A harmonograph is a mechanical device that uses swinging pendulums to draw pictures, believed to be originally invented in 1844 by Scottish mathematician Hugh Blackburn. This 3-pendulum rotary type of harmonograph gives a wide variety of pleasant results, and is fairly easy to build once you've settled on a design and have acquired the appropriate materials and tools. This is a great project to do with kids and can result in endless experiments creating new types of geometric designs.
For foreigners, learning to speak Chinese is a hard task. But learning to read the beautiful, often complex characters of the Chinese written language may be less difficult. ShaoLan walks through a simple lesson in recognizing the ideas behind the characters and their meaning -- building from a few simple forms to more complex concepts. Call it Chineasy.