Monday, February 15, 2010

Shuttle launch lights up sky 115 miles away

A brilliant shot. Photo credit: James Vernacotola

An enterprising photographer captured this wonderful time-lapse photo of the final nighttime space shuttle launch.
The photo was taken at about 4:14 a.m. on Feb. 8 from atop the Intracoastal Waterway Bridge in Ponte Vedra.
Temperature: A brisk 34 degrees.
Closer to the scene, here's how George Leopold of the EE Times described the launch:
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — The sun came out early down here on Monday morning.

The final nighttime launch of the Space Shuttle program lit up the Cape Canaveral area for several minutes. The locals down in Cocoa Beach about 10 miles south from here said they also heard Shuttle Endeavour roar into orbit at 4:14 a.m.

For first-timers like me, the sun-like affect of a pre-down launch was astounding. There's a good reason: NASA says the combustion gases of the Shuttle's solid rocket motors are about two-thirds the temperature of the surface of the sun (6,100 degrees F).

Then there is the sound -- a wall of sound, actually. We were told at the NASA press center about 2.5 miles from Pad 39A to brace for the sonic wave generated by the Shuttle's three main engines. It hits a couple of seconds after liftoff. First there is the blinding flash of light, then the thrust billowing up on all sides and finally the sound wave (despite the literal damping of sound by a Sound Suppression Water System on the pad) .

I swear it made the cuffs on my pants flap.

Once the Shuttle commences its roll program maneuver and throttles up to reach orbit, things gradually begin to quiet down. The observer, mouth agape, next hears all the car alarms going off in the visitors' parking lot.

Nothing like has been seen or heard around here since the heyday of Apollo in the late 1960s.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Coquina magazine launched

Coquina magazine

Over the weekend, I started an online magazine for Flagler College students. It is called Coquina, named after the native Florida rock used to build Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine.
The magazine is a work in progress. I'll add students' stories and photos in the weeks and months to come. My hope is that Coquina will give students a way to showcase some of their best stories and photos.

The magazine will include:
* Profiles of some of the fascinating characters who live in and around St. Augustine.
* Articles about attractions, museums, parks, businesses and other local spots.
* How-to articles giving advice on everything from surfing to how to survive the Apocalypse.
* Stories about interesting or controversial issues.
* Articles about restaurants and local watering holes.
* Tales about life in St. Augustine.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Quickie Critiques

Jason Bell. YouTube link.

Flagler College students this week reviewed some of the latest movies. This came after a discussion about Hollywood's portrayal of young people in movies.
Among the questions we covered:
What do movies and their portrayal of youth tell us about our values?
What do they tell us about American society?
What can we learn if we try to analyze movies as cultural artifacts?
Who are the stereotypical characters in many teen-age movies?
What are some of the differences between movies about life in urban, suburban and private-school settings?
Our source material for the discussion relied heavily on the book, Hollywood goes to High School by Robert Bulman.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Flagler students: More to life than Brangelina and Snooki?

Jaclyn Miklos. See YouTube video here.

Flagler College students talk about the media in the United States. Among their views:
* The media has lost sight of what's important.
* It's driven by money and profit.
* We like the dirt.
* We're obsessed with it. We allow the media to consume us.
* Are things like Brangelina and Snooki the most important? Or should we be focusing on international issues and moral and cultural situations around the world.
Steve Meehan

That quotable preacher from Georgia

Andrew Young at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla.

"My daddy thought all preachers were crooks or poor."
- On his father's refusal to send him to seminary school.
"Being an American citizen was an automatic passport to prosperity. All that changed with Martin Luther King's death. "
- On the idea that the American dream is more elusive today than it was four decades ago.
"The world is more difficult for ordinary people unless you're born with a trust fund."
- On getting ahead in today's economy.
"We don't need any more lawyers."
- Lawyers haven't helped fix what ails America, he says.
"We need somebody to understand the U.S. economy if we're going to complete Martin Luther King's dream of ending war, racism and poverty."

