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Zines about computer science! Each zine focuses on one concept & is filled with comics, diagrams, stories, examples, and exercises.
Zines about computer science! Each zine focuses on one concept & is filled with comics, diagrams, stories, examples, and exercises.
Zines about computer science! Each zine focuses on one concept & is filled with comics, diagrams, stories, examples, and exercises.
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1,153 backers pledged $60,431 to help bring this project to life.

About

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BubbleSort: Computer Science Zines

$60,431

1,153

If you want zines but can't afford them

If you would like to subscribe to the zines but don't have the resources, email bubblesort.zines at gmail and we'll try to match you with a zine donor!

Thank you so much everyone for your overwhelming support and love!

REACHED $20,000 stretch goal: I'll record a video of my zine making process to be shared with all backers!

REACHED $30,000 stretch goal: hardware zines will come with video tutorials!

REACHED $40,000 stretch goal: anyone who ordered a full 6-zine subscription (either digital or paper) will get 1 additional zine about interesting and unusual applications of computer science!

REACHED $50,000 stretch goal: you'll be able to order full year subscriptions to bubble sort zines!

$60,000 stretch goal: a website with extra tutorials and resources!

As seen on

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The story

I want to create a series of zines that cover computer science concepts in an accessible way, targeted towards people who don't think computer science is for them. The zines would be filled with stories and hand-drawn art and diagrams. Though my intended audience is high school students (think Hello Ruby's teenage sister), I was surprised by the enthusiastic interest from lots of adults by this project! 

Computer science and programming are powerful tools for expressing creativity and for actuating change. Let's make sure that these tools & skills are accessible to everyone. This doesn't just mean computers in every classroom. This means framing computer science in a way that is accessible and inclusive to people who might not think there is a place for them in computer science. If there was a computer science course at a highschool, who would enroll in it? If there was a wizardry course at a high school, who would enroll in it? That's right: everyone. Think about how much changes when we re-frame computer science as magic (which it basically is).

These zines would be released once a month for 6 months (6 zines total). Additional zines are available as stretch goals! Tentative zine topics are: 

  • How Do Calculators Even (intro to logic circuits)
  • Literal Twitter Bot (intro to hardware hacking)
  • Secret Messages (cryptography & how to send friends secret messages)
  • How Does the Internet Work?
  • Recursion
  • Sorting

Additional zine topics for stretch goals:

  • Abstraction
  • Interesting/Unusual applications of computer science
  • I/O
  • Intro to Neural Networks & Artificial Intelligence
  • Image Processing - How Photo Filters Work
  • Computer Graphics - How Your Favorite Movies Were Made

That means there is material for a whole year subscription of zines, if there is enough interest!

The zines will be ~20 pages each, locally printed on high-quality paper, with thick paper covers. You can order them individually, or as a 6 month subscription to Bubble Sort Zines. You can order them for yourself, or as gifts to your favorite high school or college students, or as gifts to a whole classroom!

zines about hardware hacking & adder circuits
zines about hardware hacking & adder circuits
zine about crytography
zine about crytography

An excerpt from the intro to hardware hacking zine:

Imagine that you're at Hogwarts and you're taking charms class. What kind of objects would you enchant? What would you make them do?

Would you enchant a bracelet to glow whenever your BFF has something to tell you? An umbrella that reminds you "take me take me" if it's going to rain that day?

Think about the Weasley house. There's a clock that tells Mrs. Weasley if anyone is in danger. Think about how death eaters were able to get alerts whenever anyone used the name Voldemort. Embedded programming is what we muggles have to use to attach reactive behaviors to ordinary household objects. 

This zine will teach you to make a stuffed bird that chirps whenever your friends send you messages via twitter, and explains the magic that makes it work.

