Warm for the Holidays

Meet Veronika Scott. As a 22 year old Product Design student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Veronica took professor Steve Schock‘s class on Design Activism and it changed her life.

As her class project, Veronika spent hours at a homeless shelter and with the help of their residents, developed a coat that also doubles as a sleeping bag at night and a shoulder bag when not in use.  The Element S (survival),  now called the EMPWR Coat, is self heated, and waterproof .  The coat not only filled a need in the community, but became a way for Scott to improve the lives of others.

Ms. Scott stepped up and decided to do more than help the homeless stay warm in the cold Michigan winters, she began to hire people from local shelters and help them work their way out of homelessness. Her nonprofit organization, “The Empowerment Plan“,  centers around lifting single parents out of homelessness by providing them with training and work making coats.

Over 34 families now have permanent housing thanks to a 20-something with a good idea, and a good heart. Together they have made over 15.000 EMPWR coats distributed across North America.

Good for you Veronika!  Thanks for keeping us all warm for the holidays.

 

Emanuele Fornasier’s Crystal Birth

 

Crystal Birth: A Beautiful Timelapse of Metallic Crystals Forming in Chemical Solutions

Italian chemistry student Emanuele Fornasier also has a knack for photography and spent the last few months documenting the formation of crystals. The result is Crystal Birth, a timelapse of some 18 examples of electrocrystallization, where an electric current is run through a chemical solution, causing metal deposits to form over a period of several hours or days. You can see more of his chemistry and timelapse work on his website.

 

Camille A. Brown: A visual history of social dance in 25 moves

Lovely (only 4 minutes) TED Studio Talk with
Camille A. Brown, Choreographer and educator
Camille A. Brown leads her dance company through excavations of ancestral stories, both timeless and traditional, that connect history with contemporary culture. Full bio
Why do we dance? African-American social dances started as a way for enslaved Africans to keep cultural traditions alive and retain a sense of inner freedom. They remain an affirmation of identity and independence. In this electric demonstration, packed with live performances, choreographer, educator and TED Fellow Camille A. Brown explores what happens when communities let loose and express themselves by dancing together.

Statue of Liberty Nebula

2016 September 28     NGC 3576: The Statue of Liberty Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: S. Mazlin, J. Harvey, R. Gilbert, & D. Verschatse (SSRO/PROMPT/UNC)
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap160928.html

It sounds like something straight out of Ghostbusters … today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is The Statue of Liberty Nebula.  Do you see her?

Explanation: What’s happening in the Statue of Liberty nebula? Bright stars and interesting molecules are forming and being liberated. The complex nebula resides in the star forming region called RCW 57. This image showcases dense knots of dark interstellar dust, bright stars that have formed in the past few million years, fields of glowing hydrogen gas ionized by these stars, and great loops of gas expelled by dying stars. A detailed study of NGC 3576, also known as NGC 3582 and NGC 3584, uncovered at least 33 massive stars in the end stages of formation, and the clear presence of the complex carbon molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs are thought to be created in the cooling gas of star forming regions, and their development in the Sun’s formation nebula five billion years ago may have been an important step in the development of life on Earth. The featured imagewas taken at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

 

James Turrell’s Sky Spaces

Installation artist James Turrell, at Roden Crater in northern Arizona in 2001.  Credit Florian Holzherr

I am always on the lookout for something or someone new and interdisciplinary to bring to the STEAM Hub. James Turrell,  an installation artist and son of an aeronautical engineer and Peace Corps doctor, seems to have that beautiful mix of aesthetic creativity partnered with science that is so interesting to me.   It came as no surprise that his undergraduate studies focused on psychology and mathematics; only later, in graduate school, did he pursue art, receiving an MFA from the Claremont Graduate School in Claremont, California.

Here are a few of his Arizona projects to wet your whistle.  When it cools off just a little, I think a James Turrell art road trip is in order.

Roden Crater
The natural cinder cone crater is now home to a land art project and naked eye observatory thirty plus years in the making that will blow your mind.

Air Apparent
A Sky Space Art Installation by James Turrell and Will Bruder at the ASU Tempe campus.

Knight Rise
Another Turrell public sky space located at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

 

 

 

 

At the Tonys, Moments to Remember

Photo, from left: Renée Elise Goldsberry, Leslie Odom Jr., Cynthia Erivo and Daveed Diggs.CreditSara Krulwich/The New York Times 

In a Tony Awards night shadowed by the tragedy in Orlando, Fla., prizewinners and other performers worked hard to strike a balance between joy and reflection. Here are some moments to remember:

The Hardest-Working Man in Showbiz

Soon after delivering a tremulous speech addressed to the TV audience (“Hate will never win”), the Tonys host, James Corden, dove into a breathless mash-up of 20 Broadway hits, concluding with some elegant hoofing to “We’re in the Money” from “42nd Street.”

