January 31st, 2006

A bit more on the Koç museum, as promised.

The Koç museum was a lot of fun. You don't expect that there'd be a museum of industrial technology in Istanbul, but it really did have some neat stuff. Dozens of cars from all over the world (with some great old '50s and '60s Detroit iron and at least one Rolls) mechanical calculators (including a Curta, the one with the bit part in William Gibson's Pattern Recognition), interactive stations showing how appliances work, a C-47 you could walk around in the parking lot, ships in the dock. Also it had a couple of excellent restaurants you can go to without entering the museum, which apparently get a lot of non-museum-related business. And it had net you could contrive to use to get to LJ, for free.

The mystifying thing is how empty it was, at least in the morning. By afternoon, however, the schoolchildren had arrived.

Now, I'm a curiosity in Turkey. I just am. People just don't see many Chinese people. But mostly, unless they have a reason, people don't approach me about it.

Not so the kids.

They were remarkably polite and well-behaved, these Turkish kids. They'd say "Hello! How are you?" often with giggles, and would look very pleased when I replied "Hello! I'm good, how are you?" Perhaps it was most of the English they knew. They ran around, the way kids do, but they seemed to listen to their guardians. They were cheerful and gregarious and tended to get out of the way if they thought they were blocking you. I never got the feeling they were making snide remarks about me (or anything else) in Turkish. They just seemed like they were having a good time looking at all the cool stuff, or (if they weren't interested in the cool stuff) having a good time running around with their friends.

It was nice being greeted by them and greeting them in return.

DNA DNA Revolution!

(Thanks to coraline!)


"At the scripps aquarium near San Diego, they devote half the space to teaching kids about science. In a wing devoted to explaining gene expression they had some stuff about DNA and the coolest thing was this video game that taught you about building blocks of life, then proceeded to a real DDR game where you have to step to the DNA parts being shown on screen."