If You Build It...

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School for Hackers by Mark Frauenfelder
The Atlantic, October 2010

Imagine a school where kids could do the following: clone jellyfish DNA; build gadgets to measure the electrical impulses of cockroach neurons; make robotic blackjack dealers; design machines that can distinguish between glass, plastic, and aluminum beverage containers and sort them into separate bins; and convert gasoline-burning cars to run on electric power. No such school exists, but in August I went to Detroit and met the kids who did all these things, and more. They--along with 22,000 other people--had come from all over the United States and Canada to demo their creations at Maker Faire, a two-day festival of do-it-yourselfers, crafters, musicians, urban homesteaders, kit makers, scientists, engineers, and curious visitors who congregated to present projects, give performances, and swap ideas

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Jennie Rothenberg Gritz is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she edits digital features.

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