Who are you?

I’m Erin Nolan, I’m 22 and I’m an engineer (of sorts). Also a professional loiterer of tech places, much to the delight/irritation of entrepreneurs and computer scientists.

Where do you buy your board games?

Okay, this isn’t a question anyone’s ever asked me yet and I’m not being paid commission for it (sadly) but still, check out the awesome http://www.monkeyswithfire.com/ for board games and comics and more!


Why “The Grey Skies”?

Because people refer to “Blue Sky Thinking” and I thought it was daft because in the UK (or at least in my end of it up North) there isn’t a great deal of blue sky but the blank canvas look of a rainy grey day can be just as inspiring. Also the domain name http://www.thegreyskies.com and http://www.thegreyskies.co.uk  and the Twitter username was available so it made sense to take it, although being slightly frugal I built a WordPress blog instead of paying out for domains and hosting of a real website. If I was to set up my own business for my various ideas then I would call it TheGreySkies.

Why BluePigeons or PigeonsBlue ?

I very much like pigeons, I think they are pretty awesome tough little birds that are very under-appreciated. Blue pigeons are even cooler because blue has always been my favourite colour and it has connotations of trust and goes very well with grey (Rene Margritte is one of my favourite artists for this reason). I’ve set all this up so people can connect and explore my ideas, give me feedback, let it all stick in their heads and other things but if I didn’t have to be so public on the internet then I wouldn’t be. It is a lot of effort maintaining an internet life, time that I think could be better spent on other things, so previously I would use the pseudonym of BluePigeons so that I could do as little as I liked on the internet and no one would care, because I wasn’t much of a real person. I still like the name and feel weird using my real name. Call me pretentious and paranoid, I’m not bothered.


Why all this STEM stuff if you’re not at school any more?

Because I know how difficult it can be trying to find all these things, especially if your school is particularly useless at it and I had accumulated a lot for personal use by the time I finished school anyway so it makes sense to share it. I’m the oldest grandchild and have been babysitting all my life and have worked with younger people and children at Mersey Ferries, Spaceport and as a Beaver Scout Leader for the Birkenhead 4th Scout group so I’ve sort of acquired this instinct to help without being asked. It gets annoying.

Mersey Ferries?! Spaceport? … *confused*

That’s not actually a question but as with the meaning of life, the universe and everything, it can still be answered (42). For 3 years I worked as a “general assistant” at Mersey Ferries (www.merseyferries.co.uk ) and its two attractions: Spaceport – a space museum – and the U-Boat Story – a museum around the WWII Nazi U-Boat U534 that lives in Birkenhead. It is officially the weirdest place to work in the world although you wouldn’t realise until you worked there because customers are incredibly ignorant of some of things that happen around them. Public transport staff are sort of invisible as well.

Why all the quacking? Isn’t it a little unprofessional?

The Quack Theory was developed when I was in school.

I met a girl called Steph Clayton when I was in Year 7 and she announced that she couldn’t stand Spanish (she is now studying it at university I think..). I thought it would be amusing to greet her with “Hola” each day on the bus and soon extended this to greeting other people with it too. I noticed that people, especially those I met for the first time, gave a variety of different reactions to this, often reflecting the person they were. After a bit of thought and development over a few years, this evolved into greeting with a “quack!” because it is quite a neutral random word.

By doing this to people I’ve never met before I can learn a lot more in our first meeting than a normal “hi” would provide. For example, shallow and uninteresting people give a disgusted look and I quickly know that our relationship would never have lasted another five minutes anyway. Surprisingly, shy people often respond by hesitating then cautiously responding with another animal noise such “..woof..?” or “..baaa…?”. Experiment yourself and find out others.

There are certain circumstances where it is not so effective or advisable. I have not greeted anyone with a quack on the first of a new job or work experience, although with hindsight no one would have cared. Don’t do it to anyone that isn’t a confident English speaker – it confuses them as they feel certain they are misunderstanding because of a fault in their English knowledge and can get very distressed.

Anyhow, it has become habit and I am now inclined to quacking occasionally.

How many things have you actually done?

Visit my LinkedIn page for my C.V.

This is a photo of me looking terrible, I mean terribly happy, at my prize… | pigeonsblue.com

Any coverage from the media with all your projects?

Taking OneStep from the local Big Bang Fair through to Intel ISEF 2013 and other things have got a little bit of media coverage:

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