Monday, May 23, 2016

A visit to the Michigan Science Center

Though I was only seven years old, I still have a vivid recollection of the day my parents took me on an afternoon trip to explore the science center in Detroit. It's been years since I'd paid a visit and my seven year old twins had never been there before. So being they're the same age as my first adventure to the place it seemed a fitting time for a road trip to the Michigan Science Center. Located next door to the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) in Detroit's Midtown neighborhood, the Michigan Science Center features more than 250 hands-on exhibits that can be educational and interesting for people of all ages.



Learn how telescopes work and by viewing a representation of the moon through a variety of lenses in the center's space exploration section which also displays a NASA rocket capsule that was one of the highlight's of my childhood visits to the science center.

 
 
This astronomy area is also home to the Dassault Systèmes Planetarium which houses a Digistar® II projection system with 13,000-watt Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound that projects upon a 50-foot-wide, three-story-high-dome. Check out a variety of live shows including OUR PLACE IN SPACE and SUNSTRUCK.



OUR PLACE IN SPACE begins with a tour of the current night sky and the state of Michigan, then gradually zooms out to reveal the size of asteroids and dwarf planets. Your journey then  continues providing a view of the planets of our Solar System, the Sun, other stars, and finally provides a glimpse of the entire galaxy.


SUNSTRUCK lets you travel back to the beginning of time and experience the birth of the Sun. Sponsored by NASA this planetarium show explains how the Sun supports life on Earth and how its energy will one day fade away.



Other areas of the exhibit let visitors explore the fundamental properties of matter, motion, energy, and time.


In addition to the exhibits, the Michigan Science Center also provides a variety of shows and demonstrations.  The  SPARKS ELECTRICITY SHOW provides entertaining examples of various facets of electricity including magnetism, static electricity and plasma.  Demonstrations are also provided on the CHRYSLER SCIENCE STAGE involving topics such as chemistry, physics, and life science.

A highlight of any visit is also watching an IMAX presentation on the largest movie screen in Michigan.  This 67.5 foot wide, five story high dome theater envelopes audience in a thrilling sensory experience.  We saw National Parks Adventure which honors the centennial anniversary of the United State Park Service by taking its viewers on climbing, hiking and sailing experiences through the caves, rivers, forests, mountains and other stunning landscapes within the country's famous, as well as lesser known, parks.



After enjoying the movie it was up the rainbow escalator to head home.  I was always excited by this neon light show as a kid and my own children though it was a great way to wrap up our visit.  We had a great family road trip and if you are in the Detroit area encourage you to find some time to swing by and explore the Michigan Science Center for yourself. There is always something new to discover at the science center!


For more information about the Michigan Science Center, visit mi-sci.org



Saturday, May 21, 2016

National Geographic shows the educational side of The Angry Birds

With an animated movie, popular series of video games, and a variety of toys, Rovio's ANGRY BIRDS provide entertaining ways to pass the time, but did you know they also have an educational side?  Rovio, the company that created the Angry Birds sensation, has partnered with National Geographic to create a series of books to inspire kids to learn more about these feathery creatures and the world we share with them.  Coinciding with the 2016 theatrical release of THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE, National Geographic has published two new books: THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE - RED'S BIG ADVENTURE and ANGRY BIRDS PLAYGROUND ATLAS.  Both of these books provide an avian's perspective on exploring our planet and discovering wondrous things through incorporating The Angry Birds in fun and humorous scenarios.

THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE - RED'S BIG ADVENTURE takes readers on an amazing journey with Red, the leader of the Angry Birds flock, along with Matilda, Chuck, Bomb, Terence, and the mysterious Mighty Eagle. Featuring THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE story world, this book is filled with all the fun facts and information Red and the flock need to embark on their big adventure. From identifying wildlife to navigating by the stars to building a shelter and setting traps (for any roaming Piggies), this 160 page softcover book targeted for young readers 8 to 12 years old will be sure to educate and entertain.



