Inside Noisebridge: San Francisco’s eclectic anarchist hackerspace

at Gigaom: “Since its formation in 2007, Noisebridge has grown from a few people meeting in coffee shops to an overflowing space on Mission Street where members can pursue projects that even the maddest scientist would approve of…. When Noisebridge opened the doors of its first hackerspace location in San Francisco’s Mission district in 2008, it had nothing but a large table and few chairs found on the street.
Today, it looks like a mad scientist has been methodically hoarding tools, inventions, art, supplies and a little bit of everything else for five years. The 350 people who come through Noisebridge each week have a habit of leaving a mark, whether by donating a tool or building something that other visitors add to bit by bit. Anyone can be a paid member or a free user of the space, and over the years they have built it into a place where you can code, sew, hack hardware, cook, build robots, woodwork, learn, teach and more.
The members really are mad scientists. Anything left out in the communal spaces is fair game to “hack into a giant robot,” according to co-founder Mitch Altman. Members once took a broken down wheelchair and turned it into a brainwave-controlled robot named M.C. Hawking. Another person made pants with a built-in keyboard. The Spacebridge group has sent high altitude balloons to near space, where they captured gorgeous videos of the Earth. And once a month, the Vegan Hackers teach their pupils how to make classic fare like sushi and dumplings out of vegan ingredients….”