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UNT library opens creative “Factory” with 3-D printing, scanning, robotics, Google Glass

“The Factory has eight printers for standard printing needs and a large format printer; a Raspberry Pi, a computer no larger than a credit card that plugs into a television and keyboard and can be used for spreadsheets, word processing, gaming and playing high-definition video; Arduino, a tool used to create computers that take input from a variety of switches or sensors and control lights, motors and other physical outputs; cameras and photographic equipment; and Google Glass, an optical device that can be used to record videos and photographs from a first person perspective…”

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Vexed by Earthquakes, Texas Calls in a Scientist

[Image: David Craig Pearson, the Texas Railroad Commission’s new seismologist, is giving serious attention to the state’s earthquakes. Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, in Austin. Credit: Marie D. De Jesus / Houston Chronicle]

“Surely the seismologist – this man of science, highly educated and blessed with good ol’ boy roots in West Texas – must know what he’s getting himself into. The Texas oil boom is the envy of the nation, a source of strength in uncertain geopolitical times. Smart people are moving in from the coasts. Investors are getting rich. Even a high school dropout can make decent money behind the wheel of a truck. Life is good…”

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James Geurts’ Work at Zhulong Isn’t Merely Large in Scale, It’s Global

[Image: Amelia Jaycen]

At first glance, the work of James Geurts may not be what you expect to see at Zhulong Gallery. The relatively new exhibition space calls itself “the new light on Dragon street.” It differentiates itself from most of the other galleries by outwardly embracing new media, and work that interacts with contemporary technology. Saturday’s launch of Re-Surveying: Measuring Site utilized landscape art, photography, and public works.

Geurts is based in both Melbourne and London. Geurts’ vision is related to the shape of the earth itself, while he also ties in complexities of the human understanding of time and space. His presence in Dallas offers a different perspective on new media than the one to which we’ve been accustomed.

Geurts resuscitates anachronistic technologies that seem a far cry from new media–until you take another look.

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Inside)(Outside: A guide to Dallas performance art for the uninitiated

[Image: Andi Harman]

A woman is lying on the floor of an 8th St loft space in Oak Cliff like a sacrifice, seemingly possessed. Streams of thick white light shine from a lamp straight down into her open throat and then refract out the other end in strings of color. Her eyelids are still, wrists limp against the floor. Her knees are bent, spread just enough to allow a rainbow to escape from between her legs and spiderweb into the room. Not touching her is impossible—the room can barely be entered without climbing over or under the colored strings attached to the walls. Curious figures tip-toe by this quiet sensuality, some trying not to touch anything, others unaffected by the fact that the strings are literally connected to her most private region. Once, at another show, a guy tried to pull the copper piece tied to the strings from inside her as she performed. She wasn’t sure if it was ultimate art or ultimate trauma. Her boyfriend was furious.

“People get very offended with being confronted with nudity, with the human body. They don’t like being exposed to it or forced to confront it. They consider it exhibitionism,” Houston artist Julia Claire says. “For me it’s a way of dealing with relationships with people; with having to be close to them.”

Claire’s installation in the upstairs Spotplus gallery was the climax of a night of performance art, and like many of the other acts, hers left a bunch of curious onlookers trying to figure out what they were “supposed” to feel.

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Quantum Diaries blogs narrative physics

[Image from Quantum Diaries: A french birthday party and update on the Higgs boson, sterile neutrinos, and a physicist and a historian walking into a coffee shop are all good finds in the pages of Quantum Diaries.]

Quantum Diaries, don’t judge too quickly – there’s real substance to this site: “This project is not just about physics; it’s about being a physicist.” The site is a conglomeration, a revolving panel of about 100 bloggers writing narrative diaries about their “families, hobbies and interests, as well as their latest research findings and challenges that face them in their labs.”

It’s hard not to find something of interest from a global network of particle physicists writing topics from “the Higgs versus Descartes” to “the fifth dimension that Einstein missed.”

Supported by InterAction, a promoter of cross-border particle-physics cooperation, the blog site is “not just about physics; it’s about being a physicist.”

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Masters of the Universe and other characters from the heart of Texas in July

MaybornMagCover

In blistering Texas summer heat, the Mayborn Tribe gathers each summer in north Texas to talk about the craft, learn from each other and soak up the spirit of nonfiction writing.