In ANGRY BIRDS PLAYGROUND ATLAS follow along with your favorite Angry Birds characters as they fly around the world discovering continents, countries, and cultures. The book enlists kids to join in a wacky search for the Angry Birds' eggs as they seek out clues that lead them to amazing discoveries. Aimed for children 4 to 8 years old this 128 page book encourages readers to observe the world from a global perspective as The Angry Birds chill out with penguins, chirp in new languages, and fly by world landmarks. Packed with learning exercises and fun activities, the Angry Birds Playground: Atlas will encourage kids to want to learn more about the planet we live on and leave them wanting more adventure.



A Geek Daddy is a member of the National Geographic Kids Insider blogger program. Insiders get a behind-the-scenes look at National Geographic’s resources, activities, content and projects for kids and families. They also review copies of books, magazines and toys, and are offered interviews with authors, explorers and editors. I do not receive any financial compensation for my participation as a National Geographic Kids Insider. #NGKInsider

Friday, May 20, 2016

NASCAR DRIVERS MAKE GUEST APPEARANCES ON NICKELODEON'S "BLAZE & THE MONSTER MACHINES"

NASCAR fans will want to tune into Nickelodeon to watch with their kids six new race car themed episodes of the cable network's animated preschool series BLAZE AND THE MONSTER MACHINES which will be featuring guest voice appearances from superstar drivers Danica Patrick, Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott and Kasey Kahne. The first special, “Race Car Superstar,” premieres Monday, May 30, at 1:30 p.m. (ET/PT), followed by “Race to Eagle Rock” on Thursday, June 2, at 1:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon.  The remaining four race car episodes will roll out this fall.   

In Blaze and the Monster Machines, the amazing monster truck Blaze and his eight-year-old driver AJ have adventures that explore the physics of how things move; tackle problems through scientific inquiry and mathematics; and discover the parts needed to make everyday technologies work. Each action-packed episode is filled with monster trucks, physical humor and upbeat original songs that contain lyrics which highlight a STEM concept such as adhesion, friction, force, trajectory and magnetism. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, all educational concepts important for developing high-tech skill sets.


In these race car themed specials, Blaze visits the town of VelocityVille, where all the cars love to go fast, and meets four new race cars: Rally (Patrick), a race car who is always first to the track and never misses a chance to hit the raceway; Dash (Johnson), a car that is fun, friendly, fast and the ultimate racing buddy for Blaze; Mark Set-Go (Elliott), VelocityVille’s sensational starter who kicks off each racing adventure with rock-star style and a signature rhyme; and Fender (Kahne), a car that rules the raceway, but is excited to share the track with Blaze.



In “Race Car Superstar,” a car named Speedrick puts locks on the tires of other cars so they are stopped in their tracks, forcing Blaze to transform into a sleek and aerodynamic race car to free his new friends.  Then, in “Race to Eagle Rock,” Blaze brings all of his monster truck pals to VelocityVille for a wild race to the top of Eagle Rock. After they all transform into race cars with supercharged engines, they have to find a way to avoid Crusher’s attempts to slow them down.

Tying into these race car themed adventures, the Blaze and the Monster Machines App is being updated to feature a brand-new VelocityVille location. This update will provide 15 new levels that focus on the STEM concept of velocity.  The app allows players to help Blaze and AJ compete against other monster trucks – Starla, Darington, Crusher, Stripes and Zeg – in one of six locations (The Badlands, Top of the World, Dragon Island, The Snowy Slopes, The Monster Dome or VelocityVille) and use blazing speed and problem-solving to overcome obstacles along the way. The update is available now on iOS and Google Play. Additionally, leading up to the Blaze and the Monster Machines race car specials, NickJr.com and the Nick Jr. App will feature an exclusive first-look at the race-inspired episodes starting Monday, May 23.

