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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”

Tying down progress

April 25, 2018 Leave a comment
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“Tying me down” (c) Lawrence A Capozzolo

Did you every find yourself typing down progress – your own, I mean?

This doesn’t mean getting married, or getting a pet, or buying a car, etc. It means putting yourself in a position where growth isn’t possible because opportunity has been eliminated.

How do I mean eliminating opportunity? Well, several ways – one for instance is taking that minimum wage job right after college to pay for the student loads and then never being able to get days off for job interviews. Another is would be over scheduling your education where you can never get time off to work an internship, or network. I’m sure you can think of a ton of things in your head.

This seems to be because many have lost basic skills such as time management. I see so many people who has over-scheduled lives as children doing the same thing as adults. It’s very interesting seeing people come in late for appointments, not because they ran into traffic, or had an expected personal issue come up … but, because they were never taught to do something as simple as accounting for a forty-five minute drive time between a doctors appointment and a lunch meeting, etc.

Doesn’t seem like much, right?

Not really … good time management gets stress out of your life, along with possibly getting you that new job, promotion, or extra quality time with family.

Time management can be key to making you feel like you have a life – and thoroughly remove the necessity for buzz phrases like “work life balance”.

Here are a few cool links about time management:

Now …. for a really bad poem about time:

Time
… I thought it was all mine.
Time
… It never made me a dime.
Time
… All it does is make me whine.
Time
… it’s totally blown my mind.

and so on, and so on ……

hmmm … maybe that’s a really bad song.

well, leave it up to a tech guy to mess up a bad poem into a bad song.

-SWB

The Art of Photography While Driving and How it Pertains to Politics

September 17, 2016 Leave a comment

roadway091716A great low-res pic of the roadway in from my car.

As you can see, my fancy new windshield wipers are working flawlessly.

… or maybe you can’t see.  It’s taken with my fancy $10 Vivitar key chain camera bought at Rite Aide 5 years ago. Beats my $2400 Fuji Pro2 any day 🙂

So why post a really bad photo from a camera where it’s in high debate that it actually has a lens in it?

Well, a bit of nostalgia …..it really capture images like those very crappy film camera you bought in the gum ball machines in the 70s and 80s – a really distorted, although recognizable view of what’s really there.

BTW …. before we go further, a little clarification for the thin-minded: I really didn’t take this while I was driving the car, I was stopped in a legal area to do so with someone behind me for safety. Why do I have to clarify that? … Well, because I’ve been around long enough to know if enough people read this, some of the more dim-witted will buy a few key chain cams and start taking pics around the ‘burgh in their cars while forgetting to actually drive their cars. I would feel bad about any accidents(well, not that bad … they’re the stupid idiots taking pics while driving their cars), considering I’d already have to deal with dumb questions like “how do I get the pics off the cam, it doesn’t have a screen”. I get the same question from people that buy modern day film cameras, failing to realize they bought a film camera (you can’t make that one up).

Ok … now past the incoherent babble, what does this even have to do with modern day politics??

Well, it’s exactly the same thing … a view that looks like what our founding fathers created, blurred a bit so you can’t see the details, but cheap enough you’ll but it anyway (when I did an art project with keychain cams I sold some of the pics at shows for $30 a piece … more than I ever sold with shots taken with my pro camera).

It’s sort of like reality shows (I’m REALLY hoping you don’t think any part of those shows are real), which our elections are starting to get like – well produced marketing with enough blur so you think you are really getting what you ordered until you actually open the box and find a really crappy picture of a road taking with a camera that cost three times less that what you just paid for the picture.

The art of photography and how it pertains to politics … it’s really an unsafe stupid way to get a really crappy blurry image of reality.

Realize what’s around you, look at what’s around you, make informed decisions, don’t let modern day marketing make the decisions for you.

This is our political contribution to the 2016 reality show (ooops … I mean election).

-SWB

The big screen from the past taking on an 8mm cast.

September 14, 2016 Leave a comment

sewickley-theaterSo, the predictions of the big screen being gone due to the lcd bigs screens blowing them away seems to be much less of a valid vision in modern times.

The pic on the left is a new theater in a small community (Sewickley) being built from scratch containing a community room (for about 145), a 160 seat theater, and a 90 seat theater. along with that many communities like Lawrenceville, and Zelienople, etc have remodeled old theaters, or old buildings refitting them for theaters realizing that dinner and a movie in your own community is still better than dinner with a two hour wait at a corporate restaurant, moving to park again, and a thirty minute line for the movie, along with waiting in traffic to get our of the theater parking lot.

In other words spending a whole days with friends, dinner, and a movie is still loved a bit more than jockeying your car around to get to the dinner and a movie – spending most of the time complaining with your friends how long it took.

So, this is cool. With losing many traditions for families and friends, seeing one brought back (other than sports, drinking, sports, drinking, sports, drinking) is great. Even movie directors and film geeks are following suite in their own way … with a what was though to be dying along with the local theaters, the Kodak Super 8 film camera.

How so?

super_8_lcd_white_v1Well Kodak, thought to be a dying company is catering to the wishes of a current batch of film makers and directors that want to shoot with the inspiration of 8mm film, just like their mentors from the past did. Sort of like current artists producing vinyl, because they came to the senses and realized digital takes away from natural sound(unless you have a small super-computer the size that most medium level governments can’t afford). The pic to the left is (c) Kodak and a shot of their new hybrid super 8mm camera. You get a digital copy of the film from the film after it is developed. If you still shoot still film, you understand as a photographer that light passed through actual film differently than an lcd and images on paper differently than a paper producing more natural shading and color tones. The way an image is projected onto a screen is also affected by this. Surprisingly, even the newest of film makers have to be given credit for realizing this.

cluelesstrophyBut a clueless award has to be given to the movie industry as a whole to forced small theaters to invest 60k or more in refitting completely to digital …

 

but kudos to those theaters that decided to keep some of their old analog projection gearswbkudos2 in place – and even one or two new theaters are rebuilding and placing some of the older projection equipment to accommodate film makers truly wanting to use and project on film.

If you have a local theater reopening or remodeling, please support it … most of the films they most likely chose will be much better than the ones the corporate clones show (and most likely make it to Netflix free within a month anyway).

A couple of theaters to check out:

Support your local theater, and keep your family memories on film!

Add any local theaters you know of via the comments!

-SWB

 

What to do about all that food (from our friends at Marty’s)

September 21, 2012 Leave a comment

From home kitchens to industrial-sized farms, food waste is a constant challenge, too often ignored or unseen.  The horror of food waste can only be truly measured in response to those people throughout the world (and in the U.S.) who are categorized as food insecure.

The problem with the problem of food waste (still following?) is that we tend to compartmentalize the issues.  Food security and access are often tackled as a distinct issues.  The labor, energy, fertilizers, nutrients and compost needed to grow food that is never harvested, never brought to market or brought home are losses absorbed by farmers, and that’s ….. click here to read the article.