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Review: Intel ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair) Public Day

May 17, 2018 Leave a comment

 

ISEF Public Day 2018

(c)2018 Intel ISEF

Review: Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

Us knowing ISEF was in Pittsburgh started out by attending a tour of CCAC. The one professor my step-daughter talked to strongly suggested that she check out ISEF on the public day (as he would be judging one of the areas). We’d like to thank Abiraman Srinivasan for that.

Keep in min my step-daughter goes to one of the most highly rated public school districts in the area. Nobody informed her of this opportunity, nobody knew about it when asked for permission to miss part of the school day. It took one professor that did not even have my step-daughter as a possible student yet to take interest enough in that student to alert them to what was really out there.

The event was completely and unbelievably impressive. When you see a student’s eyes light up when they realize what opportunities are really out there – it makes you overjoyed that you took the time to act on a suggestion.

Half way through the event, I asked my step-daughter if she would have handled high school differently if she knew what opportunities were out there she said “yes”.

The problem is when events like this happen very few schools get their students to them. Sadly this does create a lack of inspiration in our young to have any ambition for higher education. You have to know about the goals to have ambitions towards them.  Kudos to Intel for making this possible … even if you don’t like their processors. This is truly a company giving back to the community.

The only bad side to the event was the realization of how far behind the US is in education. A family member works for a very well-known tech college in Pittsburgh and many times you rumors of them only seeking out international students. After talking to many of these students at this event – I now know why. I spent half of my day having conversations with high school students from other countries and felt like I was speaking to seasoned scientists and researchers. When I talked to the students there from the US they were smart … but it seemed like I as speaking to high school students. Got back to the 60s, 70s, and 80s and this situation would have been flipped. I’m not bad-mouthing the US students, just indicating that we may need to get rid of the entitlement thing big time in this country so we can do some catching up.

In an unexpected and enlightening realization – this even also proved one thing. When there is a very strong common interest or goal people from all walks of life have absolutely nothing against each other. In this even where people of persuasion that the news depicts as absolutely hating each other.  Not a sign of any discomfort between any students, their parents, volunteers, or attendees. None. All of then had one common goal – advance science. We need to learn from this.

In summary – this was an amazing even from a multitude of viewpoints. If ISEF is happening and it’s not in your area and you have a student trying to figure out what to do with their higher education that may give them a real opportunity to actually pay for that education and still have enough left over for a real life – fly them to it.  It’s worth the cost of plane ticket. ISEF if an immense opportunity to simply expose students to the information about careers and opportunities that exist in current times and the future.

Give people opportunities and peace will happen automatically by giving the ability to have food,shelfter, and quality of life.

Big Kudos to Intel for sponsoring this event!

-SWB

 

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The Movies

May 10, 2018 Leave a comment
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“The Warner” (c)Lawrence A Capozzolo

Warner Centre in Pittsburgh PA. Click here for a great article from The Post-Gazette on it.

Basically where I first viewed “Empire Strikes Back”. Memories.

I remember standing in line with my mother waiting to get in and hit the snack counter. A Star Wars fan … but still a kid. Sweets trumped getting a good seat. Besides – like everyone else I would see it at least 75 times (today’s cost over $800).

“The Movies” are something everyone remembers, and although they are coming back, today they lack the same sentimental memories. I mean those memories of friends huddled in the theater  annoying the other patrons, your buddies throwing popcorn at the back of your head during the film, and occasionally getting kicked out – which is why you probably needed to see the movie 75 times (you weren’t a fanboy or fangirl – you just saw the movie a few minutes at a time … and you could afford to do that in times past).

The movies also lost a little bit of art in them.  The art of physical editing, photography based on the chemical methods of development and how it affected the end result on the screen (still done today for specialized shooting), and the low clicking and hum you could still hear from the projectors in the back of the room. It all added to the experience.

Even with theaters popping up in communities new it’s still a little different. Drive-ins are still recovering (the ones that can with the forced upgrades to digital projection). New film makers are finding their footing (all digital, back to film, or hybrids). “The Movies” are truly in a transitional stage – which will last for years.

Maybe things will reset … new isn’t always best, or always desired.

If you see “The Movies” coming back in your community … support them. They may be the sentimental memories you need when you end up in that rocking chair on the front porch.

-SWB

 

Screaming Weasel

May 9, 2018 Leave a comment
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Yep … that’s us!

A bit about “us” – since many have only been introduced to us recently, and nobody ever reads the “about” tab – and honestly, some time we just put things in it to be goofballs.

Most of the time it’s me, the author, Lawrence Capozzolo (signed SWB). An American, or Italian/German American, or mutt, or one of the people that’s paying a mortgage to house my step-daughter’s four furry critters (two dogs, a cat, and a rat). We’re pretty sure the animals had their lawyer get their names on the deed for the house too. They may have taken ours off at this point.

