Sunday, February 22, 2009

Scratch This!

The other day my curious and creative son and I stumbled across Scratch. Not the regular scratch as in your head, your armpits, or tis but a... Rather, a phun program to create your own stories and games. It has built-in characters, sounds, costumes, and motion.

It's snap together blocks make programming even complex instructions simple and fool-proof. We started simply by having a knight run around bouncing off the edge of the screen. Then we added the dragon, then some simple hit detection to see if the dragon breathed on the knight. It built up over the course of an hour or so into a fun game!

In our game, DragonFire, you are a dragon who has been relentlessly pestered by knights. Your job is to cook Sir Buttkin by breathing fire on him 5 times. Beware Sir Buttkin's friends, who are shooting arrows that could pierce your delicate skin. Enjoy!

If you make your own Scratch game, make a comment in the Phunkidz blog with a link to your game!

Scratch Project

Monday, February 9, 2009

A real unicorn

Most of you kidz should be familiar with the "mythical" unicorn. That fantasy creature that looks like a horse but has a single ivory horn growing from the middle of its forehead. Often seen in the company of elves and other woodland sprites it is said that only a human that is young female virgin can approach or even ride the beast. Mr. Spanky says "Bull!" Sure, scientists and other xenobiologists have searched far and wide for such a creature. Mr. Spanky says "Meh." They're just looking in the wrong place. Horse-like, hah!

Alert reader GO has brought to my attention an article from the Economist where they talk about Dr. W.F. Dove who has fashioned his own unicorn. Horns are not embedded in the skull, rather they start out as buds on the flesh. Dr. Dove understood this and in 1933 created his own unicorn. The lesson here, kidz, is to experiment on animals for phun and profit!*

What did Dr. Dove's unicorn look like? Click the link below to find out.


*Mr. Spanky really doesn't endorse animal experiments so please do not perform chemical tests, transplants, DNA-alteration, substance abuse, or junk food binges with any animals. Just think, you wouldn't want any of those things to happen to you, right? Ok, except for the junk food binging.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Going Hunting

Sometimes you come across something so indescribably cute that you get overloaded on the sugar. Luckily, the surprise ending makes up for it all. Check out this YouTube video of Kate Micucci singing "Dear Deer" on her ukelele.

From Ukelele Hunt: There’s little doubt of the link between the ukulele and comic actors. From Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, through Steve Martin to Adam Sandler and William H Macy. The latest in the list is Kate Micucci...


Monday, February 2, 2009

Out of this World

Kidz, if you haven't downloaded and tried out the new 5.0 version of Google Earth I heartily encourage you to do so. Sure, you can skim around our planet and zoom in on your neighborhood. You can go look at the pyramids in Egypt, too. Meh.

This new version allows you to run around on Mars. Simply click on the planet icon in the top toolbar and select "Mars". Go into flight simulator mode and fly an F16 around the landscape. To see the travels of the Mars Rovers, select the "Mars Gallery" layer, open it, and select "Rovers and Landers" and click on the rover of your choice. Click on one of the camera icons to see high resolution pictures that have been taken by the rover. It's amazing.

But wait there's more. Just as the Googley engineers are plying the heavens, they are also looking to the depths of the sea. Go back to Earth (click on the planet icon in the toolbar and select "Earth"). Select the oceans layer. Explore shipwrecks, National Geographic featured sites, and view Cousteau's adventures beneath the sea. You've got to like this.