Nickelodeon and Fisher-Price will also be launching a new toy line based on the Blaze and the Monster Machines race car episodes.  Available nationwide in August, the collection includes: a Flip & Race vehicles assortment, Monster Copter Swoops, Flip and & Race Speedway and Transforming Race Car R/C Blaze.  The complete Blaze and the Monster Machines™ product line includes die-cast, mid-scale and feature vehicles, playsets, games and puzzles plus outdoor sports and party goods.
For more information about the show, visit www.nickjr.com/blaze-and-the-monster-machines

BooEnn Light Sensor Smart Glasses

 **A Geek Daddy received the featured product for free to review**
Who hasn't walked through the electronics section of a store and marveled at the crispness and clarity of the images being shown on the televisions being displayed.  I don't know what they do but it seems you can never replicate that magic on your TV set at home.  You can though get a perfect view that will bring to mind the marvelous imagery from those model televisions while you drive using the new BooEnn Light Sensor Smart Glasses.


I had a long 200 mile round trip trek for work on a bright sunny day which was the perfect opportunity to test out BooEnn's Light Sensor Smart Glasses.  These glasses provided crisp visibility with perfect shading for a view that could have easily been mistaken for a scene being watched on a high definition television if I wasn't steering a vehicle going 70 miles per hour along Interstate 69.  The reason these glasses work so well is that they have state-of-the-art sunshine intensity sensors which control liquid-crystal display (LCD) lenses powered by a solar panel that instantly brightens or darkens the lenses based upon driving conditions.  As I passed through the tunnels along one stretch of freeway running across Detroit's northern suburbs these glasses transformed from shaded to totally clear in the blink of the eye.  As I exited the tunnels emerging back into the sunlight the light-modulating properties of the LCD lenses instantly provided just the right amount of shading to give me the perfect view of the road in front of me.  Leaving Metro Detroit and traversing across wide open rural Michigan landscapes during my trip to the state capital of Lansing, I found that with no glare and just the right level of shading these glasses provided me with some of the best visibility while driving I'd ever experienced.  Often times I get eye fatigue, especially on bright days, when making this trek but I didn't experience that during this trip.


The question you'll have to ask yourself is how much you value form over function?  While these glasses function great, I have to admit their form is lacking.  They really aren't that attractive to wear unless you want to envision yourself as donning a super hero mask while driving down the road.  That being said, while being odd looking, these smart glasses aren't bulky, heavy or uncomfortable to wear.  I found the BooEnn Light Sensor Smart Glasses very comfortable to have on actually. It just felt a bit odd seeing myself driving in them when I caught a glimpse of myself in my rear view mirror and got a few weird looks from people pulled up next to me at stop lights.  Weighing their performance versus appearance, I've kept them in my car to use again because I valued the benefit of the enhance visibility and reduced eye fatigue these smart glasses provided.  In my opinion, in this circumstance function trumps form when evaluating the value of this product.  Hopefully as the Solar LCD technology develops BooEnn can make these Smart Glasses a bit smaller and more stylish.  If you spend a lot of time in a vehicle driving, especially in conditions where you're dealing with brightness, glare and light pollution, you'll absolutely want to check out the BooEnn Light Sensor Smart Glasses.


BooEnn Light Sensor Smart Glasses are now available through INDIEGOGO.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Artist utilizes Playmobil toys to make topics interesting for young readers

**A Geek Daddy received the featured product for free**
Photographer Richard Unglik has developed an artistic niche by recreating the works of famous painters, memorable movie moments, and other well-known visual scenes entirely with characters, accessories and decors from the Playmobil toy line.  Now Unglik is using his passion for Playmobil to inspire young readers through two new children's books: Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles and Journey Around the World.


Sherlock Holmes detective stories are brilliant mysteries but the writing of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle can be weighty material for children to comprehend and devote their attention to.  Unglik portrays Sherlock Holmes in a manner more suitable for children aged 6 through 12 years old to appreciate as he recreates the world of Sherlock Holmes using Playmobil action figures and scenery.


Follow along with Playmobil Sherlock as he solves the classic story of The Hound of the Baskervilles.  Readers delve into a haunted tale of suspense and mystery told from the perspective of the familiar, heartwarming Playmobil characters that have been delighting children since the toys originated in the 1970s.  While published as a children's book, this 96 page reenactment of Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles is an enjoyable and interesting read for kids as well as kids-at-heart.  Readers of all ages will enjoy flipping through the pages and viewing the Playmobil depictions.


