Friday, July 31, 2015

Paper Pets

Karen Reed on the O-List:

I had to share this origami moment!
Yesterday I gave a flapping bird to my new 5-year-old neighbor.  When Sam
saw the wings move, his eyes opened very wide and declared: "This will be
my paper pet!"


Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Fold is Strong in this One

Best Darth Vader origami I've seen yet:

Darth Vader
Created and folded by Ángel Morollón
 Folded in dry, paper 28 x28 cm, figure of about 20 cm tall

Morollón is the same designer who came up with this elegant batman model.  This Darth Vader has the same designer's fingerprint all over it.  Outstanding!

Hat tip:  Michila Caldera

Here is one by Ignacio Smith:

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Raising Money for Living Water International Through Origami

Steve Pfost/Staff Photographer
Isabelle,8, left, and Katherine, 6, Adams have made origami ornaments to sell to raise money for water wells in needy countries. , Wednesday March 21, 2012.

(This news story is 3 years old- but still worth sharing).

Young Dallas sisters use origami to help fund water wells:

“Every 15 seconds a child dies because they don’t have clean water.” Isabelle Adams, 8, shares this tragic fact as she shows the handmade origami ornaments that she and her sister Katherine, 6, make to raise funds for Living Water International (, a Houston-based charity that drills water wells in Ethiopia and other developing countries.

The girls learned about Ethiopia’s need for clean water last year through a YouTube video highlighting a Midland company’s project ( The video describes the plight of rural families whose only source of water often is polluted and many miles away.

The sisters and their parents, Ken and Deborah Adams, were moved by the video. “The children have to drink dirty water,” Katherine says. “And they have to walk so far to get the water that they can’t go to school.” Inspired to help, the Dallas family set out to raise money for a well to help others halfway around the world.

Ken, a Dallas physician whose mother was Japanese, suggested that they employ origami, the ancient art of folding paper into complex, three-dimensional shapes. His girls already knew how to fold some origami pieces, because he had taught the craft to them in the car-pool line.

Making origami Christmas ornaments became a family project they call Paper for Water. Through fundraisers at local businesses, orders from friends and a matching contribution from Midland company Envirocon Technologies (which makes Lemi Shine and other cleaning products) in 2011, Paper for Water raised the $9,200 needed to fully fund a well. It serves 520 people in Ethiopia.

Asked how it feels to pay for a well by themselves, Deborah Adams says: “We didn’t do it alone. Our friends, family and neighbors helped us make the ornaments and spread the word. We had lots of help.”

And now that the Ethiopian well is completed, what’s next?

“We are thinking about funding a well in northern India,” Deborah says. India’s poor, rural population faces the same water woes as Ethiopia and other African countries.

 Read more.
Steve Pfost/Staff Photographer
Deborah Adams, left, Katherine, 6, center, and Isabelle, 8, right, create origami ornaments to sell to raise money for water wells for needy countries at their dining room table., Wednesday March 21, 2012.

Hat tip:  Academic Origami

Friday, July 10, 2015

Find a way or find excuses

This photo has been trending on my FB newsfeed. It was taken last month by Joyce Gilos Torrefranca, a medical student in Cebu:
It shows 9-year-old Daniel Cabrera kneeling on the pavement with the famous golden arches in the background. He's using a makeshift wooden bench as he writes in his workbook. "For me as a student, it just hit me a lot, like big time," Joyce Torrefranca told the Philippine news network ABS-CBN. "This kid, he doesn't have anything but he has dedication to study." Joyce said seeing Daniel struggling with his homework inspired her to work harder. The photo was quickly shared thousands of times with other people saying they'd been inspired by him too.
An inspirational reminder of the blessings in our own lives, the struggles of those less fortunate, and the adage that if it's important enough to you, you will find a way; if it's not, you will find excuses.

Gymnastics is an expensive, "elitist" sport; and many kids don't have the opportunity to discover their potential in the environment of training in a well-managed, well-equipped, well-coached facility. As a gymnastics coach, I try and remind my athletes to never take their opportunities in life for granted. I have one athlete on the team whose parents struggle to afford her monthly tuition. The mom does not speak fluent English. Does not have a computer or email. She once pulled her daughter out of gym. At the end of the month and at the end of practice, without fanfare or warning, her kid comes up to me and matter-of-factly states, "This is my last day. Bye." I guess the mom was too embarrassed to let us know her husband lost his job and they were struggling. She was doing extra work just for her daughter because she knew how much her daughter loves gymnastics Fortunately we were able to talk her into keeping her daughter- my gymnast- enrolled in our program. I'm grateful to the gym I work for in that the owner and office management were willing to work with the mom and negotiate something that she could afford.

