Paignton Library STEM Group

Paignton Library STEM Group – February 2023

The next meeting of the Paignton Library STEM Group is this Saturday 11th February 2023, 11am to 15:00

The purpose of the Paignton Library STEM Group is to encourage and support participation in STEM subjects. Our event aims to create a friendly hub for STEM enthusiasts to share, collaborate and learn. Please do bring your personal STEM projects to the event, we would love to see what you are working on.

Main topic activity this month is :

Paul Nethercott (STEM Ambassador)

  • Brief – Career roots in to Civil Engineering
    • Civil Engineering construction challenge


We should also have a mixed bag of activities. In addition to the coding that carries on from Paignton Library Code Club or our own projects.

11th Feb is also UN International day of Women and Girls in Science


Please see Contact page for how to get in touch.

Line following robot kit

At the STEM group we have some kits to build a line following robot

So the finished product will look like this.


With a list of tools that are needed, we have (or should have) these.


Along with detailed guide of all the provided parts etc.


Hopefully someone can spend some time building this at a future meeting, you may NEED adult help / supervision for this.

As we have the Civil Engineering talk / activity in February, then March may be a good time to do this.

Nuclear thermal rocket engine

This was posted to fediverse by NASA today, sounds like things are really moving in this area. What a period in history to study STEM and learn the skills to be part of this.


We’re partnering with @DARPA to demonstrate a nuclear thermal rocket engine in space. This new engine would allow us to do more science and reach destinations faster—key steps for sending the first crewed mission to Mars. read more


There are opportunities for people in the Uk to be part of this, as it will require world wide expertise to do this.

I am trying to work with Space Careers UK to see if I can get more info on careers in the UK space industry, early days yet.



Reaching out to try and gain support

I am trying to reach out to people with the view of getting exposure and help for the STEM group. What I would like is to some how promote careers and opportunities in different areas through any of their community engagement programmes.

Updated 17/1/2023

The Space skills alliance are putting me in touch with UK Space Careers UK so we will see what comes from that.

These cover a wide range of academic subjects, which also include computer science as computers are playing a wider role in research esp things like analytics and computer modelling.

I hope that this will provide opportunities for networking at least.

Pokemon editors

At the Stem group on Saturday 14th Jan 2023 we were trying to get a Pokemon sprite editor working under Xebian Linux.

The statement below is my own interpretation of the issue at hand

As this is a MS Windows program, One solution is to try to use WIne (WIne is not an emulator) which is a Windows compatibility layer. The problem at present is we are missing wine mono.

Xebian is based on Debian Sid, this comes with (or seems to) Wine 8. There seems to be specific wine mono packages for this, so Wine version X has a corresponding Winemono package version.

It appears however that from digging around then there is not a version of winemono available for wine 8 as yet. I found a list wine versions and their corresponding wine mono versions, wine 8 is NOT listed yet.

There is info on the Wine 7.6 release here

I have found a how to fix video here, which may or may not be helpful given the above versioning but it may be helpful later

I am reluctant to start downloading and installing anything from other than normal .deb packages, we are storing problems for later. As apt is really good at keeping things maintained as long as apt actually installed it (or this is how I see things)

Installing other stuff is at our own risk, the support teams may not help us ( fully understandable ) .

Even downloading .deb packages and using dpkg comes with risk, I do admit doing this with LibreOffice.

So lets not install software that isn't within the normal system structure.

So for the time being, As these pokemon editors are windows only and should be run on Windows, we are working on installing windows on a laptop for use at the STEM Group.

Once wine IS working programs may or may not run, this is fine as we know that a working wine is part of the system and not added manually.

Note if your debian system using package 7.0 and you download 7.2 from a tar.gz similar archive and install, Then the package deb is updated to 7.2, You may get issues unless you remove the old one first.

We have Godot on the laptop, which is a FULL game development package so there would be a sprite editor in that.

Hopefully we can get this software working under windows. However there no guarantee that anything created in that, can just be dropped in to Godot anyway.

Computers that made Britain

This was posted to the fediverse earlier.

Book – Computers that made Britain

Computers that made Britain

The Original post guves it a mention. Looks good for anyone who are interested.

Paignton Library STEM Group – January 2023

The next meeting of the Paignton Library STEM Group is this Saturday 14th January 2023, 11am to 15:00


The purpose of the Paignton Library STEM Group is to encourage and support participation in STEM subjects. Our event aims to create a friendly hub for STEM enthusiasts to share, collaborate and learn. Please do bring your personal STEM projects to the event, we would love to see what you are working on.

As last weeks code club was really busy. Then there will at least be more coding, troubleshooting and hopefully people can start move up from Scratch and start to learn godot, python, and other languages and start building some more advanced games.

We can also start learning about how to use the BASH shell and eventually move on to shell scripting, which will be really useful going forward.


Please see Contact page for how to get in touch.

Journal of Experimental Biology

The latest issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology Volume 225, Issue 23 is out. You can also download the 2022 highlights for free.

Great to share with people of all ages and hopfully give younger people a chance to learn about some of the cutting edge developments.

You can follow them on mastodon here or using their fedi id which is

Mastodon is really expanding with journals, journalists, scientists with people from many other background and fields.



YH4F Year 2

The coding contest Youth Hacking 4 Freedom launches its second edition

The registration for the second edition of “Youth Hacking 4 Freedom ", the FSFE’s hacking competition for teenagers from all over Europe, has started. This contest offers young people aged between 14 and 18 the opportunity to challenge themselves, meet like-minded people and win cash prizes.

More Info

Last years awards ceremony

The six winners for the first edition of YH4F are:

  • The Ultimate Hacker Award went to Stavros and his project SignTrack,
  • The Elite Hacker Award was awarded to Miquel and his Smart Table Assistant
  • The Awesome Hacker Award was granted to Artur and his project Aspinwall,
  • The Ultimate Girl Hacker Award went to Ekaterina for Music Companion,
  • The Special Hacker Award: Coming from War Zone was awarded to Mark for Sharik,
  • The Youngest Hacker Award was granted to Héctor for LibreHomework.

More details on last years winners can be found here



Godot 4.0 game engine

Godot 4.0 has been in beta for over two months, and the overall feature completeness, stability and usability have improved a lot during that time.

We initially had beta snapshots every other week, and now we've decided to accelerate the cadence to release a new snapshot every week, to get even faster feedback on our bugfixes, and the potential regressions they may introduce.

Note: some of the above is an extract from their e-newsletter update. Please see website for full details.

I can update the laptop at Code Club / STEM group to include the godot software, running apt search godot at home game me:

apt search godot
Sorting... Done
Full Text Search... Done
godot3/stable 3.2.3-stable-1+b1 amd64
  Full 2D and 3D game engine with editor

godot3-runner/stable 3.2.3-stable-1+b1 amd64
  Godot game engine run-time

godot3-server/stable 3.2.3-stable-1+b1 amd64
  Headless Godot game engine run-time

golang-github-gobuffalo-envy-dev/stable,stable 1.6.4-2 all
  simplify working with ENV variables

golang-github-joho-godotenv-dev/stable,stable 1.2.0+git20180115.6bb0851-1 all
  Go port of Ruby's dotenv library

This is still version 3, as version 4 is clearly still in testing.

You will need to learn c# or c++ or another language in order to write games, we Do have a book on c++ at the stem group.

For other support there is an IRC channel at #godotengine this is part of the network, there is a web interface link in the top right corner of the website.