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Camera for adventure

“Observation” Video Game Shows How AI Solves Problems in Space

Summer is here and some free time can come to explore space in the form of a game and the one that has recently caught our attention is exploring how a fictional artificial intelligence (AI) solves problems in space. So, naturally, we were eager to jump into it.

The game, “Observation“, developed by No Code and published by Devolver Digital, was released for a few platforms in 2019 and extended to Microsoft Xbox last year. Exceptionally for space games, you play as AI and try to help an astronaut facing a catastrophic problem on a space station in the near future.

Your mission as an AI, named SAM, is to open doors, turn floodgates, and solve problems with an astronaut named Emma. At the start of the game, you and Emma work together to contain a fire in the space station, then Emma asks you to verify the source of the fire using your cameras and sensors.

Related: The latest news from space games

Observation for PC on Steam: $ 27.29 now $ 9.79 on CDKeys
Help Astronaut Emma solve problems, survive, and find out what happened to her crew as he IA Sam in No Code Observation and Devolver Digital. See the offer

As AI Sam, you’ll need to help Emma open hatches and other systems while investigating what happened on your space station. (Image credit: no code / digital devolver)

By playing a few hours of the game, you can understand why space is such a difficult environment for astronauts and computers. You’re always trying to fix things, and the SAM-Emma dynamic simulates how teams work together to solve problems in real time on the International space station (ISS). What we particularly liked was the idea that sometimes you have to try a few strategies to find the right solution, which is similar to what astronauts do in dynamic situations such as a spacewalk.

To fix the game’s issues, you not only need to search the environment, but also mash the buttons in a particular order, similar to the footage players used in the 2018 video game “Detroit: Become Human” which explored rights androids. Fortunately, however, “Observation” is more forgiving than “Detroit”, and the astronaut will often take over if you struggle to find the solution.

Gaming is a good choice if you like problem-solving and bonding as you go, but if you’re looking for action and quick fixes, you won’t enjoy the experience. Some of the puzzle puzzles require you to sit for a while and think logically, playing from different camera angles and asking your crew member for help. But be patient, and the rewards will come.

Space.com spoke with Jon McKellan, Creative Director of No Code, to learn more about the game’s development process. This interview has been edited and condensed.

Space.com: What was the inspiration behind “Observation”?

Jon McKellan: The idea came from an article I had read years ago, [which described a thought experiment] take an antagonist from a movie and recontextualize the movie with him as the protagonist. The example he cited was the alien from the original “Extraterrestrial(1979) movie. I had just completed five years of work on the survival horror game “Alien: Isolation” (2014), and I was heavily immersed in “Alien.” Viewing the movie from the perspective of the alien opened my eyes to a creature born into a hostile environment with a crew trying to kill it, and all it wants is to eat!

So I started to think of other favorite movies and stories that could go through a similar process. I immediately jumped on “2001: A Space Odyssey“(1968) and I thought about what the HAL computer might be going through – what it might be like to suddenly have consciousness, or have a sudden existential awakening – and that became the seeds of the game.

The modules and interior of the Observation Space Station strikingly resemble actual orbital outposts like the International Space Station. (Image credit: no code / digital devolver)

Space.com: How similar or different is this game to other games that you or your company have made in the past?

McKellan: We pitched – and were in the process of signing – “Observation” when we made an experimental adventure game, “Stories Untold” (2017). Signing took a long time! We actually road tested some gameplay concepts for “Observation” in “Stories Untold”. Our main focus has always been to tell great interactive stories, where the player’s agency is aligned with the character development. The gameplay that we ask the player to participate in is both appropriate to the moment and the characters, and believable in terms of presentation.

In the case of “Observation”, it is also about science. There is no such thing as putting gems in a statue puzzle to reveal a secret path. Instead, the game is about trying to stabilize an experimental, miniaturized fusion reactor, or dealing with the compression of airlocks between modules. Everything is as grounded and believable as it gets, while still being exciting and unusual for audiences.

Space.com: What sci-fi franchises and real-life experiences did you use to create the game?

McKellan: The majority of situational “issues” the player faces in the game stem from our theory of what could go wrong on the International Space Station and how you could fix it. We have spent months going through background material and books about the station and the various systems in place to deal with the myriad of issues that could arise.

Apart from that, a library of films from the past five decades has helped inform the mood and tone. For issues that directly affect Emma the teammate, we were inspired by “Gravity“(2013), which shows very intimately how the physical dangers of being in space can affect a person. For player character SAM, it was more things like” Alien “(1979),” Event Horizon ” (1997) and, of course, “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968). A big part of the game is that you view 90% of the action through the on-board CCTV system, so we often have to tell the story at quite a distance. “Found movies” such as “Blair Witch” (2016) or “Europa Report” (2013) were very helpful in learning how to do this and enjoying the point of view.

“Observation” from No Code and Devlover Digital puts you in space as an AI, SAM. Your mission: Help human astronaut Emma, ​​solve puzzles in space and survive. (Image credit: no code / digital devolver)

Space.com: Which experts, if any, did you speak to in the space world to build the game, and what did you learn from them?