"A man can't ride your back unless you bend over and let him."
- Something Martin Luther King Jr. used to say.
There's no secret virtue in being part of the civil rights movement. I almost had no choice."
- His fight for racial equality was practically a matter of survival, he says.
"I don't think we'll ever get there."
- On whether Americans will ever achieve the kind of racial equality that Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned.
"At least you're raising these questions in the open. Just because you're raising the questions, you might find the answer."
- On efforts at Flagler College to better understand the historical role of St. Augustine in the struggle for racial equality.
"There's a time in life when everybody ought to be an atheist for a while."
- Young people ought to discover religion on their own rather than blindly accept what others tell them, he says.
"Gandhi, more than Jesus, gave us this methodology."
- On the role of non-violence in the fight for civil rights in the 1960s.

Student journalists write about Andrew Young's visit

Andrew Young

Former U.S. ambassador Andrew Young visited Flagler College on Feb. 9 and spoke to students and faculty members.
Six journalism students listened to Young's remarks, then interviewed people in the crowd at Flagler's Gamache-Koger Theater. The journalists found the ambassador's talk to be interesting and inspiring. Below is what they wrote:

By Mari Pothier

Ambassador Andrew Young is an incredible man with an incredible past. Today, Flagler College was honored to have him speak to select students, faculty and staff about his journey here in St. Augustine. Young discussed a variety of topics with the students, the first being the redemption of the soul of America by removing the triple evils of racism, war and poverty. He believes the best way to resolve conflicts are by talking to enemies, not waging wars. Young gave us the example of how he was sent to Africa by President Jimmy Carter to discover what they wanted from the United States. Essentially, they wanted our respect. This then led to him expressing how everyone called Carter a weak president but not one person died in war under his presidency.

Young also talked about how today it is very hard for people to improve their economic standings, except if they are, “born with a trust fund.” Today, as students, we do not, in his opinion, have the same opportunities as older generations. One aspect though that stood out was his comment in that all young people at some point in their lives, should become atheists. Young feels that doubt leads to the greatest beliefs.

Jillian McClure, a junior at Flagler College and the original person to contact the Andrew Young Foundation, expressed in high spirits her reaction to his lecture.

“It was wonderful to be in the presence of such a wonderful person,” McClure said.

Lauren Avard, a sophomore and a history major at Flagler College thought Young made good points, but did not agree with everything he said.

“I thought he was a very good speaker, very eloquent,” Avard said.

Melissa Dagenais, a junior and also a history major at Flagler College, said the lecture was not what she was expecting and thought he was going to talk more on his documentary and involvement in St. Augustine.

“I really enjoyed his talk,” Dagenais said.

In all, it was an honor to be in the presence of such a courageous man.

By Kaitlyn Teabo

Civil Rights activist and former Atlanta Mayor Ambassador Andrew Young touched on how segregation is less common as when Martin Luther King was alive, but also how poverty is increasingly getting worse. He estimated that 40 percent of the American population is living under the poverty line today, compared to 30 percent in MLK's time.

"Unless you come from a privileged family, it getting harder and harder to climb the ladder of success," said Young.

His speech left many students and faculty inspired by his speech on civil rights.

Flagler College student Lauren Ruotolo, 19, left the speech with something to think about.

"I thought it was really inspirational. It gave me a feel that there is still hope for change, even though there is still segregation today," said Ruotolo. She felt enlightened after watching the speech.

Flagler College Professor Tim Johnson, 56, was also moved be the speech. "The fact that Flagler College can think about reconciliation made me pleased to come," said Johnson. "I am familiar with the civil rights movement in St. Augustine and was pleased to come out today."

Photo credit: Kaitlyn Teabo

By Jodi Marich

As students exited the room where Ambassador Andrew Young gave a speech, many talked quietly to their friends, but Chuck Riffenburg spoke above the crowd. "Fantastic!" He exclaimed to his friends.

Riffenburg is a Junior at Flagler College who is majoring in Philosophy and minoring in Religion. He said that the ambassador had touched on a lot of the key issues that Riffenburg experiences in his own life.

Congressman, Ambassador, and Mayor are are titles that Andrew Young go by, but Reverend is the name he is known for the most.

A civil rights activist, Reverend Young worked with Dr. Martin Luther King during the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s. In 1956, 100 ministers got together and created an organization to redeem America.

"It was illegal for us to come together like this in 1956, so we decided legal barriers needed to be broken down," Young said. He went on to say, " Part of Dr. Martin Luther King's mission was to get people to talk to their enemies."

