sanctuary 
Cost: FREE

If being a hacker is a mixture of engineering and art, James Cawley and the team at New Voyages are an inspiring model of hackerdom. They’ve taken their love of the classic 60s sci-fi television show and turned it into an Internet phenonomenon.

The show has done so well that original cast members such as Walter Koenig (Checkov) and George Takei (Sulu) as well as Majel Barrett (Nurse Chappel) as well as writers from the show and even Larry Niven of Ringworld fame have contributed to the project.

Come see World Enough in Time, staring George Takei playing Sulu once more at HaDC!

Afterwards, if there’s interest, we’ll be showing another episode from the series and we’ll possibly have a phone appearance from a special guest!

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