McKellan: We didn’t have a lot of opportunities to speak to many experts, unfortunately. Trying to make contact as a game studio seems to be a lot more difficult than when you are making a movie. Hopefully this will change over time and clearer and more standardized lines of communication between our industries will be put in place. Fortunately, however, the European Space Agency and NASA has made so much quality material available to the public that we have had a lot of references to build our world and our history.

We obviously have a bit more of a supernatural or alien storyline, so we figured out what that would change and went from there. For example, if the ISS were suddenly on another planet in the Outer Solar System, its solar panels would be much less efficient. We incorporate that kind of science – and how you might deal with it – into the story and the gameplay.

Space.com: What made you choose to tell the story from a computer’s point of view?

McKellan: What fascinated me was the idea of ​​an artificial intelligence becoming “awake” just as the player takes control. The player is the new consciousness. They provide the uncertainty, the human approach to problem solving, empathy for other characters and, of course, the flaws, mistakes, and subjectivity that come with the territory. This meant that SAM’s character could develop in perfect sync with the player’s experience. SAM and the player have an identical perspective on the world, and – with one exception you’ll see during the game – SAM never says or does something the player doesn’t expect.

On top of that, there is a layer of player action that has a direct impact on the story. For example, as a gamer, it makes sense to switch to a camera in a room and listen to a conversation, or open doors and explore. But for the crew in the game, it’s an extremely scary thing to do! This meant that SAM’s innocent actions had this other meaning for the crew, really making the player think about their role in the story. It was the main driving force of the whole experience. The player almost plays the game without realizing it.

Space.com: What do you hope players will take away from the game?

McKellan: We went to great lengths to create depth in the story, the details of the background, the mysterious languages, etc. I would say the best mindset is always to think, “What would an AI do?” Some puzzles are simple, but others require a change of perspective. When we see a fire and are asked to put it out in a game, we tend to think about how we would do it physically, maybe as a teammate or something like that.

But here you play a different supporting role. You think about the steps to get there like an AI would: log into a system, activate it, let the team know the problem first, that sort of thing. It is – for us humans – a truly fascinating way to experience and participate in an interactive story. It creates exciting moments from a whole new angle that only a game could do.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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How teenage filmmakers Sam and Mattie got director Peter Farrelly to produce their film

Sam suchmann and Mattie Zufelt are the best friends who met when they were 8 years old. They share a deep passion for movies and for years they were determined to make one. They presented their dream film to whoever wanted to hear it.

Imagine a racy 1990-flavored teen zombie flick that explodes with action, stunts, comedy, drama, love, gore and more. Two teenagers are tasked with saving the world after the devil appears with zombies and demons, ruining the prom night and attempting to destroy all of humanity.

Suchmann and Zufelt, now 25, enlisted Sam’s older brother Jesse Suchmann and his filmmaker friends to help them make their dreams come true. “When Sam introduced me to the storyboards he drew with Mattie, I just remember thinking, ‘These are so well thought out! They put so much energy into it. It has to be done !’ Jesse shares.

They’ve also been able to convince friends and businesses in their hometown of Providence, Rhode Island to come in and help them out. Their only rule was that their original artistic vision had to remain intact. This meant that the best friends would script, script, produce, launch and star in their movie. Spring Break Zombie Massacre.

Mission accomplished. After raising $ 70,000 in a Kickstarter campaign and arming themselves with gallons of fake blood and a serious mind, Suchmann and Zufelt finished their bloody, and sometimes wacky movie.

It’s difficult to make a cinematographic period. But these young filmmakers, who also have Down’s syndrome, are unstoppable. Their film premiered in Providence, Rhode Island on July 7, 2016.

Related: 20 Heartwarming Acts Of Kindness Guaranteed To Brighten Up Your Day

“We started out thinking that we would shoot their movie with iPhones and ketchup, but Sam and Mattie’s big dreams were contagious, so everyone volunteered to join in,” the director said. Bobby Carnival. “The fact that we’ve ended up with such an amazing movie proves that when you bring the right people together, you can do it all. “

News of the Kickstarter campaign sparked interest in the film. He caught the attention of Today the weather, Conan O’Brien, PBS News Hour and much more. Also among his legions of supporters was the Oscar-winning director Pierre Farrelly (Green book, There is something about Marie, Stupid and even more stupid).

Another Rhode Islander who heard of the Carnevale film, Farrelly took Suchmann and Zufelt under his wing. And when it was time to make their documentary promised by Kickstarter on the making of Spring Break Zombie Massacre, not only did Farrelly appear in the documentary, but he also became its executive producer.

Just this spring Sam and Mattie make a zombie movie debuted on Apple tv. The documentary also includes the full zombie movie. Bursting with heart, the documentary reveals what happens when people with disabilities are brought to the fore and in charge of the creative process.

As Farrelly points out: 20% of Americans have a disability. However, in movies and television, only 2% of characters are disabled. “They are massively under-represented, one of the reasons being that very few people with disabilities are behind the camera or in leadership positions,” he explains. “It is therefore not enough to start putting them in front of the camera, we have to start authorizing them in the writing rooms and at the DGA and in all the departments. Fortunately, this is changing quickly thanks to organizations like the Ruderman Family Foundation and Media Access Price, which celebrate and promote the inclusion of disability.

