The last picture from Sa'am's post on career ideographs made me laugh.
Nagle wrote about transparent projects today, and I thought a piece of that was well worth posting here.
[talking about Tornado Tubes, a green piece of plastic that connects two soda bottles together] As a child, I figured that there was something special in the connector piece that was making all this happen. I never really explored this belief -- it seemed quite apparent that that was how it worked... [when doing the project years later, teaching camp as an adult, Nagle] discovered that all you have to do to get this is to happen is to connect the two bottles. Duct tape worked well enough.
I was shocked! I'd really thought that there was going to be something tricky in the connector piece... that in the heart of that green connector there was some mechanism at work responsible for the really cool tornado effect... There was something about it being made by someone else, purchased and having come out of a package, that put it beyond my curiosity, beyond my sense that this was an object that I could understand.
He goes on to describe how he's designing his electronics kit for kids to try to avoid that problem. It's made of foam core and alligator clips and is pretty spiffy and in any case far better than my earlier "let's laser cut EVERYTHING! and make this really expensive to produce!" ideas. Go Nagle!