Sample table of contents from the intro to hardware hacking zine:

  • Introduction
  • Supplies list
  • Intro to circuits
  • Intro to i/o
  • Intro to embedded programming
  • Intro to api's
  • Building your twitter bot

Sample table of contents from the intro to logic circuits zine

  • Introduction
  • Supplies list
  • Binary numbers
  • Intro to circuits
  • Build a simple circuit
  • Intro to logic circuits
  • Build a simple logic circuit
  • Intro to adder circuits
  • Build a simple adder circuit

Who am I

I have been a software engineer at Airbnb for 3 years. Prior to that, I did HCI research at Tokyo University in their media lab, did machine learning research for the humanoid robotics team at Honda Research Institute, and got undergrad and grad degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT. During undergrad, I was a lab assistant for the department's intro to computer science lab, and during grad school, I was a teaching assistant for the department's discrete math class, explaining concepts like recurrences using hand-drawn cartoons of vampires.

I've been using cartoons to explain science and math concepts to myself since i was little & always drew comics in the margins of my notes all through high school & college. 

I love the intersection of technology and art and think of programming and hacking as a way to express creativity. I care a lot about sharing this excitement about programming and creativity and have given talks about it at many programming conferences. I communicate best through both words and pictures, and hand draw the slides for all of my presentations. I'm confident in my ability to explain complex topics in an accessible way.

comic to explain the concept of limits to high school students
comic to explain the concept of limits to high school students

Past Experience

I have written, illustrated, & printed many zines including one on how to pack for international bike camping & a travel guide to tokyo. I already have good understanding of layouts, printing, & binding, and plan to do these things myself. 

zine about bike camping
zine about bike camping
how to take apart your bike, how to pack for bike camping
how to take apart your bike, how to pack for bike camping
tokyo guide book zine
tokyo guide book zine
inside the tokyo guide book zine
inside the tokyo guide book zine

Budget

Your contributions will be used towards:

  • writing
  • drawing
  • editing
  • printing
  • binding
  • occasionally commissioning guest artists to draw covers
  • conducting research sessions with local schools

What you'll get: a series of 20-page zines handcrafted with love, filled with drawings and diagrams and stories, that explain computer science concepts in accessible, fun, and memorable ways.

If you would like to subscribe to the zines but don't have the resources, email bubblesort.zines at gmail and we'll try to match you with a zine donor!

Why this is important

Little girls and boys perform equally in math and science in elementary school. Little girls are super excited about math and science and I completely disagree with anyone who says we need to put lots of effort into getting them more interested. They already are. It isn't until later in high school that society tells them math & science isn't for them & their participation drops. I don't think we need to get high school girls interested in math and science so much as make sure they feel welcome, included, and supported.

This isn't to say that I believe the lack of diversity in tech is solely because of a pipeline problem. I also believe strongly in making sure underrepresented demographics are treated well once they enter the industry. There's a lot that of work that needs to be done to ensure that any young people who are excited about science and technology now have an inclusive environment to work in when they get older. If you are funding this project, please consider also funding people and organizations that support diversity in the tech industry like AlterConf & Model View Culture.

Credits

music: leaves by airtone

videography: ellen kyle

Risks and challenges

I am have taken the time to familiarize myself with printing, binding, and shipping zines on smaller projects leading up to this project.

I want to make sure that the content of the zines speak to their intended audience, so it might take a few iterations and user studies to get everything right.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    UPDATES & THANKS!
    receive updates on the project & your name in the acknowledgements section of the bubblesort zine website.

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    Pledge $8 or more About $8

    DIGITAL ZINE!
    1 digital copy of a zine issue (you can select from topics when topics are finalized)

    receive updates on the project & your name in the acknowledgements section of the bubblesort zine website.

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    76 backers
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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    ZINE!
    1 paper copy (+ digital copy) of a computer science zine (you can select from topics when topics are finalized), hand-written thank you note.

    receive updates on the project & your name in the acknowledgements section of the bubblesort zine website.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    DIGITAL ZINE SUBSCRIPTION!
    a new computer science zine in your inbox every month for 6 months!

    receive updates on the project & your name in the acknowledgements section of the bubblesort zine website.

    if you would like a subscription but don't have the resources, email bubblesort.zines at gmail and we'll do our best to match you with a zine subscription donator!