Additionally, CBS, NBCUniversal, Sony and Paramount have pledged to follow the Ruderman Foundation guidelines for hearing more actors with disabilities. “This will change things. There are some superstar actors right now that you’ve never heard of, because they never got a chance to show their stuff, ”says Farrelly.

Related: 27 Quotes On Kindness

There is a lot to take away from the documentary. “It tells the most honest version of this story that we have been able to put together. But if I had to pick one thing, it would be the inspiration to go on your own creative adventure with a loved one, ”shares Sam’s brother Jesse. “It will double for families of people with disabilities. This collaboration created incredible new dimensions of connection for all of us and was the most fun we’ve ever had. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Farrelly suggests that people shouldn’t just watch the movie because two people with Down’s syndrome made a movie. “Watch it because it’s really good and fun,” he says. “And because you’ll be smiling from ear to ear the entire movie.”

Peter Farrelly shared more about working with Sam and Mattie and making the inspirational documentary.

I imagine a lot of people are asking you for advice. What prompted you to embark on this particular project?

I love Sam and Mattie. They are nice guys. Originally, I just thought I would meet them and give them some advice, as a favor to Bobby Carnevale. But once I heard what they were doing and how much planning they had already put in place, I got excited and wanted to see where it was going. Also, we laughed a lot and wanted to spend more time with them.

How precisely did you see that you could help them?

I didn’t want to mess with their script because they knew what they wanted. But I also knew they were on a tight budget, so I wanted to make sure they got the most bang for their buck. For example, did they really have to shoot a ferry or would a mid-size boat do that? And I could see they were getting nervous about the shoot, just like any newbie actor / filmmaker would. But I explained that they had already done the hardest part, which was writing the script, so they should just have fun and everything would work out. This was important because in order for their personalities to translate to the screen, they had to be cowardly.

What went through your mind when you first met Sam and Mattie?

I was impressed with how they complemented each other. It was sort of a miracle actually. They both had very different strengths and personalities, but they worked perfectly as a team. I could tell they had the kind of solid optimism it takes to see a movie from start to finish.

They are both very outgoing, but Sam also has an introspective side. Left alone, I could see how he could turn into the brooding type of poet. But Mattie is a stick of dynamite that makes Sam move and shake and come out of his own head. At other times, when Mattie hits a wall, which is rare, Sam is there to pat her on the back and rekindle the fuse. It’s a great team.

Related: the boys of wood‘Luke Caldwell on adopting children with special needs:’ Love is the connection ‘

Why do you think Sam and Mattie’s bond is so strong?

I believe they found each other when each of them needed a friend, and they are grateful to have one in their life.

It’s great to see how families and the city have come together to support Sam and Mattie. Why was this important?

Despite everyone’s motivation, ambition and best intentions, it is still difficult to make a first film. Because there is so much that you don’t know. For example, my brother Bobby and Bennett Yellin and I had been writing scripts for a decade when we had our first movie Stupid and even more stupid done, but we still needed help. Lots of help. From people who understood camera lenses and lighting and who collected money, hair, wardrobe and a million other things.

Sam and Mattie wrote a great screenplay, but they needed some help making it through and they got it with Sam’s brother Jesse and Bobby Carnevale, their families, the city and even the State of. Rhode Island. This is why I am so proud to be from Rhode Island. It’s a small enough state that everyone is about two degrees apart and there is a connection if you come from Rhody. We support each other.

(Dwight Wilkerson / Small Frye Photography)

Following, 17 Inspirational and Uplifting Movies You Can Watch on Netflix Right Now

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How to find great walks away from hiking hot spots

Fancy a walk this summer while avoiding the local holiday crowds? Get komoot and find route inspiration in places under the radar, wherever it may be for you?

From the Pentlands to Pembrokeshire, the Kent coast to Speyside, no matter what part of the country you live in, there are some great walks to be had. If you consider walking to be about attitude, you’ll never be limited to hiking hot spots.

And that means you don’t have to queue all day in the “walking trail dance” while you negotiate who gets priority on a busy section of trail.

At komoot, our goal is to make adventure accessible to everyone, wherever you are. That’s why we make it easy to find, plan and share adventures for everyone, even in places that aren’t generally considered walking hotspots. And in a year when travel always seems uncertain and local walking destinations are likely to be crowded, there has never been a better opportunity to embrace walks under the radar and discover pockets of gems from hidden walks away from the summer crowds.

At its heart, komoot is a route planner that makes it easy and enjoyable to design hiking routes to suit your needs. This is due to the sport-specific routing and detailed surface type and elevation profiles that give you a breakdown of every inch of your route.

But what about these hidden gems? There are several ways to find them on komoot, depending on how you want to be involved.

For the light planner, Komoot collections view an organized list of tours in a specific area – Hike around Cambridge, Hike in Epping Forest, Hike around Winchcombe. Click on it and you’ll find a list of hyper-local routes that can inspire your next ride… just about anywhere! You will find these collections on www.komoot.com/discover/hiking-trails

You can find more personalized walking ideas using Komoot Tour Recommendations. Enter your sport, location, and fitness level (so that the results include tours that have accurate time estimates), and komoot will show you routes that have already been driven in your area. You can then adapt the itinerary to your needs.

