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Friday, March 31, 2017

Engineering A New Bike: Interactive Story Map

Engineering A New Bike: Final Reflections


SAL-SENSORS

Our group was The Fran-tastic Five. We designed a system to improve bike path safety and bike path visibility for pedestrians. The problem we chose to solve was conceived from our time spent in Copenhagen and Malmö. While in both cities, we noticed that walking in the bike paths (which was necessary at times where there were too many pedestrians for the sidewalk) could be dangerous if you did not see bikers coming. This problem could be solved with our product, which consists of a series of sensors 10 meters apart along the bike paths. When a biker passes one sensor, the following sensor will make a ping and flash a small LED to alert the pedestrians near it that a biker is coming. The sensors will also provide a way to mark the edges of bike paths, as it can be difficult for non-natives of the city to determine where the paths begin and end. As 20% of pedestrian fatalities in cities in the EU were caused by biker on pedestrian accidents, our product would have a substantial impact on European commuters. This could also promote bike path development in American cities, as cities would need to worry less about the safety of its commuters.

HALO

We worked truly collaboratively and I was impressed on what we accomplished in such a short time. Our groups thesis was: “The lack of commuter cyclist in U.S. cities is driven by the fear of physical safety.” From this thesis we researched crash statistics and found that most accidents took place at intersections. We inferred that this was occurring because either cyclists were not following road signals or that their intentions were not clear to other road vehicles. We decided to address the later, and conceptualized using lights to indicate the cyclist's intentions. We debated how we wanted to incorporate the lights; we discussed a jacket, a mounting system, a helmet, and a backpack. We discussed the pro’s and con’s of each and decided that a backpack would be the best starting point. We choose a backpack because it would elevate the lights height, provide storage, and because it could be transferred easily between bicycles. We continued research and came across a possible competitor’s Kickstarter. Their proposed backpack featured an LED Matrix which focused more on personalization than safety. We felt that embedding the LED lights into the front and rear of the bag would differentiate ourselves as a safety product. The backpack’s LEDs would span the bag's whole length on both the front straps and the back of the bag. This would further increase the rider’s visibility over competing products.

As we learned from our presentation, we did not discover all the competing products failing to address concerns with similar form and function. We continued to idealize our product, deciding to offer product levels to address cost and demand of certain features. These features included a phone charger and a cooling air system. We also decided to incorporate induction charging for the bags battery. We decided to embed the charger into the base of the bag and into the backpacks handle so it could be charged while hung from a hook. The indicators would be controlled by two buttons that would be mounted by using magnetic clasp. We brainstormed embedding an accelerometer into the buttons that would detect when the bicycle slowed and automatically indicate braking. We didn’t finalize the technology we wanted to use to wirelessly communicate data with the bag.

BIKESMART CITIES

BikeSmart Cities is a firm that cities and towns can hire when they want to become more bike-friendly. Our purpose is to get more cities in the United States to become bike friendly because biking is green, efficient, and convenient. We look a city's roads, intersections, placement of crosswalks, parking infrastructure, and other key parts of the city. Based on our observations of infrastructure, we advise the city or town on how to proceed in order to make our clients city more bike friendly. We may recommend things such as adding bike lanes to main roads, building more parking structures, or making roads one-way to allow for more foot and bicycle traffic.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Photographing the Essence of Prague, Day 8 and 9


Photo by Mairead


Day 8

This morning, the morning of our last full day in Prague, most of us woke up in time to witness the sun rise over the Charles Bridge and the dramatic architecture of Old Town. I was surprised at how many people were already on the bridge at that time of day.  We were all frustrated with the people walking through our compositions.  Patience was necessary, and underexposing was a successful strategy (to blend the people into the shadows and make the sky color more saturated). The early morning wake-up was definitely worth it!  We made some beautiful images.

We had the entire morning for editing images and working on our portfolios. Ms. Wilson was available in the lounge for guidance. 

After lunch we set off on a last-chance shopping trip. It was rewarding to recognize so many areas of the city and finally know where we were in relation to the other areas we had visited.