Journey Around the World encourages children to learn more about the world beyond their doorstep.  Unglik also uses Playmobil figurines and scenery to engage children's interest in learning about history and geography by depicting different parts of the world and its exotic peoples and places.



More than 25 countries from around the globe are portrayed through double paged sections in this book which also includes a large, pull-out map of the world.  Each double page spread showcases a country, city, or civilization along with its traditions and customs.  Journey Around the World is a heartwarming atlas that will inspire children to explore and discover.  As with Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles, this book is full of wonderful pictures featuring Playmobil toys that even adults will want to flip through to enjoy.


These books are available at a variety of retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.  For more information about these books and their author, visit quartous.com.

Richard Unglik's Playmobil books get A Geek Daddy nod of approval for taking topics that kids might not otherwise be very interested in and making them interesting through fun toy inspired visuals which draw young audiences into reading.


Monday, May 16, 2016

TRANSFORMERS: ROBOTS IN DISGUISE

Transformers, the toy series from Hasbro in which vehicles switch into robotic alien warriors, had a cartoon that was popular with all the neighborhood kids that aired on TV during my 1980s childhood years.  These robots in disguise have made a comeback to entertain today's generation of kids with a new animated television series.  In these adventures from Hasbro Studios, BUMBLEBEE, one of the most popular Transformer characters from the toys and movies, must lead a rogue team of AUTOBOTS to ward off a new threat to the Earth from the dastardly DECEPTICONS.  The 26 episode season of Season One for TRANSFORMERS: ROBOTS IN DISGUISE just wrapped up on Cartoon Network.

Miss the first season on Cartoon Network or want to watch it all over again? Shout! Factory has just released a DVD with all 26 episodes of TRANSFORMERS: ROBOTS IN DISGUISE which also has bonus segments including a San Diego Comic-Con Panel presentation, featurettes, and animated shorts. You can find the DVD for purchase at retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart as well as on the Shout! Factory website.  A Geek Daddy also has a TRANSFORMERS: ROBOTS IN DISGUISE -- SEASON ONE DVD to giveaway to one lucky blog reader or social media follower.



To be eligible for this giveaway you must follow @Geekdad248 on Twitter and retweet our original contest tweet embedded above before May 22, 2016 @ 11:59 pm EST.  Must be a US  resident over the age of 18 to participate.  One entry per person and we'll randomly select a winner from all eligible entries.

When a CYBERTRONIAN prison ship filled with DECEPTICONS crash lands on Earth and unleashes its prisoners, BUMBLEBEE returns to the planet he once called home with a new team of AUTOBOTS - STRONGARM, SIDESWIPE, FIXIT and GRIMLOCK - to track down the escapees.  BUMBLEBEE must balance his job of fighting off evil with being equal parts squad leader and coach to a rascally team that needs constant coaxing to learn how to work together.  The results are comical when the cool rebel SIDESWIPE, elite guard cadet STRONGARM, bombastic dinobot GRIMLOCK and the overly-excited FIXIT must balance keeping the team together with chasing and capturing their new enemies in each adventure-filled episode.  Along with their new human allies, Denny and Russell, this unlikely team of robots in disguise must protect the Earth while preparing for an ominous threat suited only for a Prime.


Disclaimer & Rules / FTC Notice:  A Geek Daddy Blog will be responsible for selecting the winner of this contest, but Shout! Factory is responsible for fulfillment and delivery of the prize. By participating in this contest you waive any liability towards A Geek Daddy Blog or its publisher that may arise from your involvement with this promotion. A Geek Daddy Blog hosted this contest and blog post based upon Shout! Factory providing the prize to the selected winner. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. Must be a US resident over 18 years old.  If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Prize will be delivered by UPS or FedEx so no P.O. Boxes are allowed as mailing addresses. A Geek Daddy Blog is hosting this giveaway as a benefit to our readers. Information for this post was provided by Shout! Factory. A Geek Daddy Blog did not receive any financial compensation for publishing this post but did receive one of the prizes for personal use.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Wahl Fathers Day Grooming Giveaway

