At its core, TV is entertainment. It’s meant to take you away from the world every week. TV is great because it brings us laughs, thrills, excitement and emotions that couldn’t come from anywhere else. But most people see TV just as entertainment, with little to no value in the real world. TV can’t really do anything about important issues that exist in reality, right? Well, there is now growing support for the notion that TV can actually change our world for the better.
Take John Oliver’s fantastic show Last Week Tonight, for example. After releasing a 13 minute segment on Net Neutrality, the show was responsible for breaking the FCC website because of an overload of comments from the public. Dubbed “The John Oliver Effect”, the show has increased awareness and inspired action on issues in the real world through Television. The show is as entertaining as anything on TV, but it’s also helping to make the world a better place, one joke at a time. (Read more about that show’s impact on the world in an amazing TIME article Here)
This effect isn’t limited to talk shows and political programs either, the CSI franchise has exponentially increased public interest in the forensic sciences, and, according to the creator, is actually responsible for real police divisions using the term Crime Scene Investigators. Meanwhile, a pretty significant amount of people have named their children Khaleesi after the character from Game Of Thrones.
“That’s cool and all I guess, but why are you talking about all this?” Well, my dear impatient, inquisitive, reader, I’ll tell you:
On Thursday, I was invited to attend the launch of a competition dubbed “The Next MacGyver” at the National Academy Of Engineering in Washington DC. There, they announced a project that attempts to harness the influence I’ve been describing, and use it to change the world.
For those of you in my generation, who have no idea what MacGyver is, here’s a quick description: MacGyver is a TV Show that originally aired from 1985 to 1992 that centered around a secret agent who used his engineering skills to get out of seemingly impossible situations. The creator of the show, Lee Zlotoff (Pictured Left), said MacGyver had a large influence in the engineering fields. “I literally could not tell you how many times people have come up to me and said, ‘I became an engineer, or I went into the sciences because of MacGyver.’” he remarked during the press conference.
The worldwide competition aims to bring use this kind of influence to help inspire more women to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields, specifically engineering. They believe if the next great TV hero is a female engineer, then an entire generation of girls may grow up idolizing that character, in turn becoming the next great generation of engineers and leaders in the technology field
What’s the show gonna be about? Well, we don’t know yet. The story can come from anyone, that’s the competition part. They are currently accepting ideas for the show, and will do so until April 17th on their website (which is conveniently linked for you at the end of this post). The winners will receive cash prizes, a mentor to help them develop a script and sell it to a network and best of all, their name listed as the creator of a TV show. Okay, maybe the creator thing is mostly awesome to me, but still that would be super cool. But right now, my best idea is basically Scandal meets Gravity and stars Kristen Wiig and Bill Murray, so until I come up with something feasible, it’s definitely anyone’s game to win!
8-6-2021 (August 6, 2021) is the Snakiest day of the year and it’s also this year’s CircuitPython Day! The day highlights all things CircuitPython and Python on Hardware. See you there!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
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Electronics — Hummm… 60Hz noise in your amplifier driving you nuts?
Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Welcome to CircuitPython Day 2021! #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @micropython @ThePSF
Adafruit IoT Monthly — Forest Fire Beacons, IoT for Beginners, and more!
Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode for the micro:bit - 2021 Release!
EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey
New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — JP’s Product Pick of the Week — 4pm Eastern TODAY! 8/3/21 @adafruit @johnedgarpark #adafruit #newproductpick
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