Young and his friends talked about the dreaded debate of racism. So many in this country are uncomfortable around one another and different races. They believe that racism is still very much a part of this country and that it is the 3rd rail in the U.S.

"None of us have anything to say about how we were born. Nobody chose their parents, we are all here by an act of God," Young said.

Young is trying to get the word out there that we, young people, need to take charge and fix the problems out there in the world. We need to make the changes that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, dreamed of.

Jeff Wheeler, a Flagler College student, felt that there were many good points in the speech. "I feel racism is ingrained between black and white people." He thinks that they lived in a different time than we live in now, but still belives that racism is out there.

Kaitlyn Teabo, a Flagler College student, felt it was an inspirational speech. "It opened my eyes up to the civil rights movement in St. Augustine and it brought to my attention that although segregation has improved, poverty is still a problem with in the United States."

By Brittney Piescik

The ambassador spoke about racism, war and poverty and that Martin Luther King worked to correct these three things. He said that it is important for young people to question the things in their lives in order to gain a better understanding.

"There was a part in my life where I thought that everyone should be a young atheist," he said. Young defined atheism as honest doubt. There was a time when Young had questions and doubts as well. He asked his aunt when he was a teenager if Heaven was segregated and she shouted that he'd be struck down where he stood by God.

According to Young, "Life is a creative struggle.." and Chuck Riffenburg couldn't agree more.

"I think that it is very important that everybody starts thinking like these gentlemen here," said Riffenburg.

Photo credit: Kaitlyn Teabo

By Rachel Bruce

Andrew Young, reverend, mayor, congressman, ambassador for the United Nations and a friend of the late Martin Luther King Jr., came to Flagler to speak today. The 1951 graduate of Howard University wanted to pursue religion and continued his education to seminary school before accomplishing the major things of his life. Young was appointed as ambassador of the United Nations by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. Young was the first African-American appointed to that position.

Young’s speech contained several stories of his life through seminary, politics and civil rights movement. He had one thing to say about civil rights in the 1960s, “Young, black and poor people were disillusioned with politics.”

He said the number of assassinations were extremely high around the time King was killed. He said people were obviously having a tough time with sharing rights at that point.

St. Augustine had a big role with the civil rights movement. The Civil Act Movement of 1964 was passed for St. Augustine. Countering this, Young said, “The people of this community responded to violence with nonviolence.”

He also said things have not necessarily changed for racism except there are laws that state there will be no segregation.

Photo credit: Kaitlyn Teabo

By Cal Colgan

The following are reactions from three students who attended Ambassador Andrew Young's speech at the Gamache-Croger theatre in the Flagler College Student Center at 2 p.m.:

"I thought it was really informative, given the perspective of what happened in the city," said Dave Hiller, 23, a senior and history major at Flagler. "I wish [Young and his colleagues] would have elaborated on what happened in the city."

"I thought it was interesting having all the perspectives of those who were [involved in the Civil Rights movement] at the time," said James Tyer, 20, junior and political science major at Flagler. "I think [Young] focused a little too much on economics."

Flagler junior and business major Jeff Wheeler had a different view on Ambassador Young's speech. Wheeler said that he was surprised at Young's perspective on civil rights and race relations, especially how they exist today. "We're more accustomed to it, and there's not that big of a change," said Wheeler, 21.

Photo credit: Kaitlyn Teabo

Selected Young quotes, submitted by Taylor Laskoski:
Part of Dr. Kings message was to get people to talk to their enemies.
You had a government that believed in investing in its people.
Being an American citizen meant an automatic pass to prosperity.This community put nonviolence to the test.
The test for us is how we deal with the challenges we have.
Photo credit: Taylor Laskoski

Here's another take, this one submitted by Dustin Boshart:

First off he was a great leader in the Civil Rights Movement. He has been a reverend, a mayor, a congressman and an ambassador. He believes in setting good examples, and for the young to lead the moral revolution.
Like MLK, he wanted to stop racism, war and poverty. Blacks and whites couldn't eat together, learn together or even work together and those racist barriers needed to be broke down.
He was in ROTC, but because of a broken wrist he was forced to leave the military because of his inability to carry a rifle correctly or "Uncle Sam's Way." He believes that that saved his life.
Young said:
I learned war was not necessary ... MLK wanted people to talk to their enemies.
We are all here from the grace of God. We don't chose our parents, no one says what their born from. Whether it's white and rich, black and rich, white and poor or black and poor... it doesn't matter.
Life is a creative kind of struggle. The Civil Rights Movement said let's do it without violence.
First Coast News report on a Flagler College student's role in bringing Andrew Young to St. Augustine

Friday, February 5, 2010

Check out this image

I'm trying out mobile blogging and this is a test...