SWB started originally started in 2006 when I purchased my G4 iBook and it had iWeb on it. I made my first posting after I noticed a blog called That’s Church (I’m pretty sure that was still its title back then – but I’m getting old, and memories fade fast now … so I could be incorrect.) The person writing “That’s Church” eventually went on to write for Pittsburgh Magazine.  Although my blog become popular in about fifteen countries doing about 1.2 million hits a year, I chose getting back into I.T. work (I could have been smarter and went back to school for carpentry or plumbing or HVAC …. but NO, I stuck with I.T.) therefore still writing but not keeping it up eventually doing it professionally.

The blog was started, like others at the time as a rant blog (humorous rant). I figured people would find humor in the annoying blabberings of us tech types, and I was right. Now that I’m close to 50 (ok …. REALLY close) I’m getting back into writing for it and doing photography for it again (unless otherwise stated – those photos are really mine) basically because of ageism (tech is becoming like the NFL … if you didn’t get your first Ferrari right in the beginning, the youngin’s aren’t going to give you a chance to get one now … you’re too old to work in tech) I’m back to writing. I like doing it anyway.

I don’t know if I’ll get my numbers back up or if I’ll ever get a donation (but although I’m not a non-profit, please keep in mind I have to replace two cars, a furnace, and put a kid through university – so have a heart, consider donating).  Right now I do a little sound engineering work, etc – waiting to get back into tech if I ever do.  If I just end up writing, better yet.

Back to SWB. It will continue to be a showcase for humorous rant, really bad poetry, attempts at legitimate poetry, and whatever gets thrown into it. Some others may write for it (if they do you will know). If you like the writing, please like the posts or blog – if you really like it – follow, if you think I should put it into a book – donate. Remember, books still do things like enabling me to generate enough money to donate to others that love to do what writers love to do.

The photography is also part of the showcasing in SWB, I’ve been doing this since the age of 13 …. so 36 years. You’ll notice various formats (slide, digital, modified, etc). The other site I write for Pittsburgh By Mini Cam is designed to be for low-res photography.

Yes … we do on purpose write badly, strangely, and horrendously (this is different from “badly” as it indicates a “graduate” level of “bad”). We try to make you think by readings that make you feel that Scotty forgot to but a few brain atoms back into you after beaming you up.

We just have fun.

… and we do consider padded rooms to be ultra comfy posh places. The straight jackets are slightly annoying though – especially when you have to type with your teeth.

We are the late show, art gallery, literary short, stand up comedian, sitcom, political humorist, poetm, life loving, opinionated schmucked (buggered for the British folks) up oxygen breathing carbon based units that you will hopefully learn to as least like. If not, click the “like” button anyway – people lie all the time.

-Lawrence A Capozzolo

SWB – “making legimate writer groan in agony”

City overshadowed

May 5, 2018 Leave a comment
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“Forgotten” (c)Lawrence A Capozzolo

SWB Series: Nonsense and Such

Do you live in a place that people seemed to have forgotten about?

Do you remember when you were young you lived in the hottest, coolest place on the earth?

Now, your pretty sure you live in a retirement community … overshadowed by the latest and greatest cool cities.

… or you live in Silicon Valley and you just traded your $3 million house for a 1970s custom van so you can  buy groceries this week.

Maybe not … if you’ve living near me you didn’t create a start-up that good.

So, one day you take the telescope you bought your kid because you thought it was ultra-cool (you’re a parent now, so you were really wrong about that which is why it’s in your closet and not their room), and point it across the river and see someone on the other side taking a picture of your city.

You figure out where they are and contact them (Big Brother Google makes this easy these days). You ask them what they are doing (you are curious, but vigilant too – so you want to make sure your city doesn’t have a stalker … remember there WERE children here once).

They tell you they are taking pictures and video clips for their YouTube series.

You ask, “What series is that?”

“Abandoned cities in Pennsylvania”, they reply.

… and then reality quickly sets in, and the truth comes out – ur just old, so is your city.

Welcome to middle age … it’s the new ancient.

-SWB

 

National indie bookstore day

April 27, 2018 Leave a comment

coolstuffTake note tomorrow is Indie Bookstore Day (April 28, 2018) – click here for info. Despite the fact that “they” have deemed bookstores a dying breed … I completely disagree.

I do believe that hands are being changed from the Wally World sized mega libraries, back to where books belong … with the indie dealers that love them, and know them. I don’t care who you are, but the experience of buying something from someone that actually uses the product, or in this case, has read it …. makes a big difference.

I like going into my indie bookstore, where the shop keep (yes, I watch to much British TV) might have a bit of a intellectual “attitude” because they actually read their books on something other than a pad or phone (which means they actually comprehended the book too). I like the fact that they can hold a conversation with me on an author, a subject, or an issue – and have a clue.  Try that at Goliath Books!

We have a great indie store near where I live called The Penguin Bookshop. Great selection, and it sort of reminds me of Black Books – except the people at Penguin are actually sober.

If it’s in stock tomorrow I will be buying Alan Alda’s new book on communicating.  Check it out here.

If you aren’t buying books, buy one tomorrow (or maybe today) …. start a habit!