This year’s event was centered around Narratives on the Cutting Edge, Writing about Science, Technology, Medicine and Innovation. Last year’s event dealt with digging into the past to bring historical narratives to life.
Both were rich themes with space to explore, share insight and dig into the down-and-dirty of nonfiction. In the middle of three days of mayhem, there’s a suit-and-tie (or boots and jeans, depending on how Texan you are) Literary Lights Dinner and Mayborn awards program, just a few ticks from rivaling the Pulitzers.

The Mayborn contest has categories in newspaper, essay, manuscript, and
reported narrative, hand-crafted trophies, $12,000 in cash prizes, competitors from nearly every major American newspaper and winners from as far away as New Zealand. This year’s Literary Lights included a live auction of signed first-editions of Larry McMurtry’s books and an online auction of tens of other signed first-editions of Mayborn speakers-past as a celebration of the tenth anniversary 2014 Mayborn Litearary Nonfiction Conference. Continue reading

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Permafrost thaw cracks urban infrastructure, students dig in

[Image: Google satellite image of the city of Norilsk, Russia.]

Students from Russia, U.S., Norway, Germany, Italy, China and U.K. arrived this week in Norilsk, Russia where they will spend two weeks in a field school to assess the effects of permafrost thaw on Russian urban infrastructure.

The student researchers will conduct permafrost research in the field as well as meet with representatives of the Norilsk-Nickel mining company and of local production plants and geological, planning, social and migration services to form a science-based dialogue about problems and solutions.

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“You can’t breathe in air with 7,000 micrograms of sulfur dioxide.”

[Image: The nickel smelting plant in Nikel, Russia located just over the Norwegian border produces pollution that has been a problem for northern Norwegians for decades and is nearly six times the amount of pollution produced in all of Norway. Photo by Amelia Jaycen.]

Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology on Tuesday told representatives of “MMC” Norilsk Nickel of the planned decommissioning some of Nikel plant rundown facilities by 2016 and reorganization of metallurgical production at the Monchegorsk plant, which must be upgraded and modernized, the ministry said in a press release yesterday. Monchegorsk is owned by the same company and located some two-hour drive south of Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula.

The program involves modernization and renovation of all stages of processing and consolidation of smelting and refining capacity to a more modern venue including technological upgrading and expansion of refinery at Monchegorsk during 2016-2017. Capital investments in the program total more than 50 billion rubles, the release says.

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N-ICE: Studying Arctic ice from cradle to grave

[Image: Researchers collect an ice core to measure its temperature and salinity near “RV Lance” during the N-ICE test cruise in February 2014. Photo by Paul Dodd/Norwegian Polar Institute]

When spring 2015 approaches, sun spilling the landscape will find a group of scientists adrift at sea on “RV Lance” – once a top-of-the-line seal hunting boat, now turned research vessel.

On board the ship, an international collection of researchers will watch up-close as the arctic wakes, with instruments tuned not only to wildlife but to the most important creature of them all – the sea ice.

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Climate change study heats up Arctic soil

[Images: Amelia Jaycen]

Students from Russia, U.S., Norway, Germany, Italy, China and U.K. arrived this week in Norilsk, Russia where they will spend two weeks in a field school to assess the effects of permafrost thaw on Russian urban infrastructure.

The student researchers will conduct permafrost research in the field as well as meet with representatives of the Norilsk-Nickel mining company and of local production plants and geological, planning, social and migration services to form a science-based dialogue about problems and solutions.

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Barents Summer School brings researchers face-to-face with local leaders

[Image: Students and local leaders in the Barents Summer School in Kirkenes, Norway. Credit: Amelia Jaycen]

Twenty-four Ph.D. students including Norwegian, Russian, Finnish and Swedish students, some of them representing the Sami population, and one student from Hong Kong gathered to establish international collaborative relationships and learn about conducting epidemiological research: Studies of disease patterns, causes and effects over time.

The one-week course centered around human health issues in the cross-border Barents region. Students who attended are researchers in a variety of subjects ranging from suicides among indigenous populations to the effects of pollution on infants born to exposed mothers.