When you open the route planner on komoot, you will notice little red dots scattered around the map. These represent Community highlights – recommendations from the local walking community on anything they deem relevant – the most beautiful place for a picnic break, a section of trail that crosses a bird sanctuary, or maybe even an obscure little out -licence that sells surprisingly amazing pork pies. This insider information is the thing that tells of a “pretty cool” walk to a “good day out”. Whether planning from scratch or adapting an existing tour, you can incorporate these highlights into your itinerary (do so by clicking on them and literally selecting “include on itinerary”), you will be guaranteed a beautiful walk, wherever you are.

You can share your walks and alternative areas with Hiking in the countryside and Track by tagging (or inviting) the profiles of your completed visits to komoot. You can add photos and a short description to highlight some of the local must-sees.

Head straight to the Hiking in the countryside profile here and the Track profile here.

Don’t believe us? Here’s what four real readers have to say about the komoot app after a month of intensive testing.

Photo: Tom Bailey

What did you like the most about the app?

Ronnie – The ease of adding tracks from Strava / Garmin Connect. The ability to add photos and create collections.

Sarah – A few clicks and my route was planned! After planning it, it gave me the ‘difficulty level’ of the route and I really liked this feature as it would help me plan walks to suit my level of fitness. Loved that you can set your fitness level when planning a walk and adjust the time and speed accordingly – great when planning a walk with others. I love to take photos on my walks so the camera function was god. While having my cup of tea with my feet raised watching my completed walk, I found the “video camera” icon – it was a nice little bonus to seeing my “adventure story” and I can also see it. share :-).

Michelle – It’s very user-friendly and easy to follow. Personally, I like to jump right in and use the technology without prior knowledge and I really could. I also really liked the detailed weather forecast for the route.

Matthew – Easy access to nearby hiking trails with photos.

Were you aware of the area, type of path and elevation profiles in the route planner? Do you think they are useful?

Sarah – Yes, the elevation profile was excellent. Click on it and with the green line bar I could scroll to see the elevation, and the map pointer moved around the map – that was awesome.

Ronnie – Yes very helpful.

Matthew – Yes, I can see that they can be useful for anyone with mobility issues.

Michelle – Yes, all information is transparent about the application in the planning stages. The area and elevation information is very helpful as it helps you prepare the gear you would need for your hike.

Did you know about the Komoot Highlights feature? Did you find any local highlights that you weren’t aware of?

Matthieu – No, I didn’t, but I know my region very well thanks to the 2020 confinement!

Michelle – I came across the highlights in the app while exploring, I personally didn’t find any new local highlights. As far as I could see, the app already had all of the local key highlights plotted on the app. Having this feature will allow others to explore and take advantage of these local strengths. Personally I think this is a nice feature and touch. The app also lets you add local highlights which is again great for sharing with others.

Ronnie – Yes, knowledgeable but I rarely use them.

Sarah – Yes, I could see the Highlights feature in the app and was aware of all the highlights that I had encountered / seen on my walk.

Were you aware of the Tour Recommendations / Finder feature? Do you think it’s useful?

Sarah – I enjoyed looking at the recommendations for inspiration and seeing the adventures of others.

Matthieu – Yes, that’s great. I can imagine using it when I’m in a place I don’t know but would like a recommended walk.

Ronnie – Yes. I have used them on hikes abroad.

Michelle – The Tour section was a useful tool as I can see others shared their routes and highlights. This prompted me to save potential visits to the app to explore later. It’s kind of like a follow feature and I’ll take advantage of routes that have already been plotted by others. This means you can walk around without having to plan yourself if you are short on time. It also drew my attention to routes that I didn’t know existed in my area.

How does this product compare to others you have used?

Ronnie – The best on the market in my opinion.

Sarah – I thought there was everything you need in the app to go out for a walk. He planned the route easily, gave route difficulty, time, distance, walking speed and weather. I found other apps too time consuming or had to plan the route using a laptop. With this app, I planned the route using my mobile phone – perfect!

Michelle – Komoot is much more detailed than other apps I’ve used before. It gives you a better overview and allows you to plan. It has a lot of analytical features and it’s your choice whether to use them or not. It takes you comfortably from A to B.

Matthew – I have little experience with this type of mobile application. I regularly use a dedicated GPS device.

Would you use this app again?

Matthieu – Certainly. I would use this app to research new route ideas in areas I am less familiar with.

Ronnie – Yes, I use it at least once a week.

Michelle – Most definitely. I am completely converted. This will now be my go-to app because it’s so multifunctional for all the sports I participate in. It is friendly. Plus, I don’t need to carry my cell phone in my hand, I can put it in my backpack and just listen to verbal instructions for directions.

Sarah – 100% yes. Easy to use. Gives me all the important information to plan a walk. Easily create a “story” of your walk by taking photos, then creating your story to share with friends or on social media. Also while walking it gave me my walking speed.

Are there any changes you would make to the product?

Ronnie – The help feature could be easier to find / use, but overall excellent.

Sarah – No.

Matthew – No, I like the layout of the app.

Michelle – No. It already has customization options like adding photos on the go.

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Chasing the Dream – St. Olaf College

The spectacular Halong Glacier, located on Amnye Machen, one of the four sacred mountains of Tibet.