-SWB

Art All Night 2018

April 25, 2018 Leave a comment

artallnight2018logoYep .. it’s back. It’s moved slightly over across the river, but it’s back …. and it needs volunteers.

Art All Night is something SWB has always supported when it can (although this year I can’t … my apologies ahead of time). If you want a perfect example of nondiscrimination under any guise, Art All Night is it. All art, all music, all styles are welcome – regardless of where it came from. It’s an awesome place to agree to disagree about the art, and still go out for pizza and beer afterwards (oh … wait, that’s during – I guess maybe wine afterwards, then?)

The point is this is a non-censored show (yes, all kids are welcome … but parents do have to be aware and have common sense [control what your kids see, but please don’t teach them discrimination while doing it]).

If you really want to see the available creative talent in Pittsburgh – this is the place to go. Currently the dates are April 28th/29th. Volunteers are always needed, to please Click Here to get to their website if you want to do so, or just want to get info on the event.

Although I’ll miss the Lawrenceville aspect of Art All Night …… SouthSide could use its presence – so please continue to support it outside of L’Ville.

Support Local by supporting your fellow artists.

-SWB

Cops N Coffee

December 10, 2016 Leave a comment

SWBSoStupidHow did “Cops N Coffee” and up in “so stupid it could actually happen”?

Well, read on ….

But, let me bore you first by filling you in on a little bit about the writer (me): First, I was never military or a copy, or basically anything of legal authority recognized by a uniform. I did grow up for over twenty years next door to the Deputy Sheriff of Allegheny County and his sons. Some of his children became local officers and mayors of our community. The community I grew up in was Brentwood, similar to the one I live in now (Glen Osborne / Sewickley Area). Originally my wife and I did a little stint in Leetsdale after we were married, but opted to move into the Glen Osborne / Sewickley community next to us – not for status, but simply it reminded me of my old neighborhood (many people knew each other, the law enforcement and people in the local government were integral parts of the community, and it was a safe place where you want to raise a family … whether you owned a mansion or BMW or a small house and a Dodge {BTW, a little trivia note — there were more BMWs in the Brentwood/Whitehall area than in the Sewickley area when I grew up}).

Again …. I love my community because it was safe, the same as I love the one I live in now.

I also respected the police officers and other officials not because of uniform, but because they were tightly integrated with the community – there were no false arrests, or brutality, or abuse from police officers or other government officials towards people in the community … incidentally, the people in the community rarely ever had run ins with the law or otherwise.

So why did this work out so well?

Community … the officers were your friend’s dads or moms, your parents friends, your friends, your neighbors – yes, even the ones that lived outside of the community became part of it. The most effective safety system in a community is everyone in that community becoming an integral part of it and accessible in it – this it most critical with government representatives and officers of the law.

Why the long-winded explanation?

When I look at a community and see the local cops congregating at a local diner, convenience store, coffee shop, etc it communicates one thing to me … this place is safe – I would raise my family here.  Why? They are completely accessible to the members of their community, of which most communicate with them daily. This also shows me the connection created hampers things like police brutality (ie. why would you harass your neighbor if you just had Christmas dinner with them or simply shared conversation over coffee?), government corruption, etc. When I see officials from the local government hanging out in the local places being accessible, it lets me know I really can have a voice in the community (and a better chance to have their actions in governing reflect what the community really wants). When I watched this disappear from other communities I’ve lived in I’ve watch crime, police brutality, and political corruption become rampant and take over those communities … some being very well established, very wealthy communities. I not longer live in them because I no longer feel safe in them. Many left those communities feeling the same.

Why did this happen?

Complaints: “The cops aren’t doing their jobs because they are hanging out drinking coffee and eating donuts”, “The government officials aren’t doing their jobs because their hanging out talking to people in the communities”, “They should be out fighting crime (even when there isn’t any)”, “They should be cutting costs – not sipping coffee”, etc.

The summary after all of the boring rant:

When your community is safe because your police officers and government representatives are hanging out in your local businesses you don’t complain about their presence or the $3.00 they spend on a cup of coffee or take up parking spaces when these actions bring complete accessibility in your community simply because this brings to them the knowledge of the people they are protecting and representing – this is a gift, not a liability, nor an expense.

For the simple:  You don’t hinder your officers, borough managers, mayors, clerks, etc from hanging out together in your local businesses … because them being on the community’s payroll isn’t what makes your community safe – it’s those people becoming an effective, integral, and accessible part of it that makes your community safe.

Share this out if you support your local police offices, local government officials, and local government workers hanging out in the community and becoming part of it instead of folks you know see in the papers or on the news. In other words, share this out if you want “Cops N Coffee” to continue in your community or start in it.

So, why did this make “So Stupid It Could Actually Happen?” …. simply because it does, and then people in communities wonder why the cops can get away with abuse of power, local government clerks can steal, mayors can waste a community’s money …. all because those people that were initially accessible in the community are eventually pushed out of it into inaccessible offices and cars.

-LC