#TonysSoDiverse

“Think of tonight as the Oscars, but with diversity,” Mr. Corden joked in his opening monologue. And the show delivered: In a first for Broadway, Tony voters gave the four musical performance awards to black actors: Cynthia Erivo of “The Color Purple” and Leslie Odom Jr., Renée Elise Goldsberry and Daveed Diggs of “Hamilton.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Sonnet

Lin-Manuel Miranda accepted the award for best score for “Hamilton” at the Tony Awards with a sonnet addressing his wife, Vanessa Nadal, as well as the shooting in Orlando, Fla.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/video/players/offsite/index.html?videoId=100000004467857

A Poem for the Moment

In his acceptance speech for best score for “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda provided the broadcast’s emotional high point, reading a sonnet he had written that cited “senseless acts of tragedy” and included the repeated “and love is love, is love, is love, is love” that brought down the house.

Asked later why he decided to address the situation this way, he said: “We live in this world where beautiful and horrible things exist at the same time. You can’t let that go by, particularly when theater doesn’t exist without the L.G.B.T. community.”

Read more of the NY Times article here.

MIT engineering protective barrier that mimics skin

Interesting article from the American Ceramic Society regarding MIT’s development of a synthetic second skin that has potential to transform lives with medical and cosmetic applications.

Video: Scientists engineer ‘second skin’ with potential for superior topical UV protection  Published on June 1st, 2016 | By: Stephanie Liverani

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Living Proof, and Olivo Labs have developed a new material that can temporarily protect and tighten skin and smooth wrinkles, according to an MIT News article.

Even better? The team plans to develop the material further for use in transdermal drug delivery and treatment of skin conditions, such as eczema and other types of dermatitis, and also adapt it to provide long-lasting ultraviolet protection.

Credit: MIT; YouTube

Read more here:  http://ceramics.org/ceramic-tech-today/video-scientists-engineer-second-skin-with-potential-for-superior-topical-uv-protection

http://news.mit.edu/2016/polymer-temporarily-tightens-skin-drug-delivery-0509

 

Imagine Discovering That Your Teaching Assistant Really Is a Robot

Featured Image: IBM’s Watson Helped Design Karolina Kurkova’s Light-Up Dress for the Met Gala.  Karolina Kurkova attends the “Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology” Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Getty Images

IBM’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) product Watson, teamed up with Georgia Institute of Technology to experiment using Watson as a TA for an online course.  “Jill” Watson was able to deftly handle most questions, stimulate weekly discussions, and fool most students, who never guessed that they weren’t communicating with a real person.

Last year, a team of Georgia Tech researchers began creating Ms. Watson by poring through nearly 40,000 postings on a discussion forum known as “Piazza” and training her to answer related questions based on prior responses. By late March, she began posting responses live.

By Melissa Korn | Wall Street Journal
Read Full Article Here

Sacred Art

Tomorrow is my mother’s 93rd birthday.  The photo above was taken during her college days.  A midwestern Irish tomboy who loved sports learned to love art as well while attending college in Baltimore in the 40’s. Three incredible artists and human beings encouraged my mother’s artistic talents  many years ago at the College of Notre Dame.  Through art, their profound influence shaped mom’s life, and in turn, those of her children and grandchildren.  In honor of her birthday, I want to share a little bit about those who helped her on her journey.  Happy Birthday Mom!


Sister Mary Noreen Gormley, SSND
Professor of Art
College of Notre Dame of Maryland
1892-1960

My mother loved Sister Noreen dearly.  From the stories I’ve heard over the years the feeling was mutual. The good sister believed in my rather eccentric mother, recognized her talent, and did everything in her power to help guide her.  Sister Mary Noreen Gormley’s keen planning and understanding of Modernist talent brought in the finest visiting artists, creating a rare climate for budding art students.  The College’s Gormley Gallery was named for her.

NoreenGormley

 


Father Marie-Alain Couturier, O.P.

Chief Editor, L’Art Sacré
Designer, Stained Glass
Friend and collaborator with Le CorbusierFernand Léger and Henri Matisse
1897-1954

Read more about Father Couturier here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie-Alain_Couturier

After my mother finished one of her first paintings at Notre Dame, Father Couturier excitedly rushed to tell Sister Noreen, quite delighted, that my mother was a “Modernist”.  Seventy years later, that still life hangs in a prominent place in my mother’s bedroom.  Brilliant, devoted, and well-connected, Father Couturier provided my mother with a deep understanding and respect for modern and spiritual art.

800px-couturier2c_montrc3a9al2c_ecole_du_meuble

 

Rufino Tamayo
Mexican Artist and Painter
1899-1991
In the 1940’s, Tamayo resided with his wife Olga in New York, venturing down to Baltimore as an artist in residence.  My mother enjoyed his abstract thinking and cultural background.

Read more about Tamayo here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rufino_Tamayo

800px-rufino_tamayo