things I do when I’m not studying

Last week I was the lucky winner of a double pass to the Melbourne Museum SmartBar. I absolutely loved the event and I am so glad I won the tickets as I know I would have procrastinated and missed it otherwise. The theme was retro-futurism (by the way this isn’t a sponsored post or anything, just me fully nerding out about it):

  • The fourth computer in the world, CSIRAC: an international icon of the digital age designed and built in Australia. Hear CSIRAC’s story and meet the only intact first-generation computer surviving anywhere in the world.
  • Yesterday’s tomorrow… today! Retro Futurism explained.
  • The power behind machines and a glimpse into Museum Victoria’s machine collection
  • Electronic music and the sounds of CSIRAC.
  • The latest in 3D printing technology.
  • My housemate Jen and I had a great time, as it turns out getting drunk at the museum on a Thursday night is nothing short of fabulous. I’m supposed to be writing my essay on silk right now so I will be keeping this brief, but I enjoyed it so much I really wanted to share… Any pictures not taken on my iPhone are from the Melbourne Museum Facebook page.

    Lost in a sea of geeks… we were lucky enough to snag a couch so we relayed between it and the bar for the first 3 lectures we attended. If you have good eyes you can see me! (Pic Source)
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    …and this is what we were looking at! The lecturers stood on the little platform, surrounded by dinosaurs.
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    The Ghost of Computers Past and a curious dinosaur (Pic Source)…
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    Eventually we gave up our seats and wandered off for a stroll around the galleries. It had a strong “Night at the Museum” feel to it, especially in the taxidermy section.
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    We loved it there, as you can tell by the abundance of pictures. But how can you not love it, when you’re a bit squiffy and you come face-to-face with this?
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    Beautiful Jen finds a wee friend.
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    Redder than a Red Panda!
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    We also spent a fair amount of time checking out the 3D printing. I recognised the gentleman doing the demonstrations of 3D scanning and printing, as he happened to give a lecture on digital conservation at school just a couple of days earlier, so I asked more questions and oo-ed and aaah-ed at everything.

    A solution for Bamyan?
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    The inside of a 3D-printed object. So trippy.
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    I realised Jen was patiently waiting for me and was tearing myself away when one of the women doing the demonstrations made my night by calling me over and saying that as I was so interested I got to keep my very own 3D print of an ammonite. Double win! I am chuffed with it as to be honest the printing looks very basic and rough — in 50 years from now, it will be a fossil in its own right (yet another example of how conservation has warped my brain)! (Pic Source)
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    Before we left we had to go visit old CSIRAC… Australia’s first computer, the fourth in the world, and the first to play computer music! I had to pose showing off my binary tattoo, although CSIRAC ran on perforated paper tapes so it really is a dinosaur.
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    A few stats for you: CSIRAC’s entire memory was 2kb… spread over 25 square metres. And run by mice.
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    A big thank you to Joyce for the giveaway, and I already wrote Melbourne Museum a very gushy email about how much I enjoyed my night. I honestly felt it was the perfect night out — funny and entertaining lectures (none of them more than 15-20 minutes long), interesting activities (we didn’t go for the drum-making workshop in the end though) and best of all, the opportunity to ramble through some of the Museum’s galleries with an alcoholic beverage and without children underfoot! I hope there’s one on when James is next in town…


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