“When I was in Saint-Olaf, if you had asked me at that time what my dream job was, I would have said National Geographic photographer or environmental photographer. I never thought that five years later this is what I would do, but here I am, ”says Kyle Obermann.

Obermann is the author and photographer of a breathtaking series recently published in National Geographic. In his article, he talks about China’s inaugural plan for the national park and the difficulty of balancing conservation with the tourism industry.

“Experts all agree that while there are some bright spots in China’s new park system, it is too early to predict how parks will affect long-term conservation and local livelihoods,” he points out in the article.

Obermann majored in political science at St. Olaf, with concentrations in environmental studies and Chinese. His interest in photography began in high school as a hobby.

Kyle Obermann’s photograph has been published by National Geographic, Nature Conservancy and the BBC.

“I took my mom’s camera after I finished my homework and went out to our garden,” he says. “I started taking pictures of random things, and I remember my goal at the time was to make my garden semi-boring cool or looking like the Amazon.”

Today, he is a full-time conservation photographer and influencer, connecting “traditional Chinese society and big business to environmental issues”. His writing and photography have appeared in more than National Geographic: Obermann has also been published by the BBC, the Nature Conservancy, and more. He is also a member of the popular Chinese TV talk show Informal interviews, where he discusses individual carbon footprints and China’s many mountains.

He travels often and only spends about seven days a month at his home in Chengdu, China. There is no such thing as a “typical day” in the world of conservation photography. It will be in a national park or nature reserve or in the wild. He may live in a ranger station or focus on documenting the work of field scientists. He also gives lectures in various institutions in Asia, such as the Chinese Ministry of the Environment, Kyoto University, TEDx or the American Consulate in Chengdu. When he’s home, you’ll find him editing sequences, running ultramarathons, or going to hip-hop dance lessons. Every day is different and full of surprises.

“The main objective of my work is to support the conservation of critical and endangered species in China’s wild areas,” he says. “Bringing awareness to these issues through pictures can help tell an effective story. And with greater awareness, everyone benefits.

The Shennongjia Forest District in western Hubei, central China is known for its rich biodiversity and the rare and endangered golden monkey.

Obermann says he never took a photography course, but the opportunities at St. Olaf gave him a solid foundation for his current job. As a student photographer in the college’s marketing and communications and admissions offices, as well as the sports department, he was given a variety of assignments that helped him hone his photography skills. “In a sense, [it was] photojournalism of campus life.

Having the chance to learn from his mistakes as a student photographer and improve himself with the “forgiving staff” at St. Olaf gave Obermann the opportunity to develop technically and creatively. While working as a sports photographer in track and field, he once broke an expensive camera by wrongly attaching it to a tripod during a football game, and he says his first portraits of teachers for the website “were pretty dismal”. But he enjoyed telling stories with his camera and filming different competitions and sporting events while enjoying his own sporting experiences as a member of the men’s track and cross country teams.

In addition to his love for photography, St. Olaf also sparked a passion for the Chinese language, which Obermann fell in love with after just one class. “I remember coming out of that first class and all we learned was how to say ‘hello’, which is ni-hao, and I told myself smiling. I probably sounded like an idiot, but it made me happy because it was so cool and different and it spoke to me.

Obermann gained valuable experience in photojournalism while working as a student photographer in St. Olaf.

The main objective of my work is to support the conservation of critical and endangered species in China’s wild areas. Raising awareness of these issues through photography can help tell an effective story.

The early support of his language teacher as well as his roommate, Duy Ha ’14, an international student from Vietnam, gave him confidence. Later, his teacher’s ability to make language learning enjoyable encouraged Obermann to continue taking Chinese.

“Professor Pin Pin Wan made the lessons so fun, and for the first time, I felt like a teacher really believed in me and trusted me,” he explains.

His fundamental experiences continued when he participated in the first Ole Cup, organized by the Piper Center for Vocation and Career, and introduced the idea of ​​doing adventure photography in China to a panel of alumni. of Ole. “I failed to secure funding,” he says, “but the push by the Piper Center to develop this land and eye-opening experiences like the Quo Vadis retreat has helped me believe and visualize my goal for the first time. “

As a senior, Obermann spent six weeks in Beijing and also traveled to other parts of China. After this experience, his career path was clear to him. “I went from talking about my dream job to doing it,” he says. After a summer of anxious waiting and door-to-door fundraising for an environmental group in Texas, he finally received a full scholarship to do a year of language studies at one of the top universities in the country, then began working as a photographer while staying in China, taking photos of ultramarathon races and of The North Face athletes competing in China and Europe.

A local ecologist marks the retreat of glaciers on the Tibetan plateau in Qinghai province (northwest China).

“It’s pretty amazing how St. Olaf has put China in my life,” says Obermann, who also marvels at the convergence of his undergraduate interests in Chinese language, political science and environmental studies. in his professional life. “At one point, US-China relations were such a big problem. Chinese environmentalism and carbon emissions were major issues for the world. Suddenly, all these concentrations and majors – which I had not planned to make fit together – fit together perfectly. This discovery helped him reflect on the one important thing he learned at St. Olaf: “I learned the value of using the opportunities with such a flexible education to pursue what really spoke to me. “

He is happy that he can do what he does every day and he encourages other Oles to follow their passions.