We enjoyed a last group dinner just north of the American Embassy. Afterwards we hiked a short way up Petrin Hill in order to get a view of the castle to use as a backdrop for some light paintings.

It was a beautiful night, crisp and clear.  Prague architecture is lit beautifully at night, making it even even prettier.

Day 9
This morning we shared our final portfolios with each other in the conference room.  It was great to see everyone's work, and to see how differently we all think, see, and use our cameras.  We talked about our strongest works and our most original works. 

After the portfolio viewing we finished packing and left the hotel for our journey home.

( Due to winter storm Stella, our journey home included a 25.5 hour layover in Zurich!)


It's been an awesome week, photographing the essence of Prague!  Photo by Mairead.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Photographing the Essence of Prague, Day 7

Today was an awesome day for us to visit the Karlstejn castle. We left hotel as usual around 9am. Then, we took the tram for several stops and transferred to a half-an-hour train ride. When we arrived at  Karlstejn, the sun shone brightly in the sky, with pretty cloud formations. The scenery was just so amazing. We walked all the way up to the castle and took pictures along the way. Pictures of the castle from so many different angles came out well. We had free time at the castle to explore and find angles. Soon, we had a tour in the castle and we were informed of much history regarding Charles IV. Karlstejn castle was used to store the treasures collected by Charles IV and it took 17 years to build it with three phases of construction. We visited the first floor and some of the second floor together and saw the knights, king's bedroom, and guards' room. Rather than names, motifs and crests were painted on the doors of knights' individual wardrobes so that they could distinguish them from each other. The most realistic image of Charles the fourth was in a painting with him kneeling down with golden suits. Secret hallways were built in Charles IV's  room so he could get into  his wife's room anytime. His throne room was arranged so that he was seated between two windows, so that his face would be in shadow. Meanwhile, the faces of his visitors were lit by the windows and tall candles. Charles the fourth was a really wise and ambitious leader.

After the amazing tour of the castle, we hiked back down the hill and traveled back to our hotel by 5:30. We had some free time in the mall for shopping as well. Today was a "short" and relaxing day for us to wander in the castle and on the street of Prague. 
I cannot wait to see the essence of Prague tomorrow early morning at 6 am to capture the beautiful sun rise.
-Anny and Shirley 

Karlstejn Castle, summer palace of King Charles IV and former home of the crown jewels, photo by Anny
Charles IV's shadowed throne

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Debating the World: We Did It!

After quite the week in Scotland, wandering cobblestone streets, tasting local dishes, taking in British architecture, and sharing so many laughs, the group's culminating Model UN competition has come to a close. The morning's debates in front of the General Assembly (all nations debating resolutions and amendments in the same auditorium as one committee) ended with a surprise "emergency" from Zimbabwe.
Lyndsay proposing a clause amendment in front of the General Assembly regarding the Zika virus

The Huskies in front of George Watson's College before the last debates

This afternoon, we will be back at the hotel packing up souvenirs and laundry. Hopefully, we will catch some more sights of the beautiful city that we have called home for the last six days before getting to bed early in preparation for our 5am departure from the hotel. See you in a day's time, USA!

Debating the World: Huskies vs. Scottie Dogs

As everyone at Husky Nation winds down their Project Week, we are just getting started across the pond. An early breakfast has lead our group into dynamic and diverse committee groups. Representing Greece, the delegates discussed healthcare, education, women's rights, and other social and economic issues. Several made amendments to propositions and made alliances with other countries. The delegates also got to hear speakers from all over the world regarding international policy and diplomacy.

Sophie

Sarah

Taylor

Emma

Lyndsay

Griffen

Michael

Nino

A long day standing up for various issues culminated in a traditional Scottish Ceilidh (pronounced like KAY-lee), where students let their hair down and enjoyed several traditional group and couple dances with other delegates. There was also a disco (Euro-speak for a more modern kind of high school dance) where students could change it up from the memorized and repetitive steps of the Ceilidh. It's great to have a time where students can break from the seriousness of the conference and have a little fun.