 At the annual Vidmar Invitational out in Los Angeles, '84 Olympian Peter Vidmar reminds the competitors of this life lesson, telling the gymnasts that the next time their parents drop them off at the gym, to take pause and thank their parents and show deep appreciation. Because their parents don't have to do any of this: Driving them to practice, financing it, watching meets, etc. The 3 golden rules for the staff at my gym: Do your best... Always do the right thing... And everyday, do something selfless that benefits others.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Forensic Origami to Weed Out Those of Less Than Meticulous and Stellar Possession of the "Right Stuff"

 Would you like to become a candidate for Japanese astronaut school at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency?

Then you better know how to fold a tsuru:

To test people, JAXA isolates small groups of astronaut candidates for days at a time and makes them do menial tasks. Mary Roach’s excellent book Packing For Mars talks about one of those tasks: folding 1,000 origami cranes.

In traditional Japanese culture, folding 1,000 paper cranes is supposed to bring good luck; at JAXA, folding cranes tests how crazy you’ll go if you have to fold 1,000 paper cranes.
Roach explains:
The genius of the Thousand Cranes test is that it creates a chronological record of each candidate’s work. As they complete their cranes, candidates string them on a single long thread. At the end of the isolation, everyone’s string of cranes will be taken away and analyzed. It’s forensic origami: As the deadline nears and the pressure increases, do the candidate’s creases become sloppy? How do the first ten cranes compare to the last?
And it’s not just origami cranes that are analyzed with a fine tooth comb. Every single little detail of an astronaut candidate’s performance is put under the microscope.

I can understand why JAXA does all of this. I mean, if you’re going to spend millions of dollars to send somebody up into space, you should probably make sure that they’re suited for the job.

 Another review on Packing for Mars:

During a week-long continuous observation session, candidates have to fold a thousand origami cranes. These cranes are then analyzed by a team of psychologists to see how the person deals with boring, repetitive tasks and time constraints. The psychologists check whether the folds get less precise at the end of the task, and see how they compare with the first ones.

Like a lot of things in Japan, there’s an explanation for why it’s done, but no other countries have anything similar to it, and you’re left wondering if there wouldn’t be a test that’s more closely related to actual space missions.

Hat tip: Andrew Dewar on the Origami-L, as a follow-up to Karen Reeds' post.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Miss Pilot Japanese Drama

Via Karen Reeds on the O-List:

Another origami sighting from the world of J-drama, courtesy of my husband.
A Japanese airline company uses a paper-airplane flying contest as a way to
weed out potential employees. Very funny!  (Paper airplanes also figure in
show's opening/closing trailers.)

 "Miss Pilot," episode 1, about 20 minutes into the show.

I zipped to the 20 minute mark and extracted the segment relevant to origami.  The entire episode should be watched, though, for the sake of story.  The paper airplane contest is a teaching vehicle/transformation mechanism for a larger meaning in life.  Watch it here at Dramacool, from the beginning.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Failed Rocket Launch at Marti's

Light turnout, this month.  Host Marty herself was out traveling.

David Donahue had a nice flapping-ear elephant model.  Around 2006 or 2007, I beta-tested the Dumbo action model that Sy Chen was working on while at OUSA.  Just the other day, I also saw this flapping-eared elephant on FB.  It's always been a cool concept.

Tried to fold and launch this rocket, using a straw and wasn't too successful.

There are other rocket designs, similar to this (you can find a lot of vids on YouTube)- really, you can make up your own waterbomb base variant. 

Maybe instead of a straw, I could use Jeremy Shafer's Ninja blow dart and have an origami RPG? 
Photos here.

Sunday Funnies


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

POP Last Sunday

Fearless leader Joel Stern was out of town.  So Brian was our illustrious host.

One of my gymnasts came, as her brother is into origami:

His mom picked up a dollar origami book by LaFosse and Alexander while she and her oldest daughter were in NYC (they stopped by to see me at OUSA).

Photos here.

Action Model T-Rex

Kathleen Sheridan taught this model, designed by Oriol Esteve, at OUSA:

July NOA #479