“The benefits of my interdisciplinary training at St. Olaf may not have been immediately clear, but to this day they are still paying off! If you are true to yourself and follow your passion, and it’s something that really kindles a fire in you, then you will be successful. Be true to these passions, no matter the cost.

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New Children’s Museum & Theater of Maine opens

PORTLAND – It’s big and beautiful, bright and colorful. The new Children’s Museum & Theater of Maine is a sheer delight and guaranteed to put a smile on your face (and teach you a thing or two), whatever your age.

The three-story, 30,000-square-foot facility, located on the emerging Thompson’s Point waterfront in Portland, opened on June 24 and is expected to attract more than 200,000 visitors per year. More than $ 15 million was raised for the new museum (exceeding the original target of $ 14 million), which showcases the work of national exhibit designers and local artisans.

The fun begins even before opening the doors of the Museum and the Theater. There is a half-acre outdoor space that includes a large picnic area overlooking the Fore River, a maze, and the fenced-in outdoor adventure area, where you can climb, dig, and build with materials. natural. There’s also an educational garden, a collaboration with Maine Audubon featuring plants native to Maine.

Welcome! The bright, multi-colored lobby features a three-dimensional climbing structure with different levels for different ages, such as a toddler ramp and an observation tower for those who make it to the top. It also has an accessible transfer platform.

“Great attention has been paid to accessibility,” explains Julie Butcher Pezzino, Executive Director. “Our designers said we challenged them to make the museum as accessible and multigenerational as possible. We have taken it to new levels.

Additionally, on the first floor is Maddy’s Theater, a new state-of-the-art facility, now home to the country’s oldest children’s theater program. It has 89 fixed seats and additional space for those who use wheelchairs. There’s a tech booth where older kids can get involved behind the scenes in the mechanics of the production, and an observation gallery where sensitive visitors can control viewing and sound levels. The theaters are producing three shows by professional and family actors this summer through mid-October.

The Children’s Museum & Theater of Maine features a half-acre outdoor area with a large picnic area overlooking the Fore River, a maze, and the fenced-in outdoor adventure area, where you can climb, dig and build with natural materialsPamela Wright for the Boston Globe

Role-playing takes center stage on the second floor of Our Neighborhood, where you can board the Downeaster train, listen to the pilots entering the traffic control center, glide along the pole in the fire truck. and cook and sell lobster at the lobster shack. Additionally, on the second floor is the Lunder Arts & Culture Gallery, with the master exhibit, developed in partnership with the Indigo Arts Alliance, featuring the “Beautiful Blackbird” story by Maine author Ashley Bryan, “We love the message of this beautiful folk tale, which Black is Beautiful and the importance of appreciating our differences,” says Pezzino.

Visitors are invited to “step into the book”. Large pages of fabric books are on display, with gesture animation software. In other words, wave your hands and the birds in the story interact with you. Other items include a Share Your Story kiosk, where kids are encouraged to record their own story about what makes them special, an art exhibit from children’s books, and a demonstration kitchen. “Food plays such a role in celebrating diversity and different cultures that this commercial demonstration kitchen was very important to us,” says Pezzino.

The extra large MakerSpace exhibit on the second floor encourages kids to design and create whatever comes their way. “I want to make a nesting box, a rocket, a chair, a dress… whatever it is, we’ll have animators on site to help them create it,” Pezzino explains. “It will be a very messy space to create yourself.”

The entire 10,000 square foot third floor is the museum’s science center, dedicated to STEM education. A 10-foot-tall six-sided sculpture features pneumatic balls, where visitors can learn to see and predict patterns and experience the projection. There are modular track sections for older siblings to use in designing roads, and a large, bright screen, resembling a giant Lite Bright toy, where you can create pictures by moving light tubes around. There are light tables that respond to touch, a shadow play area, and a pinhole camera that lets you see what’s going on outside the building. At the entertainment station, children (and adults!)

The one-of-a-kind periscope camera obscura was the only thing the museum moved from its old location. You can rotate and focus the camera 360 degrees for views of Portland. “We’ve had visitors who came just for that,” Pezzino says. “It’s quite rare.

“Ready for the Aquarium? Pezzino asked us for a preview visit. This area includes seven different ecological habitats, from mountains to sea, with observation and contact reservoirs filled with species native to Maine. Aquarists will be on site to introduce certain species (think turtles and frogs). Next door is the IDEXX STEM Learning Center, where kids can play the role of vets and learn about different animal species and how to keep animals healthy.

One of our favorite areas was Go With the Flow, a giant Willy Wonka-style aquatic exhibit. Put on raincoats and take one of the towels; you will get wet. You can spin and twist containers to fill and empty water, balance balls on water jets, create dams with Legos and push buttons to form stunts and shake things up. It’s a beautiful, kaleidoscopic space, with a geometric mural created by Maine artist Rachel Gloria Adams, who has exhibited her work across New England. Adams is one of the many artists from Maine who created paintings and murals displayed in the new museum.

The museum and theater are located just off I-295, near the Portland Transportation Hub, in the burgeoning community of Thompson’s Point. Here’s a suggestion: Take the Amtrak train to Portland and have a coffee at Rwanda Bean before visiting the museum. Eat lunch and drink at the Bissell Brothers Brewery or grab picnic supplies at Rosemont Market & Bakery (opening soon). And maybe head back to the Museum & Theater for a theatrical performance before boarding the train to Boston.