We return to George Watson's tomorrow morning for the final hour of debate and closing ceremonies, where the two best resolutions will be presented in front of the General Assembly. Wish us luck in our final day of the conference!

Engineering A New Bike: Superkilen & Fashion

The students have been working extremely hard on the project, putting in late hours and trying to incorporate all the experiences they've had into their designs. We are all tired but satisfied. Therefore, the purpose of today was to play, to explore, and, most importantly for some in our group, to shop. To accomplish all of this, we headed back to Copenhagen for the entire day.

Our first stop in Copenhagen did have a hidden agenda. Although not specific to bike design, Superkilen park is yet another example of good design in Scandinavia. This time, the focus was on cultural diversity, playfulness, community, and green space. Designed by the arts group Superflex, the architect Bjarke Ingels, and the German landscape architecture firm Topotek1, Superkilen is filled with objects donated by or inspired by originals in over 60 countries. Bjarke Ingels is an inspiration for one of our own aspiring architects, Chris F., who gave our group an introduction to the park's design and history. The entire group, adults included, truly enjoyed all that the park had to offer, even if it didn't result in a new Snap friend for some of us.


Created with flickr slideshow.


Lunch was at yet another pop-up restaurant location in Copenhagen, this one frequented mostly by locals. The two glass buildings included more of a market, and because it was Saturday at lunchtime, it was quite busy. One of the shops offered traditional Danish Smørrebrød, an open faced sandwich on rye bread topped with whatever is handy, including meat, fish, cheese, eggs, etc. Sadly, no one in our group was adventurous enough to try 😥. We did fill up on Danish pastries and ice cream though.

The afternoon was spent wandering the streets of Copenhagen. We visited the Round Tower. We shopped (some of us more than others) for European fashion, gifts for friends and family, and of course LEGO! Our city stroll ended at the famous Nyhaven port near sunset, an optimal time for photos. The day ended with dinner at a pizza restaurant in the historic meatpacking district, which has been gentrified and colonized by hipster restaurants. We consumed copious amounts of food, but no one could compete with DJ, a recurring theme throughout the trip. All were tired but happy on the train back to Sweden.


Created with flickr slideshow.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Show Must Go On...It Happened!

We rehearsed a few times throughout the day to prepare for our production of Table 12. The cast and crew were very nervous. For most of them, this was their first play in front of an audience. After a thoughtful pep speech by Ms. Brown to get the cast focused and ready, the crew was ramped up to put on their show for a large audience at the Winni Playhouse.
Putting on make up and getting our hair ready.


It was our Director's Ms. Brown's Birthday!

Almost Show Time!
Thank you to the Art and Science of Baking group for making our wedding cake to use as a prop in the play!!

Thank you to the bakers who made our cake!

The Show is Done!
The students put on an amazing show! They worked so hard this week and it paid off. Below are a some reflections written by the students. 

"My project week was awesome. Beginning of the week I thought it was going to be little bit boring but it turned out it was great. The people in our group were awesome and I had lot of fun. I love to act. It was really fun." - Ronja

"This project was not what I expected! I stepped out of my comfort zone and shocked myself with what I accomplished. To be completely honest, the first day or two I wasn't sure what I got myself into and was freaking out that I wouldn't be able to memorize my lines by Friday night when only getting the script on Monday. I was also scared to perform in front of a large group of people, which is what usually holds me back from doing these kinds of things. Even though the days were long, tiring, and felt like weeks in themselves, I had a ton of fun being with the cast and teachers throughout the whole week.  I had the opportunity to hang out with peers that I don't usually hang out with and I made a lot of new friends. I am beyond glad that I got to be a part of "The Show Must Go On." It made me realize what I am capable of and that I need to try new things more often." - Madi 

"This past week has been an absolute blast. I met a lot of new people and made some new friends. Everyone was hard-working and I enjoyed working with this group a lot. I was quite nervous about whether we were going to finish on time but we did it. And the result was pretty amazing! I am absolutely honored to have worked with everyone in the cast and the amazing faculty members. We totally rocked it!" - Wenhao