My grandfather grew up as a child from a poor family during the Great Depression and developed from that experience the mentality of never paying someone to do something that you could do for yourself.  So this human resources manager for a Detroit manufacturing plant also took on the role of being a barber for his kids.  He took such pride in this role that my grandfather even invested in purchasing professional hair cutting tools and installing a real barbershop chair in his basement.  Once my dad and uncles had grown up and started families of their own, my grandfather would always be filled with glee when his children brought their kids over for a haircut.  I still remember being amazed as a youngster that my grandparents had a barber's chair in their house when my dad would take me over for a visit and to get a trim.  Whenever I see an old-fashioned barber pole it generates warm memories of times spent with my good ol' grandpa.

Though probably not realized at the time they were given, these haircuts created treasured father-son and grandfather-grandson bonding experiences for our family. It turns out we aren't alone in grooming being an important bonding experience for the males in a family.  Research by Wahl, a leading manufacturer of professional and home grooming products, indicates that hair cuts and shaving play a big part in male family bonding:
  • 50 percent of guys learn to groom from their father or a father-like figure.
  • According to 90 percent of men, the first grooming experience is truly a memorable bonding experience shared between father and son.
  • The tradition of teaching is not going away any time soon as 8 in 10 men say they would teach, have taught or are planning to teach their son how to groom. 
Since grooming experiences can play such an important role in male bonding, why not consider hair cutting or shaving tools and accessories for a Fathers Day gift.  I've personally used and trusted Wahl products for years and am glad to partner with them in highlighting their grooming items as a gift idea for this Fathers Day. Who would like to give a dad for Fathers Day a Stainless Steel Li+ Facial Hair Trimmer or an Elite Pro Hair Cutting Clippers?  A Geek Daddy has one of each to giveaway.

To be eligible for this giveaway you must follow @Geekdad248 on Twitter and retweet our original contest tweets embedded below before May 22, 2016 @ 11:59 pm EST.  Must be a US  resident over the age of 18 to participate.  One entry per person per giveaway item and we'll randomly select  winners from all eligible entries.  Only one prize per household.


&

Stainless Steel Li + - Wrapped in sleek armor of stainless steel, this trimmer offers impressive features including innovative green smart-charge technology, which shuts the unit off after its fully charged.  It also hosts a series of interchangeable heads for detailing, shaving and haircutting.  Long lasting battery (four hours of run time) and a handy carrying case make grooming on the go uncomplicated.


 Elite Pro Clipper - The latest and most powerful corded clipper from Wahl.  Its bold retro look, self-sharpening blade technology and premium stainless steel reinforced guide combs allow for a fast, precise and uncompromising hair cutting experience.


Since 1919 when Leo J. Wahl invented the first practical electric hair clipper, his company has been a leader in the grooming industry.  97 years later men still turn to Wahl as a dependable source for their grooming product needs.  This Fathers Day consider an Elite Pro Clipper, a Stainless Steel Facial Hair Trimmer or another item from the Wahl catalog for a useful gift that will make the dad receiving it very happy.



For more information, please visit grooming.wahl.com

Disclaimer & Rules / FTC Notice  
A Geek Daddy Blog will be responsible for selecting the winner of this contest, but Wahl is responsible for fulfillment and delivery of the prize. By participating in this contest you waive any liability towards A Geek Daddy Blog or its publisher that may arise from your involvement with this promotion. A Geek Daddy Blog hosted this contest and blog post based upon Wahl providing the prize to the selected winner. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. Must be a US resident over 18 years old.  If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Prize will be delivered by UPS or FedEx so no P.O. Boxes are allowed as mailing addresses. A Geek Daddy Blog is hosting this giveaway as a benefit to our readers.  A Geek Daddy Blog did not receive any financial compensation or complimentary products for publishing this post.