250 Thompson’s Point Road, Portland, Maine. 207-828-1234, www.kitetails.org. Tickets must be reserved, $ 15, infants 17 months and under free; check the website for discounts.


Diane Bair and Pamela Wright can be contacted at [email protected]

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Prime Day mirrorless camera deals offer up to $ 750 off Panasonic, Sony, Olympus, and more.

Today only, as part of its Prime Day offers, Amazon offers a selection of mirrorless digital SLR cameras on sale from $ 489. You will find that our favorite is the Panasonic LUMIX G95 20.3MP Camera for $ 699 shipped. For comparison, it has a list price of $ 1,198, the previous best on Amazon was $ 998, and today’s deal marks a new all-time low that we’ve been tracking. This camera is really designed to do it all. It can capture 4K 24 / 30P and even has a preinstalled Vlog-L recording format so you can properly color its 12 stops of dynamic range. It also produces 8-bit 4: 2: 2 video on an external monitor if you want to record that way as well. An external microphone / headphone jack is also present, so you can use higher quality sound than the built-in offerings. Rated 4.4 / 5 stars. Go below to find out more.

More Prime Day Camera Deals:

For more video and photo deals, check out these discounts we’ve spotted on DJI gear. The price starts at $ 79 and you will find smartphone gimbals and drones for sale here. A great addition to a brand new DSLR is the Mavic Mini 2.7K drone at $ 397, which regularly brings in $ 518. Also, don’t forget to stop by our Prime Day hub for other great ways to save.

Learn more about the Panasonic LUMIX G95:

  • Focus on your creativity: Perfect for photographers ready to shine, the LUMIX G95 features a stunning and powerful 20.3 MP live digital MOS sensor and advanced technologies for photo and video
  • Versatile and Portable: The lightweight Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera is weatherproof with a flexible, free-angle monitor, ready for any adventure; LUMIX G 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 POWER OIS lens ensures crisp, clear images
  • Exceptional flexibility: 4K 24 / 30P video capture, plus preinstalled Vlog-L, features logging characteristics with 12 dynamic range stops for maximum freedom in editing. Send 4: 2: 2/8 bit video to an external monitor simultaneously while recording

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Camera for adventure

DNR: shaken by the years | News, Sports, Jobs

Courtesy Photo An old bait casting reel with a fishing scene engraved on the side of Daddy’s old collection of fishing tackle.

When I was little, I remember my father had two fishing rods and reels that he liked that I was not allowed to touch.

One was to throw worms into streams and streams for speckled trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout. It was an old bait-casting rod that was bright white, with yellow, black, and red coils that held the silver guides in place.

The spool was silver and had a thick black line that looked like a shoelace. The chrome on both sides of the reel was etched with a cool scene of two anglers in a boat, one with a fish on its line and the other putting a net in place.

The reel handles had a swirling pattern of dark brown on a reddish brown background. I was fascinated by this coil, and still am. I have spent more than a few times studying the craftsmanship of the coil, turning it, side to side, in my hand.

When the line is pulled out, with the drag set, the spool clicks which I must have heard hundreds of times, if not more. I find the sound very comforting. I think it has to be deep in my being.

Some of my earliest memories of fishing include these types of reels that my mom and dad both used. My mom used to fish and hunt partridge with my dad back when we had an old white Chevrolet Impala from the 1960s.

The second fishing rod my dad had was a larger strength yellow Eagle Claw rod used to fish Lake Superior from shore. In the fall, the rod would be used for angling for coho and chinook salmon in local tributaries to the large lake.

My dad and his fishing buddy, a co-worker friend from his work at the post office, also caught lake trout and the occasional speckled trout that tossed Little Cleos from the rock ledges along those cold, deep waters.

They often went fishing, but I was never allowed to go with them. Most of the time it was because I was in school when they went out on Thursdays, my dad’s day off.

I remember often having high hopes. I used to think that I should have had a reprieve from school for the obviously important and sacred activity of trout and salmon fishing.

No dice, kid.

Beyond school, I think my dad needed some quiet time fishing away from his job and the pressures of a household with a wife and four children. I can see this more easily now than I did then.

The reel he used for this more substantial fishing rod, although still considered intermediate, was a Garcia Mitchell 306 open-cast reel. It was a reel first released in 1958, with a Similar version 307 left-handed for left-handed people – like me.

I remember thinking that this reel looked huge to me as a young child – like it could carry a shark.

I was used to the basic simplicity of a Zebco 202 rod and reel combo. These rods were inexpensive and available at the hardware store coast to coast a few blocks from our home downtown .

The rods were anything but child-proof, prone to easily breaking or breaking their tip guide in the most basic disasters to children, like getting the stick stuck in the spokes of the wheel. your bike or accidentally slipping the stem. point on the asphalt when you get to the creek.

Thirteen years ago this month my father passed away.

Since then I have put his Eagle Claw rod and reel in storage, never used it once. I still have his baitcasting reel too, but I don’t know what happened to the rod that came with it. He hasn’t had it for the last few years of his life.