I wanted to share something on Photobucket with you!

See the fullsize version at:

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Think it. Write it. Get out.

Six-Word Memoirs

Trying to come up with a half dozen words that say something about your life is a great exercise for aspiring writers.
Smith Magazine, founded in 2006, asks people to submit stories to a Web site called Six-Word Memoirs. The Web site says:
Everyone has a story. Can you tell yours in six words? Submit yours to be considered for SMITH's next six-word memoir book. The first book, Not Quite What I Was Planning, is a NYT bestseller featuring more than 800 writers, famous and obscure..

Our newest book, Six-Word Memoirs on Love & Heartbreak, is a roller-coaster ride through the complexities of the human heart. It's just $10 — bring it instead of a bottle of wine to your next party.
I asked some of my students to write their own Six-Word Memoirs and submit them to the Web site. They came up with some winners, including:

Lucky to be alive on earth.
- Caroline Young
With God, I will survive.
- Mari Pothier
Insane people make life more interesting.
- Cal Colgan
Anxiety: not meeting up to expectations.
- JD Bray
Life: one big opportunity; say yes.
- Brittney Piescik
Girl in jeans with big dream.- Jody Marich

I'll Forgive But I'll Never Forget
- Whitney Blair
To love and to be loved
- Kaitlyn Teabo

Big Bird attacks Bambi

Animal encounter in Palm Coast, Fla.

A Sandhill Crane chomps the nose of a curious young fawn. Link: YouTube video.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Flagler College students debate pros and cons of TV

Maghan Katrick

Flagler College students today discussed whether television is good or bad for society. Maghan Katrick, above, said she doesn't have cable at home. See her video clip here. She said:
I'd prefer not to be bombarded with the news and commercials and things like that.
Jessica Reynolds

Jessica Reynolds said the Discovery Channel and other educational channels can be good for viewers. See her video clip here.

Below are video clips of students interviewing each other.

Michelle McCallister

Greg Taafe interviewed Michelle McCallister. The video clip is here. Michelle said she watches "for sure a couple hours" of television every day. She said:
You gotta watch that much.
Television is a part of our American society, she said.
There's nothing much we can do now.
Robert Perry

Christian Hintz interviewed Robert Perry, who described television as "bad" for society because it contributes to "laziness." See clip here.

Melissa Schafroth

Courtney Przepasniak interviewed Melissa Schafroth, who said television "takes away from family time." See video clip here.

Snuggies: Enhancing the lure of television since 2008.

Jessica Duffy spoke to two students, Cassidy Killinger, who appeared to be wearing a Wild Side™ Leopard Super Soft Fleece Blanket, and Morganne Lonny. See video clip.

Christian Tomaselli

Matt Stein interviewed Christian Tomaselli, who said television "makes you lazy." See video.

The Job Fairy

Here's another funny ad. These screenshots were taken from Careerbuilder's Hire My TV Ad Web site. The other ads getting the highest number of votes are: Casual Fridays (yep, more underwear) and Worst Seat.

The "Clothing Drive"

Videos that go viral can be effective, cost-effective advertising for any company. This video is an example of that. Tim Nudd reports:

Having done the bleeped-out-obscenities thing for its obscenely popular "Swear Jar" spot (recently voted the best commercial of the last decade by Adweek readers), DDB and Bud Light (and production company Tool of North America) go for the visual equivalent in this sequel, called "Clothing Drive." Instead of adding to their Bud Light haul by swearing, here the office employees do so by stripping. The shoot must have been a bit more challenging for all involved, and it's a shame those black "censored" markings aren't quite as funny as bleeps. Still, for those who love seeing office drones in their underwear, you're in luck this Super Bowl season: You can see (and even vote for) a remarkably similar CareerBuilder spot over at this Web site.