"The play was an unbelievable experience last night. Leading up to it, I don't think any of us were exactly sure how it was going to play out. My heart was racing as I took stage for the first time. And sure enough, in the first couple minutes, we somehow managed to skip ahead by 12 pages in our script...... Anyway, we played it off really well, and were quickly back on track. Everything turned out smoothly! It was such an awesome experience to be a part of. Not sure I would ever take on such a project voluntarily again, but definitely don't regret anything about it. It was a great week with a great cast and a great final performance." - Max

Photographing the Essence of Prague, Day 4


Today we started our day by the national theater where Mozart premiered one of his operas. We then went to the Old Town Square and climbed to the top of the clock tower. For lunch we went to an amazing little restaurant outside the town center. Featured meals consist of trout, duck and vegetable salad.















Old Town Square architecture by Moesy
Working with reflective surfaces, photo by Moesy







For our afternoon workshop we met with our photographer friend, Martin, and worked on portrait photography in natural light. We also worked on photographing things in motion as well as reflections and street photography. We finished our day with a historical tour of the Old Town Hall and a delicious dinner at an Italian restaurant in Old Town Square.

Portrait of a street performer, by Moesy
-Julia

Photographing the Essence of Prague, Day 5

Today was a busy day! After a much needed sleep in, we had a good breakfast and a photo editing session with help from Mrs. Wilson. After this, we headed back into the Old Town to admire the beautiful Municipal House built in the art nouveau style of architecture. We then climbed to the top of the "Powder Tower" and saw the beautiful views overlooking the entire city. This tower was a beautiful Gothic style structure that was part of the original wall surrounding Old Town. In the early 20th century it was connected to the Municipal House, a palace in an art nouveau style.  After this, we headed into the palace and admired the intricate decorations and details.

After spending some time in the palace, we headed over to the Palladium which is a giant mall and shopping center built in place of a former military barracks complex. We were able to have some free time and find lunch in the Palladium all while practicing photo journalism. After this, we met Martin from Matela Studio under the Zeleznicni bridge. The theme for this third session with Martin was architecture. We walked to the top of the Vysehrad hill where we were able to capture pictures of the beautiful basilica of St. Peter and Paul from both the outside and inside. After this, we headed to a platform with a beautiful view of the entire city of Prague and practiced taking panoramic photos. We were all very cold after this, so we headed into a nearby coffee shop where we got coffee and various delicious desserts. We then headed into the DOX museum of contemporary art in Holesovice and  admired the current photo exhibition. Once our session with Martin was over, we said goodbye and headed back to the Palladium for some dinner and shopping. We are now back at our hotel uploading and editing photos and getting ready for another busy day.
- Moesy




Waiting for the tram with our photography instructor

Photographing the Essence of Prague, Day 6

The view from Petrin Hill
Today in Prague we started out with an elevated view next to the Havana Pavilion. We were able to capture the famous view of the multiple bridges spanning the Vltava River. Once we created our pictures we traveled to the Prague Castle. As the seat of the Prague monarchy and the current office of the President, it is a very important historical site. We climbed all two hundred and eighty five steps to the top of the castle tower. Here we experienced one of the highest views in all of Prague. After our hike we got a tour of the San Vitus Cathedral and the Old Royal Palace, and then visited the Golden Lane.  We left the castle area through the New World, listened to the bells of Loretto, and then found a cafe in which to warm up.   We walked home via Petrin Hill, from which we had a gorgeous, sunlit panoramic view of the castle and Prague.

This evening a few of us chose to go to see Figaro at the Estates Theatre, while others chose to have  more leisurely evening and catch up on their photo editing.

-Catherine

The view from Havana Pavilion

At the opera!