I never would have thought of using the baitcasting reel. It’s too precious for me. It’s like an old pocket watch or a compass, something with the mechanical secrets and craftsmanship of a bygone era.

He still wears the thick black line and the engraved fishing scene still shines.

Recently, after much agony, I decided that my dad probably wanted me to use his fishing rod now that he didn’t need it anymore.

I took it out for a Lake Superior casting, along with a former co-worker.

I removed the old fragile line and replaced it. I attached the reel to another rod, leaving the eagle claw at home on the fishing rack. I would be crushed if I damaged it in any way.

Everything worked fabulously. The reel was working fine, throwing my lure deep into the lake, then sliding it gently and deep on the retrieve.

All afternoon I never had a bite to eat, but it had been a long winter, already a long 40s and a glorious afternoon in the sun.

Before heading home, my friend and I worked the mouth and remote expanses of one of the tributaries, looking for an early, hungry spring rainbow trout.

Once again, things were going wonderfully.

And then, unexpectedly, the line got stuck under the spool and wound around the reel shaft. I hate when it happens.

I had to unscrew the cap shaft to lift the spool and unwind the line. When I did, the cap slipped through my fingers and fell to the floor. Like a camera lens cap, I well remember a bridge in Ontonagon County, it rolled a long, slow roller before falling into the river.

The cap sank out of sight, as well as the glow of the idea of ​​using my dad’s fishing reel. I felt like an idiot. I also felt sorry.

At home, I decided to search Ebay for a replacement part for the reel. I found not only a spool, with a drive cap attached, but it also came with an original manual for the spool. The cost was only $ 12.

I figured the reel probably hadn’t been properly greased or oiled by who knows when. I had no idea the manual would show me exactly how to do this, with pictures and everything.

So, while I was waiting for the postman, I found a great tutorial on YouTube showing me the steps to follow. I was proud to take this coil apart, learn it, and dig up the old grease, which looked more like Bit-O-Honey candy than gear lube.

I resorted to the help of the Mool and the Tater – my stubborn twin stepdaughters – to help me clean and dry the parts after I took the spool apart.

I was able to wind the spool up using the video, except for one small step that was missing because the man in the video moved his hand out of view of the camera, just at the wrong time.

So I waited a few more days for the spool and manual to arrive. I was so excited to receive this box in the mail. However, the excitement was short-lived when I realized the seller forgot to include the manual. An email and a few days later it arrived as beautifully as the Queen Mary.

The Mool and I put the coil back together. I think it was a great time spent for both of us. Now cleaned and restored, the reel spins freely and is ready for the next adventure.

Although I felt so embarrassed that I dropped the top of the reel, the experience that followed showed me things that I didn’t expect.

In a very tangible way, I realized the respect I still have for my father and his old fishing reel. I still felt responsible for fixing something that wasn’t mine to break.

I felt my love for my dad as I took the time and care to disassemble, grease and repair the fishing reel. I felt that I still honored her, while passing this example on to my young daughter-in-law.

It’s strange how life has lessons to teach even after you are gone.

Check out previous presentations of DNR stories in our archives at Michigan.gov/DNRStories.

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Star Wars: The Bad Batch Episode 8 Review: Reunion

The episode takes itself quite seriously. But does that actually translate into content that fans can delve into, or top-flight content? Star wars adventure and charm? So so.

Watching The bad lot was a bit like listening to an acquaintance explain to you what is going on in their Dungeons & Dragons Game. Now there’s a time and place for it, and I’m checking out some good friends’ D&D characters from time to time quite happily. But what if it’s someone you don’t know well? It’s a story without any emotional investment. It’s a story someone clearly loves, but they’re also on the inside, invested quite literally, in a way that you just aren’t. Coming back to the lot, there is no plot B in “Reunion”, which makes it feel a bit empty. The characters move from point A to point B with aplomb, but the characters still lack the camaraderie of Rebels for me, or the universal and archetypal feeling of the original trilogy (and to a lesser extent, the stories of Anakin and Rey).

The last episode, I mentioned wanting more of Hunter (to prepare me for grief when he’s inevitably estranged from Omega) and Echo (the other newcomer to the group). Unfortunately, Hunter didn’t have time to really feel like a person. Omega has even more in common with Wrecker, and the mere moment of connection between them in “Reunion” isn’t quite enough to make the father-daughter pop dynamic.

Omega itself obtains a more cautious interiority. I really like that she looks sullenly at the spaceship graveyard, clearly thinking of the overwhelming number of casualties and accomplishments it represents, and asking Tech what the war was like. Because he’s Tech, his response is cold. They walk a fine line with Tech, making it neither too literal nor too socially inept, neither too comical nor too dark. He’s the skeptic, not undermining the rest of the group but also not coating things. (And unlike Wrecker, I’m interested in his dump of information about this ion engine’s new coating.)

Omega also continues to believe that Crosshair can be saved, but not so much the rest of the team. The silence after she asks if Crosshair really trying to burn old comrades to death is revealing.

As for Echo, it is finally differentiated a little. As a regular clone (and one who just received a new reminder of his origins as Rex), he’s more committed to the idea of ​​duty to an ideal than the rest of the lot. He is more invested in the sense of being a soldier. I like how this contrasts with Hunter’s willingness to save the Republic Ordinance to pay off his debt to Cid.

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