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    DONATE A SUBSCRIPTION
    donate a digital zine subscription to someone who can't afford it. pick your own recipient or we'll match you with one!

    receive updates on the project & your name in the acknowledgements section of the bubblesort zine website.

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    45 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION + DONATE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION

    both you and a donation recipient get a new computer science zine in your inbox every month for 6 months! you can specify the donation recipient or we can match you with one!

    receive updates on the project & your name in the acknowledgements section of the bubblesort zine website.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    DOUBLE THE ZINES!
    12 MONTH DIGITAL ZINE SUBSCRIPTION!
    a new computer science zine in your inbox every month for 6 months!

    receive updates on the project & your name in the acknowledgements section of the bubblesort zine website.

    if you would like a subscription but don't have the resources, email bubblesort.zines at gmail and we'll do our best to match you with a zine subscription donator!

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    PHYSICAL ZINE SUBSCRIPTION!
    a freshly printed paper zine in your mailbox every month for 6 months + a cute new sticker every month! (+ digital copies of the zines) at $12.50 a month!

    receive updates on the project & your name in the acknowledgements section of the zines.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    DONATE A PHYSICAL ZINE SUBSCRIPTION!
    a freshly printed paper zine in someone's mailbox every month for 6 months + a cute new sticker every month! (+ digital copies of the zines) at $12.50 a month!

    you can choose the recipient or we can match you with someone who needs one!

    receive updates on the project & your name in the acknowledgements section of the zines.

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    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    12 MONTH DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION + DONATE 12 MONTH DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION

    both you and a donation recipient get a new computer science zine in your inbox every month for 12 months! you can specify the donation recipient or we can match you with one!

    receive updates on the project & your name in the acknowledgements section of the bubblesort zine website.

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    18 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    PHYSICAL ZINE SUBSCRIPTION + DONATE!
    monthly zines delivered in your mailbox for 6 months, plus donate a digital subscription to someone who can't afford it! choose your recipient or we'll match you with someone!

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $135 or more About $135

    DOUBLE THE ZINES!
    12 MONTH PHYSICAL ZINE SUBSCRIPTION!

    a freshly printed paper zine in your mailbox every month for 12 months + a cute new sticker every month! (+ digital copies of the zines) with discount of one free zine!

    receive updates on the project & your name in the acknowledgements section of the zines.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    ZINES + POSTER
    monthly zines delivered in your mailbox for 6 months + a poster with a computer science themed design to decorate your room

    receive updates on the project & your name in the acknowledgements section of the bubblesort zine website.

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    16 backers
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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $180 or more About $180

    12 MONTH PHYSICAL ZINE SUBSCRIPTION + DONATE!

    monthly zines delivered in your mailbox for 12 months, plus donate a digital subscription to someone who can't afford it! choose your recipient or we'll match you with someone!

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    Pledge $210 or more About $210

    DOUBLE THE ZINES + POSTER!

    monthly zines delivered in your mailbox for 12 months + a poster with a computer science themed design to decorate your room

    receive updates on the project & your name in the acknowledgements section of the bubblesort zine website.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    PERSONALIZED SKETCH
    get a hand-drawn, personalized sketch + physical subscription to the zine

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    PLUSH LAMBDA!
    this small plush fleece lambda symbolizes your official knighthood into the knights of the lambda calculus.

    you have a little lambda
    it's fleece is white as snow
    and everywhere that you go
    the lambda is sure to go

    + physical zine subscription

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    Pledge $1,200 or more About $1,200

    WORKSHOP
    your donation will help fund a workshop for 15 high school students at a school of your choice in the bay area. you can be matched with a school if you don't have one in mind.

    receive updates on the project & your name in the acknowledgements section of the bubblesort zine website.

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    Pledge $1,200 or more About $1,200

    CLASSROOM KIT
    your donation will send physical zine subscriptions to a high school anywhere in the US. you can be matched with a school if you don't have one in mind.

    receive updates on the project & your name in the acknowledgements section of the bubblesort zine website.

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Funding period

- (30 days)