Ultimate Cooking - Symposium Preparations

Yesterday in Ultimate Cooking, we prepared for the symposium. As we reflected on the week, it was hard to choose just one thing to display for all the things we have learned. As we came to a conclusion, we decided to make a Bolognese sauce with homemade pasta. Earlier in the week, we learned how to make both of these things at the Tuscan Kitchen during our workshop on Tuesday. We spent the afternoon yesterday making four pounds of pasta that we could feed to the community. We handmade the pasta by preparing the flour and using the proper techniques to form the dough. As we finished our first trial, we realized the dough was too wet and was sticking together. We then had to re-roll all the dough and remake the four pounds of pasta. As we finally completed the pasta, we learned how to over come obstacles and not rush processes in the kitchen. We also created a menu and a slide shows that displays our work throughout the week. At the end of the day we took a reflective period to look back on the skills we learned and the memories we made.


Bringing Closure and Intention To Our Experience


Today was our final day at Kripalu. We had a very early morning, with some even waking up at 4:00am for a chanting style of yoga which was shockingly different from what we had previously experienced. Others went to gentle or intermediate yoga at 6:30am and experienced a great last day of yoga with our group. 





After yoga, we all went up and packed our bags and chilled out. From 9:00-11:00am, we went on a very different journey, a sacred journey. We walked the labyrinth in the snow to contemplate what we are grateful for, and many people thought of their loved ones. Labyrinths have been a part of religious and spiritual life all over the world for millennia. We wrote in our journals about the experiences we had during the walk which was good because we all saw each other's different perspectives. 






Then, we experienced our last meal in the Kripalu cafeteria. Kripalu was an amazing place, not only was the food fully up to Neal's standards, but Ms. Lea would have been happy to see the gender neutral bathrooms as well! 



Now we are headed back to campus and are looking forward to the outstanding symposium where we will show off our new mindset and loving peace for yoga and mindfulness. We are so excited to see all the other remarkable projects and reconnect with our family and friends. Thank you for reading!

Live and Let Live Farm


Lessons learned at Live and Let Live


Alex Kopyova: I learned how to work with animals, improve farming supplies and organize myself. The work on the farm is very difficult and the weather sometimes makes it even worse, but the idea of helping animals and hard work of the other volunteers I inspired me to do my best during our stay on the farm.

Chris Elhayek: I became more confident around animals. Before Project Week I had never been around horses and goats and throughout the week I learned how to groom them and clean their living spaces.

Noah Dumont: I learned how to pen a horse, how to behave around a misbehaving horse and what a lunge crop/whip is and how it is used.

Nikki Bronson: I learned how to back up a truck and how to do water on the farm.

Amelia Clairmont: I practiced driving a truck and learned how to groom a horse.

Jenny Kim: I learned how to clean a bunny cage.

Kelly Kim: This was my first experience on a farm so I picked up many skills. I learned how to groom a horse, muck a paddock and care for small animals.

Katya Egorova: I gained confidence around big animals and learned what caring for them involves. I mucked paddocks, groomed horses and walked large dogs for the first time.








Debating the World: Divide and Conquer


Friday morning was grey but luckily not very chilly. The group split in two today; a few took a bus out to St. Andrew's University and got a tour of the school and its beautiful buildings. Although the day was short, the area made a strong impression on the group.






The students that stayed in Edinburgh chose to attend The Dungeons, a historical horror experience that told the stories of different events of Edinburgh. They then had lunch at a sushi restaurant with dishes on conveyer belts.

Inside the sushi restaurant

After some time to prepare, the group finally arrived at the main event: Model UN at George Watson's College, which is a misnomer for us Americans. It's actually a school for grades K-12, around 2,000 students total. Since there are only 11 students in our group, George Watson's elected one of their own to represent Greece with us. Charlie is 14 and plays rugby. He is a proper young Scottish gentleman and we are lucky to have him on our team.

View from the bus stop near George Watson's

The front of George Watson's College

Husky delegates with Charlie before the opening ceremonies

After an hour of committee meetings in which students read proposition papers and created allies, we learned that we are the only school from the states, and one of the furthest schools to attend the conference alongside a school from Iran. The debates start tomorrow and continue throughout the day.

We got a bonus view of Edinburgh when the group accidentally took six extra bus stops (we were too interested in continuing conversations from the sessions this evening). A late dinner at Proper Hamburgers and off to do some last-minute research before bed.