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Minister of fisheries goes king crab fishing on Fish Nation tour

[Images & slideshow by Amelia Jaycen]

Minister of Fisheries Elisabeth Aspaker went on her first king crab fishing trip in Bugøynes Saturday for the conclusion of Fish Nation, a five-week seafood tour up the Norwegian coast to celebrate the rich variety of fish products available in Norway. At each stop along the way from Oslo to Kirkenes, Bergen-based chef and owner of Lysverket restaurant Christopher Haatuft studied and prepared local seafood while the Fish Nation team interviewed local fishermen and documented the towns, people, food and recipes.

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Dragon Street’s Zhulong Gallery is a beacon for new media art

Zhulong Gallery, with its glass façade and dragon shaped gallery space, aims to be a new force in the Dallas new media scene, with international context, a public involvement component and a broad definition of new media that sparks conversations about how to define the popular genre.

Zhulong’s inaugural Satellite XBT 1 is new media work by 11 artists that interpret and respond to data, culture, and projection of information through space and time in digital, two- and three-dimensional pieces. The title Satellite highlights the art space mission to be a technologically-driven gallery that is a hub for receiving and transmitting art and ideas.

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Out of the Loop’s star Diana Sheehan on the festival, living in Texas and Gertrude Lawrence

[Image courtesy WaterTower Theatre]

Diana Sheehan is an award-winning actress and singer who relocated to Dallas five years ago and found herself following a successful New York career with a shining start in Texas, including winning “Best of the Loop” two years in a row at Watertower Theatre’s Out of the Loop Fringe Festival, among a variety of notable awards and performances in Dallas. Loop provides her and tens of other artists a chance to explore new material with enthusiastic crowds, as it has for 13 years.

This year, Sheehan’s Searching for Gertrude Lawrence is a cabaret exploring mysterious stories surrounding the most famous Broadway star in the world from the 1920’s to 1950’s.

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Thin Line Film Fest expands with 100 films, music, photo contest coming soon

[Image: Josh Butler outside the Campu Theater marquee. Photo by Amelia Jaycen]

When Josh Butler took an energetic leap of faith toward his dream, he didn’t exactly land on his feet. It was more like a really bummed film junkie who landed in bankruptcy court. Staring at the floor he shook his head, “Why! Why did we just have to have limos for all the filmmakers?”

Making the great Texas film festival was going to take more than spastic enthusiasm, but Butler learned his lesson: Don’t spend money you don’t have. The festival and the nonprofit he created to run it, Texas Filmmakers Association, survived intact while he swallowed a $40,000 debt. But since that 2007 Thin Line Film Fest left him broke, the festival has nearly doubled its revenue each year.

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Out of the fiery couldron, a writer emerges

When you find that every cell in your body is motivated toward story-telling— as George says, “stories no one else is telling in ways no one else is telling them”—if your protons and neutrons are spinning and all your chemistry has undergone catalysis, it is possibly due to the introduction of a whole lot of Archer City Magic Dust.  In a terrifying trip to the soft center of a new writer, an Archer City student reflects on what she found out about writing and herself on a few dusty roads in the blazing July heat.

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Jackson Lears on Sam Harris

My assignment was to read 85% of the articles in The Best American Science Writing of 2013 and then try to connect them within a critical analysis of Lears’ article. 

In his essay “Same Old New Atheism: On Sam Harris,” Jackson Lears tackles the philosophies, behaviors, ethics, theories and books of Sam Harris, and with him the entire class of “New Athiests.” While the New Athiests’ claim begins with the premise that religious fervor is the dangerous root of the world’s problems, Lears finds that Harris and his cohorts manipulate anti-religious fervor and create larger social problems through their moral and political pronouncements.  Lears casts them in the light of history and current events as following in line with ideas that have led to catastrophic moral crimes against humanity.

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Annual Report nearly kills grad students

This is the thing. That thing that kept me up all night long.

It was created by myself and my co-worker Aaron Claycomb, a damn fine designer. We did not sleep, we got zits, we got headaches, we nearly over-dosed on caffeine and newsprint, we reported for months, designed for hours, copy-edited until we were dizzy, and generally worked our buns off, along with the help of friends and faculty of Mayborn.

Without further ado, I present the Mayborn School of Journalism’s first ever Annual Report magazine–>